Phroogal Blog recently wrote about tips for business travel with family members which reminded me of the time I did business travel with my baby. Now this was over 20 years ago, and thought by some to be a risky and potentially career limiting move. Let me explain.
I was a new Mom having given birth to my daughter a little over a year earlier and having become a second Mom to my three step kids one year before that. I was asked to go on a one week business trip to meet to plan transition of work for a plant my company was closing in Florida. Great stuff! Who wouldn’t want to go to Florida for a week, right? Um… that would be me.
The Need for Business Travel with Baby
I was still breastfeeding my daughter and to be gone for such a long time would have potentially ended that and or at a minimum been quite inconvenient and stressful. Sure I could have pumped and dumped, but who’s to say she would have been still interested when I came home or that it would have been enough to keep my milk supply up? Traveling alone on business can always have the potential of being kind of lonely, and suddenly being away from my family and especially my baby was not a prospect I was looking forward to.
As I prepared to tell my boss, that I would not be able to make the trip including the reasons why, my child care provider commiserated with me but then proposed an idea which was worth a try. She asked if my aunt who was recently retired would be available to travel with me so that I could bring my daughter. My aunt would babysit during the day while I worked.
Naturally, I did not want to be out of pocket any costs for such an arrangement, so I proposed the idea to my boss, a single and childless woman, wondering what her reaction would be and could she possibly understand. All I was looking for was the cost of the airfare for my aunt and some meals. All other costs (car rental, accommodations) would be the same if I was traveling alone, and of course my baby was young enough to travel for free. She took the proposal to her boss, also childless and I was thinking I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall listening to that conversation.
The answer came back from him “It’s such a bizarre request, it must be the right thing to do”. Ha! And it definitely was, the right thing to do. I was so thankful and motivated because I didn’t have to choose between my career or my family. I worked very hard not only on that trip but thereafter. Okay, I’m always a hard worker, but what I mean is that little extra cost born by the company paid back so much ‘dividends’ to them because they had a satisfied and motivated employee who really did appreciate that both personal and company needs could be met. I’ve always been a strong believer, after that experience, that sometimes you need to look at the situation and see how to assess ‘the rules’ and make them work. The most important aspect of a good employer – employee relationship is loyalty. When that can be retained through a win-win situation, the company usually ends up with the bigger win at the end of the day.
The hotel had a kitchenette and a pool, so they had all the makings of a grand time when I was at work. I was so happy to see my little boo boo at the end of a busy day, and knowing she was being well cared for by my aunt. I was really blessed to have her support, so I could relax about what they were doing and focus on the task at hand during the office hours. We made the most of the situation and although I didn’t know it at the time, she ended up being my first and last baby. She continued to nurse to beyond two years and consequently there were no regrets or laments from this Mama.
Have you ever gone on business travel with a family member? What type of accommodations were made on behalf of your family? Have you ever considered business travel with baby?
Part of Friday Jet Fuel #4