Archive for January, 2009

Jan
25

Is a working vacation really worth it?

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So I’m mobile.  I’m global.  I’m virtual, to say the least.  I can work from anywhere, at anytime.  Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?  It definitely has it’s pros and cons.  While being virtual has allowed me and my family to take some fabulous vacactions this year and spend extended time with family in other states, I must say that gone is the refreshed feeling from a proper vacation.  Always having the laptop and checking emails leaves a heavy cloak around my shoulders, even if I’m wearing my bikini and laying on the beach. 

It wasn’t any different when I worked at a Fortune 50 company and felt compelled to constantly check-in.  Actually, it’s worse.  Now it’s more self-imposed than ever, without the voice inside me telling me to stop working so hard for “the man”.  Now, I’m the man (so to speak)!  If it’s my business, and my lack of paycheck (for the moment) that’s in question, of course I’m going to concentrate on it, no matter where I am or who I’m with.  BUT….  the engine needs to be cooled every once in awhile or creativity and productivity will suffer.  How do the self-employed avoid burnout, especially during start-up mode?

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For me, it’s the pajamas.  Ugh!  What about you?

Angela Ploetz, professional organizer and owner of PoshSpace, will be speaking to members of the DolceVita Woman Forum on how to pack for a trip and arrive with your suit, heels, workout wear and everything else you need – wrinkle-free and with just one carry-on bag.  A dream come true, even for the most seasoned traveler!

Post your questions for Angela here and we’ll be sure to incorporate them into the discussion.  All commentors will get complimentary access to the call.  Don’t forget to tell us what you typically forget!

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I’m evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology.  Lord knows this blog could use some help with formatting!  The limited functionality is driving me CRAZY, while I see all those pretty blogs out there.  How do they do it?  For a while, Simpleology is letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it’s still free.

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Below is our Mom Story of the Week, from reader and recent winner of my children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, Christie Arseneau.  The Story of the Week is becoming a regular feature on this blog, with Christie and other mom’s tales of heartache AND triumph as they balance work and personal lives, on the road and even at home.  What’s your story?

From Christie:
So, the story of the week is the heart-melting good-bye wave.  My daughter, 13 months old today, will on and off wave good bye to people.  She’s gotten in the habit of waving bye-bye when she goes to bed, but won’t wave bye-bye to perfect strangers (probably a good thing that I shouldn’t encourage, but it is just so darn cute!).  Whenever she waves, it’s usually on cue with the suggested “wave bye-bye, baby!”. 

 

www.dunlapportrait.comThis past Sunday morning, I was leaving on a business trip from Houston to Muskegon, MI.  The baby and my husband were packed in the car and dropped me off at the airport (side note – if time allows for it, this is a great strategy for a working mom.  You get more face time in with the spouse and you get to see the baby until the last moment when TSA kicks the parked car out of the Departure unloading zone!).  As we pulled up to Departures, the baby was sound asleep in the backseat.  Of course, I wasn’t going to ignore the sleeping baby and not kiss her good-bye, so I gently opened the backdoor and leaned down to give my little angel a kiss.  Just as I was leaning over her, she opened those beautiful big brown eyes and smiled.  Up came her little hands and she wave “bye-bye”.   I kissed her, wiped away my tears, kissed her again and closed the door.  As the car was driving off, I could see the little hand waving from the back seat….  This was the first time she’d ever waved bye-bye to me on a business trip.  My heart melted in a giant puddle right then and there. 

 

When I get back on Friday night, I will see her again – I would’ve seen her sooner in our normal round of Peek-a-boo Skype, but the home web cam was acting up.  I’m sure that she’ll be there, just after security looking through the crowds for mommy.  She’ll smile at some strangers, and bury her head acting all shy to other strangers.  But the biggest smile and cutest wave will come only to me….!  Till Friday night, I’ll have visions of “bye-bye” for now. 

 

I got a great response to my last post asking for road warrior stories and tips for staying connected with young kids while on the road.  I’ve compiled some of the most interesting responses below.  I hope you’ll be as inspired as I was at the lengths parents go to stay in touch with their kids, and the positive attitudes all of them have about the whole situation.  Why be blue when there is work to do?  Just get it done and get home!  One of the most endearing stories comes from Christie Arseneau, who tells me she has more to share!  I knew when I read her post that she should receive the free copy of my children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip.   Congrats, Christie, and keep up the good fight!  Lea Nesbit’s story is fantastic as well.

All of the posts were great and I thank all of you who took the time to share your stories.  What do you think is the best tip from what’s posted below?

Warrior Responses (some are lengthy, but worth reading.  You’ll find great tips and if nothing else, know that you’re not alone in dealing with this issue.  I’ve bolded the tips so they’re easier for you to find.)

From Josh Teweles:

My wife and I both work and occassionally take trips for our respective jobs.

1.   When either of us leaves, we make a calendar and put it on the fridge so the girls can cross off the days. We also include other fun events on the calendar so it’s not just about one person being gone.

2.   For the person who remains, the girls get to be your “sleep partner” and crash in our King bed.

3.   For the person who leaves, always call in during dinner time.

4.    The person who leaves also makes notes with cute pictures and messages like “Be nice to Mommy” and “Have a good sleep” and “I miss you so much.”

 

From Lea Nesbit:

In 2006 I was the CEO of a dental technology company and was headed to Germany on a business trip. My husband and I had recently separated and were going through a divorce. He was out of town also so my mother came to stay with my eight year old son, Will. Will was not happy that I was leaving; as I packed my suitcase he started to cry and asked me to please stay. When the limo pulled up to take me to the airport, Will ran out of the house and threw himself on the hood of the limo. He was crying and begging me not to go. My mother had to come out, pull him off the the car and hold on to him so we could leave. I can still see the accusing, anguished look on his tear-streaked face and my mother standing in the yard with her arms wrapped around him.

A few minutes later my cell phone rang. It was my estranged spouse calling to berate me for leaving our son in the middle of an emotional meltdown. He screamed at me for caring more about my work than my family all of these years and told me that I was directly to blame for my son’s emotional crisis. I listened to his rant for longer than I should have; I finally hung up when it occurred to me that he wasn’t eight years old and I was not responsible for his emotional well-being.

I have never felt as bad about being a working mother as I did that day. I sobbed all the way to the airport. I can’t imagine what the driver thought; probably made a good story for the guys in the garage that night.

It was a long trip to Frankfurt.

I called the next morning from Germany to check and see how my mother was holding up. She told me that Will was fine; after I left they made some hot chocolate and walked over the park across the street where Will met up with some school friends.

We have never had a repeat; when I got home it was if nothing had happened. All I can tell working, traveling moms and dads is to do your best. There will always be conflicts but you can manage through them. Don’t forget what is most important, a loving, nurturing, safe environment for your children.

I’m not the mom who will be a room mother, bake the best desert for the Cub Scout party or volunteer to drive for a field trip. But I am showing my son what it means to be capable, competent and self sufficient. He proudly comes to my office and every now and then I hear him tell his friends that his mom started her own company and is a CEO. He likes it when I bring him back a really unusual toy or gift from Brazil or Germany and great chocolates from Switzerland.

Some tips for making your child feel included in your business/travel life: talk to them about what you do, let them meet the people you work with, bring them to the office, call at a set time in the morning and at night when you are traveling, if visiting a foreign county teach them a few words of the local language, like “hello”, “good morning” and “good night”, talk to them about mundane things like what you ate that day and what the weather is like where you are, etc. I take pictures on my cell phone and send them to my son so he can see what I am looking at in that moment.

These small things add up over time and children appreciate the consistency.

 

From Andy Freeman:

Unfortunately, the best method I found was to treat the every other week ‘business trip’ as normal or commonplace. Minimizing the statements “i’m sorry i’m going away” or “i’ll miss you so much” can help make this more of a normal routine. But after 8 years of doing it, I finally said enough is enough. I stopped. Made a lifestyle change and helped my wife start a business that involved our family. It’s a fun, easy to use website for local communities to find family fun activities and events. Called FindandGoSeek.net , now we can spend more time with our kids doing fun things together.

  Read More→

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