Business Trips: Before and After Baby

I found out last week that I’ll need to attend an event in NYC with several colleagues the second week of December. The event is on a Thursday night, so we’ll fly up that day and head back on Friday. Our admin e-mailed us several flight options to choose from, and I noted that all the flights back on Friday were in the afternoon, getting me home by seven P.M. at the very earliest. I panicked, went to her office, and inquired if any morning flights were available. She responded yes, but she only included afternoon flight options as two of my colleagues were planning to stay and hang out in NYC. Relieved I could get home much earlier in the day, I also felt a pang of “uncool.” I proceeded to talk briefly with one of my coworkers about her travel plans to stick around, perhaps even for the weekend, and felt the need to quickly explain why I have to get back early.

“Well, I have a lot of good friends in NYC, but won’t even tell them I’m there, since baby duty calls.”

She smiled and looked on sympathetically, and I could practically feel her thoughts, wondering why on earth I would want to rush home on a Friday from one of the greatest cities on the planet to get a hug from my son, hear “mahm,” and read him bedtime stories. I felt a bit lame and defensive, but I also knew there was no point in trying to explain, as I was in her shoes less than two years ago and would have thought the exact same thing.

Then: Business trip? No problem, I’ll be anywhere, whenever you need me. Meeting tomorrow in Denver, sure, I can be there. I am motivated and excited to attend that industry event and network.

Now: Uhhhh … let me check my calendar. What is this event again? Is it crucial that I attend that meeting? I don’t know if I’m really interested in that conference.

Then: Flights booked the same day the need to travel comes up. Nonchalant mention to Dean that evening, oh, so I’m going to DC tomorrow for two nights, can you take care of the dog? You have to head to NYC tomorrow too? No problem, I’ll call our neighbor or my mom to help out.

Now: Multiple calls with Dean to confirm that he is in town during potential travel dates. If not, potential canceling of trip, or subsequent calls to my mom and our nanny to help. Flights not booked until all childcare is locked down, triple-checked and Outlook meeting notices are sent to Dean to ensure that my travel is on his calendar.

Then: Six A.M. flight out, to get a full day in.

Now: Latest flight out possible in order to spend the morning with Bruce.

Then: Networking happy hours.

Now: Um, I may not make it as I would like to FaceTime with my hubby before Bruce goes down for the night.

Then: Early wake-up call to get a work-out in before breakfast.

Now: Internal dilemma: do I work out since I can’t feel guilty about putting “me” time first, or do I hit the snooze and enjoy sleeping in without a talking toddler waking me at 6:15 AM over the baby monitor? Snooze wins.

Then: Stick around for the weekend, Dean may or may not join me, and hang with old friends. Drink too much, sleep in, have boozy brunches, reminisce.

Now: Take the earliest flight possible out so I can kiss soft baby skin, sing lullabies, and relieve my amazing hubby for covering for me.

It’s truly amazing how quickly your “normal” changes once a baby enters your world. As nostalgic as I sometimes am for the old normal, I wouldn’t change a single thing about the sweet chaos of our new and settled normal.

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