Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Tips for Working Mamas on the Road

I’m sitting on a plane. This is my 23rd flight of the year and I’ve logged in 22,700+ sky miles. While I love my job and traveling for it, I’m a mom too and there is always some level of guilt associated with being away from my son and husband. I especially feel bad because my husband doesn’t ever travel for work, so he’s always playing single dad, while I’m jet setting.

I know I’m not alone in the juggle and hustle of being a working mom, so I wanted to share some tips on how I parent from afar and stay connected with my family.

  1. FaceTime, Not Just Phone Time

Thank you, sweet baby technology. What would working parents who travel do without you? But seriously. We are so incredibly lucky to live in a time where a video phone call is possible. I can’t imagine traveling as much as I do and not being able to FaceTime with Westley. A FaceTime call is so much more special and it makes me feel like I’m part of his evening routine. I can hear about his day, make silly faces and see him in his PJs before he goes to sleep. He gets to see my face and I get to see his and give the screen kisses. It’s my No. 1 way to stay connected and close to Westley. I also get to see Sam, which is a bonus J

  1. Pics on Pics

This may just be me, but I LOVE a photo. A photo of Westley is worth its weight in gold. I already have thousands of photos of him in my phone (current photo roll count 6,762 and at least 5,000 feature W), which I scroll through on the regular while traveling. During my travels, Sam keeps me pretty up to date with all of Westley’s adventures with action shots, videos, etc. One of my favorite pictures I’ve ever received (a series really) was W eating my baked ziti, stuffing his face with a big ole smile and literally licking the plate. It brought me so much joy to witness him enjoying a meal I made especially for them to have while I was away. So a steady stream of photos and visual updates is a must to keep this working mama happy.

  1. Wake Up Call

No matter the time zone, I always start every day with a morning call with Sam to hear all about how Westley did the night before, his morning, etc. We time it so I call Sam right as he is leaving daycare and on his way to work for a full report. Some times it’s a very early morning, but to me it is the very best way to kick off my day.

  1. Digital Daycare

Westley has a phenomenal group of teachers at his daycare and my little charmer has definitely stolen their hearts. I’ve always made it a point to get to know all of his teachers because let’s be honest, he spends more time with them during the week than he spends at home. I feel very confident leaving him at daycare because the team there truly cares about the kids. So much so, that when they know I travel, they are more cognizant of Westley’s behavior, if he is spending longer hours there or coming in earlier because of my husband’s work schedule, their main priority is keeping W happy…and they succeed. I also keep in touch with his teachers via Facebook Messenger – they send me updates and photos. It’s awesome and makes me feel more connected.

  1. Just Say No

Once becoming a mom, I have set certain rules up for myself to keep my travel in check. Sometimes I fail miserably and have back-to-back travel, but for the most part I try and stay away no more than three nights in a row and try and avoid trips that stack up. I’ve also learned to say no more than I did before having a child. Sometimes a trip is not feasible and will be an issue for my family, so in that case I have to say no. Luckily, I have a great work family with a lot of moms who get it and clients who also are mindful of my work life balance attempt.

  1. Digital Detox

I rarely travel on weekends, so weekends for me are all about family. There is honestly nothing else and no one else I’d rather be with than Sam and Westley. So part of my being present is disconnecting from emails on weekends (I check once a day for a quick skim to ensure no client crisis have occurred). I also try and put my phone away as much as possible, although I still use it for photos and to check social media because it’s something I enjoy. Being present and not spending time checking email makes my weekends feel more free and 100 percent focused on my little family.

As my good friend Heidi Floyd put it, it’s all about the work life integration. And at the end of the day, it’s about making it work for you and your family – whatever that may look like. Would love to hear from you with any other tips!

XO,

Ivette

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Motivation MOMday Profile: Katie Ibarra

Happy First day of Spring and Motivation MOMday! Today I am featuring one of my oldest and best friends, Tia to sweet Westley and a fierce and fab mom – Katie Manning Ibarra. Katie was my go to mama when I was preggo, she told me all the stories no one else tells you (especially about The After Birth…), helped me maneuver through the overwhelming task that is the baby registry and continues to be a soundboard for all things mommy hood. She has an adorable daughter, Bella, who also happens to be our Goddaughter and one of Westley’s favorite people in the world. Enjoy her take on being a mama!

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family

We are The Ibarra Family: Chris, Katie and Isabella. Chris and I have been married for 5 ½ years and have a headstrong, sassy, fierce 3-year old daughter!

  1. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by

“Dear God, Please Give Me Patience”

Isabella is what we call “strong-willed.” I can’t wait to see how kick ass that will be when she is an adult. However, the path to adulthood is filled with independence and stubbornness as a child.

  1. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity 

I insist on having lunch by myself once a week: Just me, my Kindle and some food. It is absolutely refreshing to not have to do anything or speak to anyone for an hour.

 

  1. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom

When Bella says she needs to potty and then suddenly no longer has to potty once seated on the toilet. It’s tough because I don’t feel like I can call her bluff just yet. So for now, we go to the potty.

 

  1. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention 

When Bella was a baby, my best Mom Hack was Amazon Mom. Their discounts on diapers and wipes were unmatched and the subscription service just makes diapers and wipes one less thing to worry about.

My Mom Hack to a 3-year old is: Snacks and Netflix. We have a 25-30 minute drive to and from daycare from Monday to Friday. Snacks and Netflix give me a little bit of peace at the beginning of my day and at the end of my workday. If Bella is fed and entertained when we are in the car, I have a few minutes to prepare for the next step in our day.

  1. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance 

I do work full-time so Bella is in daycare during the day. During the week, we are in work/school mode. During the weekend, I do my best to plan fun activities for us to do together. I am a firm believer in family time and family vacations. But, for my own personal sanity, I have been known to play “Parent Hooky” and drop Bella off at daycare, while I spend the day at home resting and relaxing.

  1. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships 

I would say that the Captain of my Mom Squad is my own Mom. She’s the first person I call when I need parenting advice. The rest of my Mom Squad includes my friends Michelle and Catherine. They both have children older than my daughter and have already experienced all of the phases that I encounter with Bella. They are my friends, my parenting mentors and my sounding board.

Having a child changes so many aspects of your life – your friendships are no exception. I have been fortunate enough that the majority of my friendships have only grown stronger with parenthood. Girls nights out have become mommy mornings at the park or playtime at Sky Zone. Sharing the trials and tribulations of motherhood with your closest girl friends is just another way to strengthen your bond.

  1. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational

My parenting inspiration comes from my own parents. Looking back on my childhood, I have so many fond memories of adventure. My parents were spontaneous and fun. We traveled all the time – even if only to the Keys for the weekend. My father would create these challenges and my brother and I would rise to the occasion. We biked, snorkeled, fished, swam… There wasn’t much we didn’t encounter as children. I have so many great memories filled with love and laughter. My parents just had so much love to share. Not one person came into my parents’ house without becoming an immediate “adopted child.” There was always room and always food and always time. I am forever grateful to my parents for the way my brother and I were raised. I want that for Bella. I want her to travel, to experience spontaneous adventures, to be challenged, to volunteer, to have laughter, to have unconventional traditions that she will always remember, to be brave, to be open-minded, to be loving, and most of all, to be loved unconditionally.

  1. Mom-cation – Dream vacation 

I don’t know that I have one specific place in mind for a Mom-cation. I kind of want to do it all! However, I think I want our family travels to stay within the United States. Traveling abroad is great, but I think that there are hundreds of places in our own country that I want our daughter to see. I would say my top 5 are: New York City, The Grand Canyon, Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia.

  1. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you

Yep. Totally forgot to do this one!

If you’re interested in being featured in an upcoming Motivation MOMday, please email me at ivette.faulkner@gmail.com!

Working Mama Debut

So excited to report that we made it through the first week of daycare + work with flying colors. Angel baby was happy as a clam and literally smiling and laughing with his teacher five minutes into his first day of daycare.

Leaving a happy baby with strangers is a much easier feat than leaving a crying baby who is scared and uncomfortable. Luckily W is so social and loves all people. 😉

I was able to pick up where I left off at work and was welcomed with framed pictures of my little one, new business cards (promoted to VP in Dec. WOOT!) and an Orchid (hoping not to kill it with my less than green thumb). These little gestures meant so much to me. The great thing about my job is that 1. I LOVE it and 2. it’s so fast paced and exciting that I rarely have time to contemplate or dread anything. This makes 5:30pm arrive rather quickly.

The hubby sent pics of Mister Man every afternoon and I spent a few hours after work hanging out with W, which made every evening so special. I’ve also changed my schedule to wake up at 6am and work out, so I can spend my evenings with the family.

Overall the transition went surprisingly well. Just a new routine we’re now getting used to. And so the adventure continues.