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: Wendy Kerr

Today I’m featuring one of my work mom squad members – Wendy Kerr. She is an all around bad ass who kills it on the job, but always makes family her top priority. Her sweet daughter Chlo-$ is one of the cutest and sassiest 7-year olds I know. Hope you enjoy reading about this awesome mama.

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family – My family is my life and includes my daughter 7 year old Chloe Sophia, my husband, Rob our kitty, Calvin and our newest edition, Sequin our 6 month old Teacup Yorkie. Since we struggled with infertility for so long to welcome our little girl after 3 IVF attempts and 4 years of treatments, I never take anything regarding her for granted and try to enjoy every stage of her life to the fullest.
  2. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by – Work hard but family is always first, life is too short to not enjoy every minute with your little one as time is not our friend…
  3. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity  Love a great run or a spa treatment because me time is so hard to come by…
  4. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom – Competition between other moms, I do what I want to do for my daughter not to impress anyone else and not for social media, I just love that Chloe knows she is always the most important part of my day.
  5. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention – I just started using a new app called Chore Monster, it helps to assign chores to Chloe and keep her motivated with an built in incentive system.
  6. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance – Refer to #2, I’m on point always while at work but I know how to separate from my home life to be fully engaged with my family
  7. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships – My work moms, my school moms my faraway moms are always good for advice and much needed laughs to get through this mom life…
  8. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational – My main goal right now is to focus on as much family time as we can squeeze in, my husband works crazy hours and travels a lot so time for the 3 of us is definitely my priority…
  9. Mom-cation – Dream vacation – Always somewhere tropical on a beach with a good book and watching my little one soak it all in…
  10. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you – My mommy is sweet and takes me to nice places and dresses up with me and gives me the funnest parties. I love her the most.

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

 

Back In The Saddle…For Now

No promises, but we’ll see how long I can keep up my blog after a few years of silence. Last time I posted I was planning a wedding…WOW how things have changed. Since then I got married and started a new pr job at Zimmerman (both July 2011), moved to South Florida for my hubby’s Radiation Therapy specialty (kept my job at Z), got pregnant, moved back, got promoted to VP of PR, had a baby and am currently on maternity leave, returning to work in April. Phew that about covers the last 3+ years.

So not really sure what this blog will transform into…may be a combo of pr, mommy, life posts and who knows how long I’ll keep it up this time, but I’m giving it a go. These days I spend my time hanging with my little one, a bouncing baby boy who gets cuter every day. Motherhood has agreed with me. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m really enjoying being a mommy. In April I will tackle “having it all” by going back to work and making the most of Mommy Me, Wife Me and Work Me. Should be interesting and I’ll try to chronicle my adventure on this blog. If only as a way to look back months or years from now to see how I juggled it all. 😉

This blog will also serve as a place for me to leave some Words of Wisdom for Westley…

XoXo,

Ivette

New Year’s Work Resolutions

2010 was one for the books – personally and professionally I had a phenomenal year. I got engaged, became the president of the Capital Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, am a board member of the Junior League of Tallahassee and took on a new position as the PR Director at Kidd Group. Some of the these things happened within a week’s time, so if 2011 is anything like 2010 it will be another record year.

As I think about the end of 2010 and the beginning of a new year, the possibilities are endless. With a new year come resolutions from being kinder to losing weight to meeting a new goal, there are countless things we aspire to each yea. Although it’s safe to say that most people end up giving up on their resolutions right around February.

In terms of work resolutions, I thought it would be appropriate to list some of my personal goals for the 2011.

  • Collaboration – Although you can succeed alone, most people attribute their success to teamwork, collaboration and those who influence and shape their lives. Work wise there is no better feeling than to work together to win big, from new business to implementing a successful campaign. In 2011, I plan to continue collaborating with co-workers, FPRA members, Junior Leaguers to continue kicking butt and taking names!
  • Being a Motivator – Positivity is key. Having a good attitude at work and giving 100 percent every day makes work and life that much more fulfilling. I want to be a motivator to everyone I come in contact with and help them reach their full potential. Helping others always feels good and is extremely satisfying.
  • Leading by example – The best way to get people to do good work and be motivated to perform and exceed your expectations is to BE the person/employee you want them to be. Practice what you preach in 2011 and reap the rewards!
  • Continue growing and learning – You should never be satisfied with the status quo. I never want to settle or stop learning. There are always ways to improve, continue challenging yourself and growing. I want to stay on top of new industry trends from social media to measurement to PR – I want to constantly be learning new information and sharing it with my network.

What are your New Year’s work resolutions?

Work Family: Building Relationships That Last

In honor of October being National Work and Family month, I thought it would be appropriate to address the idea of a work family. Most of us spend more time at work every week than we do with our loved ones. For better or worse your co-workers are your work family and like every relationship, you have to work at it.

When I joined Kidd Group five months ago, I was hopeful I would have a warm and welcoming work family and that I would one day consider them friends. I must say they did not disappoint. I received flowers from Trish on my first day and was invited to countless lunches by different co-workers my first few weeks on the job. I never felt like the newbie or like I didn’t fit in. It was such a relief.

I’m happy to say my co-workers and I continue to spend quality time every week, from exploring the newest eateries in town to having ice cream sundaes on Friday – there’s never a dull moment. I also love being able to introduce some of them to new events – just this Friday we attended the Greek Food Festival as our lunch adventure of the week! We also make a point to celebrate each person’s birthday with something sweet, whatever their vice, whether cake, cupcakes or ice cream – or a combo.

Part of the company culture is to celebrate each other’s accomplishments. When the 3W studios web team received a Silver W3 award, we celebrated with ice cream floats. When I participated in the 2010 American Lung Association Oxygen Ball earlier this month, I received votes from my co-workers and kudos when I brought home the Judge’s Award.

As if spending time in the office weren’t enough, we’ve been known to spend a few weeknights and weekends together. This is especially fun because we get to bond outside of the workplace and get to know each other’s families, loved ones and pets. We’re working on “bring your dog to work day”…we’ll see if that happens!

Taking the time to get to know each other and spending quality time building our relationships makes us a better, stronger team and it shows in our work product. From spa parties to spending the day on the range, shooting guns and eating BBQ – we make the best of our time together on and off the clock!

What do you think about a work family? What is your experience like?