The Flying Mom

old blue suitcase

 Blue Vintage Suitcase, by kthread on flickr

By the time you read this, I’ll probably be on a plane to New Orleans, where I’ll be taking part in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s America Healing conference on racial equity.

In the next few months, I will be traveling to no fewer than four conferences as part of my blogging work. For some of my jet-setting mom friends, that would be business as usual. But for me… that means in less than a year, I could very well fly more times than I have since my kids were born.

This is all new territory for me. First of all, I don’t know how to pack, what to bring. My daily uniform of yoga pants and a hoodie probably won’t work, neither will my pre-child career clothes, which look like they were borrowed from the set of Ally McBeal. Meanwhile the rest of the world has morphed into the cruel joke that is business casual, i.e.: If you have to ask, clearly you don’t know what you’re doing and should just go home. So after A Year (Almost) Without Shopping, I’ve been wandering the malls a lot, peering between the racks to see what other working women are wearing.

Then, I don’t’ know how to pack. Next month, I’ll be speaking at the Asian American Advertising Federation conference. It’s only two days. Yet I’m paralyzed by the possibility of traveling with only carry-on. Thien-Kim Lam of I’m Not the Nanny reminded me, “It’s only two days!”. Here’s my fear: TSA Liquid Restrictions. Three 2 ounce containers? I’m so confused. I use more than that just to wash my face in the morning! ¬†Maybe I need to look into multi-use products? Try the hotel samples? *shudder*

But what really freaks me out is that I’ll be leaving the kids for multiple days, during which time they are supposed to go on with their normal lives of school, homework, band practice, Little League, tae kwon do, etc. I’ve created a day by day schedule for my husband and my parents, who will be holding down the fort while I’m gone.

And then there’s the guilt. Volunteer art lessons must be postponed. I’ll be missing Open House for one of my trips. A multi-family campout for another.

Last night, as I said bedtime prayers with the boys, I asked them to say a prayer for me as I’m traveling. My normally reticent nine-year old piped up, “Dear God, please watch over Mom this week. Amen.”

I know plenty of working mothers have done this before, and their children have survived. What are your tips?




  1. says

    So – I just got back from a four day conference so this is timely!!!! It was the longest I was away from my little one and it was so strange for me to be away from the family for that much time. I had to let go and realize that I am not the only one that can be great with my daughter. My husband is a fantastic parent and the world will not stop just because I am not there. Also, having a core supportive group – my mother and mother in law was key. I missed my family but I also enjoyed the time away networking and building my professional career which is also important to me! Good luck!

    • says

      Aisha, thanks for sharing that! My mother called last night to assure me everything was going to be great, but I was in panic mode and couldn’t really appreciate it. My husband is great with the boys, and building my career is important to me at this season in my life too, so I’m thankful to have these opportunities. So glad to hear from you!

  2. says

    @Lucy Thank much. We are going to meet up in person at one of these blogging conferences, right?

    @Asianmommy- Yes, I guess I did something right!

  3. says

    I know what you mean about the no working clothes anymore. I’ve barely gone shopping for myself except for essentials and I’m not talking suits. Traveling & leaving the kids at home is hard. But then again, think of it as some much needed time to yourself (even though you’ll be working, you’ll at least physically be by yourself). It’s great you’ll be speaking at that conference – very impressive!

  4. Sarah says

    I’ve missed my daughter’s birthday before because of traveling for work. That was totally unfair. It’s impossible to not miss your family and I seriously loathe coming home to my house knowing the amount of upheaval having me gone has caused. However, do enjoy. It’s nice to be among adults and you get to shower uninterrupted and sleep in a bed all by yourself and just be you. Enjoy your trip!

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