Traveling + Motherhood
Sunday January 7, 2018
Last month was the first time I was away from Charlotte since she was born. That's 18 months of a consistent, unwavering alarm clock + night-time routine and while I knew the time would eventually come for me to be away (we can't realistically take her to every work trip, though bringing her to NSS last year was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything), it all happened so quickly that it's only now, as I sit at the desk of our Atlanta hotel, that I'm able to fully process all the emotions about leaving my girl to head off for business trips.
It hits hard, maybe harder, each time. That's something I wasn't expecting. Maybe because the littles become even more aware as they get older, but the thought of Charlotte asking for "Mommy" is always enough to prompt the heart jabs and tears welling.
We're fortunate that Donna and I don't have to do this often, but traveling for markets and trade shows is a part of our work and since we started NSS three years ago, we've understood (and quite frankly loved) this part of our careers. The thrill of putting together a booth with a huge new release and meeting shop owners as we gather in one of the most dynamic cities is something we're so excited about. But with babies, perspectives shift, priorities change. Traveling for work is something that requires us to be physically away and those are decisions that often force us to confront the hard choices that we make balancing a tiny one who we love with a career that we love.
One of the hardest things about having a baby for me was the idea that my business, which was really a birthing of itself, would undoubtedly take second. Always. And the mourning of that truth with the joy overflowing in this new miracle was a knotty place - grief and celebration entangled. As both Char and the business grow, things become easier (I no longer feel like a milking cow, and she's thriving in daycare 4 days a week), but traveling still remains difficult. Am I doing the right thing? Is 3 days really too long? Is this trip worth the time I'll be away?
And I land here: I am a working mama. And this means that I choose to keep my career because my whole being flourishes when I can go to work and exercise this part of my brain, then be home and stay fully present with C. To do this well means that we make the choices. At times, we allow ourselves the few days to work, to be away from our girls, and know that seeing mama do something she loves will be a lesson that lays deep roots. Other times, we remove ourselves from certain opportunities if they demand too much time away from our families, even if they promise the world, because in the end, that trade-off will not be worth losing our well-being; we choose to travel for 3 days instead of 7 even if it means we miss a few days of events because squeezing our littles for a few extra days will stay imprinted for a lifetime; we skip certain trade shows because we trust that our business has been carried beyond the work of our own hands, through faith and overwhelming providence.
Sending hugs and a big we're right there with you to all moms, to those who labor behind closed doors carrying loads of laundry while picking up last night's spaghetti off the ground. And to those who are juggling this complicated dance of career life and home life.
in this together,