I often get asked how I manage to juggle my life as a mommy and my life as a CEO. People assume that I give up a lot of time with my children, especially since they know that I travel quite a bit. What a lot of people in my business life don’t know is that when I travel, whether for business or pleasure, I take my kids with me. Yup, you heard me. I take them with me.
So how do I do this and still manage to do business? I put in a lot of hard work and definitely a good amount of out-of-pocket money. Since my two kids were born (ages 2 and 4), I have arranged business travel to coincide with:
1. My husband being able to come
2. My mother being able to come
3. My mother-in-law being able to come
4. One of my sisters, or sister-in-law being able to come
You see the pattern. I travel enough that I use mileage to bring along family members. When my kids were under 9 months old I didn’t buy them seats and just brought them with me. After 9 months though traveling with a 20+ pound child on your lap can be ridiculous – so I started buying seats for the kids, and they started building miles that they can share with family members to get them to come along.
Once I get to the location, I don’t stay at hotels. I use short-term rentals which usually are the same price as a hotel room – but come with a full kitchen and generally two bedrooms. Because the cost is equal to what I would spend on my own in a hotel room, the company picks up the tab for the rental. My family member who accompanies me is comfortable and we all have access to a kitchen to make easy meals for the kids and not have to go out to restaurants. It works and the kids get the benefit of time with an extended family member.
Voila! I get to do my business, but not miss out on seeing my kids. When the kids were younger and breast feeding, I didn’t have to worry about pumping and making sure there was enough milk left at home, instead the baby came right along with me.
As the kids have gotten older, they benefit from the education that travel can provide. They have been to science museums in major cities all over the US, as well as in Europe. They understand airport security and are pros at traveling. They know the difference between different kinds of planes and know that San Francisco airport has some of the best food. They also have an extremely robust travel vocabulary. Last weekend, we were in San Francisco with the kids, and my 4 year old said “Mommy, I think London should have cable cars instead of just the Tube. It would be more fun, and besides they look cool.” How amazing is it that he can make that sort of comparison at 4 years of age! It’s worth all the work, effort and money that I have spent taking the kids along.