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Mommy's On a Business Trip

I LOVE the title of Phaedra Cucina's new book: My Mommy’s on a Business Trip.Cucina book cover  

 It's great timing for Cucina, president of DolceVita Woman and a working mother . The book comes out just as the idea of turning down business trips becomes less viable in a recession with rising unemployment rates.

Cucina tells the story through the voice of a child, and explores the unbreakable bond between mother and child – even when Mom has to leave town. I remember interviewing Kathryn Sansone, mother of 10, a few years ago and she told me she left notes under her kids pillows when she was traveled for her book tour.

Mothers who travel often for business usually tell me the guilt is enormous. Cucina says so is the stress of trying to balance what needs to happen while you’re gone with the work responsibilities you’re headed towards. Not to mention that in today’s times, if your trip is important enough to take you away from the office, you can’t afford to be worried about what’s going on back home.

"What’s critically important," she says, "is that parents remember to position work always in a positive light – not something that is taking you away from your kids – as these young hearts and minds will eventually enter the workforce themselves one day."

Cucina is sellingher book online at www.mommytrip.com. Here are her top tips for road warrioror parents:

  •  Plan for Fun – For trips longer than two nights away, arrange with the caretaker a special night out while you’re gone – a trip to the movies, a play date with a special friend, pizza for dinner, etc. Activities will depend on the age of the child, but you’ll know what your child holds special in his or her heart.
  •  Take Flight – If someone can drop you off, have the kids come with you to the airport to say good-bye (this works especially well with Sunday departures and if you live relatively close to the airport). Many kids find airports exciting and it will help them to visualize what you’re doing. Moms love it, too, because of the last minute hugs and kisses they get.
  •  Prepare Together – A simple, but important thing to do is create or decorate a calendarr to show your departure and when you’ll be back home. Try something new - glue Hershey Kisses to the calendar for a special treat each day you’re away.
  • Pack Together – let your children pick out a special stuffed animal or token you can take with you. One mom I spoke with has her three-year old pick out a special hair ribbon to tie on the suitcase, and it changes with every trip. BFF bracelets, or other special things that both you and the child will have while you’re gone, help them feel connected to you.
  • Create a Ritual – if you’re gone often, ask the caretaker to do something with your kids that’s extra special and only happens when you’re away. It could be going to a special place or as simple as getting to sleep in sleeping bags on the living room floor.
  •  Be on the Lookout – Place special notes or cards in the children’s room, on their car seats, in the arms of their favorite stuffed animal, and other creative places they’re sure to see.
  •  Get Some Lipstick – If you won’t be gone long, put on bright red lipstick and give the kids a great big kiss on their tummies – no one will know it’s there but them! A preferred method for most dads: let the kids pick out a temporary tattoo and put it on them as a special reminder of you.
  • Be Silly with Skype – with videoconferencing, you can play peek-a-boo, I Spy, read stories, or look at the calendar you made together and talk about when you’re coming home. Have fun!
  • Call Early – So often it’s hard to catch the kids in the evening, with meetings running late or business dinners. Kids are often already asleep before you can make the call. Instead, call when the kids are just getting up. That’s when they’re in that lovey, snugly mindset and you can start their day off with a smile. Kids won’t talk? Try reading them their favorite story (be sure to pack a copy of the book in your suitcase!)
  • Capture Their Minds – Show the children where you are going and tell them how you’re going to get there. Your goal is to position the trip as an exciting adventure you can’t wait to tell them about when you get home. Once back, don’t forget to share the fun – spend time talking about the famous or typical things you did in the area of the country/world where you were. Go over the maps again, pull out your camera, or bring home some postcards and really capture their imaginations.