For several months, this work trip had been in the back of my mind. While “Career” Sarah could not wait for it, “Mom” Sarah knew what all it entailed. Finally, the timing seemed right and the trip was booked.
Isn’t it funny how if Dad wants to head out for a few days, Dad packs a backpack and walks out the door? But if Mom is going on a work trip, Mom spends the entire weekend preceding the trip preparing for her absence.
Up first, the laundry. After folding and sorting out daily outfits, pajamas, underwear, and even matching bows that correspond to each girl and outfit, I had an organized masterpiece on my dining room table. Labeling each day and event, I left a solid map to guide dad through the clothing rituals of the week.
But it didn’t stop there. Daily, I write a small note and slip it into Maylie’s lunchbox (which I will continue to do until she begs me to stop). Therefore, I needed to prepare those and make sure Dad knew their location so he could put it in her lunch box.
For a week leading up to my trip, I went over homework rules with Dad making sure he knew where he needed to initial and just what the homework looked like. He hasn’t had to sign off, put it back, and confirm her worksheet was finished before.
Oh, and Maylie couldn’t possibly get on the bus without hearing “one and a two and an I love you,” so I used a dry erase marker to spell it out on the bathroom mirror. Using that marker, I added reminders for Dad on our bathroom mirror to not forget to put her lunch in her book bag. Just to be sure, I also taped a note to the front door.
And finally, after a bit of exhaustion, I threw whatever I could possibly need for the week (plus about 100 things) into a suitcase, and I was ready as well. Or so I thought.
Trying to sneak in a kiss on my sleeping babies faces before I left backfired. Chasing after me with tears in her eyes, Maylie asked for “one more hug and kiss” at least 20 times. Nothing like drowning myself with mom guilt as I was finally heading out the door.
Once I received my true last hug and kiss and was on my way, I questioned everything. Will Daddy be able to remember everything I told him? Will the girls get enough cuddles while I am gone? Will I even know how to sleep without a mouth-breathing 4-year-old snuggling up to me at 4 a.m.?
But then, I allowed myself to get a little excited. Not only had I prepared daddy for the week, but it was my time to dive into a world of information, contacts and locations that would help me better myself in my job. It was almost freeing to take off my mom hat — just for a few days — and only wear my career hat. I had the opportunity to steer a boat bigger than I had ever seen before, put faces to names and voices of people I worked with daily, and explored locations that I had always seen on paper but never in real life.
On top of that, I got to have a little adventure with food along the way as well. Trying bacon and jalapeno wrapped grilled shrimp and even tasting gator (both a huge step for this seafood-despising lady), I allowed myself to step out of my comfort zone.
And I had a blast. In fact, my schedule was so packed that it flew by in a snap. And, although Maylie did end up getting one ding on a missing homework assignment, and daddy may have been just a few minutes late to pick her up from dance class, they all survived without me.
What made it even sweeter was the genuine thank you I received from daddy. With taking on full responsibility of my daily tasks, he got a true glimpse of all I do and made sure that I knew just how much he appreciates me.
Surprisingly, I actually did have a hard time sleeping in a bed all to myself, and, of course, I missed my babies like crazy (we video chatted daily). But while this trip took a whole lot of planning, preparing and guilt, the information gained, contacts made and even the appreciation from dad were refreshing and rejuvenating.
Truly, I couldn’t be more grateful to my husband and my company for this amazing opportunity because, despite all my worry, this getaway turned out to be exactly what I needed as a wife, mother and career woman.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.