by Staci Gerardi, November Sunflower
When you’ve got the chance to attend an amazing conference, you jump on it—unless you’re someone who has a hard time leaving the kids behind to attend a conference. It’s understandable. Trust me, I know. I’ve been a mother since 2006, and the first conference I ever attended for my industry was in 2012. It wasn’t far from home, but I stayed a few nights. It was harder to be away from the kids than I thought it would be, but I got through it. I even attended another conference clear across the country in 2014. Leaving the kids behind to attend a conference isn’t easy, but sometimes, it’s just what you have to do!
Leaving the kids behind to attend a conference
Most likely, you’re the head of all things “kid” in your home. You’re the one juggling schedules, cooking meals, cleaning, and running your business. When you have the chance to attend a conference, you pull out your notebook and make a list. You list the benefits vs. EVERYTHING ELSE. What’s in the EVERYTHING ELSE column? It’s probably a lengthy list. A lengthy list of all things centered around your kids.
- Who is going to remind the kids to empty their backpacks and put their papers in all the right places?
- Who is going to give them their snacks after school, but still make sure they do their homework?
- Who is going to get them to their activities ON TIME?
- Who is going to make sure they have lunches packed for school?
- Who is going to feed them dinner, and make sure they only have dessert one night per week?
- If the school calls, who will pick the kids up if they’re not feeling well?
- How will everyone survive without me?
- Wait, worse yet, what if they all survive without me?
The answers to questions 1 through 7? It depends on your living situation, but it could be their father. It could be a grandparent. It could be a patchwork of friends, family, and sitters. It can get done. It will get done. The kids will be fine. It just takes a little planning, scheduling, and writing things down. The answer to question 8: That’s a little trickier.
The first time I went to a conference, it was right after a family vacation. We’d just gotten off a cruise ship, and two days later I was heading to NYC for a few days to attend my first blogging conference. I barely had time to get unpacked, and then repack. It was all such a whirlwind. Thankfully it was over the summer, and no school schedules were in play. The husband just had to keep the kids alive, and we’d be good.
In all the rushing around, it didn’t hit me until the kids were waving to me after they’d gotten me settled on the train: I’m leaving my babies, for the first time, for more than just overnight. They waved to me, I waved back, and then I got a little teary eyed as the train pulled away from the platform. Once I was in NYC, I was fine. I made it to the hotel, I got to the room, and I settled in.
However, all through the conference I felt something was off. I’d call the kids to say goodnight, or just to say hi. Every time I called, the kids were happy to chat, but they didn’t seem to miss me. It kind of annoyed me! I mean, there I was, at the conference or at brand parties, getting this strange feeling. It was as if I was missing something. I’d hunt through my pockets for my wallet, and my hotel room key card. PHEW. They were there, but what was missing?
The kids. Leaving the kids behind to attend a conference is like leaving a little part of you back home. You find yourself reaching behind you for their hands while you’re walking around, but they aren’t with you. You find yourself in a total crazed state of mind because you can’t find them in a crowd, but they were never with you. You wildly look around rooms with crazy eyes because you normally have your kids with you, but they aren’t there, so you need to relax because they won’t be in the rooms you’re in during this conference!
It’s a wicked mind game being played on you, but you do survive. The kids survive. Those other caretakers survive, too!
However, when you call to say “hi,” and the kids you’re missing aren’t missing you? Well, that’s just like a dagger in your heart! No joke. Dagger.In.Your.Heart.With.A.Twist.
Leaving the kids behind never gets easier
Leaving the kids behind to attend a conference never gets easier. Well, it gets easier in that you know things will be fine. You won’t have to write out hour-by-hour instructions for your husband every single time you venture off to another conference. The farther you travel to the conference, the harder it is to be away from the kids. I went across the country to attend a conference, and by the third day of the trip, my fellow conference goers noticed I wasn’t myself.
Of course I wasn’t myself. Myself is a mom, and for whatever reason my brain thought if my kids weren’t with me, I wasn’t “being a mom.” It was at that exact moment I realized: YOU ARE ALWAYS A MOM. It doesn’t matter if the kids are with you, or with someone else. You’re a mom, and that’s not going to change. Attending conferences just makes you a better businesswoman. A better writer. It even makes you a better colleague to those in the blogger industry! Attending conferences makes you an even better mom. Your kids get to see you as a professional. They see you’re creating a path for not just yourself, but for them.
When I return home after each conference, the kids are always perfectly fine. Dad got them to all their activities; was able to get them to do their homework; managed to feed them and get them to brush their teeth. It has given the kids the chance to see that Dad is just as integral a part of their lives as their mom is. Dads need a little “on their own time” with their kids, whether they know it or not! Kids need to know they can rely on BOTH parents as a unit, as well as individually. No matter what, they’re going to be fine. Great even! Just pull out the dagger in your heart, and find yourself a Band-Aid.
Attend those conferences
Don’t say no to a conference because it’s going to pull you away from your kids. Say no to a conference because it’s just not a great fit for your journey. Never doubt the kids will do just fine while you’re away, and know that it’s going to bother you a little bit when they do just fine while you’re away. Embrace it, because you’re a mom and that’s just going to be a part of life. Just remember, you’re also a businesswoman, and sometimes it means leaving the kids behind to attend a conference, such as the amazing Blogger Bash in New York City!
Staci, owner of the online publication NovemberSunflower.com, is a Digital Content Creator, as well as a Social Media Influencer. Her first priority is her family, and she has found a way to create her own path, on her own terms, in the blogging community.