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Does your job take you away from home overnight? If so, how do you manage it?

(24 Posts)
DrNortherner Mon 06-Oct-08 09:57:55

With my job I currently have a few overnight stays required, maybe 1 every other month.

Due to recent reprganisation of the company I am now required to travel more often - I've already been told I am going to Barcelona for 3 days and 2 nights in December.

Ovb, when you have kids it is tricky, as dh has to rearrange his life to do school run and stuff or you call in favours from other mums/friends.

And, dh beacomes a bit arsey about it all.

How do you manage it?

tonton Mon 06-Oct-08 11:27:21

I've been away for 3 nights a week for each of the last 3 weeks. It's been OK. DH has managed pretty well plus a few help outs from other neighbiurs we know through the school.
I think it's good for dh to step uop to the mark (which he has). After all we do it all the time!
good luck - you'll be fine.

chocolatemummy Mon 06-Oct-08 11:31:32

you just get used to it as long as its not excessive, think my dh does a prety good job really and I quite enjoy it sometimes because it makes me appreciate them more when i get home

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 06-Oct-08 11:33:53

We had to have a fulltime nanny for this very reason. Thankfully DH's job is more 9-5 than mine, so he was able to be home by 6.30 to take over.

TBH, unless you have family or really willing friends I don't know how you manage.

tonton Mon 06-Oct-08 11:51:52

I agree with Chocoloatemummy. I have just had a wonderful weekend with the kids, haveing not seem much iof them lately. And this week I'm gojng to try and work from home for 2 days. it all balances out.
And they learn that dad's are carers too and that mums can be breadwinners! grin

woodstock3 Wed 08-Oct-08 22:24:26

i've been away for a couple of three-day trips in the last month and have to say it only worked because my mum moved in - and that's even tho we have a ft nanny.
dh's hours are not that predictable and i just couldn't be sure that dh would always be home in time. plus that way the house wasnt a tip when i got back and mum had filled the freezer grin
however it is manageable and actually (guilt emoticon? how come on a mothering site there isnt a guilt emoticon?) the nice thing is that i got a lot more sleep in my hotel room than i ever do at home.....

bozza Wed 08-Oct-08 22:31:05

I suppose it depends on your normal childcare arrangement. My DH goes away and I ahve to rearrange my life. Because I normally work 8-4.30 with a good 1/2 hour commute at each end so leave the house before 7.30 in the morning which doesn't work when DH is away as no childcare until 8. If DH can make it I just start late and work late and he can do pick up instead of drop off. But then factor in swimming lessons and football practice and it is even more tricky. And the above doesn't work if he is away 2 nights like this week.

PeaMcLean Wed 08-Oct-08 22:36:51

It's such a fine balancing act. And if your DH wants you to carry on earning the wage that you do, then he needs to stop being arsey about it. And he may need to tell his own employers that occasionally, he needs to be flexible because his wife holds a job which requires travel. Men shy away from this as they think they have to be the main breadwinner. But it's not good enough and he needs to support you. As you would him, presumably.

SmileyMylee Wed 08-Oct-08 23:04:12

This was the biggest problem of my working life and the reason I jacked it in in the end.

Without family nearby it is very difficult. We had a full time nanny for three children (2 in school, 1 in pre-school), but my husband sometimes works away and has a lot of evening engagements with work (or at least that's what he says!)

I was forever checking my work diary with his social diary to see if he was out when I was away. We then had to ask the nanny to babysit until he got back from his night out or arrange a babysitter to take over from the nanny. Occasions when we were both supposed to be away overnight were impossible. One had to back down although in one instance I had to pay our nanny to stay over.

The additional childcare costs were horrendous (and not reimbursable from my employer). I also felt that it was starting to unsettle the children. (But this was 3 nights away every week.) What always annoyed me, was that it was 'my' responsibility to sort out the childcare, never DH's, even though it was much easier for him as I often had to do it from client offices or on mobiles whilst waiting at airports.

paddingtonbear1 Thu 09-Oct-08 10:05:33

I used to go away occasionally for a few days at a time - generally for training. We don't have local family support, but luckily in dh's job he can work from home sometimes. So he would do the school run, pick up from after school care, then work at home in the evening. If it was too awkward he took a half day holiday - but that's only really ok if it's not too often!

paddingtonbear1 Thu 09-Oct-08 10:06:57

I might add, if it was too awkward I'd ask my dad to come and stay - which he does in half term for a few days anyway! cheers dad

PerkinWarbeck Thu 09-Oct-08 10:11:46

Dh has to overnight from time to time.

He gives me notice. I rearrange my working and home life, and last year used up a fair bit of leaving accommodating his work requirements.

I become a bit arsey about it too wink. But the bills need paying, so we plough on.

Anna8888 Thu 09-Oct-08 10:16:24

The viability of work-related overnight travel is dependent on the availability of another adult to pick up the pieces.

It isn't usually impossibly difficult unless both partners regularly travel for work and their travel schedules coincide. You might want to find some good, responsible babysitters that you can call on occasionally. Do you live in a student town? Students are great for occasional long babysits.

nymphadora Thu 09-Oct-08 10:28:50

I have worked overnight shifts as a single parent and had to rely on my parents to have kids over night/ school run etc. Not easy. May end up in that sort of job again and really dreading it

Anna8888 Thu 09-Oct-08 10:31:22

DrN - if you are going to be travelling more for work, have you renegotiated your salary package?

Anchovy Thu 09-Oct-08 10:43:55

We both have to do overnight travel. DH is in Abu Dhabi for 3 days next week, I have trips to Edinburgh, Frankfurt and Tokyo coming up in the next 6 weeks. We both accept that whatever it sounds like it is v low on glamour. Sometimes we have loads of notice, sometimes virtually none.

We have no available parents to help out. We have a nanny, so pick up and drop off is ok (although sometimes need a bit of juggling for a couple of early morning starts - 7.45am judo class - eek). Our nanny is live out, but we were very clear on interviews that sometimes all of our arrangements go a bit pear shaped and that pitching in in these circumstances is all part of the job (she is of course paid for any overtime). She knows that and we don't take the piss. What is more likely is that she has to cover an extra hour or so if the one one of us not travelling unavoidably held up - doesn't happen that often as both of us can carry on working from home in the evenings when Dc are in bed. She always knows what is going on, so knows what days a bit of disruption is more likely.

The non-traveller then has to pick up all the domestic slack and DH is as adept as me at doing packed lunches/homework/guitar practice/fancy hair arrangements/sorting out what needs to go in on any given day. I don't think it works if one party doesn't have a clue about where to find PE kit/what the children do and don't like in their lunchpots.

Interestingly - and we travel quite a lot - it rarely happens that we are scheduled to be away at the same time. We have agreed that it does not feel right for both of us to be away at the same time. Interestingly, DH simply said he was unable to make a couple of business trips in these cirumstances and the world didn't actually come to an end, which was a good lesson for us - they were rescheduled for when he could make (and he is not so senior that the world revolves around him, LOL).

Libra Thu 09-Oct-08 10:50:33

Both DH and I go away to conferences at various times of the year. I am off to Washington in a fortnight's time.

We both accept that this is part and parcel of our job.

We have an au pair, so that helps with the picking up children part of it. DS1 is now 14 and a good cook so he tends to take over most of the cooking.

I leave lists, LOTS of lists of when people need to go places and what they need to take with them.

Like Anchovy, we have never been away at the same time. But we have had hand-overs in airport terminals before now.

Actually (yes, where is that guilt emoticon?) I quite like getting away for a bit and having some time on my own.

HuwEdwards Thu 09-Oct-08 10:57:17

Both DP and I go away. I flew off to Paris on Sunday and got back last night, he flew off to Germany this morning.

Like Libra, we have done one handover at the airport. Kids got out of DPs car and into mine...

It's a pita and the kids hate it when I go away, but it's part of my job.

It's a case of first in the diary wins; we've both had to say no to our respective companies because the other got there first and we have no family help.

TigerFeet Thu 09-Oct-08 11:00:51

Both DH and I are away overnight - DH far, far more than I am and usually for more than one night at a time. We have to plan our trips around each others' diaries which can be a pain but is doable. DH does get arsey occasionally if I go away until I remind him that leaving work on time to collect dd and then organise dropping her off in the morning is WHAT I DO EVERY DAY and that it won't kill him do to it himself once in a while. I actually think it's good for him and for dd that they are not both completely reliant on me to organise the day to day stuff, which is what would happen if I never went away.

I'm off to Newcastle overnight later this month and then DH is off to Spain for three days - I'm sure Newcastle in October is lovely but really, how is that fair? [harrumph]

Skramble Thu 09-Oct-08 21:26:37

I am away about 2 nights a month more during the summer, I am a lone parent so I can only manage this because of my fantastic MIL. Kids stayed overnight at hers since they were babies and quite happy there, she stays close to me so easy for school, she finds taking them to after school activities a pain but manages most of the time. I only work part-time so I am around for them the rest of the time, so I feel it all balances out.

Even when I was with exH it was MIL that covered me when I was away, exH never changed any of his arrangements or anything, thats a big part of why he is my exH.

Judy1234 Thu 09-Oct-08 22:12:35

It's eiaser if you have a non sexist man. I found it helped I earned a lot more too in terms of power and balance in the relationship.

But in terms of practicalities I think those are easier than the children not having their normal routine and wanting the parent there.

I was away on two trips in the last week (including Vienna on Monday night) as single parent of five. We never had a live in nanny but when the children were pre-school we had a full time daily nanny and just sorted out who would be home first on each night.

The best advice is avoid sexist men and ensure they know your career is as important to them and that childcare is NOT a female issue, it's a parent's issue. The more you can force him to help and you be away the more he will get used to it as routine and accept it. Just because someone has a penis doesn't mean they can't deal with children and the house but plenty of women don't let or make men do that.

Skramble Thu 09-Oct-08 22:14:58

See that is where I went wrong hmm, he would never admitt to being sexist, but declared that if I earned as much as him and had a proper job that he would go part-time and then he could do more at home.

minorbirdOnElmstreet Thu 09-Oct-08 22:18:03

I have to stay away, sometimes for two-three nights at a time. My DH works regular hours, so he takes care of DD (3years) at nights and gets her ready in the morning and then its a combination of sister and mum for childcare. So far it works, although its tough on DH, just can't seem to multi task like me & morning tantrums are a nightmare for him. Not to mention, the clothes he allows her to go out in! But all in all, he's a good un' and I doubt I could do it without him. smile

MizZan Wed 22-Oct-08 21:45:46

this thread makes interesting reading. after a couple of years in jobs where I rarely had to travel, my employer has now said they want me to take a more "outward-facing" role and the translation seems to be that it's fine to ask me to travel 4 weeks in a row for several days away at a time, without offering me any sort of compensatory pay rise. I work 3 days a week, technically. it's an interesting job but not fabulously well paid and with no prospect of becoming so.

DH has a very inflexible job (can never work at home, needs to be in at 8 AM requiring him to be on a 6:45 train to London every morning), earns more than I do (though not massively so) and basically gets incredibly arsey about having to shift schedule at all to help support my travel. Kids hate it, of course, which is very difficult. We have an au pair, who is great but young and we can't impose too much on her. Kids are 3 and 6. No family around to help. One set of friends can help with some school drop-offs for older dc.

I have no good solution here, other than to get better at saying 'no'. If I start turning down travel I pretty much kill my future opportunities at the company, but then, I don't see anyone else working there on a part-time schedule doing this kind of travelling. Feel I am being taken advantage of but suppose I also set myself up for it.

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