It was in January 2011 when I was faced with leaving Delilah over night for the first time. Scott and I had already made plans to meet Paul and Cariann at Alt Summit towards the end of the month when I was invited by an automotive company to visit their headquarters and take a spin around their race track.
If I said yes, I’d have eight days between trips, leaving my baby for three-night stretches each time. And I really wanted to say yes, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.
So I reached out to the most decorated blogger I knew: supporter of up-and-comers and trustworthy dispenser of unminced words: Ms. Jessica Gottlieb.
Jessica, as she does so well, drilled my dilemma down to it’s core. It was three fold (and now it’s being loosely paraphrased via the lens of time):
#1: I wanted to fly across the country on a moments notice to race cars because it made me feel special to be noticed by a big brand. Which is great. But would it move my online writing forward? How?
#2: What was my ultimate goal for my blog anyway? Why was I putting time and energy in to my little corner of the Internet, what did I hope to gain, and how much of my life pie did I want to devote to the damn thing?
#3: Did I want to be the Mom Who Travels?
Ultimately, I declined that particular invitation — something wholly out of character for my impulsive self to do, but the questions Jessica posed weren’t just about blogging or that particular opportunity, but rather – big picture – they were key questions I really needed to consider about quality of life and working motherhood. I was wrapping up year two of blogging, it had begun to move swiftly from the “hobby” column to the “income generator” column and the internal debate couldn’t have come at a better time.
Becoming a parent was a terrifying thing for me because I knew that I wasn’t going to be the center of my universe anymore – and subsequently, I might have to pass up opportunities that related to my own hopes and dreams in favor of my little family’s best interest. But what Jessica helped me to realize at that pivotal moment in my parenthood was that being a Mom would force me to be more intentional, more thoughtful, more discerning in choosing my adventures. But most importantly, that I could still have them.
Every time I leave home, I learn something new about being “The Mom Who Travels”. For me, the mental vacations where I get to focus on me and my work (I exclusively use plane rides and hotel downtime to maximize my screenwriting time in the process) have become an integral part of keeping me both sane and inspired. But I’ve also learned that I get viciously homesick. I’ll leave on the last possible red eye and return at the butt crack of dawn to minimize the days I miss seeing my baby grow and kissing my husband goodnight. I’ve learned that childcare back up and a night off for Scott keeps my marriage from hitting the skids while I’m jet setting solo, since his job doesn’t provide the built-in mental space.
And this past trip to Miami, I again added a new tool to my travel arsenal. It was Maria Emmer-Aanes of Nature’s Path who shared that before she takes off on any early am business trip she slathers on the brightest red lipstick she can find before kissing her sleeping sons goodbye, so they make no mistake that Mom was there that morning. Although Maria confessed her now teenage sons aren’t exactly fans of the tradition, I fell instantly in love. So this morning as I waited for my 5am shuttle to kick off my Motorcycle Riding adventure in Milwaukee c/o Harley-Davidson, I applied the Russian Red and left Delilah and Scott a little something to remember me by.
See you Wednesday. : )