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Making your child
feel loved when your job calls you away.
By Lee Ann Jackson
It’s Sunday night and I’m staring into those
big brown 4 year old eyes, “mommy work day tomorrow?” Ugh.
Separation anxiety is what psychologists call it. Call
it whatever you want, all I know is my heart breaks a little
every time I answer “yes” to that question.
While we are slowly coming to grips with the mommy workday
concept, the business trips were proving devastating—for
all parties involved!
Having to tell Rebecca that I wouldn’t be home to
tuck her in or say good night prayers was heart-wrenching
for both of us. I needed a way to help her cope with me
being gone and at the same time, help mommy cope with being
gone. That’s how my concept of trip treasures was
As soon as I find out I’m going on a trip, I figure
out how many days I’ll be away and I set out to buy
one treasure for everyday I’m away. Sometimes the
treasure is a toy and sometimes it’s a treat. A treasure
can be a box of favorite cookies, a bracelet or a coloring
Buying the treasure, though, is simply where the adventure
begins…once I have enough treasure to cover the
days I’m gone, I strategize which day I’ll
give Rebecca her treasure and where I’ll hide it.
Then I type up the clues.
Sometimes the treasures are hidden in obvious places like
on a visible shelf. Other times, I hide them in not-so-obvious
places. A clue to find a treasure might read “If
I were an Eskimo, I’d make my home here.” Then
I hide a box of Klondike bars in the freezer.
In addition to trip treasure clues, I also leave daily
notes about what I’ll be doing everyday on my trip
along with what Rebecca will be doing each day at home.
A sample note might read, “Monday: Mommy has client
breakfast meeting. Pray she doesn’t oversleep and
that the meeting goes well. Today you have school. After
school, you’ll take a nap and practice learning the
After hiding the treasure, completing the clues and the
notes, I number the corresponding envelopes (Day 1, Day
2), and place the appropriate “clue” and note
in each envelope. Rebecca knows she can only open the envelope
designated for each day mommy is away. And, she knows mommy
is reading the same note that very day. Though separated
by miles, we’re still connected enough to know what’s
going on in our respective lives.
Nowadays (with a few business trips under our belts),
Rebecca is less interested in “if” mommy is
taking a business trip as much as how many days will mommy
be gone. Translation: how many trip treasures will I get?
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