Early in my career I would travel quite often. My company was based in Utah and my assigned marketing territories were in California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana and Puerto Rico. On average I was flying 2-3 times per month over the course of about 3 years.
Traveling all over the country was great fun when I was single. I had every loyalty card known to man, so I would get upgrades to first class, free upgrades on rental cars, and awesome perks at the hotels.
After I was married, business trips weren't as much fun. So what if I had row 7 seats behind 3rd base at the first-ever Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball game? I wanted to be home with my man. (I know, I know...it's kinda sappy. After all, I was a newlywed. But I must say, 12+ years later I still feel the same way.)
It got worse after I had kids. MUCH WORSE. I was traveling less at this point, but I HATED any business trip. Each time I had to go I had an emotional meltdown. I would feel tremendous guilt and get very anxious. I would wake up in the middle of the night in a panic...and that was before I would leave town! I would arrive at the airport with red, puffy eyes from crying the entire way from home.
Funny thing is that I found out later that some people in my office thought I was intimidating. (LOL!) If they could have only seen my oh-so-not-professional, homesick moments while on the road.
I felt SO INCREDIBLY GUILTY about leaving my baby. I was already dealing with the working-mom guilt that came from putting my child in daycare, so going on a business trip was just adding fuel to the fire. I was a mess.
An interesting side note, I felt just as guilty the first time I left our daughter to go away for an anniversary weekend with my husband. In fact, I probably felt MORE GUILTY because I was going away on an optional vacation and not a mandatory business trip.
I'm 40 years-old, and I've just recently figured out the difference between GUILT and ANXIETY. I no longer feel guilty about my life as a working mom. In fact, I really enjoy having a career.
I have learned so much about people and relationships through my job. Working full-time has forced me to become a more balanced person. I know what matters most, and that's how I plan each and every day. There's little room for fluff.
Anxious about being away from the kids? Yes, I still feel anxious. But if you know me, then you know that I get anxious about the kids getting off at the right bus stop every day. It's the normal I'm-a-mom-so-it's-my-right-to-be-anxious kind of anxiety.
I've stopped the guilt trips. Nothing good comes from them anyway. And honestly, I can't function on sleepless nights. I have way too many things to do!