I honestly believe one of the most challenging jobs anyone can ever have is being a parent. There is no manual. Guidance on parenting varies. It is so easy to do it wrong and very hard to do it "right." My entire goal is to raise productive, good humans who care for themselves. So far, I think I am doing that....who really knows until they are 30 years old, though?
I did not become an MSL until 2022. At the time, my twins were turning 15, going into their sophomore year, and my stepson was 16. I had full-fledged teenagers and a very supportive husband as I learned my new role and traveled extensively. The advice I offer today may not be applicable to those with small children or even every parent; however, I hope whoever reads this finds value in the information.
How I balance being a mom of teenagers and being an MSL:
Calendars. I put everything on a calendar. This includes days off from school, activities, appointments, and travel. If it is not on the calendar, it is not happening.
Meal service. For a good seven months, I ordered Factor Meals for my family. It was impossible to cook a meal with my travel schedule sometimes. I also wanted to lessen my stress and not have to cook during the week. My husband and kids actually liked the meals. They made for easy lunches for my husband and no-thinking dinners for the kids. The cost seemed pretty close to what it cost me to cook, so it was totally worth it. It was also a healthier option than allowing them to Door Dash or UberEats Chick-Fil-A everyday.
Uber. Some states have Uber for teenagers. My kids sometimes use Uber for practices or activities my husband and I cannot attend. We do have one who can drive now and that helps out a lot. Otherwise, Uber it is. It is nice that I see all the notifications and where they are traveling on my phone, even if they order the Uber themselves.
Wi-Fi. A good Wi-Fi service will save you! I always joke that kids only need Wi-Fi and food to survive. I'm serious about that.
A good support system. My husband really is the best. He is so supportive. We also have family our kids can contact in an emergency.
Communication with the kids. When I have long stretches of travel or several weeks in a row of travel, I let my kids know. Managing expectations is important. This allows them to be in the know and also sets up the excitement for when travel isn't as hectic. Communication also includes talking on the phone and texting. My kids like to ask me about where I am, what I like, and how does my hotel room look, lol!
Quality time with the family. After several weeks of travel, this makes your family feel valued and not forgotten. We usually watch a movie, go shopping, attend a high-school game, or do something they will enjoy to reconnect.
The list is rather simple. I'd love to hear what other moms are doing!
Dr. Jackie the PA