Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where is Mom? A Travel Journal

2013 has been another year of great change.  It seems like every decade, I make major decisions, usually for the better, that completely redirect my life.  This hallmark year is no exception.

In January, our family grew by one, with the birth of our second daughter.  In May, I made the decision to go back to the corporate world to plan meetings and events.  Don't worry, I still have my business for a little while longer, though I will probably be dialing back on the social event planning. I'm stilling selling invitations, stationery and other paper products and gearing up for holiday cards and orders.  In June, my oldest daughter spent her first year at big girl camp.  It was a great but exhausting summer for her! And now, as we head into the Fall, both my girls are in full time day care / pre-school so that my husband and I can keep our new work schedules - including my very heavy travel schedule.

You see, as a meeting planner I have found that most of my meetings are not around home.  I have been fortunate that many of my meetings have been on the east coast since taking this job, but as I grow in my position, I expect that will change.  While I am okay with this shift in my life, it has been a big adjustment for my 4 year old.  She has done very well so far, but I know she misses me and when I am home all she wants to do is spend time with me.

So to help her, and me, with all of my traveling, I have created a "Where is Mom?" Journal for my girls.  The goal - to have a fun way to follow mommy's travel by including fun write-ups about the places I'm going and keep post cards that I send the girls.  The purpose - to help them cope better with all the time I'm away from them and learn a little bit about the places I travel to.

The idea came to me when I was traveling for a meeting last week and decided to send my kids a post card from the "Windy City".  I figured it would be a great way to let them know I was thinking about them and who doesn't love to get mail!   But what to do with them once I got home?  I know, put them in a binder, no better yet a journal.

So Sunday night, I got out my cricut and some paper and cut out letters to title the journal.  I used my Micky and friends cartridge and cut out 1 1/2 inch letters in caps and then affixed them to another piece of card stock.   I put some of my travel scrapping stickers on to enhance the cover.  Then I slipped it into the front of a three ring binder to create the cover.  Next I put in about twenty acid free sheet protectors so that I had clear pockets to put the postcards.   I typed an introductory letter to my kids and put it in the first page protector for them to "read" or rather for me to read to them.  I used regular printer paper, comic sans font and blue ink to keep it kid friendly and fun.

Finally, to make it more than just a place to keep post cards and make it more of a journal, I typed up two journal entries, one for my trip to Chicago and one for my trip to Boston.  In the journal entries I included a map of the state with a yellow star for where I was, some kid-friendly interesting facts about the city I was in and dated them so they can keep track of my travels.

When I presented it to my 4 year old the next day she was so excited.  When I took her to school, it was the first thing she shared with her teacher and when she got home that night, I was already on my way to my next destination, my husband sent me a text message from my daughter that said "daddy I love my journal".

I hope to be able to continue this great project.  If you are a parent who travels a lot for work, feel free to try this, especially if you have little ones at home who miss you.  It's a great way to keep them involved, keep them present and make them feel more comfortable with you being away.

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