Should I stay or should I go?

23 Nov

I recently learned that several exciting journalistic opportunities may be heading my way. Some say every challenge creates an opportunity, but in this particular situation, my opportunities are creating a challenge. So what’s the challenge?

Spending time away from Hannah.

Next semester one of my classes will include a nine-day trip to the Dominican Republic. When have I ever had an opportunity like this? And when will I have it again? Answer: never and probably never. But nine days away from Hannah? Will she be ok? Or, more realistically, will I be ok? A week and a half isn’t that long, so I’m trying not to worry…too much.

The other opportunity, though, is to spend next summer in Washington, D.C. Yes, the summer–that’s 12 weeks. I really want to take advantage of this because I absolutely adore the idea of being able to explore Washington as a journalist. I can’t even begin to imagine how amazing it would be. But…12 weeks away from Hannah?

I have consulted some friends and family members about my predicament and have received a variety of answers. As of today, I still don’t know what I should do. Fortunately I don’t have to decide right away. Any advice would be welcomed at this point, though. Hint hint.

I have, however, come to the realization that objectivity is key here. In addition to consulting those who know me, I decided to do a little homework on parents who travel. Here we go:

1. “How to Stay Connected to Your Kid When You’re Not Home” by contributor Patty Onderko.

This article gives great tips on how to make the distance easier to bear. One tip was to utilize Skype, which one of my friends actually mentioned to me recently as well. This way we could see and talk to each other, even though we’d be far apart. Calling home was another suggestion, which I would probably do a bit more frequently than using Skype.

2. The Traveling Parent: Take the guilt out of business travel and have fun with your kids!” by Genanne Zeller of

I felt a little relieved by the time I finished the first paragraph, which said, “ Nearly 90% of business traveling parents say it is difficult to cope with being away from their home and family.” Ok, well at least I’m not alone!

The article goes on to provide activities you can do with your child to prepare for the separation, such as an itinerary swap and travel place mats. The ideas in this article are very creative and probably quite helpful, especially for young children.

3. “Better Business Travel While the Family Stays Home” by Erin Kane, a work-life balance contributor for

Organization seems to be the main component of this article, which provides ideas such as stocking the kitchen before you leave, preparing a daily schedule for the caretaker and utilizing an online calendar to log travel dates and important events that may take place while you’re gone.

When push comes to shove, this decision will primarily fall on my shoulders, but I also have to think about those who will be left to help care for Hannah if I go. My husband thinks I should do it, and I certainly appreciate the support. It’s a lot to think about, but as he reminded me, many journalists travel. Might as well jump in with both feet. Definitely something to consider.


One Response to “Should I stay or should I go?”

  1. karenselliott November 24, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    On both trips, I vote go. I’ve sent you an email.

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