Guilt in Work Travel as a Parent

About 5 years ago, I received a notification from my dear friend TripIt saying that I was traveling over 180 days of the year. One half. Gulp.

Two years ago, I became a father. The first few weeks were a blur. Then I returned to work sleep deprived and sad to miss the day-to-day excitement as my daughter had her first swim lesson, her first time at the beach and a lot more “firsts.” Luckily, a gracious colleague took a lot of my travel obligations, but I’ve now resolved to let him lighten up a bit as I’ve settled into fatherhood more.

I feel guilty every time I pack my bag and head to the airport. Guilty that I’m going to miss some sweet moments with my daughter. Guilty that I’m placing additional work on my partner. Most of all, I feel guilty for the relaxing evenings I’m going to have at the hotel I’m about to call home.

Sure, I may often work 12–13 hours a day when traveling. However, when the day is over, I return to a nice comfy hotel bed, without any worry that I’ll be woken by my daughter in the middle of the night.

Nonetheless, the adorable smiles and laughter of my daughter draw me home and make me forget my guilt until the next time I pack my bags…

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