Top 10 Things to Worry About When Travelling Without Your Children

I love to travel. I beg for work trips. I love meeting new people and seeing new things. Life is all about the experience! I love to see all my remote coworkers in person, engage with customers, and learn how create more success through work. This type of learning experience is often the best motivation.

Since becoming a single parent (50/50), I get a little anxious about traveling without my children and it’s not just about the kids.

Here are my Top 10 Things that parents worry about when they travel.

  1. Childcare: If your ex has a career that limits the days they can have the kids, you need to arrange additional backup for those times. Or maybe your ex just needs a night or two off if you are gone for any length of time. If you are completely single parenting, you need to find someone to act as a parent while you are away.
  2. Animal care: Can someone watch the pets? Is there a way to trade pet sitting? Money seems more important than ever. If you have someone being the parent for you while you are away, perhaps they’ll stay at your house and watch the pets too. You’ll owe them big time!
  3. Facetime

    Cell plan: If you are travelling out of the country, call your cellular company to discuss travel plans. It’s worth it. There is also wifi everywhere. Take advantage of Skype, Facetime, and FB Messenger.

  4. Drugs: Bring medication for the ailments you might encounter: allergy; headache and fever; sinus; anti nausea; immodium; and any prescription medications.
  5. Last minute chores: Usually before a trip, you will be inundated with dozens of mini-emergencies from family, friends, and work. You may want to shout obscenities, “Why didn’t you tell me about this last week!” Instead, if finances allow, drop off your laundry at an inexpensive laundry service or splurge on a cleaner the week before your trip.
  6. Pack Light: Most of the things you wear can be worn twice. Leave room in your luggage for gifts! You should bring trinkets from your hometown for people you meet or want to meet.
  7. Carry-on vs. checked: Checking your luggage usually adds about $70 to the cost of your trip. So, as long as you aren’t bringing liquids, you may want to cram everything into a carry-on bag. I typically travel this way. It’s exhausting if you have a bunch of connections, but worth it. The best part is there will be no lost luggage.
  8. Ride to the airport: As a single parent, there is often nobody to drive you to and from the airport. In order to save money, you may want to line up a drive ahead.
  9. Hotel arrival: Make sure you have wi-fi! Some hotels charge in your room, but have free areas. See if there are services that the hotel offers or are nearby that you can enjoy. Find a grocery store to save money and eat healthy. When you check into a hotel, be sure to use the corporate card or your money will be tied up the entire week!
  10.  Have fun: Travel is often filled with meetings and dinners. Take a few hours to have fun and enjoy the location!

These are the big things I worry about as a single mom who occasionally travels for business. I’m sure there will be more after my next business trip.

Are there any tips you can offer before I travel again?

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THE GIVE: What is your best memory at the Saint John Regional Hospital?

This question to honor the 5th Annual Love Your Hospital Radiothon, a 12-hour broadcast from the Saint John Regional Hospital by Country 94.1 and 97.3 the Wave. They hope to raise $200,000.00 for the Pediatric Department at the Regional. For those that are able to, please consider showing your love for your hospital today with our Radiothon – www.thegive.ca or call 648-7500 with your tax-deductible gift. Every dollar makes a difference!

It was nice to know that not everyone has needed to visit the hospital. Many people said the birth of their children. Sophia used to volunteer there, “I would carry the newborn babies downstairs to be taken home. Was always scared I was going to drop one.” Roger, like many others, had his life saved there more than a few times. So many people commented about the loving care provided by amazing staff.

What is your best memory at the Saint John Regional Hospital? Here is a compilation of the answers:

  • Many people: Children being born.
    • Heather: Meeting my child for the first time.
    • Erin: Both of my kids were born there and both had a week long stay in the NICU. The nurses in the NICU and Obstetrics were so great. Dr. Ojah was their doctor in the NICU and I can’t even express how wonderful he was.
    • Sherry: The amazing nurse in the delivery room – same gal for both kids – she really helped me get through everything! Meeting both of my babies… the yummy food (yes, I liked it!) and the wonderful nurses who cared for me and my treasures.
    • Trisha: Having my kids there, the neurosurgeons helping my nanny in her 90s after a stroke lead another few years with a good quality of life… Having two well-performed ACL repairs that allowed me to get back to a sport (soccer) that I loved for another 25 years… We are very lucky!
    • Sophia: I used to volunteer there… I would carry the newborn babies downstairs to be taken home. Was always scared I was going to drop one.
    • Ray: By far my best memory is with Dr. Finlay of the pediatric heart center. He, along with Dr. Paras, cared for my daughter from birth until her 3rd birthday, when Dr. Finlay gave her a clean bill of health and told us heart surgery would not be needed and to forget we ever had an issue as everything is 100%. I almost kissed him right there. I sure hugged him and donated every year on his behalf to ensure others have the same access to great care. This was a combined effort between SJRH and the IWK. Love them both.
  • Lisa: Being discharged.
  • Hélène: Having my daughter with me as part of “bring your child to work day”.
  • Cheryl: Walking out healthy after five days of an emergency nature, having received excellent nursing/medical care… I did get great care, which is what I was there for. They were great to me.
  • Amanda: My first day on 4cn.
  • Morgan: Having a doctor named Wencil (sp?). I thought it was hilarious because it sounded like pencil. As you have probably guessed, I haven’t been at that hospital since childhood.
  • Rick: The radiology department is great, as is the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services.
  • Roger: I have had my life saved there more than a few times.
  • AJ: There are so many, I can’t pick just one:
    • My dad asking doctors if I would be able to play the violin again, every time I broke a bone (starting with my foot). Hilarious!
    • Sneaking after school to visit my aunt who had a stroke. She wasn’t talking anymore. Mom went in to visit her in her last days and asked if she had any visitors lately, not expecting a response. She replied, “Angie.” It was one of the last words she spoke.
    • Mom and her best friend sneaking into the recovery room after I had a child. They weren’t allowed and were as excited as 5-year-olds on Christmas morning.
    • Sitting alone in a waiting room for hours after being called in to say goodbye to Mom. They had to be working on her, since they didn’t bring me in. She went home a few days later.
    • The intimate moments with staff that remain etched in my memory; Some I already knew, but all feel like family now.
    • The births. The recoveries. The goodbyes. The love. Yes, the love. Love is by far the best memory of all, because it is what remains.
  • Peggy: (1) Visiting my father while he was waiting for a room at the care home. He had hot dogs with the kids and I after our plane got in. (2) Visiting my mother there when she worked there. (3) Bumping into friends of mine who work there while visiting family (4) I had one of my first kisses on the cheek there.
    I used to love looking out our family home’s window and see it, UNBSJ and the RKYC while reading a book.
  • Krista: My positive memory is the care and attention that the staff in pallaitive (sp) care gave to my mother in the final 90+ days of her life spent there at the age of 59. We will never forget their kindness and attention and true compassion.
  • Jeff: We are so fortunate to have this amazing institution here. When I’ve been here with loved ones, I’ve been focused on my loved ones. Now that I have the privilege of working here, I get to see the awesomeness on a daily basis.

For those that are able to, please consider showing your love for your hospital today with our Radiothon – www.thegive.ca or call 648-7500 with your tax-deductible gift. Every dollar makes a difference!

What’s your Favourite Crayola Crayon colour?

“THE QUESTION OF THE DAY.” It’s not really that original, but it’s fun. I decided to start one a couple of times each week and my first one is: What’s your favourite Crayola crayon colour?

People joked about eating them. They compared the colours to marmalade, poop, and Trump’s spray tan. They talked about the “flesh” crayon. Jeff said he wanted the invisible crayon that Wile E Coyote used. It’s good to remain imaginative at our ages.

Most people preferred primary and secondary colours with Red as the clear winner. Silver was also adored by many. I don’t recall using it much myself. Kevin said gold, “I used to think that it was real gold, but hey, I was in grade two.”

I liked Ultramarine Blue. It not only had a beautiful name, but was the most iridescent in my mind. Also, I assume it was almost always available to use while the other kids were fighting over red, silver, and gold.

So what is your favourite Crayola colour? Here is a compilation of the answers:

  • Jordan: Blue for colour red for taste.
  • Nick: poop color, since that was a thing.
  • Dan: Was anything orangish lol
    • Chris: This answer Trumps all others….. 😉
    • AJ: Does he really think that looks like a natural tan? 😉
    • Dan: just watching that…. the color orange should sue!!
    • Vicki: Yeah ’cause marmalade looks like a natural tan.
  • Wendy: white. I never much liked colouring, so white scribbles across the page got it done!
  • John: The lime green ones tasted good.
  • Scott: Purple. Is this an experiment?
  • Susan: Mellow yellow
  • Many people: Red
    • Dee: Brick Red
  • Terry: It was a yellow-orange colour that came in the big box (which I think, at the time, was 16)
  • Dan: I had a peach one that was so old that it was still called flesh colour.
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  • Many people: Silver
    • Vicki: Silver was my favorite. Burnt sienna was my least favorite. I never touched that one.
    • Jon: Silver, that came in the really big box. Never had the big box, but would always grab it from someone else’s.
  • Victoria: Yellow
  • Will: Maroon
  • James: Black
  • Morgan: I refuse to answer this because you said “as a kid”
    • …I think I would choose plum.
    • “vivid violet” or “orchid”
  • Don: Green, followed by blue !!
  • Vernon: forest green
  • Jacob: Royal blue
  • Jeff: Invisible. It worked for the coyote, but I just could make myself disappear.
    • Joe: keep trying Jeff, never give up on your dreams man.
  • Paula: Purple
  • Kevin: I always envied the kids with “Gold” in their crayon box.
    • Morgan: Oh man, there’s gold?!
    • Kevin: I used to think that it was real gold, but hey, I was in grade two.

Is #BellLetsTalk worth it?

There is mental illness in my family, as there likely is in yours. We’ve even lost loved ones to suicide. It was hard to accept that the first suicide couldn’t be prevented by my actions. I wanted so much to travel backwards in time and try to do something to change the outcome. I battled the “What ifs” for a long time. I felt alone.

Feeling alone

I hadn’t heard anything about these types of issues from my friends. Any time I heard about it in the past, people would hush the conversation, and I was left inside my head imagining the difficulties families face.

Were mental illnesses and suicides really that unique? If someone in your family did it, were you likely going to do it too? Was there real help for people?

So I started talking about it. First, I told to my circle of friends. Then I told classmates. I even told my professors. And by the time I was in university, people were more willing to talk openly about it.

Not unique after all

Guess what! My family was not unique after all. Mental illness impacts every family. I heard story after story from friends. Even strangers approached me with their stories. So many of us have to deal with these same issues. The world is not such a lonely place.

Oprah’s impact

I honestly believe that Oprah Winfrey had a lot to do with removing the stigma on so many issues, including mental illness. The only real shame is on us for not being willing to speak openly. -Oprah

Her show started the conversation and now more people are more willing to talk. More importantly, people are more willing to seek help.

Fundraising Efforts

Bell Let’s Talk day states that 100 tweets using #BellLetsTalk are equal to a $5 donation. It’s a great advertising campaign for Bell and helps to raise awareness for mental health.

I’d like to suggest that you go a step further. Consider donating directly to a local mental health organization, such as the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick. If we all donate a little, it will have a large impact.

Still battling

Many continue to battle mental illness. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Please reach out when you need the support. Talk to your family doctor. Talk to your friends. Talk to me. You matter. What you do matters.

You can also call a mental health hotline in your area any time.

New Brunswick Helpline (Chimo Helpline)

This provincial helpline serves NB 24 hours a day in French and English:
Provincial toll-free Crisis line: 1-800-667-5005
Fredericton area: 506-450-HELP (4357)

MY FIRST FULL MARATHON!

As the kids and I were leaving Walmart today, a group of adults who were blocking our passage split down the middle to let us pass.

“I feel like I’m crossing the finish line of a marathon!” I joked.

Immediately, not even looking to one another, they broke into exceptionally loud cheers and clapping, and so I jogged through, fists in the air, looking for my finishing medal, and laughing. It was amazing!

Minutes later, after loading the kids into my car, the group arrived at my car, returned my cart for me, and asked if that was my first successful marathon.

“It was! And it’s such a satisfying accomplishment!” Indeed, some days do feel like a marathon. It was clear they knew the exhaustion of my day. We all enjoyed the moment together.

Thank you to the folks from Musquash. You made my day.

Do all moms hate shopping?

I hate shopping for clothes. I really do! I know what you are thinking. You think I am insane and ask, “What’s better than a couple of hours away from the kids, indulging in modeling fabulous outfits in sizes you never dreamed you’d reach before kids?” And truly, while I’ve come to grips with the size battle, I still can’t stand shopping. So what’s my problem?

The pain of it all

15966073_10155329258190016_1509826348254793375_nI can’t get away from the kids. Occasionally, I bring my girls shopping. It’s always a mistake. Whether they are fashioning the store mannequins as zombies, hiding in the racks, or complaining loudly, I rarely try anything on and have to leave. Once in a great while, when I actually try on a piece, it’s usually the last thing I try on that day. It’s just not worth it.

I rarely get to shop alone. Our city has limited stores and limited stock. As an average woman who wears an average size, if I don’t get out the week the clothing appears in stores, I don’t usually get a chance to buy any of the clothes I like. And then I look online and all the mediums are gone there too. If they aren’t and I order them, I often have to take them back because the cut isn’t quite right. Tragic I know.

Never accept defeat

This past weekend, I was away with the kids in the city known to be the shopping centre of the Maritimes. You may know it as Moncton, New Brunswick. My friend Jessica told me I needed an updated wardrobe and suggested I hit Ricki’s. “Oh yeah! I remember Ricki’s.” Inexpensive clothes that might be perfect for a cool mom like me (at least my kids say I’m cool). I decided I’d try again with a promise to visit Toys R Us if we all survived.

Immediately, the store gained Zombie mannequins. I tried to conceal my amusement as I chastised them. It was time to leave.

And then there was Rebecca

15823264_10155329255445016_4016708866481861603_nRebecca came over and suggested I take a quick photo before she fixed the mannequin arms. She was the salesperson that witnessed my rapid defeat. After I shot the photo she asked, “Girls, can you help me make up outfits for display?” Everything she said beyond that was a blur of relief for me. She kept the kids busy, while delivering me clothes that she knew I’d love.

The kids took their stylist role very seriously, examining every item one by one, before settling on which pieces to include in each outfit. I didn’t even notice until the end after I tried on nearly every item in the store and spent my Christmas money. I took photos of the girls with their ensembles, while I was rung in. I couldn’t believe it!

For the first time in years, I actually purchased more than one item of clothing outside of a grocery store.

And I was with the kids!

I’m not certain that Rebecca has wings, but she was an angel for me that day. After that experience, I’d go back to Ricki’s in Champlain Place in a heartbeat. Thank you Rebecca. And thank you to the other staff that also joined in.

You made my day! And when my friends read this, they may visit, so you can make their day too! I can’t wait to feel like a stylish woman at work this week.

Thank you all so much!


Rebecca provided the best service ever! Ricki’s Salesperson 50753 Transaction 15974.

What are your goals for 2017?

What are some of the things you are actually planning to do this year? I don’t mean pie in the sky wishes that you’ll forget in a month. What do you really want to do and why? Share in the comments below.

Also, can you advise me how to achieve my 7 goals for 2017? I need all the help I can get. Nobody does everything on their own.

My 7 Goals for 2017

Here are my goals for 2017. I chose them by thinking about what I love most in life.

  1. Throw my girls a birthday party. On boxing day the girls told their dad and me that they felt like things will never be as fun as they used to be, because they haven’t had a birthday party in forever. Their birthdays fell in the thick of elections, so we skipped having parties, meaning to hold them after it was over. I know! It’s time! It’s time!
  2. 10896835_652116458234144_3042347052231017809_nTeach Zumba® classes weekly. Zumba Fitness makes me happy. I love getting together and dancing with other women and sharing laughs and stories! I taught a bit with others over the fall, but I have decided to reboot the QPlex classes. I’ve put a bit of money into promoting them. My secondary goal here is to break even on the costs. That would be awesome. Classes start Monday!
  3. Grow roots. I want to move into a home where I feel like we’ll stay until the girls graduate high school. This is attainable. Wish me luck!
  4. Get back to my happy size. I packed on fat over the last few months. I want to get back to my happy size. I’ll know when I get there. I’ll feel lighter and more energetic, when I am back in great shape. The number isn’t the important thing here. It is the overall feeling.
  5. Visit more of my friends and visit my friends more. I miss so many of my friends. I have been working so hard that I have failed at seeing the people that matter the most to me on a regular basis. My love for them fills my heart and I can’t wait to rekindle all those amazing relationships, near and far. I commit to a minimum of two visits per month on average.
  6. Have a sunny, relaxing vacation! Whether it is in Canada or away, I want to spend a week swimming and playing outdoors. Any ideas?
  7. Have more family fun! Yes. I love my family. We are all the same and different and I love it! I need to organize some fun events to see them more often outside of the routine. We could all use a little bit of fun. I commit to plan an event once each month.

That’s it! Now what are your goals? Please share below!

Loving Life in Canada.

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