I've been traveling more for work, and it totally discombobulates all of us for a week afterwards. How can I make work travel easier on my family?
Work travel invariably means a different set of routines for your children. If you leave a detailed schedule they can follow the usual routines as closely as possible, even though you aren't there. You can prepare your children ahead of time by telling them about your work travel a few days in advance and explaining how you'll stay in touch.
Consider bringing family photos for your hotel room and giving your child a framed picture of yourself to look at. Record some bedtime stories so they can hear your voice before going to sleep. You can also call and Skype from the road to stay connected to your family.
But ultimately, you know your children and your family rhythms the best. Is your strategy for work travel simply not working? If you're calling from your trip, it may simply remind them that they miss you. When you return and give them quality mom time, the contrast may be too intense. Do you wear yourself out on work travel, to prove to yourself that it was worth being away, and return with no energy for family?
If old methods are no longer working, try the opposite. Ask your husband or other caregivers what they observe being successful before, during and after work travel. What seemed to trigger your child's separation anxiety? What made them happy or upset? Take a look with fresh eyes and be open-minded about techniques that might work better.
And if all else fails, consider whether you really need to do so much work travel. If it's truly that disruptive, maybe that's a sign that you're away from home more than is comfortable for your family. See if you can delegate some of the trips or use videoconferencing instead. Or even, make some overnight trips into one-day marathons, so you're home when your children wake up the next morning.