Parenting, Marathons, and the Travel Paradox

As a parent, you sometimes feel like you are running a marathon. The exception being that a marathon is only 42.2 km and takes between 3 and 5 hours for most humans. Parenting lasts about, well, a lifetime. I think of that every time I am cleaning up the war zone that the dining room becomes after the munchkins eat and leave crumbs, morsels of food, and yogurt stains all over the tablecloth and on the floor. Well, that and the spilled water, pleading to finish their plates, and hustling them off to school, nap time, or bed time. It is almost like running a 10k every night – perhaps that is a better analogy? In any case, sometimes it feels like the 30km mark where in my one marathon before hurting my knee, I hit the wall. You have to force yourself to continue knowing that the finish line is only another 12km away. In the evening meal, that wall comes when the kids head off to the bathroom for washing feet and teeth while I clean up the table and start the dishwasher. I just keep telling myself, just one more swipe of the sponge, just one more swipe…

The travel paradox is how, as a parent on a business trip, you are torn between hating to be away from the kids and the wife and needing desperately to get away from them to get some personal space for however long the trip lasts. With a little luck – like the last two days in Toulouse – you’ll run into friends and make new ones even if the work itself is drudgery (which was definitely the case this time). Fortunately, these trips are relatively rare for me these days, but I don’t know if they are a relief or a pain. Like I said, a paradox.


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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One Response to Parenting, Marathons, and the Travel Paradox

  1. Rick says:

    Hey Fino – I feel your pain, with 4 of my own at home. When it really gets complicated is when they get just a bit older than your children. Once they get more active social lives, join teams and clubs and get homework that requires a parent’s help you really start to feel that strain of work vs home. Last year, due primarily to budget and change in organizations, I traveled less than I can remember. I had a little anxiety early in the year about not being on the road and in front of customers. But I got over it. It was great to be home, especially most of the summer. Of course, some trips are inevitable. (Like our upcoming one to FL and an industry event that we do in June…over my wife’s birthday.) And the stress around what you will miss will be there. (For FL, I’m going on Monday and leaving on Friday, due to personal commitments that I’ve already made.) I’m sure that I’ll still continue to be away for the occasional birthday, basketball game or band concert. But I’m hoping to be home for more of them in the future. I wish you the ability to make those choices as your children get older.


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