Mom 2.0 Summit and The Traveling Mom Conundrum – Keeping it Real

by Lisa Douglas

450 of you will see me this weekend at Mom 2.0 in New Orleans, and I’m gonna have on all kinds-of cute things from my wardrobe that NEVER get to see the light of day, except for occasions like this. I’m going to wear actual big-girl makeup, have the ability to leisurely slurp coffee without losing balance with small people tugging at my legs, and eat a whole meal without rushing and getting up forty-two kajillion times to fetch drinks or another fork when a child’s mysteriously makes it to the floor.

I will be wearing something probably closely resembling this (okay, so maybe I’ll be wearing exactly this):

Smiley Lisa
Note: Hair done, make-up on, but still super-cheesy grin

But, in actuality, my day-to-day, mom-to-six fashion consists of this:

In desperate need of coffee Lisa
(Don’t judge, yo.)

I think we all struggle with some semblance of trying to maintain a balance in-between these two extremes, yes? I know I certainly do. (Isn’t it evident above?)

I will stuff my suitcase filled with way-too-many outfits and shoes, brimming with uncertainty about whether to wear any of it, to venture to New Orleans to play parental hookie with other bloggers to network, connect, and breathe.

2011Mom 2.0 Summit - April 14-16

(Unbelievably enough, for the three years we’ve lived in this state, this will be my first trip to New Orleans!)

In the interest of keeping it real (or, even MORE real): I will admit, I have pre-conference butterflies.

It’s always tough in these travel situations, peeling myself away from the kids, my husband, and the confines of my oh-so-cozy home. It’s odd how I simultaneously have this travel bug, eager to see new places and friend’s faces, yet, I am pulled towards the comforts of my home, my things, and familiarity. Such a conundrum, no?

My bags are half-packed as we speak, phone and iPod charging, laundry’s tumbling, coffee is being consumed with not-so-subtle slurping, and yet, I’m half-paralyzed, semi-procrastinating, dreading the last hugs from little arms I’ll get before I close the car door and leave to drive four hours for my NOLA adventure, despite how much-needed the alone time and dressing up is.

But then, I’ll arrive, find my first familiar face, “squee!” with delight while we hug and super-fast catch-up while muscling my ridiculous luggage to my room, and that exhale will occur, the one which announces “I have arrived!” And for three days, I’ll have time to myself, I can work without constant interruption, breathe without changing numerous diapers and the constant nagging of laundry-and-dishes-deadlines looming. I’ll get to “be pretty” while taking time to do my hair without smallish Mini-Me’s tugging at my legs, and I’ll remember what it’s like to just think for myself, about myself, and do things just for me. Even if it’s for work, time away like this feels like a semi-vacation for most of us, a return to a once-pre-kid kind-of normal, a desperately-needed self-balance that recharges you, even if there’s underlying mom-type guilt involved.

Such is the traveling mom conundrum. Do you suffer from it, too?

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