The Work Trip Sleep Myth

Since our latest little one has joined the family I’ve had to go on a few work trips to different parts of the country.  Without fail, each time I tell someone I am about to leave on a trip, I hear something along the lines of, “Oh, I bet you are looking forward to getting some good sleep!”  Now that Simon is sleep trained, I can look back on this myth and laugh. (Ugh, typing that he’s sleep trained pretty much guarantees I will be up several times with him tonight.)

I want to be careful here, because without a doubt going on a work trip is easier than caring for a toddler and a newborn all by yourself-even for an awesome parent like Momlando.  But the fact of the matter is, during the trip and when I returned I was far more tired than if I had stayed home.   

Let’s do the math:

+ Traveling sucks, but if I am lucky I get some sleep on the airplane.

Going to meetings and then running to the airport is exhausting.

+ A trip to Wrigley Field as a work social event.

+ Eating at nice restaurants on the company’s dime is a perk.

Social cocktail hours turn into long nights, even if they can be fun.  Returning to the hotel room to catch up on missed emails always keeps me up later than your normal bedtime.

Sleeping in an unfamiliar room is rough.  I don’t have to get up with a crying baby but random hotel noises can prevent sleep.

In addition to going to be later than normal, jet lag really messes up sleeping when I travel to a different time zone.

 I wind up getting up earlier than normal to get to meetings on time.

But most of all, it is draining to feel the guilt of leaving my wife to take care of the kids by herself.  And it’s sad not to see my family on those days.  Finding time to FaceTime during the trip helps, but I can see how hectic things are at home and I feel guilty for even calling!  Not to mention the fact that you know your significant other is picturing you on a ‘work-vacation’ instead of a work-trip.

As any parent who has gone on a trip knows, when you come home you can see a change in your kids-they’ve grown so much in even just a few days.  So when people say that I must be looking forward to catching up on sleep on a trip I just smile and play along.  But on the inside I know.  There is no rest.