The national and world economic crisis threatens to leave a lot of victims in its wake, but often overlooked are small children.
As a result of the economy, many mothers across the country have had to adjust their workload to keep the family finances stable.
Dell Computers mid-level manager turned author, Phaedra Cucina of Austin, knows full well the trauma of walking out the door with a suitcase, headed to the airport to grab a flight across the country for the sake of her job.
“Working mothers either have to take on projects that may include more travel than they would like or else they are more uncomfortable declining assignments that call for time on the road,” she said, noting that turning down such trips could be detrimental to job security.
Her own experience of leaving her small child drove her to write a children’s book dealing with the issue.
“I needed it for myself,” she said. “They have books on dealing with the trauma of a child going off on their first day of school or getting potty trained, but there was nothing that addressed the problem of working professional mothers having to leave children behind for a few days.”
Cucina left Dell Computers last February to write the book, “My Mommy’s Going on a Business Trip,” a work that she felt was needed in corporate America.
“This book is suitable to read to children from age 2-6, but it is probably more beneficial to the parents themselves,” she said.
The book was released last November, receiving an overwhelming response. The book was listed as the top-pick of children’s books recently in the bi-monthly publication, Working Mother Magazine and Cucina is scheduled to release its sequel in November, “My Daddy’s on a Business Trip.”
“I find that there are at least three issues faced by working mothers,” Cucina said. “Many mothers feel guilt at having to leave their children with other people while they make the business trip.”
She noted a second issue with the traveling professional mom is the stress over coordinating and organizing her child’s schedule before she leaves. A third problem is the question of how to remain connected with her children while she’s gone.
“Often, a working mother is in meetings all day and into the evening,” she said. “She gets back to her hotel room and tries to call, but the children are asleep.”
While there are several negatives when it comes to managing the duties of a mother with corporate demands, Cucina explains that there are positives on which to focus.
“For one thing, it is possible for a mom to get a night’s sleep while away on a trip,” she said. “It also gives the child the opportunity to bond with grandparents, dad, aunts and uncles who are keeping her children.”
Cucina notes that a working mom’s occasional trips away from her children can help to bolster their confidence and self-reliance.
“Also, it is nice for a change to go to the airport with only one little bag rather than with children’s paraphernalia,” she said, saying that the main thing she wants to emphasize to working mothers is that “Mommy guilt is unnecessary baggage.”
One last piece of advice Cucina offers moms is to always talk positively about work.
“It doesn’t help the child when a mother says, ‘Mommy doesn’t want to go, but it’s because of this job,’ ” she said. “It’s a mistake for us to make work the bad guy. Don’t blame the separation on the job, because one day that child will grow up and when time comes for him or her to get a job, those attitudes may dictate how they will regard their own jobs.”
Cucina’s book is only available through her Web site. Visit www.mommytrip.com.
E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org