You have the conference booked, accommodation sorted and transport arranged. What else does a mother need to plan in order to get away for a conference?
Next week I am going away to my first blogging conference. I cannot tell you how unbelievably excited I am. (Think a six year old on Christmas Eve. That type of excited.) It’s a little bit ridiculous really. Because as a newbie I’m almost equal parts scared witless. (Think seven year old who is busting for the loo but too scared to ask the teacher. That type of scared.) I’m so very aware that there will be so many bloggers present with massive audiences, (Think grand stadium audiences hyped and waiting anxiously for every part of the performance), whereas my audience (thank you for reading), well, think small group snuggled by a fire in a living room chatting.
Anyway, gone are the days when I just pack a suitcase and slip out of town. Oh no, not when you are a mother, of five kids including two year old triplets no less. When we mothers leave town, (with or without kids) planning is required.
Here are some tips on how to plan that your household will continue to run as smoothly as possible without you. If you’re interested, I’ve outlined in italics what I am personally doing so I can leave the house during ProBlogger. Feel free to skip the italics if you’re in a hurry!
1. Organise Babysitter
- Enlist help of friends or family members, or paid help such as a babysitter or a nanny temp.
- Ensure there is someone with the children for all the necessary hours.
- Organise any school/kindy/daycare etc. pick ups. or transport/supervision is arranged for extra-curricular activities. (eg. sports, dance class etc.)
I will be away for three days. Thankfully I have our In-Home Carer Stacey that we were able to re-schedule her normal hours so that she will be with the children from when Alex leaves for work until he gets home for the first two days. For a little while we thought that she would not be able to work then. I was then having to construct much more complicated plans in my head which involved conscripting Grandma and an Aunty to help as well as my husband taking a day off work. Thankfully, we didn’t have to go down that path. School drop offs and pick ups are already organised for those days also.
2. Leave the Pantry and Fridge Well Stocked
- Enough bread and milk (or reminders if necessary of when it will need replacing if gone for a length of time.)
- Food for snacks
- A menu plan for meals with pre-made meals or all ingredients purchased and easy to find. Don’t forget to utilise take-away if that’s going to make life easier for your family!
- Think about all the activities that you do that people may not know about and document them. Use dot points so information is easy to read at a glance. Write a paragraph under the point if more explanation is required.
- Include a time line of the routine your child is used to if necessary.
- Leave important contact numbers next to the phone. (eg. Doctor, neighbours, work numbers, you and your partner’s mobile, an additional emergency contact etc.)
- Think of any unusual event and leave instructions.
- Talk through your expectations with your children before you leave. It will give them extra security and confidence also.
- Leave out any letters from school, classes that apply during the time you are away.
Unfortunately Jonty has a special dress up day and performance at school on the Friday. I’m a bit gutted I’m going to missing this. We have his costume ready and I will leave clear instructions on what he needs to wear and I’ve already been discussing our plan with Jonty, so he will probably be reminding Daddy! I’ve also organised to come in to watch the class during a practise of their item since I won’t be there to see the real thing.
- Think about what new items you will need to buy for the conference. eg. clothing, stationary, technology.
- Think about your long term uses for purchases, try not to spend too much money for just one occasion.
- Organise a shopping to fit into your schedule. Leave enough time to complete comfortably!
I was relieved to read Emily from Have A Laugh On Me when she said nobody really minds what you wear unless you’re a style blogger. It took the pressure off a little, but I still want to look good! (And perhaps I’m a somewhat of a wannabe style blogger!) I’ve been sneaking time when I can to find a new outfit or accessory or two. Of course, now I’m finding what I want online and it’s too late to get it from overseas, so I’m having to shop the old fashioned way! (Although I did find some good nautical jewellery on Etsy for the Ahoy! party on Saturday night.) As always, shopping with kids is always done in small allotments of time, I’ve also been plagued with indecision, which doesn’t work well with small allotments of time. On Sunday I was in town with a free half hour and went back to get something, and of course it was sold out. Just as well there was another one in a different colour, not first choice, but hey!
- Leave enough time so that you won’t be rushed and forget things. (If you are a last minute packer like I am, start earlier in the evening rather than later!)
- Remember to pack all tickets and documentation, and cords for phones, laptops etc. Include equipment necessary for re-charging.
- Pack at least one extra outfit to use in an case of emergency!
I suspect that because I’m so excited, I may even start packing earlier then my usual night before pack! However, I don’t like to pack clothes too far in advance to minimise creasing. I certainly will open a suitcase soon and start throwing in things I don’t really need and don’t want to forget. Or put in post-it reminders of things I’m likely to forget!
6. Mental Preparation
- Beforehand go with a clear expectation of what you would like to achieve by the end of this conference. Have an action list if necessary if there are things you need to do to achieve your goals.
- Arrange any meetings with people you would like to connect with.
- Book restaurants (or day spa!) in advance if there is a likelihood that it will be busy.
- Read blogs or other information that will give you an idea of what to expect.
- Arrange a time to check-in and call home to check on th
e kids and get a mental plan if necessary on how not to worry about them. (Leaving a planned house should help with the knowledge that they are going to have a good time while you are away!)
- Give yourself a pep talk on why you are worthy of attending the conference and hold your head high! Refuse to let negativity into your thinking.
|My hubby and I stayed overnight at QT last year, which is where the ProBlogger conference and where I’ll be staying. I’m so looking forward to being there again. It’s the most ‘fun’ hotel I’ve ever stayed at!