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4.26.2016

Balancing Work, Life, Travel, and Family: A Long Layover at DFW with the Kids

 
For those who ask me how I balance it all (kids, a full-time job, travel, and trying to maintain some fabulousness in life), my response is generally that it takes prioritization and planning.  You have to look at the things that are most important to you, make a plan for how to accomplish them, and let go of the rest.  Doing this ensures that you can get it done.  You can't have it all, but you can still have the things that are the most important. 
 
One recent example of how this manifesting for me in real life was during our trip to Puerto Rico (more on that trip later).  We were taking a long weekend to visit family and celebrate my sister's 50th birthday.  Given our upcoming trip to Kenya, I decided to take advantage of our long layover at DFW airport to get some work done and save some PTO.  Another benefit to getting a little bit of work in at the beginning of a vacation is that I felt less stressed coming back to work the next Tuesday.  I felt more caught up than I usually would after a vacation, thus avoiding that feeling of being behind and needing to work extra when I got back.  I think a lot of you know that struggle!
 
Planning ahead helped me realize that I could get a half-day's work done while on layover.  I also knew that DFW had several kid's play areas (the Junior Flyers Club, located in the A, B, and C terminals - learn more about the family-friendly facilities at DFW here).  With my Mi-Fi in hand, I was able to connect, plug-in (plenty of outlets in the Junior Flyers Club), and work on my laptop while my kids played and made new friends.  I was able to take conference calls (hands-free phone headsets are a dream), write emails, accomplish tasks, and have a pretty productive few hours while the kids entertained themselves.
 
One challenge was when someone needed to use the bathroom.  It required me to gather all computer equipment plus our carry-ons to escort our young boys to the restroom.  Thankfully there was a family restroom close to the Junior Flyers Club in terminal A so we could all go in together without leaving any of our items unattended.
 
Once the layover was done and we were ready to board our flight to San Juan, I considered the work day over, and the vacation weekend begun.  All my attention at that point went to family fun.  Balance in action!
 
The Junior Flyers Club at DFW has several activities for kids - enough to keep them entertained for a long time while on a long layover.
 
My curly-top boys posing for a photo.  Pardon the awful back-lighting!

We had lunch at Ling & Louie's, an Asian fusion restaurant right next to the Junior Flyers Club in terminal A. Pictured here are the delicious ahi tuna poke tacos that I had.

 
What other tips do you have for keeping kids entertained on a long layover?  How have you balanced work, life, and travel?

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