This week we are doing something a little different for our #TeammateTuesday in honor of Mother’s Day.  In the midst of COVID-19, parents have had to adapt to many new challenges so we decided to take an inside peek into a few of our ‘mom’ team member’s lives and their insight into this very unique, uncertain and memorable time.  

Meet Allyson Johnson, Hotel Services Manager and Trip Designer for Boston, Big Sur, New York, Chicago and new mom to a six-month old baby boy. 

It was very chaotic coming back from maternity leave. I had only been back to work for two weeks when I began working from home due to daycare closure and our stay-at-home mandate.  My first day working remotely was the day the Boston Marathon postponement was announced and I was trying to call hotels/email clients/communicate with team members while comforting a three-month old who was just getting over his first cold and double ear infection.  I laugh now about the things I had to do to keep him calm while on the phone with clients!

I’m’ managing by taking full advantage of nap time!  It is definitely about balance, sharing responsibilities with my husband, and not being too hard on myself as an employee and as a parent.  I feel lucky that I have these additional months at home with my son and my husband. While we have been home, he has started laughing, learned to roll, and is practicing sitting up.  I cannot imagine only having the weekends to enjoy these milestones!  

Meet Karen Hoch, Marketing Manager and Trip Designer for Jerusalem, White Nights, Italy Coast to Coast, Amazing Maasai, Madagascar, Loch Ness, Havana and mom to a high school senior. 

As a mom to a teenager, we were used to a schedule where many times we saw each other only in passing, with a few family dinners each week. News came first of his school being closed and not long after, we found ourselves home together 24/7.   

As the weeks have evolved, I seem to be busier with work projects, he is less busy with school now over. I have learned to let go of the nagging desire to get him to do productive things and let him be.  I have learned to let go of trying to still have control.  Like many, he was denied his last few months in high school, his senior week, prom and graduation.  I’ve come to learn that these are things that I cannot fix.  

So, for now I am focusing on the present.  I’m enjoying each walk we take together, each meal we eat together and our conversations as we dive into topics that otherwise would be left untouched.  I remain focused on his emotional well-being, celebrating his achievements, my job and our clients, and having the right work/family balance.

This gift I have been given of extra time with my son is one that I will cherish forever. 

Meet Kit Hays who has helped host trips to Australia and Scotland. A baby boy is on the way SOON! 

Lately I have found peace and happiness in life’s most simple things. I am trying not to stress about what cannot be controlled and am usually focused on how excited I am to meet this little guy in the next few weeks. But unfortunately, I can’t always control my dreams at night that occasionally drift to the uncertainties of if my husband will be allowed in the hospital with me, or if my parents and family will only get to meet our baby through a zoom call. 

I know the road ahead will not always be easy but neither is running and I’ve done that. 

Meet Sarah Giffin West who has helped host our Berlin and Tokyo trips with her husband Matt West, whom you may recognize from our Antarctica Tour.  They are proud parents of a nine-month baby boy.

I became a mom in September 2019 amidst the usual outpouring of love and support from family, friends and coworkers. I had the privilege and challenge of taking this year off from my job as a teacher to be home with Graham. I took on nannying a second baby three days a week. I felt like I spent a lot of time alone, or alone with two babies, and really looked forward to evenings and weekends when I could go out and be with other adults. Overall life was fulfilling and exhilarating, exhausting and boring all at the same time. 

Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly everyone was in the same boat as me, alone in their house, somewhat bored and a little unmoored. It was comforting to know I wasn’t the only one missing out on all the events and excitement happening in the world. During the past two months we’ve made new routines. Spending time in nature has taken on new importance as has connecting with family and friends via Facetime and Zoom.  I am grateful that my husband is at home and that we are able to spend so much quality time together as a family. And, when this is all over, I will really enjoy being able to go on a date and hire a baby sitter again.