Children and Time Management

All your aims for time management become stress creators when children are involved in your life! You would think that when your kids grow up they'd be away from home and off your hands, right? Well, WRONG! As no doubt many of you find.

Example: You're trying to get out the door, and your daughter phones for information from the various items now deposited in your guest room, so that she and her husband may complete their online booking information for the first leg of a six month trip. You're not ready, and the clock ticks precious seconds and minutes away while you frantically try to find what she needs. The previous weeks you've been clearing your attic and guest room, and generally making room for the contents of their apartment, now being rented while they travel. This was exhausting. You've also been filling your car with said contents over several journeys, and taken some for recycling (like the good citizen you are). So the day finally arrives, they turn up with yet more contents to find room for, and then begin re-packing and generally making themselves at home in your guest room (which still needs to be available for your son and his family, due in two weeks): this morning's attempt at online booking hasn't worked. They both shower before their day-long air journey, and leave the towels plus more washing, ironing, mending, and stain-treating clothes for you (a wonderful parting gift to remember them by) in the guest room. Your nerves are beginning to frazzle, and you're wondering how you're going to make room for everything and get everything done!

Still, you manage to remain calm (deep breathing techniques and remaining in the moment), and you all go out for a final meal with his parents before taking them to the airport. The restaurant has had a power cut! The electrician is fixing it, but meanwhile their menu is drastically reduced. More stress, mainly for the staff, but you're beginning to wonder if you'll get to the airport on time. Still, the meals they could offer were OK, and it all goes down fine.

After, you set off for the airport on the busiest highway around: luckily today the road was clear - this must be a first! You park and get into the airport, and now your daughter's sleeping back is slipping off her backpack. A friend rushes off to urgently purchase a strap to tie it firmly in place. Meanwhile, having gone to one desk to book in, you find they're redirected to another (it's a shared flight with two companies), so off to the other end of the building, now you MUST book-in electronically before taking the luggage to the desk, and the machine still won't recognise your booking.

A member of staff starts helping, and he can't do it either! You begin to panic that they didn't get their booking done after all, and they MAY HAVE TO MOVE IN WITH YOU, but luckily, another staff member turns up, and finally booking-in is completed. Now you can have a final shared time over coffee at Starbucks before waving goodbye (about 20 times) through the departure area to flight-side. You think it's over, but no, you still have to go to their apartment, vacuum, fix the electrics and leave the place ready for tenants. Smile, it's just your children still vying for attention.

The only way to deal with stress like this is to remember that if you knew all the way through that everything would be OK, you'd be less stressed as it happens. Your task is therefore to remind yourself that it's going to be OK. After all, if they had needed to come back home, you'd cope, wouldn't you? The best security you can have is to laugh at life and know you'll cope with anything life throws at you.