As a mother of three, unexpected things are constantly part of our lives. Someone gets sick. Something is needed for the school — the very next day. Something gets lost. You name it.
The only way I’ve found to work for us is to expect these unexpected things.
Of course, I don’t mean to worry all day and night about what can get wrong the next minute. Not at all! But getting prepared, and being flexible to make a plan “B” or plan “C”… or even plan “Z” (the alphabet has 26 letters, doesn’t it?) is always part of my days.
I was traveling the last week of September, to speak at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, FL. Then I needed a week “off”, when I could slow down and work on some business planning stuff (my next courses, content calendar, etc.).
When I was ready to get back to my “normal” schedule, it hit us: my eldest son got an ear infection, and three days later, my daughter, too.
We’ve been spending the last two weeks with a never-ending cycle of doctor appointments and treatments. It’s been insane. We’re making jokes now that it could be the title of a bad soap opera: ten doctor appointments in ten days. Crazy!
Of course, I also have work to finish these days. Deadlines definitely don’t know anything about your family’s health. And the length of my task list doesn’t get shorter overnight either — unless I work through the night like an owl.
The only thing I am able to survive these days and stay sane is to get prepared. Mentally as well as logistically. Yes, I can hire a nurse to take of my kids when they are sick, but I am the one who takes them to the doctors and also the one who they need the most.
Many say “good for you, you’re a stay-at-home-mom”.
Yes, I (mostly) work from home. But this doesn’t mean I don’t work long hours day and night.
Good for me but it’s a decision I’ve made a couple of years ago. I don’t think there would be any employers in this world who could tolerate my need for flexibility. I know this and made it work.
Moreover, this flexibility I need and have make it possible to manage days and weeks when something unexpected hits us. This is how I can be prepared by always having enough “buffer” in my calendar “just in case”. Sometimes I am better at this, sometimes not — I am still learning. This, combining with my task and time management tools and practices is the way I expect the unexpected.
What is your secret? How you stay sane when everything gets insane around you?