While I was away, I enjoyed a disconnected vacation on a mountain in upstate New York. Then, I survived a cross-state-lines-move-from-Brooklyn-to-DC-with-two-kids-and-two-cats. Barely.
All’s well that ends well, but I promise you that the week leading up to the vacation and move was painful. To set the stage for you…
- I was tired. It happens and it’s allowed. I had travelled to four cities in three weeks. I was attempting to hold down two jobs. I was feeling sick, with a case of the sniffles and cough drops in hand to boot.
- I was stressed. Even with a good Project Plan and packers invading our apartment while we were on vacation, Jack and I could still be found frantically zip-locking bags of small Fisher Price objects and accessories, stuffing a survival capsule full of checkbooks, insurance cards, and baby nail clippers (no joke), and attempting to delicately transport my beloved condiment collection from fridge to car.
- I was sad. Leaving Brooklyn after almost ten years! Saying goodbye to my colleagues at Achievement First, old friends and new friends! Parting with my drycleaner, UPS man, and hairstylist! I’d grown roots in Brooklyn. Leaving our beloved babysitter was the worst.
The point here is that I was not having a good week to begin with.
Then, I bump into a close friend in Manhattan and we decide to get lunch. She takes one look at me and says, “What’s wrong with your eyes?” To which I answer, “Allergies.” To which she says, “I didn’t know you had allergies.” To which I say, “I don’t.” To which she tells me, “Ummmm. . . my friend, you need a doctor.” To which I reply, “I have NO TIME FOR A DOCTOR!!!!! I have four conference calls this afternoon, I’m leaving for Kansas City tomorrow, and I need to pack my survival capsule!!!!”
But in all of her wisdom, she forced me to go.
Good thing, because I was promptly diagnosed with an infection and conjunctivitis in BOTH EYES. And then our newborn also got pinkeye. Nothing life-threatening, but all requiring prescriptions, phone calls, and WebMD browsing. And according to my project plan, there was no time for any of this!
But, while it wasn’t all perfectly executed, we did make it to our vacation in one piece. And though unpacking is no breeze, our stuff is all in one place. And most importantly, my family is happy and healthy.
So, all of this to say, THINGS COME UP. Life happens. All the time, every day.
This happens to teachers all the time — It’s an occupational hazard and there’s no avoiding it.
So, what did I do when life happened to me? Well, first I had a fit about my plan getting squashed. But then I took the following steps:
- I took care of business. With the help of others, I located an Urgent Care center and called to inquire how long the wait would be so I could pack accordingly and not feel *too* sorry for myself in the waiting room.
- I shuffled my schedule. I got in touch with each of my meeting participants, explained the situation, apologized profusely, and rescheduled.
- I communicated and asked for help. I let our nanny, my husband and friends I had hung out with on Saturday night know that I was likely highly contagious. My husband volunteered to pick up my prescriptions for me.
- I took some shortcuts. The agenda I was supposed to create that day? Well, it got shorter, and less detailed. And it still worked just fine.
To reiterate, things come up. And they will continue to come up. Last minute meetings called by your principal. A student in tears and in need of your attention. A computer hard drive crash. A parent showing up at your door during dismissal. And so on.
But Things Coming Up doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan. In fact, just the opposite is true. Create a plan for the week so that when the inevitable case of pinkeye strikes (metaphoric or real!), you can proactively deal with the issue, reshuffle, communicate and reboot. It’s possible to be flexible and reasonably meet your goals at the same time!