All teachers can relate to THE FINAL WEEK. It's that week when your seniors graduate and then some. There is usually a parents reception, Baccalaureate celebration and often a sports banquet- all of which occur at night.
So how do you balance this with seeing the little ones at home or that spouse that misses you?
- Practice the two night rule. I discovered years ago that when I am away from my family for two straight evening commitments, I wouldn't see my kids for nearly three days. This is difficult because it puts a lot of pressure on my wife and of course the munchkins are climbing the walls. The two night rule says that you won't attend two evening commitments in a row on any given week.
- No surprises. Most spouses don't like "calendar surprises" so read #3.
- Review calendar the week before. Sitting down with your significant other to discuss the calendar is always a good idea. Review your meetings and any special events that will pop up.
- Only attend what you must. Are you a person that thinks you have to go to everything? If you are the CEO, you might be right but for the other 99.9% of us, it's worth stepping back and reflecting on commitments. You could either not attend an evening commitment or you could trim it back by doing a "pop in". I work in a school and it's impossible to go to every sports event so I check out a quarter or two and show my face. It's putting forth a good faith effort and everyone appreciates it.
- Decide to live closer to work. I realize that this isn't possible for everyone but it does make a huge difference. You'll feel closer to loved ones and at the end of the event it makes a big difference to say on the phone, "Be home in ten minutes," as opposed to "Pray for me in my hour of traffic".
- If all else fails, reward yourself. If you have a week where you absolutely must attend several grueling evening commitments, pamper yourself with a scheduled personal day. Better yet, take your family away for a weekend of fun in the sun. Having the carrot at the end of the stick is a great way to tolerate a killer week.