Time management has never been a forte of mine.
Growing up, it seemed I was always late for something. Whether it was school, work or an extra curricular activity, I felt like I was always racing against the clock.
My dad always attributed both mine and my sister's tardiness to my mom's side of the family, saying it was in our blood.
However, as with many things, I found as I grew up and matured my time management skills got much better. I was no longer racing the clock, but instead working with it. If I had somewhere to be at a certain time, I made sure to give myself plenty of time to get there - that is, until I brought my two little monkeys into the equation.
After the birth of my daughter and my return to work, everything I had accomplished when it came to being on time went straight down the drain.
It never failed - if I was actually going to be early for something, she would spit up as we were walking out the door.
If I was running behind, her diaper bag was nowhere to be found.
And if it was time for my husband and I to go out for the night, her hunger cries would keep us from leaving for at least 20 minutes.
I personally became accustomed to showing up to any and every occasion, late. My husband, on the other hand, had yet to develop this level of patience.
However, add baby No. 2 and he too learned to ignore the clock and go with the flow or deal with a very grumpy mommy.
As any parent knows, you have to expect the unexpected, especially when in a time-crunch because that is when s--t usually hits the fan.
Needless to say, the clock became less important and the focus became doing whatever he could to subtly speed up the process of getting out the door. Nonetheless, as time goes by, we just did as we did before, getting better with allowing the right amount of time to get where we need to be.
With that under our belts, we now face a new time issue - time dedicated just to the kids.
With my husband and I both working full-time jobs, a world of technology constantly distracting us and the need for personal space, it can be easy to sit the kids in front of the television and become consumed by the outside world.
I have to admit this was me.
When I first went back to work for the second time, the transition from work to home was difficult.
After putting in a long day at the office it was hard to muster the energy to play, listen and engage the kids in activities, so I would take the easy way out and plop the kids in front of the TV and let Mickey Mouse do all of the work.
At first I didn't see the issue. They were happy watching, I was happy resting and the house was a happy place - or so I thought.
It wasn't until I looked up one day to see my son making the transition from crawling to walking, my daughter cheering him on and me not even paying attention to realize what I was doing - or not doing.
I felt awful.
How could I have let the outside world take up so much of my time and attention that the most important part of my world was passing by unnoticed - maybe not unnoticed, but without the care and attention it deserved.
That was the day I put down the phone, put the laptop away and turned off the TV.
Don't get me wrong, my children watch TV, just not from the moment we walk in the door until the moment they go to sleep.
Now I make a conscious decision each and every day to dedicate both time and attention to my kids.
I ask them questions, play with them, read to them and each night before I put them to bed, spend at least 10 minutes just me and them, one at a time.
Kids grow up in the blink of an eye. This is not a news flash but fact, and by almost missing one of the most important milestones in my son's life, I learned that if you aren't paying attention, you will miss out.
I can not sit here and say I am the perfect mom, because that is not true. I still make mistakes every day.
I get run down and tired and want nothing more than to sit on the couch and enjoy me time, but what parent doesn't?
The key once again comes down to time management, prioritizing and sacrifice.
Even if I am not directly playing with my kids, I am now aware of what they are doing.
I love catching my kids playing and my daughter teaching my son something new.
I love answering the same question 100 times and seeing the answer finally click and I love listening to the amazing stories my daughter creates just by looking at a picture.
Time is a precious gift and one that I no longer intend to waste.
It may be a struggle to find the energy some days, but in the end the memories I will have will more than make up for the rest I miss out on.
Lyndsay McCready can be reached at 306-691-1263 or follow her on Twitter @Newsielou.