I love going to conferences! The information sharing and energy are always revitalizing. Granted, I’m going to conferences that interest me, so there could be a boring conference out there. So far, I’ve been lucky enough that they have all been exciting.
Before children, going to a conference involved just a few steps:
- Set up my out of office message on email and voice mail
- Let my family know where to find me
- Packing my bags
- Locking up the house
Not much stress involved there at all.
It is altogether different process now!
- Before I even decide to go to a conference, I need to check school and activity schedules and make sure my parents can watch my children while I am gone
- What projects am I working on? If I am gone for a couple of days and won’t be able to put in extra time to make up those projects, how will they fair? (In the past, I could just put in a few longer days – no longer an option.)
- Contact the children’s teachers, school, coaches, and so on to remind them who to contact in my absence.
- Wash a few extra loads of clothes for the kids so they can take clean clothes to the grandparents house.
- Run to the store to get socks as I suddenly noticed that about half my children’s socks have holes in them.
- Pack clothing for each child plus a few extra, then re-pack the clothing because they did not like sharing a suitcase so pulled them all out and couldn’t fit them in their own bags.
- Pack the health bag with all of the vitamins, medications, and preferred treatments, as well as a full set of written instructions about what to give and when. (My parents are very intelligent, but they don’t typically deal with my daughter’s migraines, so need good instructions.
- Create a very detailed schedule of where each child needs to be at every minute of every day, including exactly where they need to be dropped off and picked up and what supplies need to be with them.
- Provide a full itinerary of where I will be and at least 3 different emergency contacts while at the conference.
- At the last-minute, pack my own items for the conference. In fact, in an ideal situation, I will pack up the kids and drop them off at my parents’ house and THEN return to pack my own items.
- Double check each child’s room to make sure they didn’t leave anything out that will stink while I am gone – really!
- Finally, walk out the door. AND, return when I realize I forgot to put the spare key where I told my parents I would leave it. THEN, walk out the door again… only to realize I still have my slippers on. (You see where this is going…)
I’m fairly certain that I have forgotten at least a few steps in there. Even so, you can see that what used to be very easy is now quite an ordeal.
Conferences are an important part of professional and personal development. The energy and ideas that are shared are exactly what is needed. Because I am so motivated by conferences, I still try to get to them. However, due to the work and energy that goes into making it possible, I am typically only able to go to a conference every year and a half or so.
If only we could use some of our technological advancements to get the energy and information we need without the hassle or arranging time away. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)