We are half way through the year and no matter who you are talking to time is flying —unless you are talking to some youngster that claims to be bored but most of us don’t know what that word means!

Time is an elusive thing. I used to deliver workshops called Time Management, for enterprising men and woman, to explore how they could utilize their time better. The sessions were meant to address how staff members could be more effective in their workplace. However when I met with individuals, many harboured frustrations on how to balance their commitments to work and their commitments to home.

At that time I was doing quite a bit of juggling myself. I worked full time as a counsellor for the education board while running my own training consultancy and was mother to two young children under the age of three.

It wasn’t until my second son was diagnosed with autism that everything I had taught in my time management workshops became nil and void. Visionary goals, schedules and hi tech to-do lists didn’t really cut it anymore. I did not have the luxury to prepare, plan and execute projects. My son, who needed 24/7 constant supervision, had no concept of time. Life no longer evolved around the tick-tock of the clock but around his needs and unpredictable behaviours. My juggling days were numbered. Shortly after, I give up my work and business to home school and care for him. On my first day, as his full time carer/therapist/magician/clown I removed my watch. I knew I was in for the long haul. I have never worn a watch since.

That was over eleven years ago. Cian will turn fourteen next month. He has taught me many valuable lessons but mostly that the only time there is, is NOW. It’s an invaluable lesson but if I was to be honest, in those early days, he dragged me back to NOW, kicking and screaming. Both of us protested with all the resistance in the world.

It’s where I live NOW. If I find myself living in the past or heading into the future I bring my focus back to the present. All I can do is breathe, accept and let go and wait for the storm to subside. This experience has now spilled over into my everyday life. When I find myself thinking about something I need to do, or something that has already happened or might happen, I bring myself back to my breath and the present moment.

Every family struggles with keeping work, self and family in balance. Instead of feeling the need to do more, make a conscious choice to do less. Focus on what is really important, what needs to be done, and let go of the rest. Leave the past were it is at. The future, tomorrow, next week, next year will take care of itself. Focus on what’s going on right now, your actions, your environment and on others around you. Train yourself to accept what is without adding your own story or drama in your head. The stories in your head are not real. They are usually fear based and take you away from what is happening right now in your life. Whatever you’re doing, be fully present. Life can be so much more enjoyable if you learn this simple habit and it is great to have my son come along for the ride—even though life with autism is an unpredictable rollercoaster. Whatever rollercoaster you are on, slow it up and live in the NOW. It is the only time we have.