By ZAID MOHAMAD
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the many tasks you had to do? Have you ever put your children in danger because you were distracted by these tasks? Do you want to know how to bring everything under control? These are critical questions that employees, and especially working parents, need to be aware of.
Overwhelmed parents are tragedies waiting to happen. Many innocent children have tragically lost their lives because of this. They were left alone at home or in the car, because the parents had so many things on their minds.
So, what can we do to avoid becoming another statistic? The first thing is to admit that it could happen to anyone of us. I personally had several near misses when I took my eyes off the children to attend to other matters.
I know of a friend who drove off from a rest area, forgetting that the children were still in the restrooms. Fortunately, no major incidents resulted from these moments when we were distracted even momentarily.
It could happen to you, and it could also happen to me. Therefore, we need to be vigilant all the time and take precautionary steps to avoid tragedies.
Secondly, we just have to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
In a recent case a few months ago, Hazwa Abdul Rahim, a school teacher, was reportedly overwhelmed with several tasks on one unfortunate day. She had been rushing and deviating from routines. Her mind was so occupied and distracted.
She left her daughter in her car for a few hours, resulting in the child’s tragic death. I think there is a direct relation between a busy schedule and being forgetful over certain things.
This is a global phenomenon. Last year, Brenda Slaby, an assistant principal and a mother of two from Ohio, experienced a similar tragedy. She left her daughter in her school’s car park as she rushed to complete her work.
Eight hours later, her daughter was found dead in the back seat. She had forgotten to drop her off at the babysitter. For that, she became “the most hated mum in America”.
Unlike computers, humans are generally not good at multitasking. That’s why we shouldn’t drive while answering calls or texting. The lesson here is that we must slow down and focus on one task at a time.
This leads us to the third action we can take, that is to seek help when we cannot cope anymore.
When there are a million things to do, don’t try to do them all. Instead, work with your spouse and even your children to share the burden.
But start with “helping” yourself. Find time to take that much needed break. A stressed parent is not a good parent. Fill your days with positive thoughts and actions.
Then, engage the family. Encourage teamwork by asking them to help around the house. Ask politely and give lots of encouragement.
Don’t expect perfection; let them do things their way, as long as they get them done. Delegate or even outsource as much as possible. Hopefully, our burdens would be lightened.
At the risk of sounding pessimistic, incidents like this are likely to happen again and again. Let’s just pray that it won’t happen to us. The good news is, it can be avoided.
We just have to be vigilant all the time, remind each other of the danger and slow down. Hopefully, we are no longer feeling too overwhelmed to focus on the most important task – our family.