I can’t say that I spend as much time with my children as I would like to, but being in a full time employment that challenges me an average 60 hours a week I need in addition to that some time for myself. Usually stress at work is accompanied by stress at home. As soon as I open the door of our apartment my daughter welcomes me with open arms. I don’t want to miss that daily welcome, but I would like to have some privacy afterwards; which usually does not follow. Instead I am asked to play with her, or my wife expects me to take care of our now 5 months old son. As I grow more experienced in my role as a parent I learn to understand my needs better and know that if I don’t have at least two hours of exercise a week and some minutes of sacred retreat in silence a day, my capability in being both father and husband at home and colleague at work diminishes sharply.
The last two family vacations gave me a new perspective in regard to being a parent. We picked the location for our CNY vacation on basis of two conditions: no Chinese mass tourism and a combination of safe beach and thrilling water sports. Our choice was Huahin, about three hours South of Bangkok by car. A bliss of a beach, a great kiting location and a great hotel seemed to be our holiday jackpot. But I learned already on the first day that I could not do both at once, having a relaxed time with my folks and setting out for wind and waves. I therefore decided on the second day to leave kite and board in the hotel room and be fully available to my family, stroll together along the beach, play sand or just stretch out reading a book next to my daughter building a sand castle. By pleasing others I pleased myself, and I learnt that there is time even if being on vacation that is better spent with my family than with some kiting mates. But I promised myself, that there will be another week every year, where I just do what I desire, i.e. ride on either water or snow.
4 weeks later we are in Austria, where we extend my business trip with three days skiing in Ramsau, a small hamlet close to the world cup venue Schladming. Ramsau is well known for its Nordic skiing facilities and for its children skiing schools. Our daughter is fascinated by the „white playground“ where she learns every morning for two hours to slide down a gentle slope; but I am again torn apart between wanting to watch & teach her and wanting to get on the mountain after years of China induced snow boarding abstinence. I eventually settle for a good deal that will be my future vacation time management rule of thumb: morning hours with my family, afternoon hours for myself. On the second day I am rewarded with both: watching our daughter together with wife and baby son, and a breathtaking sunshine ride on the Dachstein glacier in the afternoon. Let’s just hope that this form of time management will also work out the next time I have to wait for the wind to pick up.