We've all been there. You've got a briefcase under one arm, the baby under the other, and you're walking out the door.

You're mentally rehearsing your presentation for an 8:30 meeting which you will just make if you really put your foot down after stopping at the crèche when... the baby spits up on your tie or new blouse.

Bruce reports: 'I mentally beat myself up every time this type of thing happens and yet I know there was nothing I could have done to prevent it - it's just a fact of life when you have young children.'

Emergencies are a fact of life with children - so anticipate them.

• Brand new panty hose will ladder.
• Toddlers will spill sour milk on your best suit.
• The drain will mysteriously overflow when you're already running late.

Rather than reacting to these situations when they arrive, adopt a proactive approach.

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What possible solutions might save your blood pressure?
For example:
1. Men, keep an ironed shirt and a clean tie in the office and if you use it, replace it.

2. Women, make sure you have a brand new pair of panty hose (or two!) and a couple of tampons in your desk drawer.

3. Keep an old purse with $50 in it in a safe place in case of emergency.

4. Have a list of emergency numbers in your purse - babysitters, plumber, electrician, doctor, dentist, garage, breakdown service.

5. Consider sourcing a personal concierge service so you're ready for unexpected crises.

6. Always carry hairbrush and a wet flannel when you're transporting kids. They can polish each other up as you negotiate traffic.

And when the wheels do fall off and you get taken by surprise, take a few minutes as soon as the crisis is dealt with to set up emergency procedures for the next time.

You might not anticipate everything but at least you'll be better prepared for some things.