There is only twenty-four hours in a day. “How do I get everything done in that time period?” That is a question that every parent asks themselves about 500 times a day. As a working mother who decided to go back to school to earn a master’s degree. Yes, you heard that right, at thirty-six I decided to go back to school. I’ve only been talking about it for several years and I finally decided to bite the bullet and dive in head first. I knew I couldn’t do it when Barrett was a baby, as sleep wasn’t in the picture for anyone. Now that he is six, I thought it would be a good time for me to get my master’s. I have completed my first year and looking back, balancing everything was a bit of a struggle, but not as bad as what I thought it would be. How does a mother and career woman who dedicates over 40 hours a week to her job, family, and partner in a small business balance school with everything else?
ORGANIZATION is the main thing that keeps everything in line. I live by my Outlook calendar, and I mean I put everything on my calendar. My husband and I send meeting notices to each other when one of us has to work late, for Barrett’s field trips, birthday parties, or homework deadlines. Yes, I even put when I have to pick up my groceries…I mean everything! Of course I have to include a 15-30 minute notice so that I don’t forget an appointment. Organizing my schedule is definitely key.
In addition to being organized, I also have managed to perfect my time management skills. There are five buckets of “time” I have established…family, work, school, business, and me. Looking into a day-to-day schedule of mine…I wake up at least an hour before everyone else in my household. I call that “me” time. I take a shower, drink my coffee (this is a must J and yes it’s half a pot of glorious caffeine), and have some quiet time before my husband and son wake up. During the school year, I wake up my son, make his breakfast, and get him out of bed. As he’s eating, we talk about the day, go over his homework, etc. After he’s done with his breakfast, we brush his teeth and he gets dressed. As he is getting dressed, I finish getting ready. My son goes to the same school as Adam works, so Barrett goes to school with him which is a huge help. I try and get to work around 7 a.m., work through lunch, so I can leave early to pick up my son at least 2 days a week. My mother is a huge support in this area (and well every area to be honest!) as she can usually pick up Barrett from school on the days I can’t. I recently started working out during the day, which has helped me de-stress! After school, we work on his homework, clean out his lunch box, and make lunch for the next day. We also, get out his outfit, eat dinner, and get some play time in. I make sure to dedicate that time to my family with no cell phones or work interruptions. I must admit sometimes I get on my phone or laptop, which my son quickly reminds me…no electronics at the dinner table! J My master’s degree is an online program so I am able to complete my homework at my convenience (This just happens to be at night when Barrett goes to sleep). I also allow 1-2 hours during the weekend to work on any school projects. In addition to working on homework at night, I also do the social media/marketing and blogging for our family business. I keep a running list of “to do” items and hammer them out as I can.
As you can tell, the day to day schedule can be a bit hectic. The above doesn’t even describe the fact that my husband is an Athletic Director and Coach. This means there are sporting events to attend, late nights to accommodate, and other school functions. Fall is especially crazy for our family!
I have found that there are some hacks that have helped us through the crazy schedule. I must tell you I use Walmart Pickup, and oh my goodness, it’s a GAME CHANGER!! There are no more shopping lists, no more 1-2 hour grocery trips, or fighting lines. I downloaded the Walmart Pickup app on my phone and as we run out of items, I add them to our cart. It even allows you to mark items as your favorite to easily find them next time. I am telling you what, this has totally saved us so much time. Once you are finished with your cart, you check-out, it asks you if you allow substitutions, and you schedule your pickup. Literally this is the best thing since sliced bread!! I very rarely have to go into a grocery store! Keeping up with the laundry is another must do. I try and do a load every other day that way we can enjoy our weekends as a family! Meal prep is also big in our family. We plan out our meals as we are doing our Walmart order. We look at our schedules and determine the meals for each day, this also includes Barrett’s lunches.
I write all this to say that anything is possible! Dedication, determination, organization, and family support system are a must in order to help achieve your goals!!