I wake up in the morning feeling like P.Diddy, until I hear what I consider one of the most beautiful yet most irritating words in the whole world. “MOM!”. That is normally when I look at the time, roll over, and try my hardest to go back to whatever dream that had been flooding my sleep. Unfortunately, because my mind abrasively reminds me that it is a school day, that becomes a very short-lived goal. As much as I would love to play hooky, I know that by doing so I will not be able to get the grade that I need to continue pursuing the degree I’m after. Plus, I have three smaller versions of myself looking up to me as an example on how to do this thing we call life. Once reaching this resolve, I put on my first hat of the day as “Sergeant Mom” and gather my recruits to get ready for the day. That is when the fun begins with things like; breaking up sibling rivalry, taking away electronics, and redirecting concentration so that everyone is dressed, fed, and ready to go. If I make it out the house by 8:00 in the morning, that is an accomplishment that I deem miraculous and my first win of the day.
After dropping the kids off at their destinations, I in turn put on my hat as an “Overachieving Student” and make my way to my own school. If I had not ended up at Century College, I do not know if I would have survived taking the number of classes I have now. The teachers have been more than understanding and willing to work with me despite my crazy schedule that is always changing. For a while a typical day for me was; working a 12-hour night shift, sleeping an hour in my car parked outside my aunt’s house, driving my kids to their destination, going to school, transporting my sister home from school, trying to take an hour nap and/or trying to get some homework done before heading into work for another long shift. If I was even able to make it to class at all, that was and still is considered another win I am always ecstatic about.
Speaking of changing schedules, I have just recently transitioned back into the “Employee Hat” of what I also call a pay as you go Temp Worker. In other words, I am in-between assignments until one becomes available that meets all my needs as a student, parent, and sole provider in my household. Although I sometimes find myself in roles that either do not pay or reflect my actual value within the workplace, I have learned to appreciate any job that is willing to give me an opportunity to take care of my family. A trait that I have learned runs deep within my family and circle of friends who have had to learned how to cope with the juggling act of going from one hat to another.
There are many important people in my life who I consider an amazing inspiration to continue to reach for my own greatness. Especially when it comes to education, there are two people in particular that I really admire. They are my cousins Briellen and Courtney Griffin who are a married couple, with three children, and multiple degrees between the two of them. I am constantly asked how I manage to balance it all, so this question seemed perfect to ask these same two people that I look up to. Their response was a combination of what had driven them to pursue higher education, and gave them the strength to keep going to completion. Individually, this consisted of starting with choosing a degree that was influenced by their upbringing, and/or catering to self-love. As they continued their journey from one degree to the next, it became a devotion of love and commitment to each other and their children. Their ultimate goal being to lay down a foundation that would help frame the kind of world they wanted to live in, and contribute to. This meant leaning on the support of their family, continued practice of self care, and keeping their eyes on the goal.
Although self-care may at times lag for myself, I know I couldn’t balance any portion of my life if it weren’t for three major factors in my life. Just like my cousins, at the top of the list is the support of those in and around my circle. Not far behind is my own ambitious nature and my undying faith in a Higher Power. Looking back over the many conversations I have held with others; it seems that support is typically the number one ally in being a successful student. That said, to answer that forever question of how balance is obtained for those of us with a family, the answer I feel is most correct than anything else is having support.