I am a creature of habit. Since an early age, I realized that I thrive on routine and consistency and that I do not like surprises of any shape or form. The structure to life that I pursued served me well for many years; it guided me through my youth, the college years, early adulthood, and when I became a stay-at-home mother of two. However, no amount of routine or structure could have prepared me for the shock of finding myself a divorced, single mom after 13 years of marriage. My world went from steady and composed to what felt like a three-ring circus.
It was during this time that I was inspired to go back to school. I had my bachelor’s degree and a few years of work to display on my resume, but I was a stay-at-home mom until I found myself in a position where I needed to provide for myself and my kids. I knew that taking the next steps and working on a master’s degree would open the doors needed to provide the life I felt God calling me to for my children. So, I decided to pursue my Master’s in Organizational Leadership through CCU Online.
While finances were a concern when heading back to school, my primary anxiety centered around how I would be able to manage the time it would take to be successful in classes while keeping my kids the priority. How was I going to juggle being a full-time mom, full-time employee and full-time graduate student?!? Even one of these areas of life comes with tremendous responsibility!
I developed my time management strategies over time and found the following to be the most impactful and productive:
- Schedule family time.
- Prioritize and list out the tasks that have an immediate need or can be completed long term.
- Set a timer for tasks that take focus and need to be as distraction-free as possible. This helped the kids understand the priority of what I was doing but that it was temporary.
- Assign age appropriate chores for the kids which allowed me to manage other household tasks.
- Wake up early before the kids and get chores/tasks done.
- Set aside Sunday Night Prep: All breakfast/lunches/snacks/dinner prep for the week with kids’ help.
- Set aside pride and ask for help.
While these “tricks” help juggle the tasks and events of daily life, it is so important to remember our humanness. It is OK that we cannot get everything done that we feel we should in one day. Ultimately, it comes down to grace; embracing the grace that God extends to us as his children and living in the freedom of that gift. This is not a free pass that permits us to not fulfill the vocations God has entrusted to us. It is the recognition that we are a work in progress and cannot extend this grace to ourselves. It is only our relationship with God through the faith given to us by the Holy Spirit that allows us to receive the gift of grace.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV).
The juggle of life is real, but praise God that he covers our insufficiencies with his grace and redeems every aspect of our lives.
Rebekah Creeden is the Business and Project Coordinator for the Office of Enrollment in Colorado Christian University’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies, where she serves by managing new and current enrollment initiatives in order to enhance the student experience. She lives in metro Denver with her two children.