First Person: How I Manage Four Jobs, Parenting, and College

I’m a single mother with two children at home right now and I manage to work four part time jobs, attend college full time, and still have time for parenting. It isn’t always easy and there are moments when I lock the bathroom door and have a good cry because I feel so exhausted. I just try to keep the goals I have in mind, remember who I’m working so hard for (the children and myself), and have one day each week just for myself.

This kind of schedule isn’t for the faint hearted; it’s like walking a tightrope, but here’s how I pull it off without hitting the ground.

I currently work five and a half hours per day in a sales office; this allows me to take the children to school, pick them up, and provides over half of our income. I also write for a couple of websites from home, rent out four homes, and help my mother run a small business. I manage any problems with rentals on weekends, devote one night per week to writing, and if possible I delegate tasks concerning our small business to others. All together, I am currently working around 45 hours per week and have an income of around $75,000 per year.

I’m finishing my Bachelors Degree in Business Management online with the University of Phoenix. There are deadlines for assignments as with any traditional college and I have to put in a certain amount of time each week, but I can ‘go’ to class at any time; even the middle of the night. I devote three nights per week, after the children have gone to bed to studying. If I have a big assignment due and haven’t finished, I spend all day on Sunday catching up; which i don’t like to do because it cuts into family time. There are some nights that I get about 3 hours of sleep, drink two pots of coffee, and glue a smile on my face for work, but it’s worth it to me to provide a good life for my family and accomplish my dreams.

Parenting comes first in my book. No matter what I am doing, I will drop it for the children if they have a football game, choir practice, school dance, need help, or just some time with mom. There are a lot of days that I have to leave work, save a paper that’s half written, or make myself take a break and go out with the kids. Sometimes, our house is a wreck and the yard looks like a volcano of toys erupted in it, but we do our best. When all is said and done, I don’t think I’ll look back on my life and wish I had spent more time cleaning my house. I think, instead, I’ll look back and feel proud of how hard I strived to reach my goals.

The hardest thing about balancing work, college, and family life is making sure there is quality time with family. Children are only young once and need a lot of attention to grow into well rounded, confident, kind people. I feel that I’m doing the very best I can in that regard, and as long as I keep their needs foremost in my heart that we’ll make it as a family.

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