MIA Thanks to an MBA

I’m not sure what I thought getting my MBA would be like. Whatever I thought, I’m certain in this moment that the reality of working toward my graduate degree, while working full time and being a mom and wife, Cub Scout leader and Sunday school teacher…is actually much, MUCH worse than I imagined.

I wore Betty Boop Christmas socks to work today. In public. Sure did. My son wore the same pair of pants to school two days this week, unwashed. (Don’t tell him…he doesn’t know.) I’m fairly certain I hear my son coughing down the hall right now, but I would have no idea if he’s sick because I literally haven’t seen him in four days. There are dirty dishes on my counter. 

Today I worked 9 hours. I studied and did my homework for an hour while on my lunch break. I studied for two and a half hours after work….and then took a three hour quiz. I came home with everyone asleep, ate dinner alone, took a shower and now I lie here, exhausted but entirely unable to sleep. My mind is still racing, thinking about alpha and standard deviations and variances. Ugh. 


And this is an ordinary day these days. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Five more weeks of Statistics 601 and then one summer session and then…finally, a summer break. I’m thinking baseball, beaches and camping. Sun on my skin. My children’s voices in my ear and their hands in mine. I’m thinking of my husband’s handsome face and seeing him with his eyes open and conscious…that’ll be nice. 

I don’t share to complain. This is my choice, my privilege. My hope is that this work will benefit my family. That my children will learn what grit and determination look like. That I will grow in knowledge and capabilities. That I will learn exactly what I’m made of. This journey is difficult and I truly couldn’t be doing it on my own. My husband, parents, in-laws…without them, an MBA would be impossible for me. 

So tonight, rather than complaining that my house is chaos, my laundry is undone, that I’m utterly drained….I will be thankful. Thankful for my family who are helping me to achieve my goals, thankful for my friends who encourage me every single day, thankful for the capacity and drive to learn. Thankful for technology and education. Thankful that tomorrow is a rare occasion that I get to curl up with my family and relax for our weekly Hafele Family Movie Night. Thankful for another day in this crazy world living this crazy life.

By the way, I’m down to only my fuzzy, penguin striped socks…so when you see me wearing them tomorrow, don’t judge me. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Enjoy the time you have with those that mean the most and don’t take a moment for granted!

Priorities Heal Disappointment 

Can we talk just for a moment about priorities? Today is a day that I need to talk about this…about not only making choices about what is important but accepting the consequences of those choices. The logical part of my mind knows that when we realize our priorities, we inevitably miss out on something else (although that doesn’t ever stop me from trying to have it all). But when the inevitable opportunity cost is paid, when I reach my capacity in one form or another, it just about breaks my heart. Does anyone else struggle with this?

This weekend I made choices that ultimately led to a less than desirable grade on my exam today. I know I could have studied harder; I could have taken more time to prepare. I didn’t do anything wrong. I chose to catch up on rest. I chose to spend time with my husband and friends. I chose not to miss my son’s Boy Scout meeting or church with my children. While none of those choices were bad choices, those are the choices that led me to feel disappointment today.

This is my point. There is too much in this life. Too much to do, too many places to be, too many people to please. I come back to the fact that, not only do I have to have my priorities straight, I also have to be okay with the consequences of those priorities. 

I’m learning that our priorities not only can change throughout the stages of our lives, but that they should change. When we take on new responsibilities our priorities must shift. We must take inventory of our to-do’s and make decisions about what falls where. I’ve recently taken on the responsibility of earning my MBA and it’s radically changed my life (and the lives of those I love). Things that used to be important to me (exercise, rest, fun) have taken a backseat and I’ve reorganized my life to meet this goal. 

For me always, God comes first, then my family, then my job. But now, after those absolutes, comes school. It comes before all other responsibilities, wants and needs. It is hard. It is hard to sacrifice and give up so much. But it is what I signed up for, and it is what I have to do.

Today I feel as though I let myself down. But I know I was not prepared because  I spent my afternoon with my son at his Boy Scout meeting. Because I spent the evening with my husband and best friend feeling like a real, actual person for the first time in weeks. Because I went to church and spent time there. Because I wanted to make it to my son’s basketball practice. These are the choices that led to less study time. While it is so disappointing to not meet my own expectations for school, I have to be okay with the choices I made. I have to be okay with the priorities that I set out for my life. I have no one to blame but myself and I have to learn to roll with the punches, knowing that I’ll find a way to make it work better the next time around.

I share this because we all have too much on our plates. We all have sacrifices and we all make choices. Sometimes the consequences of our choices hurt. Sometimes we are limited in our ability. But those moments of hurt are the moments when we have to look back at our priorities. Sometimes what we had because of those priorities…because of the choices our priorities led to (in my case a pie to the face by 4 Boy Scouts and my stinker of a daughter)….the gifts we were given in place of what we missed are actually worth what is sacrificed. 

I hope that makes sense. 

Sometimes coming to terms about what we can’t do is actually about knowing what we did do instead. At the end of the day, if we look back and can’t feel better after this type of review, maybe it’s time to look at our priorities and realign. When our priorities are in order, we know that what we’ve gained with our choice is so great, that we can be okay with what we’ve lost. Our priorities can actually heal our disappointments. That realization is an amazing gift for me. I hope it is for you too.

MBA – Day 1

I started my first class for my MBA today….Masters of Business Administration…Graduate Degree…it sounds so nice, so fancy. Right? I always thought I would get my Masters. It’s always been a part of my plan, at the back of my mind, tapping me on the shoulder, saying “hey you, busy wife, mom and employee, remember me??? We have work to do.” 

At four and seven, my kids are quickly becoming self-sufficient. The days of diapers and bottles are long gone. They can feed themselves, bathe themselves, dress themselves. So there’s no time like the present to put a little focus on me and my goals, right?


I vaguely recall what it was like to work on my Undergraduate Degree when Jace was a small child. I was working full time and commuting  to school at night. I remember spending weekends parked at the computer. I remember the late nights and early mornings. I remember missing the parties and gatherings because I had to study. So I should have known what was coming…how quickly we forget.

I had my first night of materials tonight. I completed my first assignment, hit the discussion board and began to study our first chapter. I worked on my course from 5:00 until I called it quits at 9:30. The material was fascinating and challenging and overwhelming. I felt parts of my mind come alive that I haven’t exercised in years. I focused only on the task at hand and I couldn’t have been more intrigued and excited. I’ve always been a real nerd for school….

Then I came home and found my whole sweet family asleep. I crawled into my kids’ bed and kissed their heads. They didn’t even stir. I ate and I lie restless now. 

It dawns on me…so this is what this is going to be like. This is what being in school is like. It is so strange that you can talk about a reality over and over again, but until you experience it, until you feel it, you don’t know. I’ve been away from my kids for exactly one night. So why I lie in bed, my heart squeezed tight, tears sliding down my cheeks, I have no idea. It must be the realization that there are going to be many nights like this. Nights that I don’t get to do their homework with them, hear their mealtime prayers, help them into their PJs, read them their bedtime stories. Those moments are my favorite moments in the world. Missing those moments truly breaks my heart.


So why? Why am I doing this to myself? Why is it so hard to be everything you want to be? The best mom, wife, daughter, friend, the brightest student, hardest working employee, the most loving Christian…why can’t we be all things to all people? Or better yet, why do we feel like we have to be? 

I’ve always wanted to get my MBA. I love to learn and grow and stretch myself beyond my limits. I certainly made things hard on myself choosing to start my family first and complete my education second. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. I wouldn’t give up all that I have even if it hurts to do things my way at times.

My hope is that my children see what is possible. That my accomplishments mean more to them than my time away sacrifices. My hope is that when my kids have a goal or potential they do whatever it takes to reach it. I hope they see how important it is to never stop learning, growing, pushing yourself. I hope that they are proud of their mother. And I hope they know how very much I love them. 

So I have one night down. Approximately 917 nights to go. No sweat.