Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Should My New Domain Be??

I keep purchasing domains, installing Wordpress and then changing my mind!

I'm driving myself crazy - any good domain ideas?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


So I did find a job. (And good thing I didn't post while hunting because it was not pretty!)

And I did return to IM. (Corporate work, what was I thinking? 6 weeks at a well funded "start-up" put things in perspective.)

And I love Seattle! (It's my people out here.)

So I do have unfortunately early hours but I get paid nicely to sit around and think on the top floor of a downtown skyscraper with a view of the sound. Not bad. I'll take it.

And I do think Booth helped me come into my own as an old school fundamental investor. I do see a difference from pre-MBA. So the regrets are subsiding.

The kids are awesome ... absolute joy of my life.

I hope you all are well ... if anyone's checking.

To bed with me. Happy Friday.

So what did I want?

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others ... -W.E.B. Du Bois
During my time at Booth, in person and on this blog, I talked about the need for more resources and support for female student parents which sounds more burdensome than warranted. Really what I wanted and what I think many women in business want is normalization, which is simultaneously very simple and very challenging.

I unfortunately got off to a very bad start with the school because of my need to accommodate my newborn during LOE and as a result my first 48 hours at the school left me feeling unwanted, distrustful and not at all "normal". I did receive an apology but my sense of abnormality mounted as the school year progressed and the distaste for the childed among some classmates and staff became more apparent. (Consider my interview for a leadership position with CWiB in which I was asked whether I could handle the role given the fact that I had a child … oh, the irony.) Some students were lovely, others were oddly clueless (consider the first-year who asked me how long pregnancy lasted - 6 months, he ventured. I wish! I laughed. Then he went on to tell me about his 11 month old son … errr …) and some were downright mean. The worst came during my second year when I was pregnant. The incessant, often scathing comments about my girth were exhausting. On the one hand, it would have been strange to have no one comment on the fact that I was pregnant, on the other hand, that my entire existence revolved around my uterus was depressing. I just wanted to blend in.

Toward the end of my second year it occurred to me that this matter was not just about my experience as a student but also the experience of the future colleagues and employees of my more clueless or mean classmates. Why should a significant portion of the world's "future leaders" be so ignorant/disdainful of one of life's most fundamental experiences? And furthermore, as an employer itself, why wasn't Booth modelling better human resource practices? (That the school did not think to include a lactation room or provide childcare resources is understandable given the low number of female students with children but then I realized there were plenty of employees with children!)

It is a man's world. I say this without ill will - it has historically made sense to be so. But making it a human being's world requires more than just adding women to the mix and expecting men and childless women to understand the practical reality of birthing and bearing babies.

As I've said before, the only important difference between men and women is babies. All the other alleged differences are trivial. The baby factor affects all women, even if they never have children, as it weeds women out of the public realm. Accommodating women and their wayward uteruses (uteri?) is not about entering a new touchy feely world or lowering the bar, it's about finding clever ways to overcome the inescapable physical burden of motherhood. My pet theory is that women are more risk adverse than men because to possess a uterus is to live in a world of tremendous uncertainty. You have no idea when or if you will become pregnant, how the pregnancy will fare or how long it will last. You have no idea when labor will strike and how it will progress. Will breastfeeding come easily or become a nightmare? How will post-partum recovery evolve? How will your newborn take to the world? And god forbid you become pregnant unintentionally. Taking big career or financial risks is far more dangerous with these realities looming over your head.

I happened to run into a woman who had graduated from law school at BYU (yes, Mormons) and was in Chicago while her husband finished law school at the UoC. Consider these radical measures that BYU took to accommodate their female students. Women could bring a sleeping baby to class. They could request in advance videotapes of any class that would be missed or an audiotape of a class after the fact. If needed, they could come to campus and watch class live in a special family room while nursing or playing with their baby. These family rooms were study rooms with priority given to students (male or female) with children. Let's say you were in class with a sleeping baby which suddenly woke? Just leave class and head to the nearest family room and watch the class on t.v. Compare those attitudes to the experience of a female Booth student who received a lot of snide comments after her baby cried in the Winter Garden.

So what can/should business schools do?
  1. Drop the excuses - telling female students that you've never had to deal with the child thing before insulting and irrelevant. Well, now you are.
  2. Get real feedback. Don't just listen to the women who tell you everything is going great and groovy. Find the women who are pissed.
  3. Be radical! Be creative. Tell recruiters who give a pregnant student a hard time to go to hell. (Not, oh that's none of our business.) Tell staff who trivialize a new mom's needs to shape up or ship out. Tell women's groups who over politicize motherhood that they're no longer needed. Let women hear from all the women out there doing baby + work. Reassure women that their physical needs come before recruiters' needs or professors' needs or classmates needs'. Set up a proper mother's room already. Include families!! Help figure out childcare. Provide recordings of missed classes. Etcetera! (Do some brainstorming already.)
  4. And don't trivialize this - it's not a Mommy MBA already.
  5. Women have babies - it's normal. Now act like it is.

What everyone should know about breastfeeding

Try the following experiment:
  1. Set an alarm clock to ring every 2-4 hours around the clock.
  2. If you are at home when your alarm clock rings, stop what you are doing and a sit down for 15-30 minutes, pretending to have a small human being attached to your bosom.
  3. If you are not at home, find somewhere private where you can sit down for 15-30 minutes, pretending to have a whirring plastic contraption attached to your bosom (which you keep with you at all times outside of the house.)
  4. Repeat for about a year or so …
Hanna Rosin's The Case Against Breastfeeding in last April's Atlantic raised a lot of hackles. I read it and cried.

As I've alluded to in prior posts, the biggest shock for me about motherhood was how much I HATED breastfeeding … and, most of all, pumping. And how long I stuck with it anyway. Formula seems like a paltry substitute (physically and emotionally) for the real thing, but I wish that someone had given me the heads up that if you are planning to leave the house before your child's first birthday - breastfeeding is an incredible pain in the ass. It just is. Rosin's article captured my mixed feelings perfectly.

So if you are ever planning to bear babies, work with someone who bears babies or marry someone who bears babies, here is what you should know:
  • Lactation consultants (yes, I too snickered at first), use them soon and use them often!
  • Mothers are not milk on tap. This means, sans baby, often milk will not come out when you want it to and milk will come out when you don't want it to.
  • Milk supply may plummet unexpectedly.
  • Lactating breasts do not sleep.
  • God forbid you leave the house and forget your breast pump. Do. Not. Let. This. Happen. … Ever.
  • Breastpads! Keep 'em handy but Kleenex can work in a pinch.
  • Milk is perishable and bulky. Your pump is bulky and may require electricity. Logistics matter!
  • (As someone who spent virtually all her pumping life standing around in bathroom stalls) "Mother's Rooms" are not a luxury, they are the humane way to treat employees!
  • Working and breastfeeding is easiest done by the organized and informed. You are now informed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Happy Three Years!!

So I thought I would pen my last post as MaybeMBA today to make an even three years of blogging. (Crazy, reading that first post all this time later.) But I have a few more things to say on the MBA front before moving to a new theme and it sure ain't happening tonight!

Y flies in around midnight tonight. Yay!! I am very ready to go back to dual-parenting. And very excited to get back to the west coast. And finish packing already!! Sheesh. And to think I thought moving cross country back when I was childless was rough. Ha. I had no idea.

Happy July, everyone! I don't think I'll have my wits together for blogging until August ...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My perfect MBA

I'm having a lot of trouble summoning any interest to say anything about the MBA, which is just as well since my time is up. But for the sake of completion let's try the following thought experiment. What if anything would I change about my experience? What would make the "perfect MBA" for me?

Much of the Booth experience would remain. The flexible curriculum is non-negotiable for me. Emphasis on academics is important. Sharp student body a must. Gorgeous facilities would be sorely missed. But in addition
  • Primary emphasis on teaching. I wish every professor made those 3 hours in the classroom really count and held their responsibility as a teacher above all else.
  • Required well-taught class on ethics. Not in the hopes of reforming or deflecting the up and coming Skillings or Madoffs but because there is a lot of great emperically-based stuff out there to help us explore our responsibilities and rights and future "business leaders". It's not a side topic, it should be front and center of our education and can be approached through data and hard analysis rather than just a soft, feel-good conversation.
  • Requirement waivers. The curriculum would allow one to waive subjects in which a basic competency could be demonstrated through an exam (such as stats, econ, accounting). Yes, I am asking that the world's most flexible curriculum become even more flexible but a lady can dream!
  • Can't we all just be friends?? ;) It would have just been less competitive. My classmates behaved admirably but I felt like the system sort of ended up pitting us against one another, for employment, for grades, for scholarships, for recognition. It just felt tiring and unnecessary. It's amazing we all remained as supportive and kind to one another as we did given the circumstances.
  • Let's enjoy life! It just would have been more fun, more creative, more exploratory, more tasteful. In all honesty, it was a bit spirit crushing. Not too crushing but less uplifting than I was expecting.
And that would make a more perfect MBA for me.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baby Love (The Two Year Transformation)

So interestingly, it appears that my "Working vs. Stay at Home Mom Myth" entry (written mid-way through my first year) is one of my more popular posts. And though I might come across as quite certain and resolute, these sort of posts are in a way a pep-talk to myself to counterbalance my uncertainty and lack of resoluteness. In fact, the recent flurry of "mom" posts are an attempt to acknowledge more of my internal struggle and relax some of the cheerleading I forced myself into over the past two years lest I discourage anyone from taking a similar path.

The last Bertrand study tidbit I'd like to share is the finding that women's workforce participation dropped off not immediately after childbirth but about two years later. Fascinating. In my experience it takes about two years for the denial to wear off. Initially, the memory of your childless self is fresh in your mind. You're just waiting to "get back to normal". And then month by month, as you forget what it's like to be able to leave the house on a whim, or lose yourself in a thought for five hours uninterrupted, the permanence of the new arrangement becomes undeniable. Maybe you begin to like parenting more or start to allow yourself to hate your job more or just feel resigned to a new existence. But what does a woman with a 9 month old know about working motherhood? Not much frankly. And while I found my summer internship schedule a complete relief compared to the 24 hour slog of being in school, getting a bad grade is not really comparable to being wrong on a big trade. So I understand the limitations of my perspective over the past two years.

Interestingly, I find that I am enjoying Baby X's new babyness much more than I did the first time around. She is an easier baby I think, but mostly I am just a better parent. Parenting is a skill and having some recent experience makes a huge difference in my state of mind. So that's lovely. The thought that this is my last baby ever is very sad for me. Although these days the thought of parenting more than two babes gives me hives.

And then there is the baby love. With Y's absence, Baby Y is turning the full force of his affections on me. In every moment that I am not breastfeeding or diapering #2, I am either consoling or applauding #1. Our neat and tidy 30 minute bedtime routine (usually performed by Y and followed by a 11 hour respite) has turned into a 2.5 hour soap opera, followed by an encore at about 1:00 a.m. and another at 5:30 a.m. It's exhausting but their adoration is undeniably endearing as well.

p.s. I randomly discovered Jonniker's blog who, in turn, sent me over to the following heartbreaking blogs (here and here) which remind me in my moments of feeling completely overwhelmed with packing and preparing to move 2,000 miles and job hunting and momming two babies sans hubby that I don't have much to complain about

Friday, July 17, 2009


Fiscal responsibility. Four babies!
I love it.
Mentioned in today's WSJ and on my Feed Demon now.
Felt like sharing for no good reason. I'm not very up on econo-blogs so this is probably old news to thoughtful readers.
No energy for the longer post I had been planning to pen tonight. Cannot wait to live with husband again.
Trying to figure out if I should keep blogging once I leave Chicago and what my theme will be post-MBA ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I Like Hyde Park

(My average posts per week seems to be positively correlated with my stress levels, strangely. Also, I'm feeling very lazy about linking these days. You'll have to Google it all yourself. Sorry.)

I know Hyde Park isn't a popular destination for my classmates, but I am very glad that I made my home down here these two years. Aside from the incomparable convenience, it's actually a nice place to live, despite all the scare stories you might hear. True, I am very careful about where I walk after dark, and avoid it if at all possible. And I did have my car broken into in broad daylight. But I am realizing much to my suprise that I'm going to miss the neighborhood! (Err, my husband, however, will not.) For the single, childless types it leaves a lot to be desired, but I highly recommend the place to incoming students with children. There is a great student parent community here which means your kids will get to hang out with the kids of super smart interesting people from all over the world. (If you're into that sort of thing, smart, interesting people, that is ;)

Food options have been slowly getting better. I will absolutely miss Hyde Park Produce and there is a Treasure Island if you're so inclined. Istria Cafe competes head to head with Stumptown. (Would avoid Third World though unfortunately.) Ragun Cajun has oddly decent Indian food. Calypso Cafe is definitely worth a try. (Dixie Kitchen RIP.) Chant is very passable as an enjoyable night out. And I very much like the Alice in Wonderland feel of Park 52. I've rediscovered Noodles Etc and Medici, of course, provides a solid meal and some good Hyde Park history. Giordano's is getting a remodel but that would be my favorite local pizza joint. Not as big a fan of Pizza Capri and Edwardo's Natural Pizza. We have a Home Made Pizza and the reliable Potbellies. I'm a huge fan of the lunch special at Cedars. And you can get some seriously fantastic bagels at Z&H. And don't forget the really great deli sandwiches in the back at University Market.

All the old trees and parks and buildings are lovely. The houses get especially fancy schmancy north of Hyde Park Boulevard around Woodlawn. (Obama's neck of the woods.)

But Elizabeth Fama (yes, of that Fama), who co-authors this Hyde Park Progress blog, can give you an even more expert opinion.