Sunday, August 03, 2008

The First Year of Motherhood

It's hard not to resort to cliches on this topic. Yes, there are so many hard bits with parenthood but it is a delight like none other. I can't think of any more original way to put it. I am really, really glad that I had Baby Y just prior to attending the GSB and would highly recommend it to all in the position to make the timing work. While it definitely changes the MBA experience and makes it hard to be at the top of your game, the MBA is a place where you can afford to have diverted attention to some extent. And then you don't have to enter the job market terrified about when you'll be able to have kids.

Ok - so what have I learned on the mama front this year? You know I can't resist sharing ...

Breastfeed for a year and you'll lose every inch of "baby weight" and more without lifting a finger. Everyone talks about how good it is for the baby - that's all well and good but even better is what it does for you. Let me tell you, you are not "eating for two" when prego. Zygotes don't need much in the way calories but growing babies need 300-500! I love it.

Jogging strollers are amazing. I wish I had bought one 6 months ago. I get exercise and Baby Y gets to see the sights. I recommend the Ironman - straight up original version. Costs so much you'll feel obliged to use it.

You will excel at nothing in the early years. I feel like I'm just barely keeping up with life most of the time. Just strive for the basics.

Women have babies and careers. Virtually all the women at the fund I'm at this summer have kids. For some reason, pre-baby I felt so terrified about how to make it all work and whether what was possible when and how and where. You just make it work. Pick the right organization and all will fall into place. You are allowed to have a great career and a great life. As you may know, I think this whole working vs. stay at home mom war is bunk. It strikes me that women who are in jobs they hate or aren't all that excited about the money making process anyway tend to want to stay home. And the others don't, and that works just fine.

But it's harder to socialize. I think the hardest thing about having a baby in an MBA program is how hard it is to socialize with other students. I get so tired of social events being held in bars. I wish that there were more family friendly events. It's a similar story at work most of the time. And - given the value of relationships in the whole career saga - this is the biggest price to be paid for parenthood in my mind. I'd love to see the GSB do more family oriented events.

And it gets harder as they get older. When Baby Y was a wee thing, he hardly noticed when I left, now he notices and he is pretty pissed about it. Luckily he's asleep when I leave in the morning this summer. It's sad but he still loves me and he has a wonderful grandma that he gets to hang out with all day. But leaving a sobbing babe is a crappy feeling.

Father love. A friend with a baby similar to Baby Y's age came for a long weekend visit last month with her whole family. She's a stay at home mom and her boyfriend works like a crazy man to make ends meet (hence long hours away from home). While it was obvious that her little one had a great relationship with both of them I was struck by the fact that having one working and one at-home parent meant that my friend understood her baby's rhythms and needs far better than her boyfriend. While this made sense, it was her "job", I was grateful for the fact that Y and I share parenting 50/50 (as best as possible). Not just because it's nice to have someone else change diapers half the time (!) but because I don't have to explain to Y what's going on with his own son.

Family ties. I was nervous that having a child might mean the end of my marriage, but happily, despite more than a few irritable marital moments, it makes us feel closer. Sharing this strange and amazing process together is fantastic. Not to mention how fun it is for the grandparents and aunties and uncles. Babies just make family life more interesting.

Childcare is bloody expensive. We pay $2,000 per month which is more than I've ever spent on anything in my entire life. (Oh, yeah, except for my tuition ...) So it goes ...

Seeing Baby Y at the end of my workday is bliss. I can't wait to have another.

5 comments:

HappyBunny said...

Hi, MaybeMBA, just want to drop by to say hi, see how are you doing. :) Thanks for the post. I have been thinking that I should just not have kid all my life. Sounds so hard...

Anonymous said...

Great post!!!. I am this anonymous admirer of this blog. I have few questions regarding GSB. Since GSB does not any core and all courses are flexible, how does group projects work? Is it like one group for one course? I dont seem to get it. I will be glad if you can answer.

MaybeMBA said...

hey, happybunny - nice to hear from you.

howdy, anonymous - you pick groups for each class right at the beginning of the quarter. some classes you turn in joint assignments, some classes you study together but turn in individual assignments. typically, groups are 3-4 people but can be as small as 2 or as large as 6, depending on the class. in the first quarter, when you don't know anyone - you join up pretty randomly (though some people have gotten to know each other through Random Walks or Orientation) but as the quarters go by you can try to pair up with friends. It's nice because you will have about 20 different study groups over the 2 years at the GSB which means you get to meet more people (including part-time students) and experience a very wide range of personality types and figure out how to make groups work despite ending up with a less than ideal situation. I liked being able to choose my own group. hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Maybemba. Your post on motherhood is so factful.

Reuben South said...

I'm soon to be married and not quite ready yet for children so I've made it a priority to get through school and hopefully a job before anything comes along. I've been earning my MBA Degree while I work full-time and my soon-to-be wife is currently hunting down her career of choice. We think it would be best if she stayed home with the children when the time comes, but everything is subject to change depending on what happens down the line. There will definitely be children in our future.