â€œDiana, how do you do it? I can barely handle myself at this point.â€, her eyes surrounded with dark circles looked puzzled. My dark circles stretched into a smile, â€œYou know, itâ€™s easier for me. I know that I have limited time to do something, so I just do it and submit. I donâ€™t revise.â€
MBA requires a lot of time and dedication. Itâ€™s not so much about the content being academically difficult, it is more about having to spend a lot of time working on different projects. (Luckily, somehow it always happens that all the deadlines are in the same week.) In the beginning a lot of people asked me how could I manage both family and workload that was difficult even if you were alone. The thing was that having my family around really enabled me to focus on the important stuff. When I have a lot of time to do something, I tend to lose a lot of it on procrastination. On the other hand, if I know that I only have two hours to finish the report, I have to be really focused to do it. No Youtube, no party, no walking around, itâ€™s just me and the report. And after two hours, the report is there.
I donâ€™t really think itâ€™s an exclusive mommy thing. And I donâ€™t think that this MBA is more difficult for me because I am a mommy. I look at my colleagues and most of them also have their own â€œbabiesâ€ outside of the class. Some are starting a business, some are preparing for marathons, some are attending football matches, some are gardening, and one is even running a successful political career. Their â€œbabiesâ€ are also important to them and they also donâ€™t feel happy if they donâ€™t have time for them. They need their “babies” because they make them happy and they help them make it through the tough times.
And yet, the real babies, children, are still seen as a bigger threat for the career, instead of seeing them as making mommies more efficient and focused. We all know the unfavorable statistics about mommies in business â€“ underpaid, not promoted, finding it difficult to find or change jobs. Why is it so? If my child makes me happy and productive, just as training for a marathon makes my colleague happy and productive, why should I be penalized for that?
Being a mommy is wonderful. It has its ups and downs and it just makes everything in life feel more intense â€“ happiness is more intense, worry is more intense. It makes you feel more alive. It makes you relax. It makes you focus. And that helps you do a better job. And I shouldnâ€™t be penalized for being better in my job, right?
P.S. I have to make a little bit of PR for my MBA mommies. There are four of us in class, with five children. We all have the same assignments and the same time as everyone else in class. And yet, I donâ€™t believe it is a coincidence that all four mommies are in the upper half of the class ranking*. All of them are above average. Maybe there really is something in having our little monsters around… 🙂
*Disclaimer: the sample size of four is really small and the grades are of course not an ideal thing for making comparisons, because they matter more to some people than others and this can distort the comparison.Â