Written by: Catherine Scrivo Baker, MBA ‘23
Pursuing an MBA is a challenge. Period. I had heard this from relatives and friends, but until I was in the thick of my first semester, the challenges had never been so real.
Now, take all of what I just said, and apply it to parenting—it’s very similar.
Generally, life is a balancing act. It takes a lot of skill and determination to survive as a single individual. Add a high-level degree and/or young humans to the mix and the stakes become much higher.
Over the past four months, I have been balancing many things. I often picture myself in a circus ring spinning many plates and, truth be told, I have dropped a few. Regardless, I finished my first semester as a full-time MBA and a parent (while also working part-time) and have the following words of advice:
- Find help.
Whoever you ask, be it your partner, parents, siblings, friends, or even hired help, make sure you have a strong support system before starting the MBA. Only you can know exactly how much help you will need, but do not be afraid to ask your support system. The MBA program requires a lot of time, effort, and focus. There will be little time on a regular week-night basis to do the usual tasks that come with domesticity. Let your support system know you need help with laundry, making dinner, bedtime, etc.
- Drop perfectionism.
Maybe this is not a problem for you, but it has always been for me. It would be great to “have it all,” but that is not practical. Expect that you will not be the “perfect” parent during this time (and hopefully, you already realize that this concept does not exist). There will be missed play dates, practices, parties, etc. You are working on you, and that is just as important. Ask your support system to step in and assist with this specifically. It takes a village, so start your child’s network early.
- Listen actively and attentively.
After a long day of juggling many things, I love to come home and talk with my daughter. It is important for me to hear her take on the day, what she found important, what upset her, or what made her excited. Giving your full attention and listening about their day will not take very long, but it will help them feel confident in knowing that their Mom/Dad cares.
- Plan time together.
At least once per week, my daughter and I go on a date, just the two of us. This gives my partner a break, but also gives us time to catch up and bond. Sometimes it’s a special event, other times it’s lunch and a Target run. Either way, she knows that it’s coming up and always confirms it’s on the schedule.
In some ways, I feel like parenting set me up for success within the MBA program because I started already having strong organization, planning, and time management skills. I felt focused on my goal and able to prioritize what is most important. MBA programs are meant to challenge individuals into growth. Parenting does the same.
Bio – Catherine Scrivo Baker graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Buffalo with a BA in Art History and French. Catherine has worked within art museums since 2011 and currently works at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery as a Collections Registrar. She is pursuing her full-time MBA from UB’s SOM to further her analytics, operational, and leadership skills. Her academic and professional affiliations include Phi Beta Kappa and Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists. She is a born and raised Buffalonian who resides in Colden with her husband and 8-year-old daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time in nature, practicing Pilates and yoga, knitting, and cooking.