The Carlson MBA as a Parent

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

There is no doubt that going to school while having children at home is a challenging feat, but not impossible.  As if life doesn’t move fast enough, throw school work in with two kids under the age of three and the months roll off the calendar.  As I write this post, I am currently half way through my MBA curriculum at Carlson and am living proof that it can be done, but getting this far has not been easy.  It’s been a slow progression of simple tradeoffs and establishing a routine that is developed over a few semesters.

Establishing a Routine:  
It’s no secret that kids need a routine to create order and establish self-discipline.  Oddly enough, this is exactly what you need as well.  I’ve found that this is the most effective way to carve out time to do school work during weeknights.  My routine involves getting home from work, starting dinner, sitting down with the family to eat, clean up, play and reading books before bed.  By following this routine the kids are in bed by 7:30 pm and I give myself until 9:00 pm for school work, but after 9:00 pm the quality of my work significantly decreases so I have to cut myself off!  Any extra time needed comes from sneaking away from the family on the weekend.

Simple Trade Offs:  
There is no doubt that tradeoffs have come as a result of going back to school.  Finding ways to strategically miss certain events, but also making time for others seems to be working well.  Unfortunately, this means less football on Sunday’s and multi-tasking when I do watch football.  This also means that I keep one night open for my wife to do things during a weeknight.  As much as we focus on how tough school is for us, you have to keep in mind your significant other is giving things up as well.  I’ve made it a point not to schedule classes during her book club night, or during her volleyball league.  Consequently, knowing where and what you can trade off before going into the MBA program will certainly help in the long run.
While going back to school with kids might seem daunting, keep in mind it will never get easier.  As I write this I am a little over halfway, established a routine and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

There’s no time like the present.

“You can't plan for everything or you never get started in the first place.” 
Jim Butcher, Changes

Family of 4 Smiling in the Snow