I remember once attending an evening lecture and reception when I was in college, and overhearing three of my professors’ wives commiserating about the days when their hubbies were in graduate school. From the stories they were swapping it sounded like it was a miracle all three couples made it through without death, divorce or disaster striking at least one of them – it sounded simply awful.
I didn’t fully comprehend what these wives were talking about until my own hubby went back to school shortly after our wedding, taking evening classes towards his MBA from Georgetown University in Washington DC.
To put it bluntly, the MBA work has been a strain on every single member of our family.
It’s incredibly difficult for my husband (although he makes it look easy). He works a long 9 hour day at work, leaving the house well before the sun shows up, then attends evening classes at Georgetown two or three nights a week. Then there’s the course reading, the homework, the group projects and presentations, the weekend group meetings, etc.
It’s tough on me, too. After caring for our bear cubs by myself for 10 hours, I crave that moment my husband walks in the door in the evening and the boys and I race for the first kiss and hug. The Hubs stabilizes us during food prep, dinner, bath, and bedtime. His calm, his sense of humor, his help and leadership make the afternoons and evenings so (as in soooooo) much smoother than the nights he’s away and I do it by myself. I miss him after the kids’ bedtime too – how do you think I got addicted to eating cereal for dinner and watching reruns of RHWONJ?
Well today is the “big day” for our family. The Hubs starts his third and final year of class work at Georgetown. It’s going to be the most grueling semester thus far, but I know we’re going to be just fine. We’ve learned a lot as a family about “dealing with the MBA”, and I’m confident we’ll be able to put into practice some of the survival skills we’ve learned these past two years.
Some of the things we’ve learned:
1. Communication is key. Not rocket science, communication is always key in marriage, but with the extra stress of school, we’ve found it helps so much if the Hubs prepares me ahead of time for the extra nights he needs to be away for group projects, or weekend study sessions. It gives me time to mentally prepare for my part of the work, and sometimes I can add in the extra field trip (Target clearance aisle anyone?), play date, or safari adventure (translate, Chick Fil A playground) into our schedule.
2. I can do it. I have new confidence in my ability to tackle the kids (not literally – usually) by myself. I’ve learned how to feed two babies their dinner at the same time. I’ve learned how to give them simultaneous baths without drowning either of them. I even know how to do their bedtime routines without getting either of them entirely bent out of shape from my attention on the other.
3. Realizing that I need projects and reading and things to work on too. I’m utilizing my library card a lot more – especially for home, health, and cook books. My blog has become an outlet for me to do some occasional creative writing. I’m also leading a ministry to 5th-10th grade girls at my church starting next month, so the Georgetown nights are when I can get my lesson plans for the church together. I’m also hosting at my home a once-a-month bible study for young mothers on Proverbs 31 topics. Another great way I can utilize a husband-less evening with awesome girl talk and fellowship.
4. Cherishing/protecting the time we do have together. We’re religiously guarded about our family time on the weekends. Sundays are the penultimate family day for us. In the fall, that means church, lunch, football, naps, and more football with chili and beer. Also the weekday evenings that the Hubs is home, I try to make sure dinner is extra yummy, the house is extra clean, and we’re able to relax and enjoy that precious time together.
5. Cereal dinners don’t help. I’m committing to making a normal family dinner on the nights Mac is gone… not feeding the kids leftovers and eating cereal after they are in bed. The boys still need to feel the stability of routine even when it’s not as fun as cooking for the Hubs. The boys deserve that and so do I.
So, as my little family launches into this final and most difficult stage of my husband’s degree, I’m recommitting to him, to our family’s future, and to our ability to help each other get successfully to the other side of May 2013. My mom once commented “each of you is pulling your extra weight in your own way.” It’s true. The whole reason we’re pursuing this degree is for the benefit of our family – trying to secure the best future we possibly can for whatever may come.
So Go Hoyas! Go MacGyver! Your number one cheering section is ready to launch into this final stage of MBA adventures with you.