I am a working mom with an MBA.
Being a working mom with a masters degree is an important differentiator in a competitive corporate landscape where women are already at a disadvantage before having children.
I finished my undergrad in the Fall of 2006, a semester ahead of time, with the hope of going to law school.
As they say, life got in the way and I ended up taking a full-time job at the company I am still employed at today. I took the Spring of 2007 off from school to decide what I wanted to do next. I was not convinced I wanted to stay in the business world but when I learned of a work program that paid $25k over 6 years to receive my MBA, I jumped at the chance.
It took me three years of night school to complete my MBA, from the Fall of 2007 through the Spring of 2010. I worked full-time during this time.
I graduated on May 19, 2010, a very significant day in my life.
Has anyone ever heard someone say “it’s just an expensive piece of paper?”
Let me tell you, that is an ignorant and condescending statement and it makes me want to shoot back “are you jealous?”
Taking a step back, I think the reason anger arises in me when someone says that to me is because it takes perseverance to finish your degree. It is not easy. It is not polite to tell someone who spent 7 years in college (while working) that their efforts were in vain because all they received was a piece of paper.
Frankly, it also isn’t true. I received a lot more than a piece of paper. I learned what hard work meant. I learned what exhaustion was when I left the house at 7:30am, worked until 5:30pm, went to class from 6-9:30pm and did not arrive home until after 10pm. My weekends were spent having 12 hour-long homework marathons.
You know what else it prepped me for? Being a mom! I already knew what it was like to see something through when it was tough! I knew that when Lydia wasn’t sleeping in the first few months that I could push through it because I knew what long days were like.
I try very hard not to judge women in a different circumstance than me. I never want a stay-at-home mom to think I look down upon her for not working because I honestly believe her calling in life is to do something completely amazing for her family.
However, please do not judge me because I received an education and use it everyday in my career. I want my daughter to know there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a family and finishing her education. I feel fortunate every day that I pushed myself to finish before I had babies. For any mom or working mom out there who is currently pursuing their degree… many kudos to you! You are a special breed who take perseverance to a whole new level.
In hindsight, the only thing I would change are those pesky student loans. One of life’s lessons to pass on to the next generation, that’s for sure!