One Down

Yesterday, Bart finished his last class of the semester. On Monday morning, he’ll take his last final, and – just like that – the first year of his MBA will be over.

I talked a little in December about my hesitations about an MBA (“hesitation” is a very mild word for the kind of intense mental angst I had any time we talked about an MBA over the course of 5 years), and how, once we finally made the decision, I felt really happy about the choice for Bart to go back to school and to move to North Carolina.

But I haven’t really talked all that much about what the MBA has really meant to our family.

For Bart, of course, it’s been the opportunity to do something he’s dreamed of for more than a decade. It also means he can move into a job he’s much happier about and gives him better opportunities for the rest of his career.

For me, it’s been a push to take my blog more seriously, and to take on the responsibility of providing for our family for these two years.

For the girls, it’s meant seeing a lot more of their dad, especially since he takes them for a couple of hours once or twice a week in the mornings while I work. Also, Ani no longer has to sleep in a bathroom, that lucky girl.

It’s given us the flexibility to to travel, to more equally balance the work/home responsibilities between us, and to really settle into our lives here in North Carolina.

Not to mention a chance to live in a house we love, meet a ton of delightful new friends and . . . oh yes, rack up some fairly impressive student loans (but let’s not dwell on that part).

(Also, although someone of the other MBA wives have mentioned how they never see their spouses and it’s so busy, I don’t feel that way at all. In the months leading up to the MBA, Bart was working on a client that dragged on for months longer than it was supposed to, regularly working until 7 or 8 or 9 p.m. and quite a few weekends too. So the MBA seems very cushy compared to that).

Occasionally, I get emails from readers with spouses considering going back to school. There’s usually that same fear of the unknown, the expense, the loss of income, and the move that I remember all too well.

I always want to write back and say, “THIS IS THE BEST THING WE’VE EVER DONE.”

Up until we actually moved, I swung wildly back and forth between feeling like, “yes, we should do this” and “no, what are we even thinking? Make this go away.”

But once we were here and Bart started school, I’ve never once felt like that.

I anticipated this being two years I would be glad we’d done once they were over, but really, I just hoped they would go as quickly as possible so we could move on with our lives.

Now, with one of those years behind us, I’m feeling like it’s all going too fast. This hasn’t been something to “get through.” It’s been one of the best years of my life.

(Not that I won’t be pretty happy when Bart starts making money again. But, that goes without saying).

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  • Reply Lauren April 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Needed to hear this! Let's hear your tips on packing up a house and moving across the country!

  • Reply Jessica April 25, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    My thoughts exactly. Well, about the "I LOVE B-SCHOOL" and the "this went way too fast" parts. So glad we ended up in the same place!

  • Reply Rebecca Lately April 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Going back to school is so daunting! My husband is going back this summer to finish up his master's in accounting and complete the CPA exam. I definitely won't be seeing much of him, since he can't quit working. It'll all be worth it, though!

  • Reply Kelsey April 25, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Ditto Jessica. Also, reading this makes me realize that there is a big part of me just wishes we had bagged that whole consulting thing those first two terms– I envy your smoother transition into school and the fact that Bart actually had time to breathe. But, you're so right, it's so cushy now! I never want to leave!

  • Reply Meg {Boo Boos & Briefcases} April 25, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    The time really does fly by. I can't believe it was only 2 years ago that my husband was choosing his program and now he's entering his last 2 weeks. We're both glad we took this huge step (immense sacrifices and student loans and all!!) but I'm definitely starting to count down the last few days with him!

  • Reply Rachel Parker April 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    My husband going to graduate school was VERY hard for my family. Especially for me as the task of being the breadwinner was really emotionally stressful, and I had to sacrifice the possibility of my career for a job that could support us. But you're right, there were a LOT of perks to it, too. The older I get the more I realize that situations are mostly what you make them, and having the right attitude can help immensely. I had the wrong attitude while my husband was in graduate school, but it was the right thing for us to go through for our marriage to get stronger.

  • Reply Heather April 25, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    beautifully said. This will be a piece for your family history collection

  • Reply Micha April 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    This is so true and so funny to me all at once. We are three years into a PhD with 2ish more to go (all dependent on how research goes). I expected to work and help financially, but that didn't work out so we are in that "impressive student loan" situation too. Goodness knows it was terrifying – but I wouldn't change it either. I think it's been an amazing opportunity and we've made some wonderful friends who are also in the middle of grad school uniqueness. I still bounce back and forth between the "something to get through" and "best years of my life" feelings and I'm sure I will until we're done. We aren't as lucky as you are to have more time together during this period but it still is somehow really wonderful. I wouldn't trade it either.

  • Reply Melanie@Crafty Cupboard April 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I am sort of dreading Mike starting a real job in May, because that means I will see less of him! School really has been wonderfully difficult but seriously, the change in him and in our relationship is tangible. We just figured out our student loan payments last night… which is probably why I slept so poorly 😉 I am so excited for you and Bart to get to the second year- it is so much easier!!

  • Reply Shanté April 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I think you pretty much summed up my feelings on our decision and our time spent while my husband was getting his MBA. Except the whole living with my husband's family while he was in school. That was a big sacrifice, but a blessing because I could stay home with our child and not stress too heavily about money. The MBA was definitely the best decision we ever made. Now we're two years out from school living in Charlotte happily. Totally worth it. I may have missed where you're moving for the summer, but good luck with the move and internship!

  • Reply Paige Flamm April 25, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    This is refreshing to hear that Bart doing the MBA really worked out well for you guys! We're debating on whether or not Derek wants to do his MBA full time starting next spring or work and do it part-time, such a stressful decision, but hearing that it worked so well for you guys is refreshing! Congrats on a year down, one more to go!

  • Reply Feisty Harriet April 25, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Half over! Yay! And so many good things in such a short time.


  • Reply runtspickins April 25, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    This has nothing to do with your blog post (although I did read it) but WAH! For some reason I am no longer getting emails about new posts with the blogs I follow!!! I used to get about 80 emails a day and now I'm getting around 20. Gr! I wonder what happened?! (Not that you would know… lol) I check your blog regularly so when I saw you posted something new and I didn't get an email about it, I knew something was wrong. I follow a lot of other blogs too but I can't remember them all to check them all individually. Gr!! JAJHVNAVIURNAFVAFAKLHVEKH Why me?!?!

    (If responding, please email or comment a blog post of mine.)

  • Reply Stefanie Hathaway April 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    We've had a great time in school too! Although, Scott is working full time as well, so some of those benefits don't necessarily apply to our situation. We enjoyed our life before, but a fresh start in a new place is kind of nice!

  • Reply Camille Millecam Whiting April 25, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    What a great perspective! When my husband (bf and fiance for most of the time) put me through my MBA he felt like it boosted our intellectual conversations and our quality time together, even though it was limited. Thanks for another positive view of it- because it really is an amazing thing for an entire family to have someone earn a master's degree!

  • Reply Kristi April 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Been thinking a lot about this as Blaine graduated this weekend. I am so glad we went back to law school. Not happy about the dent, but what a precious three years for our family- we've never been happier and had some really unique opportunities! Not excited for the first student loan payment though… Eeek!

  • Reply Kristi April 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm


  • Reply Betsy April 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I earned my MBA when I was still single with no kids, so I really can't compare at all to the juggling you and Bart do. However, my MBA program (Carnegie Mellon) remains to this day THE BEST THING I ever did! So glad you are loving it, too.

  • Reply Gen April 29, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    I am so glad you posted this! I am still in the fear/dread phase but hopeful to be where you are at this time next year. 🙂

  • Reply Meghan June 2, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Definitely in favor of more education 🙂 Student life is fun.

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