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The Analyst Mom: How to Reconcile Data and Parenting

My Noam was born on March 14. All Pi Days are great, but this was the best. A perfect day.

I’m an Analyst. I am a problem solver. I know how to define goals, live up to challenges, cross bridges. This is what I do. I decided to take the same approach with my child. How complicated could it be? You define your goals and KPIs, measure your performance, improve what needs improving and reach your target. Be the perfect mom to the perfect child.

Sounds simple, right?

Take diapers, for instance. I can calculate how many diapers an average baby goes through. A baby urinates every 20 minutes during the first three months. During the first year, the baby will go through 2,700 diapers. I’m sure I can use this input somehow, can’t I? And obviously my Noam will be able to hold it a bit longer, right?

Another example: Typically, babies begin sitting up sometime between 4 and 7 months and they start walking at 12 months. Between 12 to 18 months they start to talk. If I talk to Noam all day long and read Shakespeare to her every evening, she will start speaking earlier for sure, wouldn’t she? And if we practice yoga and pilates there’s no way she won’t walk earlier either. Easily!

Soon enough I found out that where motherhood begins, sometimes the analyst needs to step aside; that no matter how great of a mom I’ll be, or how perfect of a wife I am; that no matter if I cook three meals a day and tuck in my little one exactly on time. Sometimes reality is a bit more complicated. Sometimes her tummy will just ache. Sometimes she will just want to be held. And it doesn’t matter what I anticipated or the calculations I’ve been through.

Boy, I tried. I really did try to break down life to simple data-driven questions. I tried laying her in bed with and without a bunny. I tried sitting by her side and standing by the door. I tried to prepare the bottle in advance as well as on the spot. I performed all the AB tests you can think of.

I’m happy to announce that I’ve come to an indisputable conclusion: None of these parameters have a significant impact on whether my baby will wake up at 4am or not. All the KPIs in the world, all the parameters – combined or divided, mean nothing when it comes to a little girl who wants to be held by her mother.

It took almost a year, but I finally discovered that parenthood and data-analysis are not always compatible. The task is by no means straightforward and some things are simply beyond our control. I realized that I’ve entered a world of uncertainty, a constant dilemma. I also realized that I’m not entirely certain that I want to measure my daughter and myself based on categories and parameters.

At this point I can say I have learned only one truth: In a world of love without limits, KPIs are meaningless. And sometimes, I need to take a break from being an analyst and just enjoy being a mom.

Posted by Michal Rechter

Business Analyst Team Leader

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