Sugar Mama

Congratulations! Your partner has been accepted to Wharton.  I remember the day my husband, Kyle Brengel WG17, got the call that he was being offered admission into the Wharton Class of 2017.  As a stay-at-home mom at that point, I knew the prospect of him leaving the military to pursue an MBA would significantly alter our lifestyle and finances. Wharton comes with a large price tag and every couple has to reach a very personal decision on their combination of employment, personal financing, and debt.  My husband and I decided that I would be the breadwinner to subsidize tuition and the daily costs of a family of four living in Philadelphia.

For the previous three years, I had been raising our two boys but I knew it was time to get back into the work force.  So I figured out how to convert my Army experience into a business resume and applied for my first civilian job since high school. Though the process was a bit daunting as we still lived in Colorado, I quickly found employment with a firm in Philadelphia.  The job has not been very fulfilling and the hours are constantly unpredictable, but the income has allowed our family to enjoy many activities Wharton has to offer without (always) looking at the price.

I often experience “Fear of Missing Out” (#FOMO) when the responsibilities of my job, two kids, and just life prevent me from attending every Wharton event.  It can be emotionally difficult to watch your partner and all of your friends attend an amazing party while you are stuck working a late night shift.  However, I could not be prouder of supporting our family during this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Sure it is difficult to balance schedules, play dates, SLF events, Veteran’s Club get-togethers, and Partner’s dinners, but in the end this time together is sacred and has been so rewarding. We have met such an impressive community of students at Wharton, who in turn, have incredible families. The bonds we have forged with these people are everlasting and will continue to impact us for many years after Wharton.

Joining the Wharton community and pedigree holds much promise and I am honored to be supporting the man I love and our two children through it all. This ability to balance the Wharton lifestyle with family life has strengthened my relationship with my husband and I have Wharton to thank.

And a word of advice to those Wharton students who are lucky enough to have a partner who helps pay for these two years – express your gratitude to your partner.  Your thanks can really be meaningful and soften the FOMO from events not attended due to work responsibilities.

So, even though I often feel guilty for not participating in every Wharton event or being unable to take my kids to the park because of work, I take pride in supporting my family during Wharton and know that post-MBA life will be worth the sacrifices. I am proud to be a Wharton Sugar Mama.

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