Analyze This!

When you are expecting, however prepared you may be, there are still some things you can’t see coming. But putting two and two together actually helps!

Oh those Numbers, how they always seem to want to crawl upon us! Our age, our weight, our height, our school exams, the day’s temperature; Numbers! Everywhere! You can love or hate them, yet sometimes you can’t ignore them. A source of stress for the anxious, monitoring them can prove quite an overwhelming experience.

But let’s not blame those harmless human constructs. Numbers have no soul: they were only invented to help us solve our problems. It’s our society that frequently misuses them and, instead of having them assist, they are allowed so much momentum that some even get to control us!

One of the things they forget to teach you at Mom School is that, from the moment you get pregnant till after you embark on your Motherhood journey, you will be surrounded by Numbers. Those spooky langoliers gather round swiftly and abruptly, as if they are determined to get you!

At first, you are merely an unsuspecting spectator, passively monitoring seemingly cute little Numbers like months due, fetus size, and pregnancy gained weight. You can’t do much about them (pregnancy is not a time for diets, after all!) so you are merely capturing them as information to periodically review with your OB-GYN. No biggie. But after the baby is out, Numbers transform into a whole different animal.

As soon as the little munchkin is out, numerical gremlins surround you: height, weight, wet diapers, breastfeeding and sleep information are the bare minimum requirements, coming straight from your pediatrician’s field manual. It is practically impossible to memorize all that information, so you pick up an empty scrapbook and start keeping those notes, as diligently as possible:

  • What was the last time my baby ate?
  • How long did baby breastfeed?
  • How many wet diapers were there today?
  • What time did baby sleep, and when did baby wake up again?

The pediatrician is happy with your Numbers: well-done Mom! You have made it easier for dear doc to monitor your kid’s upbringing from a medical viewpoint. But then doc’s data appetite grows, and starts adding up extra requirements, like:

  • How often does baby wet those diapers?
  • How much time passes between two consecutive breastfeeding sessions?
  • What’s the average breastfeeding duration?

They say you shouldn’t feed the math gremlins after midnight, but you thought a data snack wouldn’t harm. So you take those plain little Numbers you were merely keeping down for sport, and start some simple calculations to have those answers ready-to-serve on your next trip to the pediatrician. *Bang* You just stepped into the fields of Statistical Analysis, Momma, and chances are you don’t even know it! And, trust me when I say, it’s like sailing down the river of no return!

Photo: Lukas (Pexels)

Thanks to your doctor’s continuous endorsement (after all, you make it all too easy for him), your newly acquired behavior sticks. After a couple of weeks of meddling with your baby data game, you can know proudly report to your pediatrician (or anyone else who cares) that the average breastfeeding session lasts 25 minutes. And that diapers get wet every 3,5 hours. Geeky, huh?

Knowing (and sharing) information like this can make some eyes roll but, at the same time, it actually helps you plan your day around them, too! Like, you’d better go pee before you initiate breastfeeding. Or, that jumbo diaper pack you just bought thinking it’s enough for a month won’t last for more than a week or two. Knowledge is power, and boy how powerful you can get with Numbers on your side!

Once you get the hang of Numbers, you start to realize you have collected quite a few of them. Analyzing and interpreting them has even helped your day-to-day decision making! Cool, huh? That scrapbook of yours has really served you well! You are proud of your accomplishment. You are enthusiastic. You begin to wonder what’s next. Is there anything more you could do besides writing down Numbers and calculating averages?

I told you earlier how playing with Numbers can be likened to sailing down the river of no return, didn’t I? Once you introduce arithmetics to your decision-making, you start to wonder about any hidden patterns that could better navigate your mom-works. And there always are patterns, Mom. You have to ditch the scrapbook.

Calculating averages is an easy manual task. But it won’t get you far if you are looking to decipher more complex situations, like:

  • What is the baby’s most preferred sleep time for a long and refreshing nap?
  • Which solid foods promote (or inhibit) my baby’s poop activity?
  • How does baby’s interval between two consecutive naps progress as baby grows?

Questions seem more complex now, don’t they? But such is the dynamic of digging into Numbers. Carefully handled, they can provide you with insights not just to better understand, but also to predict stuff. This is what the field of Analytics is all about.

One day you begin to notice how baby gets fussy every time he has stayed awake for more than 4 hours. So you hypothesize that, if you put baby down for a nap before 4 hours have passed, chances are he won’t get overtired, thus fussy. You try it out, it works wonders! Next time a family errand keeps both of you out of the house for 4 hours you’ll know and prepare for when baby gets tired.

Luckily for you, we live in an era where there’s an app for everything! You don’t need to note down or calculate a single thing, as there’s tons of mobile applications that track and analyze baby stuff, fueling both your analytical and interpretation capabilities. Oh, and many of them are free!

So, dear Momma, have you embarked on a numerical journey yet during your motherhood quest? If you have, and you happen to have collected, analyzed, interpreted, presented or organized any of your baby’s data, you have been sharpening your Statistical capabilities. And if you have gone so far as discovering and communicating meaningful patterns in data, congratulations: you have acquainted yourself with the complex (yet mesmerizing) field of Analytics as well! Of course, you can do your mommy-works without any of that: no Numbers, no Scrapbooks, no problem. Just your gut instinct and your troubleshooting ability brought forth on the spot. But trust me when I say that, a little bit of arithmetics can take you a long way; longer than you have imagined! Take it from a fellow mom who has solved her baby’s sleep riddles with the help of Analytics alone: sometimes, you really can’t manage what you don’t measure!

As for you, my dear Recruiter or Hiring Manager, if you have run out of obvious candidate solutions for a position that requires handling and understanding data, and you are feeling super creative, take a chance on that Momma on your list. Look for the unexpected. Who knows, perhaps your next aspiring Data Scientist did her field work while she was trying to put her munchkin to sleep!

Analyzing it? You got this!


Featured Photo: Timur Saglambilek (Pexels)

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