Spotlight Stories: Michael Zaborowski

image quote of Michael holding his daughter with a quote from the page

Spartan Spotlight Stories

Spotlight Stories highlights Spartans and issues that are important to the MSU WorkLife Office. The series is starting with new parents raising infants and breastfeeding. Other topics to come will include building community at MSU, eldercare, flex schedules, raising teens and more. The goal is to build community at MSU, show people they are not alone, bring awareness to important stages of the lifespan and promote a family-friendly workplace and family-friendly policies. 

Topic: Being a new parent

Michael Zaborowski, Director of Student Affairs in the College of Nursing, shares his insight on being a father to his seven month old daughter.

What do you wish you knew before you had your child?

Obviously, there is no way to know, but probably just how much every single aspect of your life changes. I knew it would change, but perhaps not to what extent. How you sleep, morning routines, how you make decisions, how you prepare to go somewhere, so on, and so on. For example, I was just thinking how different Thanksgiving 2018 was to Thanksgiving 2019. In 2018, my wife and I slept in until 10:00 am, slowly got ready, got into the car about noon to make it to her aunt’s by 2:00pm. This year, we woke up before 7:00 am, spent nearly three hours scrambling to get things ready and were out the door by 11:00am. Then spent less than four hours with the family before turning around so we could make it home in time to start the baby’s bedtime routine! 

What was/is the most challenging part about parenting while working? 

Wishing I could spend more time with her (and time when I had more energy). She wakes up around 6:30-7:00, while my wife and I are getting ready. I am usually out the door by 7:40am. She spends the day at a wonderful daycare here in East Lansing. By the time my wife and I get home, it is 5:30. She is eating by 6:30, then it’s bath time, then she’s off to bed! 

What does it mean to you to be a father? 

Being a father is the most amazing thing. I knew I would love being a father, but there are just so many wonderful things you never knew you could feel until that baby is here. I love watching her grow and learn new things every day. It melted my heart the first time she said “da-da-da-da-da-da.” To me, being a father means creating balance in our home with my wife. It’s about providing, not just financially, but with love, support, encouragement, and affection. It’s about challenging while also supporting. It’s about doing the best I can for her and my wife every day. 

What supports helped you be successful in balancing work and parenting?

Well, it helps to have the most amazing wife. Beyond that, the College of Nursing is a very supportive environment. My supervisor is very understanding of balancing my work life and my personal life. I also have amazing colleagues in the College who are willing to talk and share their experiences in times of need. I have also developed a network of friends (other dads) who are always super supportive and so very helpful!

Did you attend any classes or read any books that were helpful to you about parenting?

Yes! My wife’s OB/Gyn office, Alliance, had a centering pregnancy class that lasted for the six months before the baby came. It helped with the pregnancy, but also gave us guidance for after the baby came. I would strongly recommend this to all soon-to-be moms and dads! We also took “The Best Newborn Care Class” at Sparrow. Another great resource, especially for me (who had never changed a diaper). Finally, I read two books. The first, “Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl” opens your eyes, in an entertaining way, to the challenges of raising a daughter. The other book was “Stuff No One Tells You, A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year.” This is another eye-opening book that addresses the challenges of each milestone in a baby’s first year. 

How did you prioritize work, family, and outside activities after you became a parent?

The best answer I have for this is that it really changes every week. However, the question brings up another thing I learned after the baby came. It is impossible to give 100% to each of these things all of the time. Again, it helps to have supportive friends and coworkers to provide perspective. 

What type of support do you wish you had more of regarding parenting?

Not more, but I do wish that we had family that lived closer. 

What was the biggest surprise you had as a parent?

As I mentioned earlier, I knew I would love being a dad, but honestly there were just so many things I never knew I could feel. I guess the other thing is just how much I stress about things I probably don’t need to stress about. 

How did/does your supervisor or coworker support you and your family?

They listen, understand, and provide guidance when needed. When I need to step away for a family matter, I always feel supported. 

Is there anything that you would do differently regarding parenting and work-life balance?

Well, I have only been doing this seven months, so I try to get better every day. I just keep trying harder to find balance every day. 


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