Be You… Not (Necessarily) You, Jr.

IMG_2166 This photo has re-energized me to write about the topic that makes me the most nervous: motherhood. I shared it on Facebook this week in a jocular context, knowing full well the truth it holds for me and a fair number of my peers, who struggle with the question of kids now or later… or… never?

I’ve started writing about the kids issue a million times by now. But I never finish, because I don’t know quite how to say what I want to say. I’m not sure I even know what to say in the first place, as I learn and evolve. Most of the material out there is either overly defensive, or too funny, or too angry. Nothing has authentically spoken to my own feelings on the matter. The conversation about women choosing not to have children is relatively new still, and it’s a tough balance to strike.

I have not made any solid decisions one way or the other. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But, as a married woman in her 30s, the pressure to decide weighs upon me all the time. Will I… or won’t I? And why? Of course, as a married woman in her 30s, I have to explain myself. I shouldn’t have to, of course… but we aren’t quite there yet, societally. And I know full well that people wonder. Continue reading

This Job Renews My Hope…

… in my ability to possibly be a working mom someday. Not that I like to think about having babies at this point, but as a married woman approaching 30, it does need to be thought about. And when I was on the Big 4 career path back in DC, I seriously thought there was no way in hell I could ever be a working mom. I worked on a team that was mostly women, and the team leaders were all mom’s. Honestly – their lives sounded miserable to me! Big 4 workloads are notoriously challenging. To be considered for advancement, it is REQUIRED to work large amounts of overtime. Other people and lots of money are at stake with everything you do or don’t do.

I felt the stress (and the guilt) when my bosses had to leave work suddenly – usually in the middle of something big – to tend to a child with an ear infection. I felt their fatigue when they had to hurry home in time for dinner, then sign back on to log more hours from 8pm till close to midnight. I shuddered when I heard stories of one leader sending emails on her Blackberry while en route to the hospital to deliver her baby. I remember thinking, “No way do I even WANT to try and balance early motherhood and career.” I didn’t want to run the risk of half-assing either of them. It was discouraging, because like many woman, of course I want both, and recognize the value in both…

But that brings me to this job. It seems that not every career path is like a Big 4 career path. It’s pretty amazing to be in a work environment where all hell won’t break loose if I need to leave for a few hours. Or take off early if I need to watch my kid perform in some school show. Everything is so much more… reasonable. There are very few crazy hours or asinine requirements. The mom’s and dad’s alike here have a good balance of work and family. Even though I sometimes pull funny hours here and there for an event, there is tons of flexibility to make up for it by taking off early or coming in late at some other point during the week.

It makes me wonder, if we do end up back in DC (which we probably will), if I even want to return to a job like the one I had before – children or no. The paycheck was nice. The recognition was nice. But even as a single, childless person, it was hard to justify the pressures I felt. It’s even harder now, knowing it doesn’t have to be that way!

I guess we’ll have to see what my options are when we move. And of course, I don’t have kids yet. But I don’t see the point in jumping back into that kind of job for just a few years, before facing those issues all over again. I know I don’t want to balance babies and multi-million dollar contracts…

We shall see!