Jan 31, 2011

Can you really have it all?

Looking around it seems like if someone has the man, they don't have the career... If they have the career, they don't have the kids... and more than a few have the kids and not the man. As I approach 27, and my official foray into my late 20s, the concept of whether or not we can really "have it all" has been on my mind.

Now that I'm married the idea of having children sooner than later has crept into my mind more than a few times. Yet, I'm still working on my career so I tend to beat the thoughts to the background... constantly convincing myself that I must have A, B and C in place before kids can be part of the equation. I don't know if this is just effective planning on my part or if I'm allowing motherhood, one of the most organic things in the world, be another "task" on my list of life.

In an interview for Marie Claire*, when asked why she encourages women to plan early for a family, MSNBC reporter Mika Brzezinski touched on this subject:

"I don't want to impose rules on people, but you have only a short window, and you're sorely mistaken if you think you can put off having a family. It's very hard to find a good man, and it's never 'a good time' to have a baby if you have a career. Plus, someone who is rabidly ambitious and holds off on family -- it doesn't come off as that smart. You just know that a woman who has her own life and is raising children really has her act together."
I keep telling myself that maybe in 5 years I will be "ready" (on paper) for a child, but then I think about what 5 years really means. I would be almost 32 and forgive me, but the idea of being 32, married for over 6 years and without any kids kind of scares me! My mother was done with kids by 30 so I've been getting a major side eye from her in regards to this entire situation.

Being a control freak and someone obsessed with planning and list-making, my current struggle is keeping in mind that our 20s should be spent laying the ground work to "having it all", leaving our 30s to enjoy the fruits of our labor... yet trying to focus on enjoying where I am currently and creating my sense of "all" for that moment. It's easy to get caught up in what you don't yet have and are still working on and forget all the ways you've currently been blessed. Maybe God gives us each things in our own time that we can handle. This first year of marriage has already taught me that there's nothing better to prepare you for children than taking care of a husband... but that's another post.

How do you handle the delicate balance of career, family and romantic relationships? Does one usually have to suffer? Do you feel like you have it all?

* Interview in February Issue of Marie Claire


Niki McNeill said...

First of all I have to say that I believe this is my first comment on your blog but I've been reading & watching you on YouTube for a few months now!! I love your fresh perspective :-)

I was JUST chatting with my BF about this yesterday, and although I know he thinks about it, I don't think he's as *concerned* as I am. I'm about to be 26, we are NOT married or even engaged, nor do I have the career. I do know that we will get married eventually, but I also know that I want to be a mom within the next 5 years.

I have no idea how to make that all happen, and it's so good to hear another person about my age who IS married give an honest opinion about it.

I think we're all figuring it out as we go and that's ok!!


laundrygirl said...

I think that’s a question that will be asked again and again…

As for when to have kids, I’m not sure how much of that can be planned. (It’s a hard reality that I’ve had to face. We think we have control over our lives but in reality it’s only to a certain extent.) How much of life can we really plan? Many people say there is never a perfect time to have kids, you just do it.

I think we can have it all if we want it, yet it comes with limitations and a price to pay. I don’t believe we can have it all and give each thing 100%. I have plenty of friends with husbands, careers, children and yet they have to find a way to manage their time and come to peace with the fact that they can’t be super wife and super mom and super career woman. Even still, I don’t think one thing has to be chosen over another.

As for ‘planning’, I have a friend who was a super planner, a totally organized woman. She put off having children to get her ducks in a row and then one day she called me to say she was pregnant. She was 41 at the time and told me how she’d done the math and could afford a child. (I giggled at this simply because she had spreadsheets and everything…) After a few doctors visits she found out she was having triplets!!! So much for plans!

P.S. I just found you blog a few days ago and I love it. :)

South Loop Social Light said...

@ laundrygirl - Your friend's situation is the PRIME example of why I'm scared to be such a control freak planner. I don't want to keep putting off children and wake up one day 41 and finally pregnant. *le sigh* The good thing about this is that my husband is the "live in the moment" type so he totally balances my neurotic ways out lol

South Loop Social Light said...

@ Niki McNeil - Thank you for being a reader! I must agree with you and say that my husband doesn't understand why I stress out so much about this stuff. I think men for the most part are more laid back in their approach to marriage/kids... instead of it being on a "list" it's more like "it'll happen when it happens". I'm in the same boat as you - - I definitely want to have kids in the next 5 years, but I don't know if I'm ready... then again, who is ever ready for kids lol.

T said...

I don't have it all yet. I definitely have a phenomenal career and I have great friendships, but I don't have the man yet and hopefully the kids will follow him, not the other way around.

I think it's very importat to note that every person, couple and situation is unique. Every single one. Some people will be happy having kids at 40 and others will be happy to have their kids out of their house by 40.

I think so long as you and your husband have an understanding and feel good about it, then you're good to go.

And it's important to remember that the future is completely unpredictable. For example, I have an aunt who has never NOT used the pill, but she has two daughters. LOL!

I could go on and on, so I'll stop. Live life and enjoy it. How you enjoy it is entirely up to you (and your hubby).

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