Why I'm Choosing My Career Over Motherhood ... For Now
Back in college, I had my life planned out… or so I thought. Graduate and get a kick-ass magazine editor job and move to New York City at 20. Get married to the love of my life at 23. Have my first kid at 25, second kid at 27, and third kid at 29 so I could have all my kids before I turned 30 and be a “cool, hip mom.” Well, I never got that hot-shot editor job in New York and I didn’t get married until 27. As soon as we said, “I do,” it seemed like everyone—from well meaning family members to co-workers—was inquiring as to the status of my uterus. Spoiler alert: it’s currently unoccupied and I plan to keep it that way for a little while longer.
Even though my husband and I originally discussed starting to “try” when I turn 30, I’ve had a change of heart. Back then, 30 seemed like a long way away. Now that it’s basically staring me in the face (I turn the big 3-0 next year), I’m essentially freaking the [bleep] out.
There’s so much we want to do just the two of us before we have kids—travel to Europe, vacation in Hawaii, buy a house—but there’d be so little time if we were to adhere to our original plan. Plus, there’s the whole matter of moving. We currently live in Chicago and want to be closer to family when we start our own family because that’s how we were raised and, quite frankly, the cost of living here is too dang high. So moving back East would require a) finding new jobs, b) saving for a home, and c) finding said home. All within a calendar year. Yeah, that’s not happening anytime soon.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t want it to happen soon. Recently, I had to have a heart-to-heart with my hubby and tell him I’m not ready. Simple as that. And then there are #CareerGoals I want to accomplish before I add “mom” to my list of titles.
It’s not just that I want to obtain a director-level position before we have kids—I want the higher salary that comes along with it so I can make more money when I’m on maternity leave. Did you know the United States is last among developed countries when it comes to paid maternity leave? (Psst... the only other country that doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave is Papua New Guinea, according to a recent Forbes article.) And even if you’re lucky enough to work for a company that has paid maternity leave, it’s most likely only partial—unless you live in San Francisco, which became the first U.S. city to mandate fully paid maternity leave. Thus, the higher my salary, the more I’ll earn during maternity leave.
But there’s part of me that’s terrified of waiting too long to have kids. Everyone knows 35 is considered “advanced maternal age” and the older you get, the riskier the pregnancy could be. I don’t want to become so career-obsessed that I miss out on my prime baby-making years. And I don’t know if it’s more prevalent or people are just talking about it more, but infertility seems to be everywhere. What if I get to 35 and it’s too late?
Read the full post at MaterMea.com.
(Photo credit: CreateHER Stock)