Fashion, lifestyle, and career advice for overachieving chicks
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Pictured: Galaxy Mug, available at Target for $29.99 (set of 6)
What’s so special about the Galaxy mugs?
It is raining here. I am stuck with a tiny, temporary, postage-stamp umbrella. Does anyone have any suggestions for places to find fun, yet professional, umbrellas that will fit in my bag? My usual go-to stores seem to think it does not rain in the fall.
I have found a lot of great umbrellas at Target. They hold up really well and come in a number of fun and professional patterns. I’ve had the same one for about 7 years now, and it’s survived school, airports, moves, etc and is still going strong.
actually, Staples is my go-to spot when I’m stuck with a rainy day without an umbrella — they sell Totes, which last well and come in pretty colors.
Otherwise, I usually buy them at outlet stores or places like Filene’s…
I’ve had horrible luck with Totes falling apart within a month or two. I’ve found some decent umbrellas at Bed, Bath & Beyond, which are pretty cheap with the 20% of coupon they always send in the mail.
Check out this website: preppymonogrammedgifts.com
You can order umbrellas (and anything else) with your initials or name on it. They have lots of different colors, and they are the small ones that fit in your purse.
The Raines brand that they sell at CVS and Rite-Aid (and probably other drugstores too) holds up very well and comes in several colors.
Does anyone regret having children or wish you would have waited a lot longer (like until it was almost hard to get pregnant)?
I do not regret having a child at 30. What I regret is not enjoying myself to the fullest before becoming a mom. After law school, I focused soooooo much time and energy on my career (i.e., working late nights every week, not traveling, working on weekends instead of clubbing/partying with my friends). Any friend time I had was devoted to my then-boyfriend/fiancee who is now my husband.
I do not, however, regret having my child when I did and would not have wanted to wait until it was almost hard to get pregnant. In fact, I am already a bit anxious about not waiting too long to have my second child. Every person is different of course; to me, having a child was a priority so that’s why I feel this way. I come from a big family and just always enjoyed being around kids.
I don’t regret having children when I did for a second (less than a week before my 30 birthday). Juggling it all is challenging and crazy, but it makes my life very, very full and rich. It’s wonderful and every bit worth it.
As for someone to clean, we would love it. As soon as we get through the annual review season to make sure we still have our jobs and some money, we’re looking into it. We figure it’ll ake our life better to not have to clean all the time.
It seemed at the time to make sense to wait until I was 35 to have our first child, and until 40 for the second. But one calculation that we never considered was that our own parents would be quite elderly by the time the children arrived. All four of the grandparents would have been great mentors for the kids, and all have passed away. Today, the prospect is that my husband and I will be elderly by the time our grandchildren are born. I am very very glad to have had children, and to have gained in wisdom what I’ve lacked in energy.
You might find it interesting that the NY Times (I’m pretty sure–I also read Wash Post and Salon and Slate) said last Sunday that the one thread that ran through all “happiness” studies was that people were *less* happy after they had children, although they reported that they would not do it differently, etc. This was on top of the usual “women are less happy than men, married women are less happy than married men, women get less happy as they age, etc.”
Not really answering your question, but I am 32 with no kids and have no regrets about waiting.
The article Kathryn refers to is an OpEd by (I’m pretty sure) Maureen Dowd titled “Blue is the new Black.” Should be easiest to find if you go to the extended “most emailed articles” list because it was high on that list for many days last week.
Laurie, I’m 44 (almost 45) and am pregnant with my first kid. I don’t regret waiting at all. I had a great time in my 30s and early 40s and finally feel ready to devote the time to being a good mom. Many women can do a great job (obviously) in their earlier years. I just wasn’t one of them.
I had my first baby at 28 and will have my second at 30. I dont regret it for a second. My life is SO much better with my daughter in it. I love every second I spend with her. It makes me regret the time I spent slaving at work though. And, I totally regret all the weekends I worked and nights I stayed until 10pm or later before I had my daughter.
As professional women, I’m sure most of us have crazy-hectic schedules. I’m a full-time attorney/mom who finds it particularly challenging to keep my home “company ready”. At one point, I’d hired a cleaning lady who came once a month which was a great help, but have since decided to tackle the cleaning on my own to save money for other necessities/wants (i.e., my son’s college fund, new shoes – – LOL).
I’ve been using a weekly regimen called the Fly Lady regimen (flylady.net) that focuses on certain zones each week and requires me to spend at least 15 mintues decluttering daily & to follow a before-bedtime routine. It’s made a tremendous difference in my state of mind at home.
What has worked (or not worked) for you in terms of avoiding C.H.A.O.S. (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) at home? (I stole the C.H.A.O.S. acronym from the “Fly Lady”. LOL)
I work full-time and go to law school at night so my house is a complete disaster. Basically, I solve this problem by not having company! And if I do, it is only friends whose homes are as bad as mine. If we do have company, my boyfriend and I have a rule that whoever does the inviting does the cleaning before the guests arrive.
I’m a big fan of Fly Lady, I just haven’t been able to put it into practice… it seems to be geared to homemakers or those who don’t work outside the home on a full time basis. When I don’t get home from school until 10:30pm, finding even 15 minutes to clean and declutter just isn’t going to happen. I just wish I could train the dogs (and the boyfriend) to pick up after themselves and then I wouldn’t have the problem! So if anyone has any suggestions, please please please pass them on!
I resisted getting a cleaning person for the longest time. It was a major pride thing with me. I would try to clean the bathrooms and vacuum the floors on Wednesday and do the kitchen and laundry on Saturday. It worked, but I ended up spending most of my free time cleaning.
Now I have someone come twice a month – it’s a giant relief. How my mom managed to work, take care of two kids and a cat while maintaining a spotless house- I’ll never know.
I had a cleaning lady when I worked associate hours. No way otherwise.
If you are trying to do it without, as I have been since I work fewer hours, I always take things with me wherever I’m going (upstairs, etc.), try to put things away 100% right away, etc. Bathrooms and kitchens need serious more frequent cleaning–clean up after every meal every time, shower spray and/or squeegee after every shower, vacuum when you can’t stand it any more, ditto dusting, and never clean anything that isn’t really dirty. Don’t bother with things no one sees, like the backs of things, except maybe once a year.
If you have kids, spouses, partners, etc., train them to cooperate or give up. Life’s too short.
Maybe you explain to junior that either he helps out with the house now or he flips burgers to pay for college.
I think two things are important to keep in mind:
1. Guests don’t mind clutter. Clutter is fine. Don’t obsess about clutter.
2. Dirt is not fine. Neither are messes.
So I focus mostly on number 2. If I have 10 minutes, I vaccuum, I don’t straighten the papers on my desk. I dust, but I don’t rearrange my books on the shelves while doing so. I never, ever leave clothes on the floor, but I don’t worry if my closet isn’t perfectly tidy. I wipe my hair out of the sink, but I don’t put away all my hair products. Focusing on the really important cleaning tasks and ignoring ones that don’t really matter keeps me sane. Once the pile of papers on my desk or the heap of shoes in my closet starts to get messy – and I define messy as being unable to find what I’m looking for – then I worry about it.
Two other small habits I have that help are that I never leave dirty dishes overnight and I make my bed every morning as soon as I get up while I’m waiting for the water to boil for my tea. These two little things that take under 5 minutes make my place look so much neater.
I was a follower of flylady until she started selling all sorts of needless stuff on her website, and the daily emails turned into almost hourly emails– I don’t need to think about my house that much. The basic core message, that you can do anything for 15 minutes, is a good one. No matter how exhausted I am when I get home, I can take 15 minutes to clean up, or run a load of laundry.
With kids, I am a big believer in the power of bins. Have one by the door for school stuff, use bins to store toys in, sports equipment, etc. Everything in the house should have an accesible, easy place to live.
What didn’t work for me was the zone cleaning. I am not a calendar person and didn’t like to keep track of what zone I was supposed to be in. Also, I tend to mess up only certain parts of the house, because I am not here enough to spend time in all the rooms. Also, the house is never all clean at the same time, and I don’t like that. I spend a few hours on weekends cleaning, or some time after work if I feel up to it, and leave it at that.
Hiring help is a really good idea. For not a ton of money, you free up your spare time and can actually enjoy the house while you are there. I don’t have a housekeeper but I have a gardening service to mow the lawn, and I enjoy it so much more.
Well, I’ll be in the office on Sunday. Tomorrow is my son’s 5th birthday, and I’ve always made the commitment that I WILL NOT work on holidays or birthdays.
As for the PP’s question regarding regretting having kids = HELL NO! I have never regretted it. My first was born when I was 30, my second at 34 (almost 35). My biggest regret looking back is that we didn’t start a few years sooner. Part of me would love to have another one or two kids, but I honestly don’t want to have to go through the baby stage again, particularly any older than I am now. Which sounds weird, because 35 isn’t old. LOL. There were a lot of benefits of waiting – got my career started, we got a lot of time to be “us” and do things together. So, it appears things have worked out for the best at this point.
RE: housekeepers – we’ve finally decided to bite the bullet. We’re hiring one for a 1x/month cleaning. Honestly, I don’t know whether it’s better to hire someone to come in and clean or hire someone to make yourself stay on top of things so that whey they come in you’re not cleaning for the cleaning lady to come clean. But, with my husband and my schedules, it’s just easier to have someone come in once a month for the really deep cleaning. Truly, I’d much rather take a Saturday and go do something as a family than worry about cleaning and juggling the kids who manage to follow you making a mess of what you’ve just cleaned. Another way to stay on top of the cleaning is to have people over at least once a week. I’m not talking about dinner or anything much, but for a beer or a play date with the kids or furbabies, or have a neighbor come in to catch up. If you know someone is going to be in your house regularly, there’s more incentive to keep on top of things. Then you avoid the exhausting cleaning for three days before company comes cycle (which we lived in for a very long time).
I gotta ask — what the heck are furbabies?
Furbabies = pets.
Cleaning ladies are the best. You never come home to dust bunnies, and you create a job for someone else. I learned how important just one cleaning client can be after my long time cleaning lady stopped working to have her first child. The following Christmas I called her to see if she had any interest in helping me get the house ready for the holidays. She was SO interested, thanked me so many times, and started cleaning for me regularly again. She explained that she and her husband had been having a hard time financially, and that she really needed the work. Who cares what my mom thinks, it works for me and Sabina and that’s all that matters.
30 is not old for having kids these days! I started at 31, and I was the first among my similar-aged female attorney colleagues to have a baby. I’ve never regretted it for an instant. I had some great role models in my office, including a super successful appellate attorney who had 5 kids way-back-when, and now has tons of grandchildren.
And yes on the cleaning help. I did Flylady for a while, but eventually hit a really busy period, and decided it was just easier to hire it out. Think about what your time is worth compared to how much you pay for cleaning help — not worth my time!
Thanks for the FlyLady tip! I work as in-house counsel so my hours aren’t crazy, but with an active social life and at 2 months pregnant (with my first, at 32) my house is always a mess! I will be shining my sink tonight! :)
I had my first baby at age 25 – seven months before I graduated from law school – and I had my third baby just two weeks after my 30th birthday. My husband, a prosecutor, and I made the decision that I would only work part-time while our children are small. We have made some financial sacrifices, and studying for the bar with a baby wasn’t ideal. However, I am able to be with my kids every afternoon. (I also watch my sister’s two (soon to be three) kids in the afternoons. My sister is also a lawyer, and we’ve been fortunate to both find part-time lawyer gigs.)
I am very happy with our decision to have kids when we did. When my youngest child starts school in a few years, I’ll start working more hours and be able to ramp up my career. In the meantime, I’ve been having my cake (being with my kids) and eating it too (using my degree and keeping my skills sharp). Because I didn’t have a career when I had my first child and I was in a low-stress part-time job when I had my other two, I didn’t feel compelled to “take a break” from my career or get right back to it with a minimal maternity leave (I took 2 months off from my part-time job with my second and third babies). I also feel like I have a lot more energy to keep up with my kids than I would if I were doing this later in my life – I already adjusted to the sleep deprivation a long time ago!
Having said that, I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” answer to the question of when to start a family. Everybody’s personal circumstances are different, and I would never judge another women’s choices about when or if to have kids and how to juggle a career!
Thanks for some of the responses. I’m 30, married about 3 years, and just found out I was pregnant. It feels like the worst thing that’s ever happened to me and I’m considering terminating. I never thought I’d feel like this but none of my friends have children and it feels way too soon. I’m a younger associate and feel like I have so much to learn as a lawyer and being a mom would make it all the more difficult. I also feel like any child deserves to have a mother that actually wants to be one. I sincerely appreciate any and all of your thoughts.
Laurie, when I was 30, with 4 years of marriage under my belt and living in NYC, I couldn’t imagine actually wanting to have a baby. I lived in fear of it. Avoided it, etc. Even when friends and co-workers started having babies, only two or three years later, I still had zero interest and thought they all were crazy to be giving up their 30’s. Now I am 40 (!), divorced (didn’t see that coming), childless, and I don’t care all that much about my fancy degrees and nifty sounding career.
Now nearly all my friends have kids. Their social lives are very full (way busier than mine!?) because they connect with other families through their kids — their play dates, kids sports leagues, etc. The vacations my friends want to talk about are trips to Disney World and nearby water parks. Their facebook pages are FILLED with pictures of their kids. On Monday mornings they are anxious to tell everyone about the musical or movie they saw on Saturday afternoon, and pretty soon they will be talking about their kids’ Halloween costumes. It might all sound a bit boring and plain — but sometimes it also sounds really kind of nice. The truth is — these days I feel so left out. So, so so left out.
I think about all this a lot it, and I still don’t know if I really want kids or what my chances of conceiving actually are. But sometimes I wonder if I wouldn’t have been really happy if, at some random point in my adult life, I had accidentally become pregnant. If that decision had been made for me, so that I wouldn’t have needed to give it so many years of conscious but undecided thought. So from one woman’s opposite experience, maybe it’s not a bad thing that this decision has (at least for now) been made for you.
Have you considered adopting, even if it’s too late to conceive? i’m sure you have thought about it already, but so many kids out there could use a parent who actually wants to be a parent, like it sounds you do. I don’t know how hard it is to adopt as a single woman, though.
I also wonder — and this is probably none of my business anyways — whether many people want a kid just so they can not feel left out, which doesn’t really seem like a good motivation for having one, then I can understand the cultural pressure of getting married, having a kid, buying a house, etc, just like everyone else. Sometimes it seems like a shame that being childless excludes women from certain groups, as you have found in your case. Maybe one solution is for you to find similarly childless friends or a group based on a common interest other than one’s children/families, though I know this is easier said than done.
I am 45, married for 15 years and have no children, largely by choice. I say “largely” because for the past few years I realize that I wish NOW I had childen THEN. I feel many of the things the other commenter mentioned about feeling a dearth of family connections as I have only a sister (no children) and my husband is an only child. I’ve done nothing to push the issue (in the form of adoption) with my husband because he’s still not on board fully with it. I would not ask him to do it unless he was – not fair to anyone and he came into my life first. And a few years ago, I took a career break and went to school for a second Master’s degree. I was aware that I was taking time and money that I could be putting toward a child and yet again choosing to do something else. I’m not certain though that I won’t hit 50 or 55 and experience deep regrets, but I can’t make a decision in the NOW, hoping I’ll be glad in the future.
That said, my feelings now are very different than they were at 33, when for the only time in my life I was 3 weeks “late.” Both of us adamently did not want children (though for different reasons than the ones you expressed) and we both panicked. My regular gyno wouldn’t give me a test (this was before the home tests) because she didn’t appreciate how freaked out we were and “time would tell.” So we went in for the earliest blood test we could find at a practice that understood this was a big deal for us. It also happened to be the one clinic in town that was up front about doing elective terminations. Turned out I was not pregnant.
As my feelings have changed, if not clarified, I have often been so so so so very thankful that I was not pregnant. I am very sure we would have terminated the pregnancy, but not sure how I would live with that now. I know I would have much regret and sadness.
I feel for your very hard choice. I hope you have lots of love and good support.
If you’re not ready, don’t have one… Women have worked hard for the right to terminate pregnancies, and sometimes we have to exercise that right. While there is no way to predict whether your opinion would change once you have a child, there is no reason to have one if you have serious doubts about whether you want a child at this point, and if it could negatively affect your career.
There are also neutral (not pro-life or pro-choice) organizations, I think, that can help discuss this decision with you, and even talking it over with a counselor or therapist can help bring more clarity and resolve to your decision.
Best of luck to you.
I never wanted children and neither has my husband. Nothing pisses me off more or is more offensive to me than people who say “oh, you have time, you can change your mind,” or “you’ll regret it when you’re old and alone.” Can you imagine the reaction if, when people said they’re pregnant, kid-free women said “Ooh, you’ll regret it,” or “what trimester are you? It’s early enough you could still change your mind.”
Anyway, sorry to vent.
First of all, I want you to know that there are all these women here who support you and are keeping you in our thoughts. Can I suggest a few things? These are the things that helped a friend of mine when she had a “scare.”
– Go to a park and watch kids play. Check out how old the moms are. I bet there are some in your 30s who have play groups, etc. you could get involved in. Do you feel joy watching them, or dread?
– Do you know anyone with children who lives around you? Tell them you want to practice getting ready for a new niece/nephew and offer to baby-sit or be a second set of hands.
– Think about where you want to be 10 years from now. If kids were part of the plan anyway, then is it so terrible to get what you want a little early? No one feels truly ready to be a parent and if they do it’s because they don’t realize how much they don’t know.
– Involve your husband in all of this. Whatever you decide, you both have to be in this together. Otherwise this situation can tear you apart.
– Have faith. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.
You may not have planned your pregnancy, but you also didn’t plan for the joy your baby will bring. It’s a joy beyond the satisfaction any career success or material wealth can bring. Your baby already loves you and depends on you. Love her back, and you’ll never regret it.
Laurie, you’re right. Being a mom would make it more difficult. I’m in my mid 40s and don’t have children. I’ve ever been a “kid” person. Most of my friends don’t have kids either. I’ve been married for 10 years and we are really happy. People have told us we’re “missing so much” and that may be true but everybody doesn’t like the same things. We value our freedom to travel and do things–people call that selfish but it is my life and no one can truly judge it but me. Just so you know, whatever you choose, you’ll be fine. Just please keep in mind, if you do terminate, keep talking with your partner. Communication is just as important afterward as it is beforehand. We’re all here to support you–as well as your friends and significant other.
No one can tell you what the *right* decision is for you. I was a young associate when I first got pregnant at 30. It wasn’t easy, but it worked out. My husband was a Stay-At-Home Dad for almost the first year after I went back to work (only got 6 weeks maternity). Since my husband works for himself, he was able to shut down his business. If that hadn’t been an option, we would have used our child care choice – a nanny – from day one. A nanny is a life saver, particularly for a professional in my opinion.
I think people have provided some really good thoughts. All I can say is if at some point you WANT kids, this might not be as bad of a time as it feels. Certainly, this wasn’t planned, but sometimes the biggest surprises are the biggest blessings in disguise.
Another thought too – it’s absolutely possible to advance while pregnant. I changed firms at 7 months pregnant. Crazy, frightening, but amazingly a firm hired me even though I was 7 months pregnant. But, it has worked out better than I ever imagined. And while I got 3 months leave – I still worked my tail off, not because I HAD to, but I wanted to stay in the game and keep my skills honed. When I came back into the office full time, I felt as effective as before, if not more. Good luck with your decision.
Laurie – I’m 30, not married. I have so far what I think most lawyers would consider a very successful career — but the tradeoff is it is very demanding. I think you have such a blessing in disguise. I really wish I was married and about to have kids (I do think that earlier is generally better b/c of increasing risks of health problems and infertility issues, more energy to take care of little kids, etc). I am dating but nowhere close to being married or having kids. I often wish that I had spent less time on career and more on social life so that I would be in your position or closer to it now. I totally understand about feeling like you are youngest among your peers at the firm to have kids, but I have a feeling that in a few years it will not matter at all since by then others will have kids. Also I think having kids later (mid-30s) might even be harder in terms of juggling work — by then most folks either will have made partner or will be about to make partner and there will be even more demands on time. And though I haven’t done it myself I doubt that anyone ever feels truly prepared to be a parent. I am guessing it is one of those things where people just take the plunge.
One last thought. I love my career and am super-satisfied with its progress so far. But I can’t see how my career, or the clothes / shoes / nice place / vacations it has allowed me to buy, will ever lead to real happiness even if career continues to go well. I think for most people their spouse and family, whether it is children, parents, siblings, or other family members they care about, have a much better chance of creating real happiness. So while work is important it is just not the highest priority in the long term.
Hold on a second . . . does “furbabies” = pets? If so, I love it!
Yes. Furbabies = Pets. That’s what we call our dog (well, when my husband isn’t calling him @$$hole – he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed and can sometimes be a doofus).
I had my kids at 36 and 39 and wouldn’t do it differently if I had it to do over. In my 20s I lived and worked abroad and did lots of fun things, then went to law school and worked on my career for many years before having kids. I really do feel as if I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do.
All that said, I’ve been fortunate from a fertility perspective, and that’s not true for everyone. It’s probably not wise to count on fertility after 35 (and infertility is heartbreaking).
Not just infertility should be a concern, but also the higher risk when you’re over 35 of having a baby with birth defects or mental disabilities (downs syndrome, autism (I think), and probably many others are more likely if the mother is older). Raising a mentally challenged or disabled child is unimaginably difficult and may lead to long-term care on your part. Just something else to consider for those people who would like to get pregnant but don’t want to do it too early.
I had children at 33, 34, and 35. It was challenging but about as hard as playing a varsity sport while in college – doable. I am thinking of having a few more before I turn 40. I run a software company, and my biggest challenge is finding clothes that can be stylish / sensible / authoritative / comfortable for all the roles I fill. I have several separate wardrobes.
To Laurie: having a baby never comes at a good time for being a lawyer! Like I said, I had one at 31 and another at 33. I worked part time after that, and my career slowed down quite a bit. I’m with a government agency, so it was easier than if you’re in private practice. That said, my kids are both in school now, and my career picked up again, and I am feeling so confident with my job and my life. I live in fear of getting pregnant again, since that would mean derailing my now-cruising career, among other reasons. What I suspect, though, is that your career is going to take a hit at whatever age you decide to have a child. I took my hit from age 31 to around age 38, but if you wait longer, you’ll just take the same hit from age 35 to age 42, or whatever. There’s no way to deny that having a child impacts your career, unless you have a stay-at-home-dad there. Are their any women at your firm who have successfully balanced parenthood with career? I was the first in my office to go part-time, and had to beg for it and prove that it could be done. Those who came after me had it easier (and had my maternity clothes to wear!). Good luck, this must be such a stressful time for you.
On accidental pregnancies, let me say they can be such a blessing. I was shocked to find myself pregnant for the third time at age 38, just when my first two had started school and my litigation career was taking off again. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I re-evaluated my priorities and took an in-house, part-time job with a client in the suburbs. My life is so much more relaxed and predictable now, and watching the baby with her much-bigger sisters is such a joy. I am a much more relaxed parent at this age than I was when I had my first baby at 29.
I remember feeling so desperately lonely then. I was the first one of all of my friends (most of whom are lawyers) to have children. All of my friends were in the city, and there I was in my suburban townhouse, having nothing in common with the stay-at-home moms . . . I’m not sure if it was PPD or just loneliness but I was absolutely miserable. By the time I had my second, we had moved to a cul-de-sac full of part-time working moms (more lawyers) and it was ten times easier and such a blast.
I would advise you not just to consider your age and career status, but also your surroundings and life circumstances. In my experience, if all your friends are single or married working women, and you’re not in a place where you will meet other like-minded moms, you will find the adjustment very difficult.
Laurie, this could have been me posting this same question a week ago but lo and behold, mine was just a scare. However, I had the exact same feelings of you. Not wanting to be a mother, mad that my career is just starting, etc. But, I am afraid of abortions, come from a religious family and my husband wants children some day. My husband also is willing to be a stay at home dad. So, that is the route I probably would have taken. But, like you felt guilty either way. Guilty for bringing a child into the world that I was not at all excited about – and would also feel incredibily guilty for having an abortion when my husband and our families would have shouldered the burden of raising the child while allowing me to work. I’m glad I didn’t have to decide.
That said, from an outsiders perspective I hear more about stress and problems people have because of kids than I hear good happy things about them. I think far too many people have children for the wrong reasons.
Laurie, based on the information that you added about feeling like the pregnancy is the worst thing that could have happened to you, can offer one more thing? My third baby was very much a surpise (I was on the pill), and I had feelings similar to yours. I was about to lose my job and didn’t have another one lined up again, so it was an extremely bad time to be pregnant, to say the least. The thought of terminating crossed my mind, but I knew then that I wouldn’t have been able to cope emotionally with an abortion after having had my two older children. (My youngest daughter is now one, and I can’t imagine my life without her. She really completed our family.)
I’m not going to tell you that your life wouldn’t change dramatically with the birth of a baby; becoming a mom for the first time was hands down the hardest thing I have ever done. And having a child is certainly not something to do on a whim. But given the situation you find yourself in where the “deed is done,” so to speak, I think it’s relevant to ask if you do want kids eventually, just not now – because it sounds like you do. That is, I wonder how you’ll feel if you do someday have a child after terminating this pregnancy. You seem to be facing the flip side of my situation…you don’t have kids now, but maybe after you started a family you would have some added distress wondering about the child that might have been?
No matter what path you choose, you have a difficult time before you. Good luck. I hope you can find peace and make the decision that is right for you and your husband.
I had Child One when I was 36 and Child Two when I was 40 years and 10 months. I’m usually the oldest mother around my children’s friends’ mothers. It has kept me young and au courrant, and — supposedly — “I have my 20s to look back on.” (Like I can remember them . . . . ) If I was told that I could only keep one thing in my life and everything else had to change, I would keep my children. No husband, no career, no fancy house — just my children.
Well, maybe my health, too.
Laurie, thanks for asking this question because I’m really interested in everyone’s answers. I’m 43, married just a year and a half, and thinking about trying to have a child. I’m glad for everything I’ve had time to do in life and not at all sure I’m ready for the changes that motherhood would bring, especially since I’m now in the middle of starting a new business. I’ve been asking every parent that I meet how they feel about parenthood and so far, every single person has said they would do it again. This has surprised me because I’ve read that couples are happiest before their children are born and after their children leave the house. The good thing for you is that you’ve been married for 3 years and probably have a strong relationship with your husband. I’ve read that it’s important to wait at least 2 years before having a child for that reason.
I’m also an attorney (second career) and was very glad to be able to focus solely on my career for the six years I spent at two big firms. But having made it to senior-ish associate level, I have a different perspective than I had as a junior. As a junior associate, I actually looked down on a summer associate in her 20’s who decided to go into trusts & estates because it seemed like it would be more compatible with her decision to have children. Now when I read about a big deal in the WSJ, instead of thinking, “I wish I were on that!”, I think, “Those poor associates giving up their lives for that deal!” Knowing what I do now, there’s very little that I would sacrifice for the sake of gaining experience as a lawyer. I also worked with many associates who are mothers who were highly respected and managed to achieve much more than I did.
I have never been an I-must-be-a-mother-at-all-costs woman, but if we decide to try to have a baby and find out we can’t, I know I will be very sad. It won’t be possible to remain emotionally neutral.
I am a mother and a lawyer and there is no reason that the two have to conflict. Take a couple of years off. Find a great child care center. Work part time. Find a less intense job. Let the dad stay at home. You can make it work. Babies get older. You have plenty of time ahead of you to amp up your career. Life has many phases. If you know you want children, have your children now and don’t wait. You may not be able to conceive when you are older and the risks of having a child with Down syndrome increase dramatically. We need intelligent women raising the next generation. If the cream of the crop stops having babies then society as a whole suffers. Also, advocate for better governmental support for educated career women having children like they have in Europe. Society as a whole will benefit.
I’d research the options before making a decision. There’s no need to take a few years off just because you’re having a baby. Discuss it with your husband to see if he’d be willing to stay at home and check out child care centers in the area. I have a close friend who was able to find a wonderful place for her daughter and was able to go back to work fairly early. I think some people doubted she was making the right decision, but she makes more money than her husband and really had no choice but to go back. Two years later and her child is doing wonderfully. I’m amazed at how bright and well-adjusted she is compared to other children I’ve met her age. The key is starting research early, because my friend had to get on a waiting list almost immediately after she found out she was pregnant to be able to get her child into the daycare.
Are you going to be able to work as many hours as you would without a child? Probably not, but don’t rule it out until you check out all the available options. If at that point, you still feel the same way about having a child now, go with your gut. This is not your only chance to have children. Even if you can’t conceive when you get older, adopting is always an option.
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