Posts tagged Family
4 Working Women And Their Thoughts On Children
 

Last month in Denver, Ivan and I had the privilege of reconnecting with two of our closest friends we’d first met during our study abroad in Japan over eight years ago. Now they’re married to each other and live in New Zealand, with three beautiful sons (a set of 1 y/o twins and a 4 y/o).

Since then, the child question has been occupying my thoughts.

I’m turning 29 years old this year and my answer to children is still: “not now”. Oftentimes, many women have given me the well-intentioned “You should have kids. It’s the best thing you’ll ever experience.” However, I thought it was interesting to share the unadulterated feelings of current mothers who are working and raising their kids at the same time.  

I met most of these career-minded women on my recent trip to Las Vegas for a tech conference.

Woman working

These are their thoughts:


 

1.

Just know that if you have children, it’s like being in prison for at least 20 years...and sometimes I think to myself, I should have raised my kids differently.
— A stay-at-home mom in her 50s, with two children in their early 20’s.

 

2.

I didn’t know that my kids could be such assholes. They just continue to ask and ask for more money. And of course, you want to give them everything in the world, but did they have to end up being such little shits?
— A recruiter at a tech company in her late 40s, with two boys in their mid to late teens. We were at a party and she was a little tipsy.

 

3.

While I’ve been traveling, I think that my missing him (her baby) has seeped into my subconscious. I had a dream the other night where I was chasing my nanny (who was holding my son) through the crowded streets of Hong Kong. I kept running and running until I finally caught him. In the dream, I sobbed so hard as I held onto him….I’ve never thought I could love anyone so deeply as much as I love my son.
— A communications director in her mid-thirties with a one year old son. This was the first time I had heard such an honest and sad account of guilt that working mothers feel.
I don’t regret having my child at age 38. I was lucky because most of my friends tried for several years with no results; some of them even had to go through the painful experience of IVF multiple times... Because I had my son so late, I got to accomplish all the things that I wanted and I continue to move forward because I’m more than just a mom.
— A former CTO and current founder of a new consultancy in her mid-40’s with a 7 year old. This woman’s path was the one I gravitated the most towards. That said, I might not be so lucky to be able to have a kid at 38.  

 

4.


So where does this lead me?


A Female Millennial’s Perspective On Having Children

This is Part One of a two part series where Ivan and I debate the pros and cons of having children. For a response to this serious issue from a millennial guy’s perspective, please read Ivan’s post here. 


Jennie here.

Ivan and I are hitting that inevitable point in our marriage where we start talking about whether or not we want to have children. We’re both 28 this year, going on 29. We're on the same page for the most part, and feel like we can swing in either direction. Naturally, no actual family planning will be taking place until after we get back from our round-the-world trip in 2018/2019.

Even though we're at least 2-3 years away from making a serious commitment, I still find myself weighing the pros and cons:


6 Reasons Why Having a Child Could Ruin My Life


 
 

1. Lost [career] opportunities and guilt.

According to PayScale.com, a woman’s pay peaks at age 39. Based on the same data, men’s salaries continue to grow until age 48, and top out at a median of $95,000. That's fucking bullshit. Not only do I have to juggle being a parent by my early to mid 30's, this also coincides with my highest potential earning years of my career. I worry that having a child would be settling, and that it might come at the cost of my career growth.

2. Children may not fit in with our desired lifestyle.

Sure, I understand children are resilient, but what if after our round-the-world trip we decide to just keep going and not come back? Is it feasible or reasonable to continue on our nomadic and location-independent way of life and have a child? I worry our kid might grow up to resent us for an unstable childhood.

3. My life won't be my own. 

When you raise a child, your interests become mixed up with theirs. Doesn’t having children mean your life and choices are altered forever? That’s a scary thought; because I know myself --  I can already foresee the frustrations that comes with that.

4. Rising cost of childcare.

The average middle class income household spends more than $230,000 on one child from birth to the age of 17. That’s ridiculous. How do families manage to save for themselves and their child? Realistically, it will cost more with the skyrocketing costs of childcare and education. Prices for child care range between $3,582 to $18,773 a year (or $300 to $1,564 monthly).

5. The physical cost of pregnancy and postpartum.

Sure, let’s go there. Whenever I think of childbirth I think of the movie Alien. I am terrified of the pain I will have to endure during pregnancy and post-labor. FYI, I’m extremely petite and just shy of 5 feet (152.4 cm). Just imagining this makes me want to walk across the room and punch Ivan in the face. It’s not fair. Not only will I be responsible for nurturing a child, I will also endure hormonally tough days with no sleep. I’ve seen friends go through it and I don't know if I'll have the patience or the stamina for such a trying experience.

6. Fear of reliving my childhood.

My parents love me, but they struggled in a lot of ways and it really gave my siblings and me a lot of grief. I can remember moments I still resent or feel anxious over and I worry I could impart the same stress onto my own child. While Ivan and I are taking the right financial precautions, nothing is ever guaranteed. Life comes at you fast.


2 Reasons Why Having Children Might Not be a Total Trainwreck


 
shoes-505471_1920.jpg
 

1. A way to continue our story and legacy.

I grew up in tough family conditions but my parents lived through the Vietnam war and were refugees in America -- they built the initial foundations of success for my life and future generations of my family. Frankly, there’s nowhere to go but up now. Sometimes, I imagine that one day Ivan and I will have a child and he or she will be able to continue our life’s journey through our values and stories; he or she will eventually become an independent human being that can make a positive contribution to society.

2. I’ll learn a lot more about myself.

I’ve always prided myself on being able to learn more and try new things, and I think that becoming a mother is no different. I honestly think becoming a mother could teach me more about patience, letting things go, and coping with emotional issues a lot better. After you become a mom, everything else (even the big decisions) become insignificant because you can handle anything.


My Verdict in 2017


Based on how I’m feeling at 28, I’m leaning more towards not having children. However, I am a little suspicious of the assumptions I’m making.  Perhaps I’m being too naive, but I think there’s a huge misconception that once you have children, you MUST lock yourself down and put your entire life on hold for 18 years until they head off to college. There has got to be some sort of work-around. If we can plan our whole life around a twelve month round the world trip, why can’t I learn to adapt to one little squirt?