Monday, January 17, 2011

Career v. Family - How can you have both?


**This was a post I'd written a couple of months ago and I was waiting for a little more readership since I'm really looking for input on how other women deal with these types of questions.  I figured now was as good a time as any to finally hit publish!**

The Hubs and I have started the conversation about when we think we'll be ready to start a family.  Being that he's in no rush, but not really opposed to starting whenever, that leaves the ball in my court to decide when to get things rolling.  A BIG DECISION!

Being an engineer, I tend to over analyze anything and everything.  Once my brain starts going on a tangent, there is no stopping it.  To top it off, I'm a huge planner and a bit of a pessimist (My friends may say I'm more than a bit of a pessimist, but we'll leave that topic alone for now!).  So this decision, which is SOO important, has pretty much consumed me!

I know for sure that I want to have children and I always thought  that I would have my first before I was 30.  Being that I'm 28 now, that date seems to be looming closer than ever.  At the same time, I don't want to ignore my career potential.  I've got an advanced engineering degree and am a good worker who always strives to be successful and better myself whenever the opportunity arises.  When I think about starting a family though I think about all of the obstacles that I face when these potential career opportunities come up and how I will be able to achieve that work/life balance.

** Will the company be upset that I want to take time off to be with my baby?
** Will I be passed up on potential opportunities because of this? 
** How will I schedule these things when I have NO idea how long it will take to even GET pregnant? 
** What will I do with the baby once he/she is here and I have to go back to work? I'm afraid I'm going to miss important milestones in my baby's life if I'm working all the time!
** How do I decide on daycare and how will we pay for it all??

On the other hand, I don't want to totally focus on my career and forgo family.  My biological clock is ticking. I know that women are having children later in life, but I also know that fertility declines with age.  I worry that I will be the one that has trouble getting pregnant. I just don't want to have any regrets!  I want to have my cake and eat it too!

I'm really interested to see how other working mothers and mothers-to-be out there are dealing with this ever present dilemma, so feel free to share this blog post with others who may have some insightful thoughts on this situation.


  1. Oh man this does all seem really hard to figure out and Elliott and I don't really have any answers. All I know is I have seen my friends just figure it out and it all worked out. One of my friends works for as an electrical engineer for IGT in Reno and her cutie goes to a daycare that is also like a school where she learns sign language and yoga! Another friend is a civil engineer and her son goes to a daycare at this older woman's house who seems a bit cuckoo and Preston comes home with different shiny belts and things that he just loves. Some people think in house daycare environments are the way to go and others have found success at more retail type environments. None of them are rich although they have all some how financially worked it out. I think that they ultimately find a balance between wanting to excel at work and also having time for families. It seems like succeeding at work doesn't appear to be that important once you have a family although I don't think they become slackers at work either. I do also see women in another group I am involved in, CREW, who have kids and who are lawyers and very successful although many of them seem to have the means to have nanny's as well. I think is something that just can't be planned for perfectly. However I think its good to think about and consider so that you are mentally prepared for the potential changes. I also agree with that TED video we talked about where the woman says you shouldn't decide that you have to slow down at work because you want to have a family. I think you can have both and its just a matter of overtime determining at which balance you want to do have it. Awesome post, thanks Jen!

  2. I'm not a mom or an expectant mom but I think the questions you posed are wonderful questions to ask other moms in your specific workplace and career. Who better to know how motherhood works in your specific career/workplace than them? Of course, being an engineer, I reckon that it's harder to come by women than in other fields.

    I always pushed "trying" for babies to age 30, but I'm 29 I pushed it again to age 32. I do worry about declining fertility but ultimately, I feel like I'm in a good place, work wise, and know plenty of moms (like my own!) who had kids in their mid 30s. But, I agree, if one day the switch flips and I'm dying to have a baby, there's no reason why career should trump that desire. There are TONS of successful working moms out there!

  3. This one's a toughie. Like Teresa said, it just can't be totally planned, and you figure it out. Although, I'd really rather NOT go back to work, I'm going to start looking for daycare, incase finances just don't allow me to be a SAHM. It's scary, but a lot of people do it, and it seems to work out for them so I'm pretty sure, like everything else, you just find a way. I'll be blogging about it though! ;)