Back then, if you weren’t married and having children by 25, something was up. Not the typical holiday relatives asking “what’s up,” but a whole town shaming you kind of “what’s up.” Fast forward to today where if you’re married and even remotely thinking of kids at 25, you will most likely get silently shamed for rushing. How fun it is to keep up with societal norms; a good mental exercise, I suppose.
As a 25 year old married woman who is currently terrified of having kids anytime soon, the thought of focusing on myself instead of creating a love child with my partner is becoming less enticing. As the years roll by, it even seems, dare I say… comforting. Comforting in the sense that there’ll be more to my life than yin yoga and Law and Order: SVU reruns. Quickly After that comforting thought comes the paralyzing thoughts of saying goodbye to my alone time. Forget vacations with JUST my guy and I and random midday sex (not that it’s a super regular occurrence now but hey, w/o a kid, it’s a weekend option!). Then the scarier questions flood in: will I be a good mother? Will I be a PTA, cookie-baking mom or a career-driven mom? Will my kid be a serial killer or worse, hate me? Which then floats me down the worry river of my biggest concern regarding kids before 30: Am I giving up on my career too soon?
We women have made tremendous strides in empowering each other and inserting ourselves where we belong: on the boards of big corporations, politics, and starting businesses. I can’t shake this feeling off of an unspoken shame around starting a family before focusing on a career but the biological clock doesn’t stop ticking and the thought of being a relatively young mom is so alluring.
But if I focus on my career longer, will I get too comfortable not having kids? I often look at all the amazing women role models in my life, some mothers and other childless and running shit at companies. It’s like nervously picking a side to play on but rooting for the other team, simultaneously. I want my children to grow up with not one but two career role models. I want my future children to be proud of their mothers choices and success in what I enjoy doing, my contribution to this world.
I’m sure moms and moms-to-be are shaking their heads like “you idiot, your life doesn’t STOP with kids.” Sure, it pauses and eventually slows down in certain areas but I hear a lot of moms say that they’re more confident in their skills after kids and even have a bigger flame of motivation to kick ass for their families.
With that sweet and motivating sentiment, why can’t I stop feeling guilty when I smile at a toddler on the subway and think that I’d like one of those (as if I’m confusing a child with chic pair of boots). Then it starts crying and yelling and it quickly reminds me: 1. I’m in no mental position to handle that yet and 2. That I just compared a child to chic boots and referred to them as an “it.”
Not to say one can’t have it all, but personally I know I can’t have it all at once. So I’m left sitting at my desk contemplating, do I savor the rest of my 20s, climbing the work success ladder or swallow the unspoken shame of pausing my career and starting a family. Interesting enough when I was much younger, I was pretty certain that by 25 I’d have kids and be done reproducing by 30. As I turn 26 next month and not where I’d like to be career wise, I find myself focusing more on the stress of it all rather than the actual gift of motherhood. Oy vey!
-signed an anxious 20 something year old
Based in New York, NY, this blog is a public display of my deep affection for clothes, home decor, traveling, all food, and beauty. Take a look around and make yourself comfy!