I came across this article about ‘teen mums’ quite a while ago and while I didn’t agree with the premise of it I wasn’t sure about how to approach it. I saved the article for future consideration but didn’t do anything else.
Then I came across this article about how
“…female workers feel pressure to furiously climb the career ladder before taking time off to start a family.”
The approach of this article was almost the antithesis of the article about teen mums but the heart of both articles deals with the challenge of balancing having a family and having a career.
The article about teen mums postulates the idea of having children before having a career. Physically it’s the best time for it but there is more to having a child than just getting pregnant. Leaving aside issues like postpartum depression, having a child is extremely demanding no matter how you measure it - physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, or even sociologically. While many teens may be fully capable of ‘running a home’, how many teens can afford a home in the first place?
The article states, presumably tongue in cheek,
“…show me a fortysomething working mother who doesn’t feel exhausted and overwhelmed and I will show you a woman on very effective mood stabilizers.”
To me it seems fairly clear that the added mental and emotional maturity, not to mention the financial resources, afforded by the additional twenty-six plus years would make a world of difference in how the fortysomething working mother deals with issues as opposed to how the teen mom, with limited resources, education, and perspective, deals with the same issues.
On the other side of the coin, the article about the ‘pre-mommy mentality’ advocates the opposite approach. Work harder.
Pamela Jeffery, founder of the Toronto-based Women’s Executive Network, which offers career mentoring programs, says she encounters women on a daily basis who are racing for career advancement while they’re in their late 20s and early 30s.
“The No. 1 question I find in our mentoring programs is ‘How do I do it all? How do I have a great career and be a
Her advice: Put in the extra work early on.
Wow. Talking about being caught in the middle.
This is something that has always fascinated me as a science fiction writer and was one of the ideas running in the back of my mind while I was writing The Gender Divide. With an extended life span, it would be possible for both parents to take a hiatus from work and take the time to raise a child. As it stands now, too many people have children then leave the raising of them to strangers. As one of the women in the ‘pre-mummy mentality” article states…
“So I kept working harder … so that one day I could at least pay for someone else to raise them…”
I honestly don’t know the answer is or what the best time to have children is but I’m hopeful that one day society and perhaps even technology will help us find the solution.