When I was in college, I vowed to choose a career for me. A career that was fulfilling to my interests and would financially support myself and possibly a family someday.
However, I never once gave any thought to what that family would look like or what my career would entail if I ever had children.
Now that I have two children, I lament that I don’t have a career that is more flexible. If I could do it all over again, I would choose a career with more options than a typical year-round 9-5 schedule. I don’t know what that is – nursing or some other medical profession sounds appealing but I hate science. Teaching with summers off? Sounds great but I tried teaching for a year and it wasn’t for me. So I don’t really know what other path I would have chosen, but I yearn for a job that doesn’t require so much of my time or at least allows creative scheduling.
This goes against my feminist instinct that my career should be just as important as any man’s. And in theory it’s true. But the sad reality is that there are not enough hours in the day for two full time working parents to get everything done while trying to have a relationship with their children for a few hours in the evening. Something has to give. I’m not sure what that is yet since I’m still on maternity leave and we haven’t had to manage full time work with two kids.
I know I’m not cut out to be a stay at home mom but I would love more balance between work and home without sacrificing my career trajectory. And I wish I could tell my old self that motherhood would matter so much to me that the career I chose wasn’t just about me. And that it’s possible to still be a feminist and care deeply about these things.
So if you’re reading this and you still have time to decide on a career, think about the future and your possible family. I never would have guessed I would wish for more time at home while my husband works 60 hours a week. It just wouldn’t have seemed fair or equal and I would have lobbied for him to stay home more so I could have the option to work the same amount. Back then, I was obsessed with equality and the end of traditional gender roles. There are some realities – like who makes more money that college me never accounted for, including how much I need and want to be around my kids.