Work Life Balance
SAHM No More: I Had My Kids Early, So Why Is My â€˜Biological Clockâ€™ Ticking?
SAHM No More explores the the ups-and-downs of navigating a new world of parenting, transitioning from married stay-at-home motherhood to a full-time working, divorced motherhood. And there are a lot of adjustments being madeâ€”a lot of adjustments and not a lot of sleep.
One of the decisions that I have always felt confident about is the fact that I had my kids early. I wouldnâ€™t necessarily recommend what I did to everyoneâ€”after all, eloping to Vegas at the age of 19 does not ALWAYS turn out so wellâ€”but it worked for me. Despite being very young when my kids were born, I was in a stable relationship and enjoyed the specific pleasures of young motherhood; namely, that I had energy and time to devote to them. But the trade-off of having kids so young, or at least, my particular trade-off, was putting my career on hold. This isnâ€™t the case for everyone, to be sure, but it was what I decided to do in the context of my familyâ€™s wants and needs. I had no regrets because I knew that I would still have time to finish my education and find my way professionally and I didnâ€™t think I would want more kids.
Well! Fast forward 10 years later and I am on my way to establishing myself in the career that I always wanted and have two amazing children who are becoming more and more independent by the day. Perfect, right? Well, kind of. As much as I wouldnâ€™t change anything about having spent my 20s as a full-time stay-at-home mother, I also didnâ€™t plan on being divorced by 30. Itâ€™s not the divorce thatâ€™s the problemâ€”frankly, that was the solutionâ€”itâ€™s the fact that Iâ€™m now at an age where all of my peers are getting married and just starting to have children. And Iâ€™m finding that the biological clock that I thought Iâ€™d set permanently on snooze is starting to tick again. I donâ€™t know if I can afford to pay attention to it.
People who just meet me tend to be really surprised that I have kids at all. But the most resounding comment that I getâ€”especially from womenâ€”who find out that Iâ€™m 31 and done with diapers and breast-feeding is, â€œYouâ€™re living the dream.â€ I actually had a friendâ€”one of the loveliest and most-accomplished women I knowâ€”tell me, â€œYou already won.â€ This friend is only 26 and has achieved more in her career than most people a decade her senior, to say nothing of just being flat-out awesome, but she views me as having won.
And I get it. While other women my age might be worried that they will never find the right partner to start a family with, I already did that and can now focus on my own life without wondering if Iâ€™m letting my eggs shrivel up and wither away. Iâ€™m not exactly sure that this is the scientific explanation for what happens to eggs, but just go with me here.
The problem that Iâ€™m having though is that Iâ€™m starting to wonder if I will want to have a bigger family. A guy I was dating for a while wanted to know, quite seriously, if I would want to have kids again. Even though my knee-jerk reaction was to say no, I am starting to be able to conceive of the idea that, well, I will want to conceive again one day. And hopefully have it happen with a partner with whom I will want to spend the rest of my life.
I am starting to realize that I might be ready for a long-term commitment and adding to my family. Except that itâ€™s not that easy. Since I started down my career path at a much later date than others in my profession, there is no way that I can reasonably plan to take the time off that I would want in order to have a baby. I would be derailing the future that I postponed when I had my first son at age 20. I know that if I really wanted to make it work, I probably could, but itâ€™s difficult to imagine compromising my career just as itâ€™s getting started.
My best friend just had a baby last week. She was joking that when my kids had been born, she had been the crazy surrogate aunt, living a wild life, and now that role would be passed on to me. And all of that is fine. I know what I signed up for. But itâ€™s hard not to pretend that there isnâ€™t a little part of me trying to figure out a way to have it allâ€”kids, career, strong relationshipâ€”and coming up empty-handed as to how that will ever be possible.