Work Life Balance

Professional Childless Women Don’t Want Your Life

By  | 

Childless women in their 20s and 30s with careers are nearly always assumed to have babies on the brain. Despite how much they excel at their career, the assumption is that they will indefinitely want kids. Well, a new survey out of England reveals that stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. A record-breaking one-third of childless career women surveyed don’t want kids –ever. And a lot of that has to do with watching contemporary mothers struggle to keep all plates spinning.

Daily Mail reports that witnessing the struggles and sacrifices of modern moms has made these women reconsider having babies altogether:

Childless women just aren’t willing to make the sacrifices they now see are necessary for motherhood with 44 per cent feeling sorry for working mums struggling to have it all, the survey said.

A quarter think working mothers always look exhausted and one in five say it looks so difficult it makes them think twice about having children.

Half of childless women over 30 look at stay-at-home mothers and think it will be difficult for them to get back on the career ladder and a fifth believe they’ve lost their identity. 

Perceptions about beauty also ranked pretty important, as worries about how pregnancy would change their physique were also a top concern.

Grazia editor-in-chief Jane Bruton said that she not only shocked by the results, but also remarked on what this reveals about the priorities of young women:

“It’s clear from our survey ‘having a baby’ has just dropped off the to-do list for a whole generation of twenty-somethings…”

As one of those childless working 20-somethings, I admit that watching many mothers I know shuttle children all over the city, while still managing a home and keeping their careers afloat has made me reconsider whether I’ll be able to rise to such demands myself. Not to mention the rising costs of childcare, education, and even diapers. I have literally cradled infants in my arms and wondered “I don’t know how she does it” as said mother handles a conference call, a pile of laundry, and then dinner. All the while paying for endless nannies, babysitters, piano lessons, organic food, cloth diapers, and a Bugaboo stroller.

But graduating into this economy as a young woman and looking for a full-time job in such a horrendous recession has no doubt impacted my perceptions of money, particularly my own personal finances. And as I’ve sat at my desk reading about the cost of raising three children coupled with the rise in college tuition, I’ve wondered if raising a family will even be probable by the time I hypothetically have kids.

I would be remiss to not point out that young women (and men!) today have an obscene amount of debt. The average young adult just coming into the workforce is not only saddled with student loans, but also credit card debt, more so than any generation prior. And struggling to pay off student loans when you barely have a job yourself just doesn’t make starting a family seem all that imperative.

While this survey concluded that many childless women “felt sorry” for mothers, I would say that for some that word choice is inaccurate. In the case of some young women, it’s more nuanced than that. It’s not that we don’t want to be you; it’s that we’re not sure we can be.

(photo: Shutterstock)