Post # 1
I’m about to start my last year of undergrad, and I’m kind of trying to figure out what my next steps will be. I’ve always wanted a family, and I’ve always imagined staying at home while my children are young. SO and I plan on having two kids about 18 months to 2 years apart meaning I would be off from work for about 7-8 years if things work out as planned. I have always imagined having some sort of successful career though I’ve never imagined myself being a big wig CEO or anything of that nature. I always hear people talking about focusing on their careers first and then having children, but have any of you had your children in your early/mid-twenties and then focused on your career when they are a bit older? What are the downsides to this? Realistically I know that I will work for at least a couple of years after I graduate as we won’t be completely ready for children until I’m 24-25, but I’m just wondering what other people have done to have a balance of career and family life.
Post # 2
beetee123: I am almost 26 and personally waiting until I am closer to 30 (that’s the plan at least), so I will have been in my career for 8 years at that point before having children. I also don’t plan on being a stay at home mom either. I plan to work full time, though might consider going part-time if my current position/career allows it.
I will say, stopping at any point in one’s career and completely withdrawing from the workfoce will have a negative impact on one’s career, regardless of timing. My guess is that being further into one’s career could make it easier to return, but you might not be able to return at the same level/position if you advance yourself prior to leaving. Leaving earlier in your career will limit your initial advancement and possible future advancement as well. Some studies have shown that women who wait longer to have children and establish their career tend to have higher life time earnings than those who don’t wait. But you will have to decide what really matters to you.
I thought this article brought up good arguements/points for both sides (waiting a while vs. having children early). http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/01/family-career-working-mother-forbes-woman-time-best-age-to-have-children.html
Post # 3
beetee123: It depends on your field. In mine, your plan wouldn’t work. What would be a much better plan is to work 2-3 years and get solid experience and then consult or work part time with kids to keep your skills up. In my field, you cannot get hired with an 8 year gap and no solid work experience.
We have hired people with a few year gap before, but they were PhDs + 5 years work experience.
I got married at 27 and our goal is to have our first by the time I am 30. That will give me 6 years of solid work experience. My job is very flexible, once I have kids, I intend to work from home (with a babysitter there) so I can nurse, cloth diaper, and cut out my commute. Others in my office have successfully done this without getting mommy tracked.
Post # 4
beetee123: I have been struggling with this too. I am a few years away from figuring it out. I think I might work part time and also hire a part-time nanny (potentially a family member, which would be awesome! Fiance has a sibling who loves being a mom and by the time we have kids her kids will be a lot older so maybe she’ll want to work for us- I think it would be great for them to be close with their auntie! But if that didn’t work out, I think a nanny would be great. I had a nanny when I was a kid and I think it was really wonderful for me, it was like having an extra parent and I think it helped me to be a well-rounded person)
Fiance wants to open his own business so it’s not really feasible for him to work part-time, but he wants to shave down his hours when we have kids too. We want to be very present in their lives, but we also want our careers. It’s really tough to figure out where the balance is. I think we’ll have some trial and error to work through, figuring out what works for us. That’s the other thing- you can always start out with a plan but change it if you change your mind, if you see a better option and it’s the right place and the right time!
FI’s brother and sister-in-law just had a baby. Between the two of them (taking turns) they are taking 3 months off with their baby and then he’ll go to daycare when they’re at work.