Career or Baby or Both?

Are you a woman with a new baby? Planning on having a baby in the next few years? I need you, please! I’ve been asking a few questions recently on Twitter using the hash tag #womencareerbaby (@JaneCWoods if you’d like to join in) .  I am writing on that topic – and I want to Mother and childknow what you think!

It is a thorny question and one I haven’t yet given much space to on this blog. That is about to change. Here’s the dilemma I want to discuss framed within my value system:

Women physically have children.

Society needs children.

Children need good loving care.

Woman want (and often *need) to work.

I believe society as whole is better off when women are significant players in society.

I believe in gender equality across the board and on the board.

Children are better off with strong female role models.

Child bearing years fall when in the period when men are consolidating their careers, the thirties.

The world of work was designed in an age when only men were expected to have careers and does not accommodate the childcare issue, for either gender. Surely it’s not beyond the wit of humankind to come up with a new solution? If we were starting from now what would we do?

That status quo needs questioning .

When I was young women had little choice; I always had to give up my job and re-apply as I had my babies in advance of current maternity legislation. This meant I had to start at the bottom of the pay scale all over again. If I’m totally honest I am almost glad that I didn’t have to make that choice: I loved being with my babies when they were new born. My first child was 10 months old when I went back to do my post graduate studies and when my second child was born I had the luxury of my parents close by, but I still didn’t return until he was 10 months old. My course was full time but I was able to do a lot of studying in the evening, and after the second child I took a part time job.

I have no doubt it had a huge impact on my career progress. My partner was a hugely involved Dad and took what paternity leave he could get, and actually he would have loved to have been a stay at home Dad but it wasn’t an option – I had no job to go back to!

There is some research to show that as a career woman approaches her thirties she begins to drop out of the advancement trajectory well before she has to because she knows she wants to have a child, even years before.

  • Little ladIs that ‘dropping out’ true for you or anyone you know?
  • Are you trying to juggle having children and keeping your career afloat?
  • Has having children affected your attitude towards career versus job?
  • Have you been hard hit by cuts affecting women and has that had an impact on your planning for children?
  • Are you reading this and thinking what joy to have a choice? I am stuck in a job because we need 2 incomes to stay afloat?
  • Have you had to take what you could get to bring in some money?
  • (If you have a partner) have you had children and been the principle money earner so your partner has stayed home?
  • Has your partner wanted to stay home, regardless of where the money is?

I want to know everything I can about what it’s like to be a young woman wanting a family in today’s Britain. (Or USA). Please share your stories with me; you can remain anonymous if you wish but I’d really love to hear from you. The questions are just a guide, use your own words if you wish. Email me with the headline #womencareerbaby. I will reply to everyone and I won’t publish without your permission.

Please do share this post with anyone who might help. Thank you!

PS *poor women have always worked throughout history, nothing significantly changes re the choices of the rich and well off and choices of the poor.

Thinking of expanding your training business? Are you passionate about empowering women? I can help you. To find out how, click here.

Photo Credit: Robert Whitehead (Danielle & Lilliyan Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons. Lavinia Marin stock Exchange


Posted on April 10th, 2013 by

4 Responses to “Career or Baby or Both?”

  1. Toni Hunter says:

    Hi, I returned to work 5 months after my first son was born and 13 weeks after my second.

    This was mainly personal choice, but partly financial neccesity.

    If you want to hear my story, then call me.

  2. Jahlia says:

    I have a 2.5 year old and am choosing baby, I feel this is my most important work right now. I am aware that I don’t know how it will impact my career in the future when I return.

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