April 29, 2016
The C Word
It’s the big question on every woman’s mind – children or career, and with the biological clock ticking louder with every birthday, when exactly is the right time to make the transition?
This month I turn the big 3-0 and have delayed having children because I feel like I have this minute window in my life where I can afford to be selfish and focus on my career and enjoy my youth.
But when is the right time to take that big step? I’ve been told by many that there never is a right time, there are always more rungs to climb on the corporate ladder, more places to travel on this earth, more improvements to make around the home, it’s a matter of weighing up what is more important to you at the end of the day.
While I have a beautiful bounty of friends who have children, providing me with a glimpse into the future, I also have many friends who have chosen to wait a little longer – or perhaps may choose not to have kids at all, and that’s okay.
It seems this is becoming a common viewpoint, with family-type projections showing the percentage of couples without children increases at a rapid rate over the next 20 years, while couples with children is predicted to decrease.
I’ve been told by many that there never is a right time, … it’s a matter of weighing up what is more important to you at the end of the day.”
According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, this year 39.3 per cent of the population is made up of couples without children, rising to 41.1 per cent by 2036, whereas couples with children are at 42.4 per cent in 2016 and dropping to 40.2 per cent by 2036. One parent families are also projected to increase.
Despite all of these changes to the traditional family make-up, why is it that we feel pressure to conform to the norm – when there really is no norm anymore?
When it comes to planning for a family, women are also being more realistic about how long it can take to achieve certain goals and benchmarks in their chosen careers and they realise there is plenty of time to catch up, if not overtake, their colleagues when they return to work.
And that’s certainly true, whether you choose to return to work after a year, or opt to stay at home until your children start school. Modern technology is also making it easier for mums to work from home, so they can schedule certain tasks around family-time and essentially have the best of both worlds.
At the end of the day, American poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou puts it perfectly, “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.”
So what’s most important to YOU?