Despite the many advances that women have made, there’s still a huge divide – you’re either in the Career Driven camp, or you’re part of the Young Mom gang. Women are still being pigeon-holed as either caring about their jobs or starting a family; the media would have us believe that we’re one or the other.
Whether you’re a career driven 30-something yet to consider motherhood, or a 20-something just making her way in the working world; you might be wondering when the right time is to start a family.
Is there such a time? Do you have to decide between children and a career? Or can the modern woman comfortably juggle the two – without any prejudice from her employers and colleagues? Here, try and answer these questions:
The case for having kids in your 20’s
While you might not have the perfect house, job, and care in your 20’s; there’s a lot to be said for starting your family young. Yes, your career might only be getting off the ground; but you will still be young enough to jump straight back into things when your child reaches school age.
Daubed the ‘mumback’ by British newspaper The Guardian, the case for having children young is certainly becoming more commonplace. Not only is it easier to return to your job, but you will still be young enough to continue climbing the career ladder.
Blogger Penelope Trunk claims that women should get pregnant at 25 if they want to continue their career after having children. This was published in the wake of a number of high profile women stepping down to spend time with their kids.
Being a young family also has its benefits. You can run around after them, won’t feel self conscious at the school gates, and can also plan more children in the future if you dream. You and your partner will have more flexibility, and be able to comfortably accommodate such a big change.
For more women, the ‘right point’ in their career to have children is early on. Whether you return to the same job, or move on somewhere else, starting a family young gives you increased opportunities to move your career forwards later in life.
The case for having a career
If you’ve slogged your guts out to get a degree, and fought of stiff competition to bag your dream job, it’s understandable that you would want to put your career first. After all, this gives you and your partner the chance to enjoy a jet-set lifestyle before you finally settle down into parenthood.
While some women struggle to conceive in their 40’s, there is certainly a case for taking this path.
Working to the peak of your career gives you the chance to be financially stable; raising a family is expensive and this kind of security can help to soften the blow. More than this, you are then in a much more favourable position to reduce your hours.
Waiting to have children also ensures that you’re in the best position mentally. You are finally comfortable in your own skin – and not a hormonal 20-something – and you’re used to increased responsibilities.
You’ve had the time to enjoy being a couple, and a child fits in naturally with this. Chances are you won’t be the oldest parent in the playground either; more and more women in this generation consider the ‘right point’ to start a family as that when they have already achieved all their career aspirations.
Is there a ‘right point’?
The short answer here is no. It truly depends on your personal circumstances and preferences. Furthermore, you can’t always plan for children; they often take couples by surprise and throw their plans right off.
As long as you are confident you can give your family the best start in life, and won’t regret your decision later in life, that is the right point in your career to start a family.
Clare Evans writes on behalf of Payday Agency; regularly offering advice and tips to improve your personal finance and saving money.