I was told from a young age that a woman’s main purpose in life is to have and raise children. Most of the women in my family were stay-at-home moms, who married young and had children before they turned 30. That wasn’t my life plan. My passion was to have a successful career; I figured a family would come later. My little girl dreams weren’t to meet Prince Charming and have lots of babies. My dreams were to become a successful journalist. I wanted to be Lois Lane, not Snow White. I was going to save the world with my watchdog reporting, exposing the corrupt and giving a voice to those who didn’t have a one. I would scoff at my Nana or mom when they would try to teach me the best way to fold sheets, iron shirts, or make an intricate casserole dish. At the time, I thought learning those things would be a waste of my time.
My passion was to have a successful career; I figured a family would come later.
I remember the moment when I first realized I was not immortal. I was lying in bed at night, around 7 years old. For some reason I started thinking about how I could die tomorrow. I went into a major panic. I ran into the kitchen in tears to find my mom. I told her how scared I was by this new revelation. “What’s the point of doing homework, brushing your teeth or even getting out of bed, if it could all be over in the next minute? What is the point in living if we are all going to die?” She said, “That is why you try to make an impact in this world and leave something positive behind.” Her response echoed through my mind for decades to come. I decided right then and there I had to do something amazing with my life, so more than just a few would remember me. If I could do that, I felt that my life would have meaning. Sure, I wanted to have my own family – one day. I just wanted to make my mark on the world first. I couldn’t understand how you could do both at the same time. I didn’t have a role model for that scenario.
When I graduated college, my head was not in the right place to be a mother. Even if I had been ready for that role, I would have had a nearly impossible time balancing motherhood with my demanding job as a television news reporter. I’d run to breaking news events in the middle of the night, hop on an airplane at a moments notice and was sometimes in dangerous situations. My career was my life. So, I unconsciously made the decision to put pursuing a marriage-minded mate on hold. That’s not to say that Prince Charming couldn’t have swept me off my feet at any time, because I’m truly a romantic at heart. But, my career goals made it really easy not to settle for Mr. So-So.
After I became successful in my career, I was ready to put down roots and focus on meeting my life partner. But he was no where to be found, no matter how hard I looked. Meantime, my biological clock kept ticking – louder and louder. When I finally found my match, we wanted to enjoy married life for a minute before rushing right into parenthood. By the time we were both ready – my chances for conceiving took a nosedive.
When women are in their early 20’s, they should probably start thinking about which path they want to take. If the right partner comes along while you’re buried in books or proving yourself at work – do you try to balance a career with family? Or do you put motherhood on hold to concentrate on your career? By choosing to wait to focus on the family, are you risking your chances of getting pregnant in the future? How long is too long to wait? These are questions every young woman should think about. Ultimately, we all have to choose the path that feels right at that moment in time and hope that our regrets down the road are few and far between.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!