To mother or not to mother

I have a friend, a smart savvy professional woman. She is younger then me, 31, but she has made a decision that she doesn’t want children. My immediate reaction is omg – you’ll get over it, your biological clock will start to tick loudly and you’ll change your mind. Then I stopped and thought – what a huge amount of courage it takes to make that decision.

It actually isn’t selfish (another of my initial thoughts!). Her reasoning is that whatever she does she wants to do wholeheartedly. For her, her professional career is an extremely important part of her self. Having a child would require compromise on both being a professional and being a mother, she isn’t prepared to be half hearted at anything.

In todays society we are often damned if we do and damned if we don’t. There is so much pressure to be a mother and yet we are also expected to participate in the workforce. For many of us financially we have no other choice but to reenter the corporate world after children, often in male dominated careers where it is difficult to break into the boys club when you have to make sure you get to child care by 6pm and then spend the evening cooking, arbitrating, educating and soothing.

Honestly, the more I think about it the more I applaud her decision. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but I know I’m not a perfect mother and they have had to make sacrifices for my career. Unfortunately for them they didn’t get a choice. Hopefully, regardless of my intense mother guilt, they won’t spend years in a therapist office talking through abandonment issues caused by having a selfish career orientated mum. Instead they will celebrate the fact that they had a strong, inspirational mother who pushed them to be self sufficient and showed that with a bit of determination you can achieve.