T recently said (somewhat jokingly) “You’re turning 24 this year. Better start thinking about when we’re going to have kids…”
24 is scary. 24 is firmly mid-twenties. It’s nearly a quarter of a century. And it feels far older than how I feel inside.
Mainly due to him, I’ve already bumped down my planned kid-having age from early 30s to 28-29. And that doesn’t seem so far away. I am so nowhere near ready for it, and is five years enough for that to change?
We all got together recently for the birthday of a friend, S. She’s a doctor, or pretty close to being one. One of our other friends, F just got married and just started a corporate career, and plans to have kids once she gets her CA. All of the girls in this group want their kids young, and to stay home with them for at least some time. Including S.
Medicine and child-rearing. Two very different lifestyles, neither of them conducive to the other. She is perfectly suited to medicine, but the family thing is just as important to her. We mapped out her professional trajectory on paper (from house officer to registrar to fellow to consultant – the US names are vastly different) and tried to determine where she would fit in two kids. Apparently some people take a few years out as registrars to get their PhDs and have their kids then (!), as that seems to be the best window to take time out in.
The last newsroom I worked in, only the most senior people – almost all men – had spouses and families. The hours just aren’t conducive to it. Medicine is even worse. S can’t have the kind of life she wants (or any life, really) in surgery, so she’s thinking about pursuing radiology or anaesthesia, which have more regular hours, (though they may be harder to get into). It’s something I pointed out to her back in high school, but I don’t think the harsh reality really hits you until you’re faced with it. Ah, the march of time.
I’m also really interested to see what happens to the rest of my girlfriends in the next couple of years. As I said, one is married. Another will probably be engaged soon. Three more literally have plans to get married in the next two years, but haven’t met anybody yet. And they may well end up having arranged marriages – a tradition I can’t help but wonder how much longer will continue quietly in Western countries, albeit in increasingly more informal ways. Probably longer than you might think.
Did you factor in family and kids when planning your career? Have you thought about when they fit into the picture?