When my BFF heard the news about Beyonce’s pregnancy, she instantly got excited.
But not really for Beyonce. No, she got excited…for ME.
She explained her logic by saying that this gave her hope that one day I might put a baby on my priority list. Something akin to me seeing the ultimate career chick (Beyonce) breaking out her baby bump might inspire me to think that I, too, can be very focused on my career without ignoring the fact that I’m getting into my prime baby-making years.
Damn, I can’t believe I just wrote “prime baby-making years”
But it’s true. As women we have this freaky, scary knowledge that we have a major deadline in our lives that all of the career advancement and technology can’t change.
If you want a child, you can’t wait forever to do it. But if you want to build a fab career, you can’t wait forever to do that either. Which one becomes top priority? Which one wins?
Beyonce has had a ton of success before the age of 30. She could decide she never wants to make another song again, and retire on top. I doubt she will do that, but the rest of us, the chicks who don’t have any gold records (yet), have to think about how far we want to go in the career game before we put it on a pregnant pause.
Sure, there are a ton examples out there of women who have the families, the careers, all seemingly fabulous. And maybe we can have it all, we sure as hell like to strive for it, but I am not convinced it can be equal. At some point you have to put something first. We are afraid to find out that “balance” just might be a myth.
I remember back in the day when 27 seemed like the perfect age to get married. I thought married by 27, and kids by 28. It seemed like the natural order of things. You do this. Then you do that. The “that” usually comes with a diaper.
But something changed for me around 22. I graduated from college, I started working, I started enjoying life on an adult level. Marriage at 27 started to seem a bit young to me. That’s a whole lot of commitment to make. A baby before 30 seemed like crazy talk, and sometimes my friends and I start to whisper the thing a lot of women still don’t really talk about:
“What if I don’t really want kids?”
We are the generation that grew up with the Sex and the City reruns that made it seem like the single, career life is the THING to do. Those chicks were always clamoring after two things: career advancement and a man. Charlotte was the only one of the girls who clamored for a baby. And we all remember the episode when Miranda, who worked 70 hour weeks, desperate not to have her son forget her, plastered her face on his mobile.
Yikes. And hell, she had a nanny.
Judging from the Twitter reactions last night, a lot of Gen Y women are excited for Beyonce’s growing little B. Maybe it’s because since 1999 she has been in our lives in some form or another. Dancing, singing, running the world. She’s become a sister in our heads. And maybe, just maybe, part of our excitement was because now we wonder if we can do it too. If we can work our ass off to develop our careers, and then take that pregnant pause while we still have the bodies that are ready and willing to support it.
I didn’t tell my BFF, but I thought about it too.
I know there are some women out there who do not want kids. And there are some out there who know that is the next step for them. Then there are the women that are like me. The “on the fence” girls. The “sometimes I want one, sometimes I don’t” girls. The girls who look at the childless career women in their lives and wonder if they ever want more? Wonder what they will do when they are old, gray, and not working anymore? The girls who look at the women juggling it all and wonder if they ever wish they had less?
I was there when my BFF had her third child. I saw this beautiful little baby come into the world. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. I promised her that I would be there. And for 9 months I stressed out about how I could possibly make it on time from New York to Tennessee. I took two weeks off from work in anticipation of when it would happen. But of course, the BFF’s contractions kicked in a week before my perfectly planned vacay time. I jumped on a last minute flight, called out sick to work, and hoped like hell that the baby would come sometime between Saturday(the day I got there) and Tuesday (the day I was scheduled to fly back to the city). Madyson was born that Sunday. And thinking about that moment when I saw her little body emerge into the world still brings tears to my eyes, even though it’s almost 2 years later.
That moment was perfect. It was beauty and love. I didn’t have a care in the world. For the first time ever, I was able to see what is truly important in my life.
Do I want a moment like that of my own? A moment that is naturally created without the aid of technology because I stopped my own grind long enough to let it happen?
I still don’t know. But Beyonce in her usual, oddly inspiring way, let me know that if I want to go for it, there is nothing wrong with doing it while you are at the top. Somewhere between achieving a lot, and achieving a lot more, maybe it’s possible to stop, and let another definition of success into your life.
****Would love to hear your thoughts.And as usual, if you liked this post, pass it on to your peeps. Also, check out the blog on Wednesday for a guest post by a reader who had to reformat her career plan when her baby bump came along and changed her game.