More and more women are starting their families later in life. Last year, for the first time in history, North American women are more likely to have their first child in their early 30s than in their late 20s.
We can point to a good number of factors that have led to this statistical trend – a move away from traditional cultures, more women achieving higher education, economic uncertainty and others.
Yet, even though we’ve pushed family planning to later in life, our preoccupation with having a family “one day” looms overhead for too many of us. The idea of becoming a mother one day influences and shapes the decisions we make on life’s path – our education choices, the jobs we vie for as well as the projects we take on when we get there.
For example, a new medical student recently shared with me her struggle trying to pick her field of study. She always dreamed of becoming a cardiologists and is now rethinking her plans so she’ll have the work-life balance she’ll need to be a mother.
Then there are also those of us who have dedicated our lives to building careers we love. When we are ready to make the leap into parenthood, we start to wonder if the life we have created can accommodate an additional human. We worry that becoming a mother and having children will close the door on the career we’ve so meticulously crafted.
This was the question one of our readers, Andreea, had for me. The truth is having a baby will bring changes to your personal and professional life. What those changes will be or how significant they’ll play in your life is beyond anyone’s guess – not mine, not Google’s, and sadly, not even hers.
Despite this uncertainty, there are a few things Andreea and others who anticipate one day become a working mother can do to keep the doors open to their careers so it’ll keep serving them when they’re ready for baby. Here are two of them:
1. Pick the right partner
Your choice of life partner is one of the most important career choices women will make. It’s not that women need a life partner to be successful at work. It’s that if we don’t have the right partner by their side, we won’t be able to reach our full potential.
2. Don’t leave before you leave.
In her iconic book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg presents tragic evidence of women leaning back in their careers early so they can make room for the kids they don’t have or won’t have for several more years.
Watch this episode of The Crazy Good Life to learn more about how picking a partner and leaning into your career can prepare you for life as a working mom.
If you have a question or concern you’re facing about being a working mama (even if you aren’t one just yet), share it with me. It’s likely that other mamas are struggling with the very same thing.