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Children and careers

Barb Lewis barb at nmrfam.wisc.edu
Tue Jan 17 13:21:08 EST 1995

In article <kohlstaedt.1140681986A at ucsbuxb.ucsb.edu>,
kohlstaedt at sbmm1.ucsb.edu (Lori Kohlstaedt) wrote:
> I would just like to inject what I think is a necessary cautionary note
> here.  Among my aquaintance, for every professional who is happy with their
> kids there seems to be another who really wishes their family was smaller or
> non-existent.  People in the latter catagory don't talk about it much or
> post it to news groups.  I think a lot of them feel ashamed of themselves
> because we're all trained to think that we're supposed to want a family
> above all else and enjoy our children more than anything else.
>     I say that the happy individual will be the one who has children or not
> depending on an informed, carefully considered decision about what is right
> for them personally.  Beware the popular myth that life is unfulfilling
> without reproduction!  Maybe fulfullment should be considered to be getting
> three out of four of the things you want the most.  Decide first whether
> children are even in the top four, then decide what the likelihood of
> getting the other three will be if children do make it into the top four. 
> This formula is too simplistic, obviously, but it makes the point.
>     A family is not the right thing for everyone!
> ***************************************
> Lori Kohlstaedt
> Dept. of Chemistry, UCSB
> (805) 893-8687
> <Reciprocal Space, the Final Frontier>
> ***************************************

I'd like to second Lori's comment that one should carefully consider the
decision to have children. Raising children properly is really a big
committment, and I personally feel that there are few true two-career
couples that can really do it without reducing their career committment.
One may, in the end, be happy for having done so, but still the impact on
the career is there.
Women scientists and other professionals still don't have wives at home; a
few are lucky enough to have husbands, grandparents, etc. at home, but if
you don't it is really (IMO*) quite hard to "do it all".

Also, a further comment about why we don't hear much from people who *now*
wish they had no or fewer children: once one *has* the children, many
people feel that they should accept the responsibility and try to change
their attitudes. That is, even people who wouldn't have their kids if they
had the choice to make over again, still (hopefully) try not to make a big
deal about their regrets, for the sake of their kids' feelings!

Barb Lewis, Mom to Katie (7/1/86), Michael and Justin (both 7/29/89)
e-mail: barb at nmrfam.wisc.edu - My own opinions, of course

*IMO = In my opinion (for those new to the net)

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