Can I ‘have it all’?

I wasn’t intending on joining the debate about Kirstie Allsopp’s comments last week in various papers (and continued on twitter), and this post isn’t a discussion of the merits of various ideas for our society as a whole.

However, her comments did make me stop and think about my own future – can I really ‘have it all’?

I’m not wanting Pedro to panic here – I’m not thinking too specifically far ahead (honest!) But I do want children – one day. I ideally want them before I’m too old as I know that getting older reduces the chance of conceiving as well as increasing the risk of issues (as highlighted by Kirstie Allsopp, female fertility has a ‘best before’ date). However with all the other things I dreamed of doing when leaving school, is there a best time to have children?

I am in my (ahem) late twenties. I went straight to university straight out of school. From there I went straight into teacher training, and from there straight into my first job. Looking back, now I wish I’d made more of my time at university. I didn’t go out loads, I didn’t make hundreds of good friends, I didn’t spend all my time studying. I think maybe with a bit more time before it to grow up I would have made a lot more of everything there. But perhaps going through it was the only way I did grow up as I have – we’ll never know! (Ooh a bit retrospective there!) The point I’m trying to make is that my life so far has been completely geared towards securing a successful career.

Up til now the only times I have thought ‘when I am 35 I want to be…’ I have always suffixed it with ‘…an assistant head’ (or insert other high up teacher post here!) But now I’ve started to think about not only when to have children, but also what impact that will have on my career.

Being close friends with the lovely Emma (of fame) has shown me motherhood for someone our age for the first time. She is so devoted to her family and wants to create the best possible life for them. This made me realise that being a mother isn’t all about me! (Shocker I know!) It isn’t about how I can fit the next 5 years of my career around potential children. It’s not about how they will impact on my life. It’s about how I will impact on theirs.

So it’s scary stuff, but I think I’ve realised that perhaps I can’t ‘have it all’ – as real life doesn’t work like that. I might not get where I want to in my career – and maybe instead of working myself to the ground for the next 5 years I could take my time? And I might not be able to have children – not everyone is so lucky. And even if both of those things do happen – somewhere along the line I will have to make compromises. Because that’s life.

What do you think about this debate? What have your experiences been like?



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