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     Volume 5 Issue 109 | August 25, 2006 |

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Kids or Career?

Syeda Shamin Mortada

Everybody loves babies. Their silky smooth skin, heavenly smell, tiny fingers, soft bodies are all irresistible. But it's also true that these angelic creatures can take up a lot of our time, physical stamina, our youth (middle age and old age included) and for many women, their career opportunities. This is one reason many women today choose to give precedence to career over family. Family takes a back seat in their lives. They start a career first only then get married and then do they think about extending the family.

As an outcome, some of them become mothers for the first time comparatively at a later stage in their lives and as a result bear only one child; some after trying many years and with advanced medical help, while some we unable to remove the hands of the clock, remain childless.

Most women know that fertility declines with age, they just don't know how much and how fast. It is a real pity that the most suitable years to become a mother which is the 20s, coincides with the best years to make a great career. And once one is left behind in the job race it is pretty tough to get back. What then should be done? Should these educated women with great degrees give up everything for the sake of the family? Should they just pour their lives in bearing and rearing three or four consecutive children? Or should they just hand over their kids to the grandparents or even worse, housemaids to bring up their little ones? But then again why have children if you cannot take full responsibility?

Many have sacrificed education and career for the sake of family. Many still wait for their child or children to grow up just enough to start school, so that they can return to their professional life with full zest and vigour. These moms are ready to redirect their energy into their career when the time is right.

All modern, educated women should have the liberty to choose both, a great career and a loving family. Support of the government, private and public sectors is necessary in this situation. Most young mothers feel that things could be much easier for them if there were family-- friendly workplaces available. Or reliable, dependable day care centres would also do. Most of these young women would resume work if they were given a chance to work part time in their own work places or even elsewhere. It would also be a great opportunity if they could do their office tasks at home at least once a week. They would be more than happy to swap weekends i.e. work more then 12 hours if required on the weekends (Fridays and Saturdays) and celebrate their weekends on any other weekdays. According to many homemakers, it would be greatly helpful if the government and private sectors came up with accommodating and generous policies, such as to grant employees up to two to three years leave with a guarantee to return to the same or a similar job. That means official career breaks! Through these policies work places will get the opportunity to hold back talented employees. Moreover, the above are just minute prices in comparison to the “cruel choices” or “sacrifices” a woman has to make for her family.

Whether one is ready to have a baby or not is one of the most important decisions of one's life. Being a mother requires a lot of courage, patience and most importantly sacrifices. And being a working mom takes much more than that. Just remember - a really successful woman is one who can manage and balance both, career and kids.



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