It’s my life and other Bon Jovi-isms

Now there's a look that says "don't tell me what to do" (or possibly "blue steel").

WHEN did we become so reliant on the media and expert research to spell out social norms? I frequently read about studies or surveys that say what age is appropriate to start having kids, and how many number of children is deemed acceptable.

Let’s be clear: I had my first child when I was 28 and two years later had another child. Two kids by thirty. And my ovaries are sending out very clear “we’re not finished with you yet” vibes.

My mum had seven children, the first when she was just 18 and the last when she was 37. She told me she liked the idea of having kids while she was young as she’d “grow up with them”. Okay, she admits “they made me grow old instead” (insert loud laughter) and she also admits she was much calmer as an older mum with her last two offspring.

So there are pros and cons to having children at any age. But she said she didn’t ever remember reading about what age was best, or what number of children would leave her career intact. In short, she didn’t second-guess her circumstances because she saw something on Sunrise.

There are a couple of major differences between her generation and mine: first, for the best part my mother was not on contraception. If you had kids at 16 or 40, you made the best of your situation.

Now, women make a conscious decision to have children.

Secondly, women’s conscious decisions revolve predominantly around their career for a good many years before we consider “settling down” with a husband and children.

Therein lies the other conundrum, we are in possession of a different life before we commit to our role of life-giver. And we’re also very conscious of preserving that career even after our priorities shift into baby mode.

The media picks up on this conflicting duality – work versus babies in women today and exploits it. Suddenly there are studies into something that was once a non-issue.

God has lost the ruling argument in those deliberations to science and equality.

But I think the average woman is smarter than letting ninemsn dictate their lives because an expert said a woman with three kids was at a significant disadvantage career-wise than a mother of two.

Surely any woman can look at her own life and decide what it is she wants, consider the implications and move forward without Googling media reports on what the “average woman” does.

She knows her situation, her capabilities and her boundaries better than anyone else. I read these articles with firm rebuttals already in my head, snorts of derision sit ready in the back of my throat.

And the conviction that – if I do have more children, my career won’t stall entirely in favour of the P&C – is  cemented even further. It’s up to me, not the experts.

** A quick aside to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to KleenexMums who deemed my blog post worthy of an iPad2! I thought the overnight bag (that finalists received) was cool enough – but a computer?! Gee whizzy, I’m beside myself! (see photo)

*** Another quick mention that I am going on holidays (woot!) this Friday and while I have visions of being super organised and scheduling blog posts to come out while I’m away… it’s very possible that I’ll be too busy going…


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryse
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 13:35:56

    Congratulations on the KleenexMums prize, Pete! Your blogs are excellent and deserve recognition.


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