She Opts For Her Career
by Ivy Grey '01
It seems odd to me that the debate continues over a woman’s right to choose between motherhood, a career, or a combination. I believe maintaining options is important.
Through my childhood years, I dreamt of having children and naming them in honor of the most influential people in my life. And then I experienced a reality check. Fully participating in raising my brother (15 years younger than I) opened my eyes to how much work and energy goes into proper child rearing. As a result, I decided that my time and energy would be best spent elsewhere, preferably someplace where I wear a suit, engage in mature, intelligent conversation, bring in the “breadwinning income,” and where my day ends by 7 p.m.
I believe that it is selfish to bring a child into the world if you are not ready for your life to revolve around him/her. This means that your career takes a backseat to your children at all times. I am not willing to make this concession. I have worked incredibly hard to obtain a collegiate level of education and to be a part of the world where everyone that I interact with is an educated, innovative, adult thinker. I would resent giving this up for the American family ideal-be it the 50s or 00s ideal. Resentment, feelings of lost potential, or feeling trapped are not emotions that should be associated with child bearing. Therefore, I choose my career. “Excelling in one arena and giving it your all can often be the key to incredible success.” When I complete my list of things to do: start a business, earn my J.D./Ph.D., travel, run a marathon, etc., I would reconsider the topic of children. However, biology most likely will not allow this.* There is not enough time for me to pursue both my career and parenthood to its fullest, and I feel that opting to attempt both is not fair to either.
I will not be affected by the soccer moms, grandparents, and Martha Stewarts that shake their heads lamenting my choice. It will always be my choice, and I am free to hold firm or change my mind at any time without regret. Pursuing a life in the business world is how I seek my fulfillment. The power and dynamism that I have found in myself is not the power of a household leader, it is the power of a business leader, a world leader.
I feel that society should welcome those who make a clear choice and support them fully. Multi-tasking is not always the answer. Excelling in one arena and giving it your all can often be the key to incredible success.
For me, it will never hurt to wonder “What if I had a family?” But it would always be painful to wonder “Where did my career and education go?”
*Upon completing my “to-do” list, adoption of an older child will certainly be a possibility.