Motherhood Now

by Audrey Hodges Armstrong '85

As I write this, I am 39 years old, have a three-year-old daughter, and am pregnant with my second child, who is due in two days. Therefore, this article will be filled with hormonal and exhausted insights into having children later in life and making life chioces. After graduating from Scripps in 1985, I focused primarily on my career until a little over a year ago when health issues made me reevaluate what I was doing with my life. I came to the conclusion that “having it all” meant mostly exhaustion and stress. So, I gave up a very successful yet demanding career to raise my daughter, to have time for my husband, to convceive child #2, to have time to take care of myself (i.e., eat, sleep, shower on a daily basis), and I hope also have some time to pursue some artistic/creative endeavors. Which brings me to a few thoughts on “Career or Children: Does Later Mean Never?”

  • Later doesn’t mean never (assuming you don’t have fertility issues). but it does mean your time horizon to have kids is much shortened.
  • Small children don’t always sleep through the night.
  • In my twenties, I could function well at work on four hours of sleep a night.
  • When my soon-to-be-born son graduates college, I’ll be staring 60 in the face.
  • Raising children is the hardest, most demanding, most rewarding work I’ve ever done. It is also the most undervalued work in American society. The most stressful day at the office was much easier than a day at home with an active, demanding toddler.
  • Some careers are more flexible in regards to part-time and freelance possibilites than others. And you can have more than once career during your lifetime.
  • If you work and have a nanny, nannies take sick days (usually just as a business trip, major project or deadline is looming). If you put your child in childcare, kids catch lots of germs there, and most childcare facilities won’t accept sick children. So, if you plan to have kids and continue your career simultaneously, figure on missing work.
  • You don’t have control over when you’re going to meet the person with whom you want to have and raise children. Unless, of course, you choose to be a single mom, but personally I don’t see how people do it.
  • Most of us would be happier with less material stuff and more free time.
  • It’s difficult transitioning from full-time career woman to full-time mom – the most difficult thing is lack of mental/intellectual stimulation. Try to hook up with other mothers in the same position via playgroups, etc.
  • If you want children, have them. My children, husband, family, and friends are the most important and meaningful things in my life thus far, not all of the material items and successes I acquired during my career.