A friend of mine is planning an adventure, something of a charitable nature. She is taking time out to give back to the less fortunate. This is no small gesture; certainly not a holiday. It’s an overseas mission involving hardship and personal sacrifice; a commitment, time out from her own agenda and luxuries. Mind you, this person is a busy career professional, with limited annual leave entitlement, yet she offers up her own time for the greater good.
Buy why? Why would she do this? An individual quest, and of her own free will, people often ask whether there is another motive, something perhaps missing in her life that she needs to fulfil.
The speculation is vast, and a most curious suggestion was that of timeframes. It must be notorious biological clock .. tick tock tick tock.
When she told me this, I reflected back to how many times people have commented on my life choices…
- I love to travel to different and exciting places, yet I should get it out of my system now whilst I still have the freedom!
- As I made my first house purchase, apparently I was nesting?
- I am ambitious and enjoy a busy, progressive career, but it’s not possible to balance this alongside a growing family.
Why does everything need a ‘but’ clause? Why can’t women just enjoy their interests, ambitions and choices, without the proviso that there is a time limit or agenda to fulfil before we stop altogether and start family planning? Why can’t we have both? It surprises me that this perception is still ‘out there’… that life stops after kids.
I see some brilliant role models, both publicly (Angelina Jolie or Victoria Beckham) and through many of my family and friends. All these women seem to enjoy busy social lives, active careers and exciting adventures – bringing their full family on that journey.
I’m under no illusion that this is not an easy task, and it most likely involves great organisation, planning, patience and compromise. However I grew up with a career minded mother, and I never felt neglected or abandoned. In fact I excelled academically, was active within several social and sporting clubs and had a great role model to build upon my own ambitions. But that’s just me.
I understand and respect that not everyone wants to be a working mum and others choose not to have children at all (or just can’t). Different people have different perspectives on their life and ambitions. Ambition means different things to different people. Yet judgement still prevails – on both sides. It’s about personal choice and personal agenda, and nothing more – pre, post or without children.
Yet why are we still being asked about our choices, feel we need to justify our actions? And, does there need to be an agenda or plan behind every action?
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