October 8, 2010

Staying Single vs. Starting a Family: Which is Better?

(Reposted from Ask Dan and Jennifer)

Get a job, get married, have a kid. That's the natural progression of life...or is it? Many don't see it that way. The best outcome of the feminist movement was that it empowered women to stay single or have a family as they saw fit. Yet even today, women are pressured to fit into the typical mold of becoming a wife and mother. While that may be the path for some women, to others, children are a threat to their desired lifestyle. So what is the better choice for you?

Staying Single

You enjoy your freedom to take a spontaneous road trip, to stay out late drinking with your friends, to move as you please, to advance your career, and most importantly, to not have to take care of anyone besides yourself. Those are all very legitimate reasons to stay kid-less and carefree. Even if you find the right person to spend your life with, you do not have to settle down and have kids. It is possible to have a fulfilling, loving relationship without ever worrying about convertible cribs and college funds.

The beauty about waiting to have kids is that you can always change your mind (because you can’t un-birth a child, if afterward you decide you aren’t ready for the responsibility). Enjoy the ability to take your time on making big decisions. Yet if you never decide to have a child, you are no worse for the wear.

Starting a Family

There are as many misconceptions about having kids as there are about not having kids. It is true that it becomes harder to travel once you have children. However, it is possible. Just like it is possible to maintain your maintain your personality and hobbies and dreams. Upon giving birth, you do not automatically become a militant mommy: the kind of mother who gives up everything that made her who she was in the pre-baby years, who becomes obsessed with preschools and pull-ups.

Because more and more people are waiting until their mid- to late-30s to start a family, they are able to establish their careers and get some of their wilder urges out of the way long before the stroller-days arrive. Yet, even then, parents may find themselves limited by what they are able to do. The cancellation of a babysitter can throw your plans for a loop, regardless of its importance. Also, while many employers try to be “family-friendly,” having to take time off for doctor’s appointments and classroom parties (not to mention, limited time to travel for work) can inhibit your climb up the corporate ladder.

In conclusion, you may be thinking, “this wasn’t helpful at all. You didn’t say which is the best option for me.” Well, of course I didn’t. Choosing whether or not to have children is not something the Internet can help you with, silly. Rather, the purpose of this article is to show you that there are benefits and drawbacks to either lifestyle. In the end, all that matters is how you feel about your life, what you want to accomplish, and what your vision for the future looks like.


Rick said...

Curious about these article reposts. What's the deal with them? Confused.

Joshua said...

What I heard is that they may have actually been written by Kelli under some sort of super-secret deal through which she would provide the articles to be posted under someone else's byline in exchange for some type of compensation. Of course, I'm just guessing here. Even if I did know what the deal was, I'd be unable to say. Secret, and all.... That being said, the writing sure does have a Kelli-ish quality to it.


Kelli said...

Yes, top-secret dating assignment stuff.

That I have since quit, because it was sucking my soul out through my nose with a straw. But fortunately for you loyal readers (yes, both of you!), I have a backlog of the articles to post whenever I am too busy to jot down some off-the-cuff brilliance.

Rick said...

Awesome. I was always a big fan of Andrew Wang's writing. Funny that it turned out to be you.

I almost wrote "Andrew's Wang"... But, that, I'm not a fan of.

Kelli said...

Surprise! I done punk'd you good.

Seriously, though, you didn't know those were ghost-written articles? I probably wasn't very clear. I wonder how many other people were reading those and thinking, "Why is she so obsessed with Andrew's Wang?"

Rick said...

No, I assumed they were. But, I'm not "hip" to the ghost-writing-pay-to-blog scene, so I figured you wouldn't be able to re-post them without some sort of horrible back-lash or smiting-by-lawyers. But, you operate ABOVE the law.

Apparently, I don't have the same back-catalog knowledge that Keene does.

Rick said...

And, to be honest, I usually just gloss over most of the repost entries. Sorry. Although I read this one just now, and geez, you used a lot of words to say, well, not much. Luckily you admit that in the last paragraph. I could see how that whole process could be soul-sucking.

My favorite part: "It is true that it becomes harder to travel once you have children. However, it is possible."

That is very... insightful.

How much did you bank for that one?

Joshua said...

My knowledge of Kelli's back catalog is unrivaled.

Artemis Clover: The real L.A. love story. said...

hi kelli, i found your blog through your reply to my discussion in 20sb. reading the comments above, i am not familiar with your writing but this is an insightful post about women and the challenges we still face when choosing between family and freedom. i have a 5 month old and still travel about once a month (last place i went to was hawaii). i still go to networking conferences with baby in tow. i sometimes miss the life i had as a single woman with no dependents but i make my life work now and am probably happier than i was before.

Rick said...