Kids, Careers, Connections

Regarding that Washington Post story, the writer saw a lot of tension when highly educated couples have babies before 30, thus sacrificing career advancement and income. The young guns struggle to connect because they are viewed as having made a mistake and don't have the status symbols of power careers (clothes, vacations). Why would you spend $80G on a degree and then have babies? Get the career in flight, then think about family. Lots of time on the bio clock, right? Typically, those interviewed are glad they had their kids young but were struggling with inevitable comparisons with people who made different choices.

First, as a married father of two, I don't struggle to connect with any parent who has same-age kids as I do. Common life stage trumps just about everything. Don't believe me? Look how modern churches organize--from youth to single 20somethings, to divorced thirtysomethings, to empty-nesters. Once you turn 18, it's your experience status, not career status, that drives associations. I have parent friends young and old, and we find a lot of common ground.

Underlying this whole story is how kids interrupt, delay, or otherwise sidetrack adults' options--to connect socially, to advance professionally. Well, this is true. I do not get to do certain things anymore. But, I do get to do things I longed for when I was on the other side looking in. And the challenge as a parent is to keep my eyes on the priceless moments with those who are bear God's image and mine and spend less time on all the "cool" stuff. In theory I want it all, in reality I can't have it all because the law of priorities says everything can't be priority one at the same time. Parenting is a ton of self-denial and accelerates growing up. The rewards really don't compare with career prestige or a long weekend in Cancun. 


I don't know who these 20-somethings are who can afford vacations in Cancun. I am 28 (almost 29) and have almost been married two years and I can't even afford to go on a weekend get-away in my same state. Much less have a baby (and I have my master's degree). It must be different in the South because almost ALL of my friends got married right out of college and already have at least two children; my husband and I can relate more to our church's Singles group than to the "Young Married" class, which is actually comprised of people who have been married at least 5 years and have kids. I'd say that's not "Young Married" anymore...especially if you're in your mid-to-late 30s like some of them. It's more of a parenting class than anything, so that's sort of frustrating. And we're not waiting to have kids because we want's more of a financial issue right now. We're living with my in-laws due to some medical problems my husband has had, so he was out of work for about six months. If I could, I'd try to get pregnant tomorrow but we want to be smart about it. *Sigh* Not everyone puts off having kids because of their careers. Sometimes it's just bad timing and you don't want to have to rely on your family for financial support.

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