Having a child or a successful career? It is a question that thousands of women ask themselves when they are torn between their maternal instinct and the economic pressure.
Many would argue that millennials are more advantaged than the previous generations as they grow up in a propitious era with more facilities and job opportunities. While there may be some truth in these thoughts, the reality is far more difficult for the young couples who want to create a family while continuing developing their careers.
In an unstable economic climate, with mediocre wages and long working hours, one can be scared by the thought of bringing a child into the world when there is little space for personal life and a limited budget to keep up with the monthly bills.
As the house prices continue increasing and the possibilities of saving money continue decreasing, young couples are constrained to rent accommodations not so desirable and favorable to the development of a harmonious familial environment.
So, however we look at the issue, it could be assumed that our generation is not financially prepared to have children or at least not in their 20s-30s.
Regardless of the economic aspect of the matter family versus career, there are few more questions that each couple should discuss and clarify:
- How far do you want your career to go? Is it a goal driven by ambition or do you only want to reach a career level that could assure you a secure lifestyle?
- How much would your career be affected if you postpone it for two years?
- How much do you want children? Do you see the status of being a parent as something that could emotionally complete you?
- How much can you rely on your family’s emotional and practical support? Could they help you in the first two years with the rearing of the child?
It is necessary that your perspective on these points is well-established as you want to avoid regretting decisions that will not make you happy. Whether you want to make few compromises to become a parent or you wish to dedicate your life to a successful career, you should try to imagine yourself in ten years time: do you see yourself in the same situation (i.e. have a job, try to earn a promotion, travel, etc) or do you see yourself as a parent?
While the idea of becoming a parent may worry you at the moment, it is important to remember that delaying parenthood can work against you. Firstly, your career will always require your attention and the higher you go, the more you work. Secondly, the energy and dedication you have in your 20s-30s are not the same with the ones you will have in your 40s, which could have an impact on your involvement in child’s education. Children do not only grow with parents’ wealth, but also with love, affection and precious moments created through activities and quality time.
If you identify yourself as a person who is more willing to invest in self-development, then you should not feel pressured by family’s opinions or perhaps society’s perception. Becoming a parent should be a decision determined by your instinct, otherwise, you will resent it and it is more likely that there will be an emotional detachment between you and the child.
On the other hand, if you are more inclined to become a parent, but you are concerned about how you will balance finance and personal life, here are few tips that should ease your troubled heart:
- Savings account: Yes, it is extremely hard to save when you have a low income and expensive bills, but if you wish to start a family, ideally would be to open a savings account 2 years prior to getting pregnant. The better you are prepared, the easier will be for you to manage the financial situation when you stop working.
- Benefits: As a new mom, there are benefits that aim to support you raising the child. Make sure you find out as soon as you can about the benefits you are entitled to.
- Reduce the debts and expenses: If you have any loans that you can pay off in advance, start doing it before you get pregnant. The less financial pressure you have, the more you can save. Additionally, reduce the costs that are not essential such as weekly dinner in town, memberships, expensive clothes, etc. Focus instead on buying essential products and .. hunt sales! It will save you loads of money!
- Sell: thanks to eBay and Amazon, everyone can buy and sell at affordable prices. If you have objects that you no longer use or are forgotten somewhere in your house and in good condition, why not sell them? It will clear some space in your house and bring you some cash.
- Plan the budget: Spending wisely should become part of your daily routine. Plan what you want to buy, how much and from where. There are hundreds of shops where you can buy quality products at cheap prices. Plan in advance on how much you may spend on child’s clothes, toys, and food.
As difficult as it may be to divide yourself between family and career, weigh up the pros and cons before making any decision.
Whatever you choose, I wish you good luck!