Babies are not the be all and end all for women

Ambition, relationships, fitness and other topics of conversation shouldn’t stop being important when women have babies.

Before you even begin reading further along in this article I should highlight that I have a career as a Recruitment Consultant and Writer and I am 25 with a boyfriend and no kids. I also have no plans to have kids till I am at least 30 and that’s only if there is a rock on my hand and a wedding album on the coffee table if you know what I mean.

However coming from suburban Western Sydney and now living on the South Coast of NSW I am surrounded by a society where marrying young and/or popping out babies is the normal thing to do. In fact sometimes this mothering majority can inadvertently make you feel weird/odd one out/rejected if you don’t have a ring on that left hand and a baby in a stroller or in fact don’t want those things and this is bad for the self esteem business! Having a baby seems to be the alternative to figuring out a career that you probably haven’t had time to become qualified for anyway.

The scary part is that for most – not all – these woman it seems that babies become the be all and end all in their life. Like the string tying them to the earth…their EVERYthing. While I can understand how having a baby is a moving experience and will change how you see things in the world and it’s something that to quote friends it “indescribable experience” and a “different kind of love” I 100% believe that it is dangerous to think that anything/anyone in this world should be your everything.

I can liken it to having a serious boyfriend in high school. When you’re a teenager it is very easy to obsess over a serious relationship and truly believe your life would be over if you ever lost this true love of your 16 year old life! But it isn’t true…you don’t die because they do, or simply because they broke up with you. You pick up shattered pieces and after a lot of moping and some bad decisions you finally open your heart to someone else again.

No-one can possibly be everything to you – and this includes best friends, your mother, your husband and yes – your baby. You were a person before you got pregnant; you were a person while pregnant and although habits are forced to change you are still your own person after you give birth. You are a separate person to your baby who cannot possibly ever be everything to you. One day they will grow up and become teenagers that get defensive when you are too involved or let loose if you don’t set boundaries because “mum, that’s so unfair”. While it would be great to assume that our kids will grow up and believe we are their best friends and they tell us everything – it doesn’t always happen and if it does that still doesn’t mean they are our everything.

One person in this world cannot possibly give you everything you need and it scares me when I hear mothers saying that their children are “their world”. Just like when you get into a love-of-your-life-relationship it is still super important to keep up individual hobbies, have time with your girlfriends and keep up fitness and health levels. I cannot stress enough that the same needs to go for when women have children.

You are still important…and if you don’t put yourself first you won’t end up been much use to anyone.

Make sure you give yourself time to build up your hobbies, return to a fulfilling career, keep up your health and fitness and give your husband/boyfriend/partner/babies daddy and your girlfriends outside of your kids. It will make you a better and more fulfilled person for it.

Recently having looked through the Forbes 100 most powerful women list for 2012 it is extremely apparent that the majority of these women have risen to their level of power in a variety of industries even while having kids. If these CEO’s, COO’s, Political powerhouses, and journalism leaders can bring up children while building careers their kids will one day be proud of them for than why is it so hard for anyone else?

I have seen plenty of examples of women get to their highest level of fitness after having children and even with more than three children to take care of. 

While being a mother seems to be a great choice in life it is certainly not the only choice given to women and it is also not healthy for it to be the only ‘everything’ in your world.

6 thoughts on “Babies are not the be all and end all for women

  • Amy

    Hey Miss Kitty,
    You asked for comments? Well here you go!!!
    As you can imagine, having just had a baby 3 weeks ago, the topic of your blog was of great interest to me. I’m going to try to separate my response into 2 sections – how i felt before having a baby, and how i feel now.

    During the majority of my 20’s, I didn’t want kids. I am the youngest in my family and have never really even been around kids much. I don’t know how to relate to them or talk to them, and they seemed like too much of a handful for me! My husband felt the same. I did think that I may change my mind one day, but at the time, my decision was ‘no kids for me!’. That said, I didn’t really have huge career ambitions either. I was happy in my job and did want to get ahead, earn more money, travel, etc, but I was quite happy to take my time and enjoy life with my husband, family and friends. I thought the same way you do about people who have kids and focus their entire life around their kids.

    I always get cranky when I see Facebook statuses by mums that say something along the lines of ‘Being a mother is the most important job in the world’. You know the ones – ‘I’m not JUST a mother – I am a counsellor, a chauffer, a chef, blah blah blah…’. I made a pact to some of my friends that if I ever had a baby, I would never write that sort of drivel. I think they sound downright bitchy sometimes – as if to say ‘If you’re not a parent, your life is incomplete and meaningless’. I never want to make other people feel like that. My decision to have a baby was exactly that – MY decision (and my husband’s, of course), and I would never presume to tell others that what I decided for my own life is what they should do as well.

    When I was about 28, I began to think a bit differently about having kids. Then when I was 29 and my husband was 30, we somehow changed our minds completely and started trying to have a baby.

    Three weeks ago, I gave birth to my daughter. And OH MY GOODNESS has my life changed rapidly!!!!! It has given me a completely new perspective on some of the comments in your blog.

    Firstly, let me say that I had NO IDEA what having a newborn baby would be like. I was completely and utterly unprepared for how tiring and time-consuming this job would be. I think that even if you have friends who have kids and they tell you what it’s like, you will still be completely unprepared when it happens to you.
    To give you some idea: My daughter is breastfeeding, and she feeds 6-8 times a day. Each feed (inlcuding burping and nappy change) takes approximately 40-60 minutes. So, there’s up to 8 hours in my day spent feeding. After a feed and nappy change, she needs a bit of awake time/play, where obviously I can’t just put her down and walk away. Depending on her mood, that can be 10-30 minutes, sometimes longer, before she is ready for sleep. So there’s another couple of hours of my day spent playing with/watching her. Then, she starts to get tired and needs to go to sleep. But a lot of the time (while she is this young), she will need help to get to sleep, so I can spend up to an hour rocking her, singing/reading to her, shushing her to go to sleep (especially if she gets upset and starts crying, which can result in her being over tired and over stimulated, and can then take her longer to get to sleep). So there’s another few hours in my day spent rocking her in my arms, or with her in her basinett and me patting her to sleep. In between all this, when she is asleep, I need to get some sleep as well, plus have a shower, maybe do a bit of housework, and entertain the visitors that want to come and meet this new little person.

    Then there are times like last night, where between her feed at 7pm and her feed at around 10pm, she did not sleep, except for a couple of 10 minute stints where I put her to bed, walked away and she was awake and crying minutes later. I did not get to do anything at all for those 3 hours except hold her in my arms, rock her, walk around the house with her, shush, sing and read to her. Then, between the 10pm feed and the 1am feed, she still didn’t want to sleep, so those 3 hours were spent the same way. Finally, at 2am, she went to sleep and so did I, until she woke up a few hours later for another feed.

    So, my first question to you in response to you blog is as follows:
    When, at least for the first few weeks/months of this little person’s life, she requires the majority of my attention, love, patience and time, how can she NOT be ‘my world’ or ‘my everything’? At the moment, I barely find time to have a shower each day. Some days I have not eaten breakfast until 2 or 3pm. And that’s with my husband being home every day with me and taking over the majority of the housework! So where am I supposed to find time to ‘keep up my health and fitness’, ‘give time to my girlfriends’, or (the most laughable of your suggestions) ‘build up my hobbies’? Especially once my husband goes back to work and I’m on my own every day?
    If my girlfriends want to come and visit me, and talk to me in between the breastfeeding and shushing, great!!! But at this stage, the idea of bundling my baby into the car seat and then the pram (probably waking her up and making her cry in the process) so I can meet people for a coffee is just completely overwhelming. (Let me interupt myself to point out that I am currently typing this comment one-handed, while holding and rocking bub in my other arm).

    I do not claim to know everything about being a mother – I only know a small amount that relates exclusively to the first three weeks of mothering a newborn, but I imagine that there will come a time when she no longer requires so much of my time and attention. When that time comes, I have every intention of returning to work, hopefully spending more time on my hobbies again, and I will still be trying to keep up my friendships. But until then, unfortunately, I’m going to have to be one of those annoying mothers whose life mostly revolves around their child. Because I pretty much have no choice in the matter at this stage! Perhaps, after spending so much time on their children when they are this young, some mothers don’t know how to ‘step back’, and ‘reclaim’ their lives? Maybe this is what awaits me? Maybe children are always this demanding, regardless of their age? Or maybe, by the time a child is a bit older and more independent, some mothers have then had another child who now needs all their attention. Maybe after several years of child-rearing, it’s almost impossible to remember what life was like beforehand? I certainly hope I will be able to make room for other priorities and other people in my life and fit all these things around being a mother!

    Having said all of that, I do actually agree with you that ‘It is dangerous to think that that anything/anyone in this world should be your everything’. You touch on the idea that having a baby is ‘a different kind of love’. In a way, yes. I certainly feel far more protective about this little person that I ever have felt before. I find myself wanting to burst into tears when I see things on TV about children being separated/taken from their parents. However, I also strongly believe that my relationship with my husband should come before my child. My husband and I were together before we had her, and we will be together when she’s grown and moved out of home and living her own life. So I have every intention of, whenever possible, putting my husband first and making time to nuture our relationship. In my opinion, this can only be beneficial for my daughter, as it will confirm for her that this home and this family is full of love and always will be. But, my husband is not my ‘everything’, either.

    Finally, I would like to comment on the section of your blog focussing on the Forbes most powerful women list of 2012. I have two questions for you to consider –
    1. How many of these women became ‘powerful’ during the height of their child-rearing days? I believe a majority of women on this list who have children actually became qualified to be included on the list after their children were quite grown up.
    2. How many of these women are quite wealthy (being CEOs/celebrities) and can therefore afford extra help such as nannies, cleaners, personal trainers, etc to help them to ‘keep up their fitness’ and make time to return to work after having children?

    If summary, while I do think you make some valid points about children not being the ‘be all and end all’ of a woman’s life (and a couple of years ago I would have whole-heartedly agreed with you), having had a small taste of parenthood, I also think that judgement should be reserved until one knows all the facts. How about you revisit this blog in about 5 year’s time when you’ve seen the other side of the coin, and see how much your opinion has changed?


    • misskitty Post author

      Thanks for your feedback and story Amy! Part of the point in this blog was to encourage discussion from both sides of the coin which clearly you have. I know that new-borns require a lot of attention and nuturing and can do nothing for themselves without their mother. You made me realise that perhaps I should have used the word children instead of babies. The sole purpose of what I had to say on this topic is summed up by the one sentence you agreed with – ‘It is dangerous to think that that anything/anyone in this world should be your everything’. I also must say I whole-heartedly agree with your comment that your relationship with your husband should come first. I guess this is something i am seeing less of – the baby becoming a replacement of the love rather than a result of.
      In regards to your questions, the point of me referring to this powerful women’s list is that success for a woman isn’t limited to just being a mother. I actually thought it was great that these women are at that level with marriage and kids! Chances are these woman had to sacrifice a lot, including quality family time to get where they are today – but that is part of their personal story that they can choose to share or not. I just wanted to highlight that there is a choice. There is a choice to be a mother and just a mother and that is wonderful. But then there is also a choice to have other things in your life as well. It is important that in giving birth women don’t lose themselves in the process – something again I have seen a lot of examples of.

  • Sherie

    Hey thought id leave a lil comment. Always good to hear opinions. So, heres a little of my story…

    I never wanted a bf or to get married or even a family- that was far from my mind at 18yrs old, i had my own plans-travel, job, missionary work etc. But alas God had different plans in mind for me. I met Tim and at almost 20years old we got married- WOW what a smack in the face that was. And no, i was never very maternal or gaga over guys and dreaming of these fake big weddings and families, yukko. But i married the love of my life, and my heart changed. No fantasy girl stuff, just love, all thanks to God. It was always hard to relate to girlfriends obsessing, constantly dreaming of being married and babies. Even though i was married. But to me it was so much more than a selfish ambition.

    I have learnt a lot over the past 5 years we have been married, and look God totally gave me my desires too of traveling, studying, missionary work WHOA so jammed packed it has been, and now as you know we are expecting too.
    My heart once again had to be changed to grasp this concept, but how awesome it is. And after all its NOT in your control, OUR plans sometimes never ever line up with Gods plans for us. I had my career, i still have my career, Vet Nurse and Photographer. It aint the be all either. And trust me i know it can be overwheleming in a christian community where everyone is getting married and/or having kids- but you cant deny that that is what God has in store for us all? Im sure its gunna be an awesome journey in my life- but not the be all! 🙂

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, i know their are ladies out there that are baby “obsessed” and that it is “their world”, i agree that it shouldn’t be, but you shouldn’t judge them that are on that journey- they will discover it for themselves one day. And perhaps it only appears that way, who knows their heart like God does, maybe there is fear, pain or hurt also. All i know is TRUST God, the rest can come and go whether it be people or money etc.

    We look at others situations only when we are perhaps unhappy with our own? I love this saying- COMPARISON KILLS CONTENTMENT. Never compare yourself to other women, your desires and goals can be different- trust me i know! But God has put in us all the innate ability to create life. Thats pretty awesome, and you never know when you are called for such a time. Nor how you will be/react at that time too- it could be ridiculous!
    Im a christian, yes i got married young, but gee i hope people dont judge me now im pregnant. I sure am not what you think i may be. Your comparison to your peers is making you feel “weird/odd one out”, you are perfect the way you are now, and uno your time will come, in Gods time 😉 whenever that is! hahah

    (sorry for the long shpeel!!!! ) Much love, Sherie

    • misskitty Post author

      Thanks for the response Sherie! I by no means mean to pass judgement as becoming a mother is definitely something i want in my life at the right time and I think it is a great thing! I think it is just dangerous thinking for mothers to limit themselves to just their baby and not their husbnad/partner, friends, family, themselves. I am happy with my situation in life but obsessive mothers do have a way of making it seem like single girls with no kids are missing out…and this is totally not the case! It is great to be a dedicated mother, but perhaps also be a dedicated friend, colleague etc. depending on your situation!

Comments are closed.