Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't Forget to Get Married and Have Kids

The Folsoms are newsies, plain and simple. Maybe it's because we live inside the Beltway, but when my husband does something the kids don't like one of the 7 year old boys usually says, "that's it, you're grounded, no news for a week." One of the first sentences out of our toddler's mouth was "watch mojo peez," roughly translating to "Watch Morning Joe, please," our preferred getting dressed morning news program. So it was with delight that I read Mika Brzezinski's blog post on The Huffington Post titled "Don't Forget to Have Kids."

Mika very candidly describes her choices to have kids while she climbed to the top of her career game, rather than waiting to reach the pinnacle, then (exhaustedly) deciding whether to keep climbing, take a pause or juggle further. Mika proposes in a follow-up post that women who want marriage and children should think as seriously about those prospects as they do their careers in their 20s and 30s. The notion of your 20s as "me time" (career, travel, etc) and 30s as "family time" sometimes means you miss out on both.

I was married at 24, had my first two children just 3 short days after my 27th birthday and was a wife and mom way ahead of my peers. The upside is that my mostly single girlfriends became the most amazing surrogate aunties, taking turns coming over after work, dinner in hand, to save me from two colicky babies. By the time my #3 came around, many were busy with their own children and careers and the baby wasn't such a novelty. But the greatest blessing in my ill-timed decision to have a baby (which turned into two) while in my second year of Business School at Georgetown is that phase two of my career, the all important "post b-school" phase, had to include my kids. There was no huge VP role I had to step down from or hire two nannies to keep, there was just me, my husband, two newborns and a whole new path ahead.

I'm glad to hear Mika speak so candidly about what many women, and men, struggle with: how to make the kind of marriage and family we want fit into our careers. Let's hope this starts a rousing discussion that opens new doors, puts to rest old fears and let's parents find a path that actually works. Most days, anyway.

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