Don't Forget to Have Kids -- Part II

For me, having it all doesn't mean having the corner office at work and a penthouse at home if there aren't kids running around too.
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Some were not amused.

"Not only is your post embarrassingly stupid," began one tweet, "it's offensive to anyone who believes in reproductive choice"

Thank God the many on twitter only have 140 characters to tell me what they really thought.

But many were grateful that I shared my own personal thoughts in my last blog "Don't Forget to have Kids".

What surprises me is the sheer volume of reaction I've gotten from women, young and old, about a topic we just don't talk about enough.

For years, feminists have been insisting that we women could have it all. But since diapers, bras and babies have been seen as symbols of oppression from the Old World run by the likes of Don Draper, there hasn't been enough written about women like me who want to work like hell, rise to the top of my profession, and then rush home to be with the kids and also work to make my husband happy and build his life.

For me, having it all doesn't mean having the corner office at work and a penthouse at home if there aren't kids running around as I'm trying to cook my husband something special.

For those who still want to take off their bras and burn them, so be it. But I'd rather find one to wear that is pretty. And when it comes off, its not because it's being thrown into the fireplace.

So with apologies to those who think we women should put off love and babies in our younger years (which I passed too long ago), I am going to risk going there again.

My 22-year-old assistant says the blog spurred a big conversation amongst her peers who have rarely even considered the concept of embracing the possibility of children and a career earlier on in life.

They were shocked at my advice to consider finding a man (or partner) as seriously as pursuing a career.

Sarah, a graduate of Fairfield University, tells me that her friends were stunned to hear that advice from me, of all people.

She says talk of babies and business sparked a debate of young women around a kitchen table on a Friday night, just before they were going out to a bar in the Village. Among her peer group, it is simply assumed that "kids and marriage must be saved for your thirties". And any poor fool who is "looking for a husband" is "embarrassing herself."

That's too bad.

Women face enough pressures and challenges in a workplace that is still depressingly biased against a female's success. Add to that, the fact that the very thing many women I know find most rewarding (having kids) is now frowned upon.

Some of Sarah's friends say they felt relieved to read my blog--that they weren't sure what to do with their desire to get married and have children. That it was great to hear someone they watch come out and say it.

Others, reflected the views of my critics in twitter streams.

The "twenties" are for "me".. while family and kids can definitely wait for the thirty-something years.

My worry is that these new age rules that urge you to wait on family-- whittle away at your possibility to have it at all--- IF that is what you want out of life.

Another huffpo blogger wrote this: "We don't all lose sleep over finding the perfect partner, whether that partner is male or female. The dreams and aspirations of women cannot be summarized so neatly. It is disheartening to see a successful woman like Mika Brzezinski operate on such a blind assumption regarding those aspirations."

You go girl. That's your opinion and I respect it. But I am speaking to the women who DO want to have a family and consider a lifelong relationship valuable, rather than a badge of weakness or a sign that she missed the boat on the women's rights movement.

I am not afraid to say my relationship with my man is important, even vital, to who I am as a person.

A woman shouldn't feel the need to shy away from wanting to build a world around a man she loves and do whatever she can to make him happy and whole --as he should for her.

One can love her husband and be a strong career woman. They aren't mutually exclusive. Any life partnership is a challenge that is filled with love, consternation, joy, and a thousand other emotions.
But ultimately, it is an extremely fulfilling part of my life.

I consider my girls the greatest gift from God in life. And I also love the career that I have built, lost and rebuilt. But the highs and lows of my career would not have been as exciting or manageable to me if I didn't have children and a partner for life with whom to share it all.

The ups and downs.

Getting to this point wasn't easy and it didn't happen by chance. I was open as a young woman, and make it clear that I wanted to try and have a career, a marriage and mommyhood. And I looked for it all.

I considered the possibility of being a wife to be the most exciting and fulfilling proposition. I love the chance to share in the challenge with a soul mate and make his life better. Again, this does not preclude my being a strong focused career woman. It just means that when I go to work, I go there fulfilled. And, dare I say it, being a woman with her own goals and interests at work makes me a better, more interesting partner at home and a happier person. (My apologies to those women who don't want children but if you could, keep your invective-laden, F-Bomb laced tweets to yourself.)

I'm not naïve. The path I travel is not a simple one to navigate. I'll be the first to admit that my path has not been without great challenge and trouble and failure.

Trying to cope with the constant needs of caring for a husband, two children, and an intense job is often an impossible juggling act. At times I feel helpless at playing any one of those roles well. In fact, I usually feel like I'm failing miserably at one of my many roles and overcompensate ridiculously at times.

But in the early morning hours when my husband and kids are asleep, I go off to work knowing that I am doing my best as a wife and mother and that Jim and I are doing pretty darn well raising extraordinary girls.

I intend to share some of my personal stories in blogs to come and tell a great deal more in my upcoming book, "All things at Once". But again, for young women considering so many choices and options in life, I stand by my advice.

Go for it all at once, if all of it is what you want. Don't be afraid of telling the world that marriage is important to you. Sarah says that her peers feel that wanting a husband and babies is "backward" and looked down upon. She said it shows that you lack ambition.

I say wanting love and children and career is about as ambitious as it gets. And a young woman should be proud of that desire to be fulfilled on every level.

Don't miss out because it is not in fashion this year to want a man in your life and to build a family with him. Women should be upfront with their friends, their dates, and more importantly, with themselves.

Today's woman doesn't have to put her dreams on hold be "modern". She just has to be true to herself and all of her desires. THAT is what is truly modern.

So if you want it all, go for it all. This 42 year old will tell you that life is too short.

Get to work chasing all of your dreams.

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