Monday, November 2, 2009

Tick Tock

Time feels like it's catching up with me lately. I don't mean that there aren't enough hours in the day (though there aren't), or that I feel stressed and rushed (I don't, really), but I do feel like WHOA. All of a sudden (sort of as of several months ago) I am 25. Isn't this that age where you're supposed to be figuring things out? My mind is a sort of jumble of thoughts and things, and I'm going to try to make it all make sense out here. Maybe you can help. I'm going to divide it into the two sections of What's On My Crazy Mind Right Now: Career and Babies. Two things all women deal with in some capacity at some point in their lives. Whether you want babies or not, and whether your career is being a mommy or a CEO, I think it's safe to say that the Career and/versus/or something all women take into consideration at a certain age. And no, this isn't a post about whether to have babies or a career or just happens to focus on those two topics. Separately. But equally. Sort of.

Career (TOPIC 1):
I don't know what career path I want to be following, but I feel like this is the time where I'm supposed to be finding that path and starting out along, skipping with my lunch pail. I know that I don't want to be a career assistant, and that at some point, I have to start climbing the proverbial ladder. And I want to. I don't want to keep bouncing around from "ok for now" job to "it's not my career, but it's a job" job. I don't want to be an assistant forever. I want to grow and develop myself as a person, an employee, a contributer to society.

I have an idea of what I want to do career-wise, and I'm starting to do some research as to what it takes to make it in that field, how I might go about gaining experience to end up there, etc. but at the same time, I like my current place of work. I like my coworkers, and I like the company, and it's all groovy here. Besides, I've only been here for 3.5 months - maybe there will be long-term career/growth potential here. Who knows? We shall see...but at the same time, I am a crazy overanalytical planner, and I like to have goals and deadlines and I like to know what I'm working towards. That is hard to do when you're 25 and unsure about what the future holds. That sounded very cheesy. What the future holds? What am I, a writer for Disney cartoons? Sigh. I just want to have an end result and be able to work towards it, slowly but surely.

When we are kids, we are always asked what we want to be when we grow up. And we're expected to give one answer. Fireman, ballerina, doctor, etc. No kid says "well, I want to be an farmer, and perhaps I'll go into teaching, and then I'll transition into being a publisher." Maybe it's because of this that I always operated under that misconception that you have A Career. Like, one. My mom has had A Career - she's been a teacher since before I was born. She loves teaching, and if you are lucky enough to have been a student or parent in her class, you know that she is an amazing teacher. My dad has had a few careers, but for most of my life, he's been in the same industry. I have friends whose parents have had several and drastically different careers. I have a lot of friends who, like me, don't have that One True Passion or Career Goal. I know there is no common path, no thing that everyone does. I know I have friends who will respond to this post saying "I'm in my 30's and I still don't know what my Career is." But I still wish there was some magical career counselor to guide me through finding a "forever" kind of job...Mom and Dad? What did I want to be when I Grew Up?

The biological clock is REAL, people. I used to laugh about it, like "oh ha ha, I like babies, biological clock tee hee hee" NO. NO JOKE, THIS THING IS REAL! It defies logic and reason (despite "logic" being right smack in the middle of of "biological"), it doesn't listen to my bullet-pointed, fully rational arguments, and it most certainly has a mind of its own. Where did it come from?

I know a lot of people right now who are either pregnant or new parents, and I think this is significantly impacting my sudden (and undesirable) urge to procreate (except not). I know (I KNOW I KNOW) I don't want to have children right now. Not at all. My career is not at all stable (see point 1), I live in a tiny apartment (albeit with an awesome dude that I love very much), and I just have a lot of life I want to live before kids enter the picture (see: travel, and, um, living life without kids for a while). That was a lot of parenthesis. Sorry.

Anyway, I am fully aware that I don't want to have children in the next 5-10 years. But then I hold a 3-week old wee little thing, and all of a sudden I am awesome. Something just clicks, and I know what to do. The kid's mom actually called me "The Baby Whisperer" the other night. I get that warm, fuzzy feeling and can't help but think of how awesome it will be to have children. These hips were made to hold a baby, I tell you what!

Like I said, I know it's not time. Yesterday, I was all "babies babies babies" and today I'm all "babies are cute, but no way jose, not right now." Babies turn into kids turn into teenagers and once you're a parent, you're a parent for life. And I am soooo not ready for that. So for now, I'm taking my birth control pills like a good baby-free girl (so don't worry, mom), and reading mommyblogs to satisfy this weird craving I have for babies. Cause this bio-illogical clock has made its presence known and there is nothing I can do to stop it.


When it comes to the baby-factor, I think it's been on my mind because I know I want to be a mom someday. I know I'm going to be a great mom, and it's a definitive thing that I expect in my future. Is it cocky to say you know you're going to be a great mom? Because I do. I can't explain it, I just feel like it's something I'm going to be really good at. I could go on about my finer qualities, but the bottom line is, I just know that as a mom? I will kick butt. And someday, if the internet still exists, my kids can Google (or whatever it is then) me and find this, and be like, yeah. Our mom is awesome. And wow - she really is psychic, because look! She knew she'd be awesome at momming! And she totally is!

Anyway, on the opposite end of the spectrum...With my career, I don't really know what I want to do, or how to get there, or whether or not I'll even be good at it once I decide. Or how many times I can "start over" in different jobs/careers/whatever before I figure it out. Babies are easy in the sense that I know how to have them, and I know what to do when they come. I'm pretty sure that if the stork dropped a baby (and enough money to support it) in my lap tonight, I wouldn't screw it up. For the most part.

Careers are harder - there are infinitely more possibilities for ways things can go (right and wrong), it's a decision that affects mostly just me, and I don't's more confusing to me. Maybe because there is more active planning, and it's all about me, and it's all my decision, and there is no set path to follow. Nobody to tell you what you're doing is going to (or not going to) screw up your life's not obvious. I mean, there are no definitive answers in parenthood either, but there is certainly a bit more, well, certainty I think, when it comes to how to raise a child. Or maybe I am just nuts and this is all in my head and raising a child is going to be crazy in unexpected ways and I will be terrible at it. (Just kidding, I'm gonna be awesome at it - just not for another 5-10 years)

Regardless...right now? Babies make sense to me. Planning a career is scary.

So I don't know if this all makes sense to any of you, but this little theory of babies taking over my mind because my career is so unpredictable to me made sense in the car on the way home last night. So I'm rolling with it. Because it makes sense to me. And this is my blog.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter(s) though, so weigh in if you would! If you've read this far, thank you. Wow.


  1. Great post! I absolutely get what you're saying. I'm in the same place as you, except I'm ten years older and time will soon be of the essence. Wait until you start reading about pregnant celebrities and start keeping of a tally of their ages. I get a huge sense of relief when someone over the age of 35 has a healthy baby. Whew!

    P.S. I think you'll be an awesome mom!

    P.P.S. I'm watching the Duggars right now..because of you. I think they are sweet but I can't take the voice much longer. I have this thing about people whose "S's" sound like sssssnakes. I can't handle it. I'm lame.

  2. That was fast - I'm impressed! :-) Our friend (of the wee little 3 week old) just had a baby, and she is 35. I know you said "over the age of 35" but hey. She's 35 and had a zero complications awesome pregnancy and labor (people were jealous of how easy it was), and the baby is doing awesome. Awesomely.

    P.S. They are so sweet sometimes it hurts. But I love them. Our predictions: Jinger is going to rebel, and Josiah might just be gay.

  3. What's so funny is I have had the career conversation twice in the last two days with two totally different people and it's something I've been thinking about, too. Victor Frankl, I believe, is the psychologist who said man will always seek meaning - and I think in a lot of ways, because your career is what you spend the most time doing, it makes sense to look for meaning there. And yet a lot of us who are not parents yet and not tied down in a concrete sense are thinking, gosh, is this desk job the meaning? It can't be. So what else could I do? I'm still working through it.

    As far as babies, all I can say is I know.

  4. Oh Shanna, you always bring joy to my internal battles :) I agree - especially in these days where most people are working more hours each day than they spend with their families (and don't even get me started on that and how sad it makes me), it makes sense to look for meaning at work (as you said). Le sigh, it's not that happy to think about...there must be a better way! Just gotta figure out what that is.

  5. I love this post. I think I have been blaming my suddenly increased desire in having kids on my totally awesome summer job (babysitting kids). But now I think you're right: it's my clock. I also turned 25 this summer...holy crap. Unlike you, though, I have little to no desire to figure out a career path. I just want to be a ski bum. This may have something to do with my very unmarketable education.

  6. hi kim! i'm a friend of your friend susie's and made my way over here via her internet presence. i've been enjoying your posts and thought it was time to finally say so! anyway, i always find that i focus more on the things i can control when i have certain other areas of my life that seem out of control. specifically, whenever i am unhappy in a job or am confused about my career, i find myself fixating on the idea of moving to a new city--a concrete thing i could do to make change in my life. usually i end up realizing that i am just antsy because i'm tired of being patient for my career to come together the way i want it to. even if (the proverbial) you decide on what you want to do for a career, there are still so many factors that you can't control (which graduate school will accept you, where you'll get a job, how much money you will make, etc.) maybe your fixation on babies right now is part biological clock and part needing to have some area of your life where you feel confident and in control? sorry i am not offering any solutions, but i can sympathize.

  7. Cath - I feel ya on the unmarketable education (hello BA in Theatre!). Also, sometimes I want to move to rural somwhere and live on a farm. Then I realize it won't be as awesome as Barbara Kingsolver's experience (read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle), but I still just want to grow my own food. If I had the financial means, I'm pretty sure I would be a homemaker/badass volunteer/auditor of awesome classes/freelance writer or editor.

    Melanie - Hi! Welcome! Thank you for de-lurking! yay! And I'm glad you came here via Susie. Susie rocks. I think you're right about the control thing. Boyfriend will be the first to agree that I am kind of a control freak sometimes...not in a bad way really, but just, like, yeah. I like to feel like I can control something. It's why I organize (or clean or bake) when I have a bad day. It gives me a feeling that I CAN control something. It is within my power to succeed!

  8. Well, I am officially inviting you to a "girl's night" sleepover when I visit in 2 weeks so we can chat about all this. My comment is much too long to write! Thanks for all the reassurances though.

    P.S. I have a career, yes, but do not have everything figured out. Obviously.

  9. Thanks, mom. It will be good to hear your words of wisdom in person - perhaps over some cinnamon rolls :)

  10. So Dooce led me over here (that community makes my days better), and I completely understand. I hit 25 tomorrow, and while I've been very blessed in the career bit, the baby bit, well, I'm with you. No way, no how, take that no baby pill same time every day....until I'm like 30. So you're not alone on the "not yet." What I do know is that as obnoxious and cliche as it is, one thing will fall into place, and very shortly after others will follow. I'm sure you'll be no different in that respect.

  11. I have nothing testosteron-y to contribute to this conversation, kimmy, other than to suggest when you are having those baby dout moments, please refer to ANY of my ob/gyn clerkship posts. And nothing wrong with career changes-I wanted to be Batman when I grew up. and I still do, but my martial training and inheriting a fortune have fallen sadly behind

  12. Bradshaw - Thanks for stopping by! That community seriously rocks. And yeah, I think I agree with the cliche - it's hard to remember sometimes though when you just want to be in control! :)

    Thanks, Dr. J. Don't worry...I have enough experience with new moms to realize it is not my time!! And hey, you could still be Batman...

  13. Not that this will surprise anyone, but i'm 25 also and reproduction is still penned in the "never" area of my calendar. I always groan in dread whenever a stroller scrapes onto the tube--just waiting for that first scream of boredom and discomfort--kids are sadistic, angry, sticky little vermin, and teenagers? holy crap no. I still remember being a teenager--no amount of apologising will ever make up for how I behaved regarding my parents. They're a huge expense and they don't actually love you until they move out. I think breeding would be the least rewarding career move I could ever make.

    I don't like kids, kids don't like me. That's my 2p. Feel free to disagree.

  14. Kristen, I am not surprised...haha. I've heard that having kids is payback for all the crap we did as teenagers...and I'm sure that's true. Doesn't stop me though. The crying kids in public just remind me that it's not time, but the fact that I still think about 'em tells me that at some point, I won't care about the bad stuff.

  15. Oh Kim I totally get it. There are babies everywhere and they are adorable. And this really weird part of me has always looked upon pregnancy with a happy glow (even though I know what some of my close friends have gone through in theirs). But yeeeahhh, not now. Though isn't it a better feeling to know that IF something happened and (like you so gamely put it) the stork were to drop a baby in your lap tomorrow, you wouldn't be QUITE as much like "OH S&%&^ F**^&* C*^&!!!" as you would have been even say, 5 years ago... and instead it would be just like "Oh s&%^$, better go register at Babies R Us." Kinda. Maybe. A bit? Oh and you'd make a great mom for sure! For what my 2 cents are worth. :) And then there's my friend Katherine who's in med school and regales me with statistics of what bad things happen after this age for fertility and this age and... I'm basically screwed (no pun). ACK!!! Shhh...

    Don't EVEN get me started on career "goals" (yes, I put goals in quotes... please read as "air quotes"... because I don't have any "career goals", yay! ::shudder::).

  16. Yes, Julie. Happy glow. I think we are experiencing the very same thing. There's just this...feeling of right-ness, amiright? I agree - it is totally better knowing that IF something happened, I wouldn't be as freaked out as I would have been 5 years ago...or even as freaked out as some of my friends that are all "Yeah, Kim, you're good with the babies, but I would totally flip the eff out and I don't want to hold one and eew they poop." :-)

    And hey, you're not screwed, because even though we're at prime fertility time now, it's not "oh crap" time till like, 40 I think. No statistics. I know plenty of women in their late 30's who are having healthy babies and (relatively) painless pregnancies! We can wait! We have plenty of time!

  17. Kim, will you marry me? Seriously. Except for the effect it would have on our ability/likelihood of reproducing with a male partner. But just consider it, kay?

  18. Kim-
    First of all I have WAY TOO MUCH to say and need a 2 day slumber party with you and your mom!!! Instead I offer my services via cellphone - call anytime on my commute and I'll love ya! Or as another choice, I offer you volunteer opportunities in my classroom...spend a week...that should cure you need a ba
    by NOW and delete one career from your list!!! LOL
    Trust your dear old Auntie, relax...breathe...
    LIFE - roll with that too! I'm 50 and still ponder the work thing! No more babies for me!!! At least after hours! I would love to hear Tal's 2 cents...sometimes you have control...sometimes you don't!!! Take a warm bath then make art...relax!
    Love Ya!

  19. Can I come to that slumber party too? Because I am in the same boat as you, only a few years older, so confused, depressed, freaked out and REALLY needing some guidance.

    Babies, babies, babies, I WANT TO GO TO THERE. Career? Eh. Freelance writer/editor sounds BRILLIANT. But I don't even know where to begin. Le cry.

  20. Hi! As a single mama who has to make a career (HR) and motherhood work together, my advice is this: TRAVEL. You'll probably figure out yourself even more and hopefully have a shining moment that shows you what kind of career would be fulfilling to you. Traveling entails a lot more with child :)

    PS Being a mom is so, so great. And if someone calls you the baby whisperer, I can almost guarantee you'll be amazing.

  21. Thanks, Nancy. :)

    Frostydear, Yes. I am with you 100%. I am trying to figure that out myself...where to begin? And where to begin so that you're not working a billion hours? It seems that we are workaholics in this country (or maybe just in the industries I've been in). How is it considered normal to work 50+ hour work weeks? How is it considered lucky to only work a 40 hour week (45, considering the work day is actually 9-6 these days)? How is it ok that we spend more time at work than at home with the people we love? I don't get it.

    Penelope - How do you balance the full-time (I assume) career with motherhood? A good day care program? Helpful parents/friends? I know my parents had a lot of help from my mom's parents, and the fact that my mom is a teacher helped as well (getting out early afternoons, summers off, etc). How do you make it work?

  22. I'm lucky to have a great relationship with my ex. He keeps our son Mondays and Tuesdays, he goes to preschool Wednesday, Thursday and a halfday Friday. I purposely work through my lunches Mon-Thurs so I can take half days on Fridays. My mom is also grandma of the year so I can have some form of social life every so often :) Honestly...I had my son, unplanned at just make it work! (That's not to say I'm not pulling out my hair every other day! I can only imagine how much more amazing it would be if I had a partner I loved doing it all with me!)

  23. Penelope - That's nice that you have the support from your ex/mom, and that you can take half days on Fridays! Major props to you for making it work single-mom-style!

  24. While I don't want to be a mommy, I definitely have been getting the baby urge for a good year or so now. And I'm still in school. In many ways, you're way ahead of me on both your points (in that you're out of school and trying to find that career), and in that I'm very envious. I'm in the "Oh, I should find a job, huh?" phase. And that certainly comes before babies. That and living in the same state as my girlfriend.

  25. You're going to be a good mom because we had such a good mom! I totally think im going to be an awesome one too!(as well as an excellent aunt:) Excited to see you next week and you guys better wait for cinnamon rolls till I get there!

  26. Trentie, you are too funny. Hey, you're almost out of school! And that's way more fancytime school than my school! I mean, you're writing a THESIS for god's sake! Intense. Don't move. Tell that lady to move back to California!

    Nicoley, we'll save cinnamon rolls for you if you want...but you better get up here early!

  27. I have NO helpful advice to give, I only comment to say that I totally understand and feel your delimma. I'm at a loss as to what career goal to pursue and am currently seeing a career counselor about it all... she's kind of helpful just in talking it all out and adding a new perspective, so I DO recommend that. And like you, I feel like I could be a great mom. Tomorrow. But tomorrow doesn't make sense for me. Sooo... again, no good advice from me. But you're not alone!

  28. Thanks, Belle. I hadn't thought of using a career counselor. :)