I was one of those girls. With a scrapbook of big white weddings, huge homes with miles of land, baby pictures surrounded by some of my favourite names. I would start dating a guy and it was almost like a countdown of how long I could last before asking them about their opinions on getting married and having kids. Secretly, I would think about the guys’ career and whether it would be able to support a family. I had ideas for 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, so that each kid could have a brother and a sister. The kids would (of course) all be gorgeous and talented, taking piano classes, sports, and arts. I would have the kind of relationship with them that they could turn to me for anything, whether it was bullying or contraception. I would have an office in my house so I could work, yet still be around to raise my kids. We would all spend Sundays hiking together, watching films, cooking…Basically, we would be the perfect media representations of a white, upper/middle class family.
Occasionally, my ideologies would change briefly to move of a Gilmore Girls kind of vibe. I wasn’t too fused by the husband or stereotypical family life. I started thinking about having a single daughter who would be my best friend. She would be wonderfully smart and independent and we would work towards backpacking the world together.
No matter how unattainable or naive both these ideas seemed to me, the career was always the back burner. The main thing was that I knew I wanted to have a kid fairly young and we were going to be a team. Anything else that came our way didn’t matter cause we would have each other.
The past few years have been more of a reality check for me. I’ve experienced paying bills and rent. I couldn’t put my foot down and say “I’m a writer” because money became more important. As much as I love having my time off and being able to write what I want. I know I need a job to be able to save for things and to be able to look after myself. It’s not as easy as setting up a blog and boom, that’s it, you have a career. It takes time to work it up to a living and although it’s hard, sometimes you have to make that living by turning to something else like finance, or retail just to get you by.
You know you’ve hit a stage of responsibility when you finally realise you can’t just pop out a kid and travel the world with them or buy them acres of land to run in because you just don’t have the money to look after yourself, let alone a baby too. It’s because of that I had to put the “have kids young” part of my life plan on hold.
Then there is the career. Even back when I had plans of the beautiful house, marriage, and kids, my dream career of being a travel writer didn’t quite fit in; so I decided that as long as I could write, it didn’t matter if I was travelling or not.
Recently all this has changed, I’ve started to realise that I need to be happy in a career, not just within a family. It’s hard changing what has felt like the motivation in my life for so long to something I’ve never really put much thought into. I started panicking that there was no physically possible way I could have both the family of my dreams AND the career I want too.
Not too long ago, I found a blog, Travel Mad Mum which proved to me that family and travel is something that can be done at the same time. This truly amazed me and lead to reading about other amazing women who have chosen their dream of travel over a guy and have ended up meeting someone who shares their dream, and then being able to share it with their kids too.
I don’t know whether this is something that will work out for me, and since I’ve always been such a big planner, it’s pretty hard to stay so calm about a world I don’t know.
I just need to learn to accept that the life I want doesn’t come with an easy 1-2-3 step plan and I’m going to have to wing it from time to time. If I get the life I want though, it will all be worth it!