How You View Your Career Differently After Having Kids
What will make me happy? What will make me the most money? What could I see myself doing forever? These might be some of the questions any person asks herself when deciding what to do for a living, which is never an easy thing to figure out. But, if you are a parent, you will notice that your questions surrounding what you should do for work begin to change. You no longer live a me-centric life. In everything you do, you first ask yourself how it will affect your children, and then, if you have the luxury, you ask yourself how you feel about it. Often, that luxury is not allowed. Especially when it comes to financially providing for a family. You need and want different things out of your job once you have little ones. Here are ways your ideas surrounding your career will change once you have kids.
Would my kid be proud of me?
Maybe, when you don’t have kids, you are only concerned with being proud of yourself. Sure, you may have wanted your parents approval, but you likely learned that is not essential. But when you have kids, the idea of them not being proud of you breaks your heart.
I should push myself, for them
Having kids can actually motivate you to push yourself towards those higher goals. You want your kids to be bragging to her friends about what her mom does. You never want her to be ridiculed for how her mom’s career is going (or isn’t going…)
Would I want them to do it?
This is an interesting dilemma that comes up. You can realize that, while you have come to terms with why you engage in a certain industry, you would never want your child to be in the same line of work. It’s common for kids to try to follow in their parents’ footsteps. So what happens one day when your kid wants to do what you do? How do you tell her that she shouldn’t, when you have done it for years?
Will I make more than enough money, and then some?
As soon as you have kids, your financial requirements for a job change drastically. You were always comfortable with telling yourself that you could not have something. You were okay with the possibility that you might want something that you could not afford. But try telling your child that she cannot take violin lessons, because you cannot afford it. It hurts so badly.
No holds barred on salary
Once you have kids, your demands for a good salary become even higher. You don’t even really know how much money you may need so that your child will always feel not only provided for but also happy and excited about life. So you just try to get as much money as you can to prepare for the unpredictable.
Who will this bring into my life?
The people you work with might be a part of your child’s life. If you run your office from home, that can be a reality. So while you might be comfortable working with some questionable individuals, you start to ask yourself do you want those people around your child?
And if you don’t want them around?
If you realize your peers and colleagues are not people you would want your child to meet, it begs the question, is this what you should be doing for a living? Are you going to become like those people? How do you keep that from happening?
Can I build something for my kids?
You may start to think about your career beyond just your lifetime. You start asking yourself if there is something you can build in this career that you can leave behind for your kids. Maybe a company or business that they can take over.
What about work/life balance?
Maybe before kids you didn’t mind if you had to work until 7 or 8pm. But now even working an hour or 90 minutes later can mean missing the only valuable time you get with your kids each night. You have to be a stickler about work/life balance.
You want to work with other parents
You start looking for companies where the employees tend to have families, so you can rely on them having the same values and scheduling needs as you. You know if you work at a company with mostly non-parents, they may say they don’t mind you leaving work early, but you know they will. You’ll always looks like the weaker employee.
What about the other parents?
This is an interesting thing that arises once you have kids. Those kids have friends and those friends have parents. You suddenly have this new forced group of friends in your life with whom you will interact regularly. If you are in a position to give out opportunities, then this is a new group of people who may constantly ask for opportunities.
There’s no escaping the favors
Typically, you get to create some sort of space from people wanting something from you. You have your close long-time friends who know not to cross that boundary. And as for people who do cross it, you simply stay away from them. But you don’t get to stay away from the other parents. Your children are friends. You need to talk to them. So you can get stuck in some uncomfortable situations where they are trying to network you and you are just trying to coordinate the snacks for the play date.
Sometimes you compromise ethics for your kids
This is a very strange and conflicting experience for parents. While at one time, you may explicitly stay away from work you actually enjoy because you fear your kids can see it as unethical, there may also be times you do work that you feel uncomfortable doing, because it pays so damn well and you want to provide for your kids. You are willing to adjust your moral compass if it means paying for your child’s college tuition.
You are grateful for work you once despised
Maybe when you were younger, you had very high expectations for your work. It had to be meaningful. It had to be creative. You wanted to change the world. You wanted to be passionate about the tasks you did that brought home paychecks.
Now, your kids are the future
Now, your idea of changing the world has adjusted. You want to provide for and raise a child who will change the world. That is your new priority. So you will gladly take work that you find boring and unimportant if it pays enough to support your family. In that way, it is actually tremendously important work.