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What a Survey on Motherhood Reveals Between the Lines

Guest Author - Previous BellaOnline Editor

Just about every issue of every woman’s magazine I get focuses on motherhood in the month of May.

I understand this. I am not complaining about it. I object more to the focus on fatherhood June brings me, because it reminds me about the inadequacy of my own deadbeat father, whom I haven’t spoken to in years.

But I digress.

While flipping through the May issue of the magazine All You, I came across an article about a recent survey given to moms.

Most of the questions and answers didn’t excite me.

“Who’s the hottest celebrity mom?”
Who cares? (In case you do, 40% chose Angelina Jolie – read more about my opinion of her in the link below)

“Rate yourself as a mother.”
65% said they “do the best they can”
33% said “I’m an excellent mom”
2% said “I’m just not very good at it”

But two questions intrigued me, and reaffirmed my choice not to have children myself.


1. IF YOU COULD START ALL OVER, WOULD YOU STILL CHOOSE TO BE A MOM?

68% said “Absolutely, my children are the best thing in my life.”
6% said, “No. I’m just not cut out for motherhood.”

Those answers didn’t surprise me. Most surveys along these lines show the same thing. Most parents would do it again, and a few say they wouldn’t. But the “middle of the road” answer did stand out.

26% said “Yes, but I would wait to have children until after pursuing some of my other dreams.”

When people write to me about whether or not that should have children, I always tell them they have to decide their own priorities in life. Some people dream of having children. Those are the people who should have children. If you can’t decide, DON’T HAVE THEM. You can’t take it back once you decide to have kids. Until you are 100% sure, you should wait.


2. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

5% said “That they move out of my house!”
Only 12% said “That they get married and have kids.”
The overwhelming majority (83%) said “That they get into good colleges and have rewarding careers.”

Now, obviously this survey does not mean parents do not want their children to get married and have children. But it does mean that education and career are seen as more important on the scale.

Education and career have been extremely important in my life, which is where I chose to focus most of my attention, until I met my husband. Now the two of us pursue our careers together. It is most rewarding for us, despite all of the time and energy we pour into it.

And yet, for choosing the same thing that the majority of these moms want for their children, we have been called selfish for making that our priority.

Hmmmm. Seems like a double standard to me.

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