How many Gen X women do you know well into their 30’s who are still completely focused on their careers, some married and some who don’t even have the time to entertain dating as they leave the office after 9pm, 5 days a week.
Which Gen X in their right mind at 25 was even thinking of marriage, let alone children. We were far too busy spending our 2 years working in London, traveling Europe, fitting in a ski season in the States and ending up doing yoga in India for three months. We were job hopping, refusing to settle down, sharing a digs with far too many people considering our salaries, and having so much fun we didn’t want it any other way.
That’s changed, we’re in our 30’s now and here’s my prediction…. More and more women, now in their 30’s, are going to realize that their time for baby making is running out and just like a career move they’ve become so adept at making, they will make the decision to start a family (with or without a husband) –not necessarily because they are particularly maternal, but because they know their time is running out and because it’s fundamentally what women do.
And here is where I think it’s all going to change. I have no doubt that these high profiled career women will already have meetings set up in their diaries for when they return from maternity leave, I think they’ll expect to keep in touch via their blackberries while changing nappies and breastfeeding. But then it’s going to kick in… the baby arrives and with it the realisation that being a mother far exceeds any joy or sense of accomplishment obtained from the corporate world. Many new moms will wonder why they left it so late to have children and if we had known what a blessing being a parent was going to be, would we have spent all those years traveling the world. (Don’t get me wrong – I still wouldn’t change my 20’s, but I do sometimes wonder if I had known what I know now about being a mom whether I would have waited until my 30’s to become one).
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – companies need to make adjustments to accommodate these women (and let’s include the men who’ll become dads) who will be starting families soon, who have already made an impact on your bottom line and who you don’t want to loose. They are going to realize what they’ve been missing out on and they’re not going to dedicate their time working for you until 9pm every night – they will want to spend time with their babies and new family. Make the balance between work and family work for them and they’ll stay – don’t and they’ll go and you’ll lose talented people who contribute to the success of your organisation.