BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Postponing Children Has Its Own Rewards

Posted by ywmguest on April 23, 2010

We love our network of working women. YWM encourages you to defy your biological clock – if you want to. Today’s guest blogger is Seyi Falade.

All anxieties concerning my ticking biological clock can subside, at least for a day.  I learned of a new study by the University of Maryland and the University of California  which reported that delaying motherhood can provide long lasting financial and career benefits.

Previous to this study, research had found that childless women often earned more than working mothers, a phenomenon referred to as the “marriage penalty”.  The new study goes one step further to reveal that as women delay motherhood and gain career experience and education their actions negate the “penalty.”

“Women who delay childbearing end up as successful economically as women who didn’t have children, and we look at it basically throughout their adult years — well into their 50s,” says study co-author Joan Kahn.

To be honest this study does not surprise me. If anything it confirms what I already know to be true from my work experience. In my last job, I worked for a corporation with few female executives. Most had postponed children to their late 30s and early 40s or had no children at all. The female executives with children had the luxury of adjusting their work schedule to fit their lifestyle when needed because of their seniority.

Reaching a senior position requires overtime, flexibility, and ultimately a neglect of your personal life. Working 9 to 5 will not get you the corner office in New York and working 9am to 7pm just gives you fighting chance. Factor in happy hours after work to mingle with colleagues and other executives to earn “face time” and you’re looking at 50+ hour work week. That schedule was demanding for me as a single woman.  I cannot even imagine how I would have done it with children.

While I do not intend to delay motherhood indefinitely, I do intend on using my current status, a single woman with no children, to my advantage. When I do have kids, I will be in a better position to fit my career around my family life. Good news which has silenced my biological clock momentarily.

Seyi Falade, a 28-yr-old business woman and mogul in the making, currently resides in Gainesville, FL. You can find more of her writing at Ms. Falade’s Adventures and @MsFalde.

photo credit


4 Responses to “Postponing Children Has Its Own Rewards”

  1. […] gals can relate. I wrote a post for Young Women Misbehaving in response to the study titled, Postponing Children Has Its Own Rewards. Be sure to check it […]

  2. OlgaMaria said

    Great blog! Great article reference! Great ‘biological clock’ image (where can I buy that? – it’s hilarious!)

    I couldn’t agree more with you on this issue. I’m 30 yrs and couldn’t imagine having had children already – granted everyone has their timing and mine just hasn’t come around. In our current career world there is definitely a plus to delaying children and not only establishing yourself as a professional but also as a grown woman in preparation to provide and afford the lifestyle I’d like to have once children come along. I live in NYC and see on a daily basis the effects of having children without means or too early. I do very much look forward to the day I become a mom but I’m not in a rush for it. I’m learning to enjoy each phase of my life and right now the flexibility I have with my time is priceless. I do however, intend to live my life to the fullest once my children come along!

  3. Quiana said

    I started fretting about the “right time” to have children since my college days and encountered so many older women who told me to do it ASAP and a handful of others who told me to wait. Perhaps the best advice I received though is to be wary of planning because you never know what life has in store. Just be happy where you are and don’t fret! I also came across this movie trailer that ties into the postponing theme: http://seekinghappilyeverafter.com/trailer.html

  4. Joyinhome said

    While this study’s findings do not surprise me, they should concern working women and their families. As this nation is being forced to revisit the paradigm of what a successful workplace looks like, it does so while looking through a new lens: half of the workforce are women, and while all do not have children, a majority have caregiving responsibilities (elderly parents, relatives, etc.).

    Men do not have to delay parenthood and are increasingly taking advantage of family-friendly policies, but do not suffer the same financial and career impacts. Perhaps, a bigger issue is at play that needs examining…

    Also, studies reveal that getting pregnant for families who want to have biological children becomes exponentially more complicated for men AND women beyond age 34.

    Although as women we can make the decision to delay motherhood, I guess the question is, should we have to?

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