When Should We Become Grown-ups?

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Last week one of my best friends announced her pregnancy, months after I was bridesmaid at her and her teenage sweetheart’s wedding. I am totally over the moon for her and she’s so ready to be an amazing mum. After the news, I couldn’t help comparing how different our lives are; both the same age, brought up in the same town, going to the same school and even the same uni at one point.

The difference? Lifestyle. I’m totally not ready for marriage and kids.

Me and my London friends say when it comes to settling down there’s a five year delay in London. We are social butterflies, out Wednesday- Saturday as standard most weeks, either at work events, client entertaining or with eachother for drinks or checking out whatever new pop up the city has to offer (in-between the bootcamps and latest yogilates classes of course). The majority of my London friends are single, I’m lucky as the ones who aren’t are just as fun and make the most of London life without letting their partners get in the way. The association of getting into a relationship is often negative through the eyes of single friends though:’God, she’s turned into such a bore since she’s started seeing so & so’.. Up until that moment we are all fishing for uptotheminute goss on the essence Sloane Square club promoter, the hot personal trainer, or whoever else has made the fit list that week. We want it to go well for them and we even have code names for the dates, but the second it turns into the fourth or fifth date, we panic, we don’t want to lose our wingwomen to the perils of a relationship with a boy. Pitchers of Pimms sat outside after a summer working day turns into a quick standing-up-outside-the-pub g&t because they have dinner plans with their new beau. Nooooo.

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So for us Londoners, when should we settle down? I read a ’20 things single girls should do in their 20s’ list, and I’m on top of them all, and I am in love with my life, and yes there’s a but. At thirty do we all just turn into boring married couples?
Rachel from Friends freak out coming up: Ideally I want to be married for at least a year before the kid card gets raised..before marriage I would need to be living with the guy for around two years before he puts a ring on it, and before moving in with him I would need to know him for what, a year or more? Now I’m not the best at maths but if I’m expected to settle by the time I’m thirty, that means I need to find Mr Right, like, right now.
All of my single friends here have exactly the same mindset, we often talk about how much we love our lives and how lucky we are, we don’t take it for granted, not one bit. A friends boss told her the other day to stay single as long as she possibly can, because now he’s in his 40’s with two young kids, holidays are a fortune, he can’t remember the last time he woke up past 6am and he has resorted to shopping at Lidl after years of being a loyal Waitrose customer. He loves it though, he said to her that he well and truly lived his younger years how he wanted to, doing some raucous things in his early twenties and being a total lad right up until he got engaged. He told her once he knew he didn’t want to sleep with soho sluts anymore, he found the woman he knew he could ‘have on tap’, thus making her his wife. He is the most content man she knows, because he really did wait until he knew he wouldn’t be tempted by other women, or the lifestyle that comes with working in the media.

The thing is, I am extremely career minded and ambitious, and lacking time in my day to cram everything else in, let alone a man (obviously you can make time for what matters). I want a family one day but I don’t want any regrets, I want to bring up a family in the knowledge that I haven’t missed out on anything, I’m a total FOMO-er (fear of missing out) as it is, imagine holding my own baby and wishing I had done more with my life before having to dedicate my life to someone else way more important than myself? I have pledged to myself that I will only be holding my own baby when I’m totally content and have built a career successful enough to take time out and buy baby clothes.. After finding ‘the one’, or after he finds me.

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I’m currently reading ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg- voted one of the worlds most influential women by Forbes, and she interestingly brings up this point. She notes that in her time as a woman in business, the amount of women she has seen who freak out at my age, thinking they have to choose between a career or kids often means they turn down promotions or more responsibility in their jobs because they know they want children while they’re still at child bearing age, so don’t want to jeopardise that chance by having to choose their careers. She points out that once they sacrifice steps in their careers because they have a partner successful enough to carry them through, or are too scared to take on too much and not making it work, they are much farther back than if they had taken that promotion and waited another year to have children, as they could have then provided even more and gotten straight back into their jobs at a more powerful position, thus being advantageous for their children’s future as well as their own contentment.

 

So what I’m getting at is, 25 is the perfect age to have children if, like my friend, you’re in complete contentment with your life, have an amazing husband, the love and support around you to bring one up well, which she does, and most importantly be happy in your situation. She will also easily get her figure back having her babs at this age!
I’m definitely years behind that, but importantly, I’m totally ok with it. We all have different choices in life, mine is to do everything I want to do, be totally selfish and treat myself when I like, because then when I have a family, I know that everything I live for and do will be for them and not myself thus never being resentful.
In the meantime, I cannot wait to hit Hamleys and baby shop for the new member of our crew!