Your post titled How to Pick a Husband if You Want to Have Kids really reasonated with me.  Well, half of it did.  I already have a husband, and I’m 31 years old.  I’m an ENFJ, so a lot of my self-worth comes from my career achievements (I’m a lawyer), but relationships are very important to me too.  Not just my relationship with my husband.  This is going to sound borderline sociopathic, but I get excited when I’m able to make a connection with an interesting person who is really introverted.
Anyway, right now I am trying to assess whether I should have children at all.  My husband definitely wants them. I think I want them too, but in reality, I know I would really struggle, especially the first few years because I would have to compromise at work.  And he makes about twice as much money as me, so I would have to be the one to take the longer maternity leave and work around the nanny/daycare/whatever schedule much more than him, at least for now.

But if I decide no kids ever (leaving aside the damage to my marriage that would ensure), how do I know I won’t wake up when I’m 45 and really regret it?  My personality makes me think that would probably happen.  Then again, if I don’t have that strong urge to be a mother now, will I ever have it?

People constantly say I’m really nurturing, and I’d be a great mom.  My own mother died when I was 22, so I don’t have a great sounding board for this stuff.  Part of this may be coming from me seeing friends have babies and struggle with it.  Three of my best friends from law school had kids within the past year, and all three tried to go back but quit working entirely within the first year.

What is your advice for women like me who are already pretty far into their careers and did not take your advice to have kids early?

I’m 25. I’ve been a professional musician for 3 years. I am in a committed relationship with a man I love.

My music career appears to be on a precipice, but it hasn’t made it to the level of national awareness yet. I am attracting Grammy-nominated producers, good agents, etc. My career could escalate hugely in the next 5 years. I do not have unrealistic rock star goals (Lucinda Williams is a role model).

I am pregnant with twins. I’m deciding whether to keep them. I’m afraid if I have these kids now, I won’t have the energy or desire to pursue music success. (I would rather be at home with them… I think.) I’m essentially a small business owner. Plus, music means lots of travel, and the industry puts a premium on youth. My window seems more finite than it would appear to be in other industries.

My relationship with these unborn twins could be one of the greatest things in my life. I am certain that it would matter more to me than winning a Grammy.

That said, I could wait and start to have kids in 5 years or so. If I make it above the scrum, I might be able to coast on my music business achievements for longer and hang on to my rung of the career ladder until I’m ready to start climbing again.

I think I could survive both an abortion and birth. I’d have a hard time with an abortion or with giving up music, but I would do what I had to to recover.

I’m stuck with all these feelings and no definitive answer. The clock is ticking. These babies are growing inside of me. Any advice?

I have a question. Why do so many feel they must vigilantly defend their decision to homeschool?

So much of the dialogue I read regarding homeschooling seems to be centered around defending/justifying the decision. I admit to having done this, however, at some point, I realized that it was no longer important for me to do this. We homeschool our child and have enjoyed the benefits and frustrations that come with it. I am not sending this to you as some sort of troll. I have found your blog entries to be honest and thoughtful and wanted to pose this question to you.

[Editor’s note: Yesterday, I tweeted, “My son just came downstairs in his Penn State t-shirt and I said, ‘Um. We have to throw that shirt out.” Below is an email I received, hours later.]

I just read your Penn State Twitter involving your son and his t-shirt and your issue with is.  This is very disappointing.  There are 45,000 students, 20,000 faculty, the largest alumni base on planet earth and so what is wrong with Penn State? That one person who has not worked at Penn State since 1999 that the Governor of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has known about since 2008 and yet this pedophile still lives within 1,000 feet of an elementary school, and this is a Penn State problem.?  I heard of one teacher in a school district from New York State who was charged and convicted as a pedophile and so is this a New York Public School problem state wide?  Should I never watch the network news because it originated from New York City in New York State? I could go on and on, but please take a moment to think of what you are teaching your child and tweeting- that one person who worked there 12 years ago does not castigate an entire organization now.  If you would like to discuss this further do not hesitate to contact me at [phone number and name redacted].

I am an older mom who is busy supporting a family and working as an ICU nurse.  I don’t want my daughter to repeat my lifetime of mistakes.  She is bright about many things but in school I feel she is an underachiever and does just enough to get by.  I have had many financial setbacks.  I lost my home, lived with in-laws and now live in a house that was a fixer-uper and I was never able to do the fixing up. I could go on and on. But enough about me.

How do I guide my teen to choose a career path that will be suitable for their abilities and potential. I have depleted all my savings just keeping the family going so its going to be a community college to start out.  She is 16 and very responsible.  She has had three jobs in three months. Now she’s working at her third, job as restaurant hostess.  How do I be the guidance counsellor, where do I start?

Also, as a woman in her late 20’s contemplating parenthood, the responsibilities of parenthood are daunting. The more I try to rationally consider whether or not to have children, the more confused am. Maybe this is a silly reaction.

I probably shouldn’t decide not to have kids because I might have to homeschool them someday, but I can’t help it. If you homeschool how do you have time for anything else? I saw my mom lose herself parenting my sister and me. I know if I decide to have kids I want to also take care of myself.

It all comes down to choices. I often think having all these damn choices is debilitating. Do you agree or think that’s just an excuse for inaction?

I am 38, my husband is 42. We have a 4 year old son. The last four years have been seriously challenging. My son has some medical issues (not life threatening, but requires lots of time with doctors and a lot of sleep deprivation for his parents). He is also has challenging behavior issues, which we are working on with the help of his pediatrician and most likely some counseling. Your previous posts on the challenges (the reality) of parenting really resonated with me.

Given the challenges that you have outlined in your previous posts..I often wonder why people have more than one kid. The only reason I am even considering another child is to give my child a sibling. What do you think? Should we try for another child?

My husband and I will both finish graduate school this year — he in [high-earning field], me in law. I have a job lined up to clerk next year, but after that, I’d like to have kids, and I’d like to stay home — either full or part time — to raise them.

My problem is this: I’m fine with sacrificing the lost income (and the years worked toward a promotion, the raises that I’d earn, and the subsequent raises that follow after that, the retirement contributions, health insurance, etc. etc.) but I’m not okay with bearing the brunt of our choice for me to stay at home in case of a divorce. It doesn’t seem fair to me that if I take five years off to have kids, we could later get divorced, and he will continue making six figures after he has enjoyed the benefit of having a stay at home wife, while the statistics — both about the legal field and about women — show that I will have a hard time getting a job, let alone a well paying one. And this will be because I took the time off to raise our kids.

Maybe the distinction I’m making between the lost income and the shared cost of childbearing is nebulous — in the case of divorce, I wouldn’t want my husband to have to pay me whatever I would have earned as a working lawyer in those years — I/we already chose to sacrifice that. Instead, I want him to share with me the financial burden I will bear for having made that choice. I don’t know how to calculate that cost — maybe I’ll have to hire a mathematician.

I’ve heard some suggest that women in my position should make a legal contract that would dictate how assets will be divided in case of divorce, that would somehow equalize partners’ positions. Do you know anything about this, or have any links to any such sample contracts? Do you know how to calculate the shared cost of the decision to stay home? I’m having a VERY hard time finding any good information about this online.

I quit my job to be home with my kids. I loved my job but the type of law I practiced required my full focus and long hours, and I am not good at juggling home and work responsibilities. So now I am home, things are less hectic, my kids are getting the time and focus they deserve, and…I often miss my career. To be clear, I would not change any decision I have made about my career or my kids. But my question for you is, do these feelings of career longing go away eventually? As you devote greater amounts of time to educating your own kids at home, do you ever feel that you are leaving something behind, or do you just assure yourself that you are doing the right thing and get on with it?