By Katie Bugbee
About the Writer:
Katie Bugbee is a writer, editor and Managing Editor at Care.com. She also has two tykes at home. She blogs about the drama of being a working mama.
My weekend babysitter came over last Saturday night -- and had some news. She didn't get into medical school, as she was hoping.
"You're so young," I told her, while getting ready to go out. "Try again next year." But how she responded shocked me.
"I think I might apply to nursing programs instead." I've been a nanny and babysitter over the last year and I realized that I don't want to work crazy hours. I want to get home and be with my kids. Nurses have much better flexibility."
Here's my problem. Her rationale totally made sense. As someone who went into writing (at age 18) so I could be a freelancer and be home with my kids (who didn't exist yet), I completely got it. But how I answered also shocked me. "You should read Lean In" I said. And I left it at that.
She and I aren't close. We see her a few Saturday nights a year. But when I hired her (off of Care.com), I was impressed with her scientific interest in my children and their neurological development. On our interview, she asked me what type of play they were interested in -- and added some psycho-babble after I said "cars" and "princesses." It was the kind of answer I was a little turned off by. I wanted her to be silly and not studying my children. I wanted her to be able to make a good grilled cheese sandwich.
But she knew CPR and my son loved her, so she was hired.
And now I can't stop thinking about her career growth. For the past week I've been thinking of texting her. I want to tell her that she doesn't know if she's going to get married. She doesn't know if she'll be able to have kids right away. She doesn't know if she'll need to support her family. She just doesn't know what her future holds. So she can't step out of the medical school race now. She can't plan her career around having a family -- yet.
I remember being in college and having no real idea about what I wanted to do with my career. But I knew I wanted to be with my kids when I had them. I had this vision of becoming a writer and then leaving the magazine world to be a freelancer. But then I did that. I actually made this vision come true. And I hated it. I realized I needed to be around people all day. I love the social atmosphere of an office. So, after kids, I went back to an 8-5 office life.
So as much as I love nurses, my sitter has major doctor potential. And why not make more money while you can -- and then choose to take a step back later -- if you still want to?