John J. Edwards III contributed a thought-provoking post this morning to The Juggle: "If I Had Only Learned About Work/Life Balance When I Was Younger..." In a previous post about the Obamas' marriage, Edwards had asked his readers what trade-offs they and their spouses have made in raising their families. (I guess Edwards and I, and much of the rest of the NYT-reading world were on the same wavelength last Monday in the wake of Jodi Kantor's article in last weekend's Times Magazine; I posted about the Obamas as well.) Readers of the Wall Street Journal's work-family balance blog responded with a list of things they wished they had known going into starting their families. Some highlights:
- "You simply can’t do it all, all at the same time your spouse is doing it all. Something has to give to sustain a marriage and a reasonable quality of life." (from commenter "ellieandtheboys")
- "As I always knew I wanted to have children, I would have chosen a different field of finance that was less demanding in terms of pressure and hours worked…I also would have had children earlier on, and would have had more children because I started earlier." (from the prolific "ellieandtheboys" once again)
- save more, earlier (from Edwards's wife)
- get a "better handle on the degree of selflessness required for a good relationship, a good family life and a balanced integration of those with work" (from Edwards himself)
Or was my OB right after all? And no matter how many books we read, or how much advice we get, there is no way to pre-chart the new course of parenthood, no way to know how you'll feel about going back to work, no means of discerning your reaction to your new status.
What do you think? Is there anything you wish you had known about balancing your own life and your life as a parent before you became one?