Children are the flowers of life, but it does not mean that families without kids are without flowers. Lots of couples have no kids for various reasons. I have many friends who would have liked to have kids but couldn’t, and also those who made a conscious decision not to have any progeny. If both partners are working and trying to build up their careers, it means that they constantly inter-act with others. If your bosses do not have a family, it pays to learn what their position on the subject is. Today the whole atmosphere is more humane, and there is more flexibility. My own academic advisor was married but the couple had no children. When I told her I was expecting, her first question was, “What about your thesis?” I assured her I could cope, and I did. It seems strange in retrospect that my superior believed she had a word in my personal decision, and yet it still happens today. Not everybody gives us a round of applause for every success. In the same way, not all our supervisors, advisors and bosses in general are thrilled with the news that we may be absent from work for several months, or that we cannot conduct certain experiments, or that we need a desk job for now. This is life. Nobody ever told me life is easy.
Naturally I cannot imagine my own life without children, but I know that those who have none manage perfectly well. In fact, as with everything else, the reactions and interactions really depend on us. “You are so lucky, not only you are a successful career woman but you are also a mother!” Here is an example which is one better: “It’s easy for you to say, you have kids!” Sure, anybody who brought up three children while working full-time knows that it is very easy. NOT. Those who never had the experience simply have no idea. Once I hear that phrase, “not only but also”, I shut up. Trying to argue is completely useless, a total waste of time.
Many people however would ask us about our children and listen with great interest. They have no trouble working with their colleagues who are parents. They are successful and talented, their work brings them satisfaction. If they are good partners in personal life too, they have a positive outlook on life in general. So they have other interests, like traveling, fan fiction, cultural events, extreme sports, painting or music. If you look at life and our planet with a benevolent curious eye, you find plenty to do and enjoy.
Men and women react and behave differently to the same situations of course. While we may discuss our expectations with other female colleagues, we won’t do it with the male ones. This is normal Just look at the animal kingdom. How different the male and the female of the species are!
No man is an island. The more variety we find around us the merrier. With the immediacy of modern communication and the speed with which any news spreads around the world, we are all a click away from each other.