Kids before career is a risky option

EDITOR'S BLOG: Is there a right time for women to have kids, and what happened to coke, asks Matthew Gwyther.

by Matthew Gwyther
Last Updated: 31 Mar 2015

The news that several Silicon Valley megacorps are offering to pay the costs of freezing the eggs of their young female employees caused a stir. Some thought it enlightened and pragmatic, others an intolerable employer's intrusion into privacy. The subject of women, work and children remains as emotive as it should be. It is no dry, academic debate.

As someone who had a child at the age of 34 and then my final one just as I was about to hit 50, I got rather lucky. Nothing like nappies, small feet and three-times tables to help you rage against the dying of the light. But men aren't supposed to be having children at 50 and women, without a lot of medical help, simply cannot. IVF is a hit-and-miss business not a panacea.

Our piece is a questioning exploration rather than a polemic. The women at the centre of it - Nikki King and Sally James - are unusual in that they had their children young and then went on to develop highly successful careers. Both are deeply impressive. But given the dynamics of employment now, it would require courage, determination and a gambler's instinct to follow their path. Besides, there are many who don't wish to have kids in their 20s because they haven't yet found the right person to provide the other gamete. And others just don't want them at all.

One thing is true. There is much to be said for employing people with a few years under their belt. A woman in her 30s who has already had a couple of kids is likely to be more settled, possibly more emotionally intelligent and wise to the ways of the world.

Coca-Cola: Still the Real Thing?

I have no particular beef with Coke. I have a classic glass bottle - not a can if I can avoid it - on four or five occasions a year and I enjoy it. It really gets the dopamine going. Last year I persuaded my seven-year-old son to climb an Italian mountain with me with the guarantee he'd be allowed a Coke when we got back to the bottom. He enjoyed the hit as well.

Maybe we should look at Coke in the same way that some regard malt whisky - an occasional treat. Except that a 1.75-litre bottle is currently being punted in Sainsbury's with a bogof for £2.

Although Coke has an undeniable calories problem, I find it odd that breakfast cereals, which are full of sugar, and low-fat yogurts that are pushed as somehow healthy don't get the grief that Coca-Cola does. But when the American Dream turns sour, there is a price to be paid for being Uncle Sam's favourite tipple.

Follow Matthew on Twitter @MatthewGwyther

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