I had wanted my career from the time I was 6 years old. I started saving for college as an young teen babysitter. I put myself through college, got my job, loved it.
Met my future husband, put him through college. He got a job in another state that did not have credential reciprocity and we could not afford for me go back to school with out of state tuition costs.
After a year we decided to start a family and I had always known I would, given my chosen career, either be a SAHM or not have children. We/I chose children.
My childhood was not good. In fact, it was horrible so I worried about my parenting abilities. But I LOVED being home with my children.
Was I a perfect mom? Absolutely not, who is? Did my children survive, turn out well? Yes!!!
My children are my greatest accomplishment. Even now, with some very real fallout from my choices(my marriage did not survive), if I had it to do over I would still choose to put my children first.
Each of us must search what path is best for us-- career only, career and kids, kids and no career. Each choice comes with rewards and pitfalls. There is always fear when looking at significant change. I say hope for the best, plan for the worst. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
And, in the end, we can always change direction when it becomes too hard to continue on the path we are on.