Have you ever wondered what’s the best age to start having kids? I recently entered a new decade in my life and I catch myself calculating how old (or young!) I will be when my children start high school, or graduate from college, possibly get married, or yikes – I become a grandmother!
I think there are a lot of pros and cons for having kids earlier – and – later in life. Of course we can’t always plan what age we will be when we have kids, but I can definitely see God’s logic behind younger childbearing years. But I also think there are lots of perks to starting a family later on. For the sake of discussion, I’ll share my thoughts if you’ll share yours in the comments below. And tell us which team you play on – the “earlier in life” or the “later in life” crew!
I guess you could say I play for the “later in life” team. I was a late bloomer on the whole marriage and kids thing. It wasn’t my plan, but that’s just how it happened. Yet I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved living my “unmarried” days as a young professional – and then when I met my husband – I knew the time was right. We married when he was 33 and I was 31, and we both wanted nothing more than to start a family right away. And we did…three months after our nuptials…we became pregnant.
Now with two kids who are well past the baby stage and growing way too quickly, I started doing the math. When my kids graduate from college I’ll be in my mid-to-late 50s (which isn’t bad) but I’ll most likely be in my mid-to-late 60s when I become a grandmother. Again, not too bad (I’d rather be old and gray as a grandmother anyway) but I hope I won’t be too old and feeble to play either! However, it’s scary to know how late in life my husband and I will be paying college tuition bills. Sigh.
Then I think of my best friend. She got married and had her first baby right after college. Her son is now entering his senior year in high school, and she will be in her mid 40s when he graduates from college! That blows my mind! The days of her as a ” new mom” and me as just some twenty-something-year-old seem so surreal to me. She also went on to have three more children – all before I was even married – and all the while she was in law school. Talk about leading completely different lives.
Now we are both moms and our lives are somewhat more in sync, yet I cannot imagine dealing with the kinds of issues (high school drama, sports, college selection and tuition) she has on her plate right now. But then again she gets to face those issues with a young, energetic and fresh perspective. It makes me wonder how I will face those same issues – 10 whole years from now – with my kids. Will I be considered “with it”? Wise? Or just weary?
Similarly I think of my sister-in-law who is in her early 50s. Both her children have graduated from college. So now she and her husband are basically on cruise control from now through retirement. And they’re young enough to enjoy it. When I am her age my kids will still be in high school.
But one of the most uncontested perks of having kids at a younger age is the whole losing-the-baby-weight-quickly-and-keeping-it-off-for-good thing. It definitely gets more difficult the older you get. I’m not giving up for us “later in life” players. Just refer to Heidi Klum. That’s a realistic role model, right?
So what are your thoughts? Do you think there are definite benefits for starting a family early or waiting a little later?
And since we are talking about timing, be sure to check out Rachel’s post about the best time of year to have a baby. Another great discussion to be had!