Being of the generation of women who are taught that we can “have it all”, there are still few women who make the decision to not have children (there are studies on these women and the link to their education level) and many more who have made the decision to have both the career and the kids. The answer to their balancing act is often to simply wait longer to have children. So the question is, how is this working for us?
I had my first child at 19 and my additional two at 25. I have a best friend that had her children around those ages as well, so being that we would have both been considered young mothers, we often discuss our decision and what we will tell our own daughter’s concerning it. She has decided to tell her daughter that she needs to wait til she’s at least 30 and feels that most of her parenting mistakes were due to her being young and still needing time to figure out her own self first. And while I completely agree with her position, I will not be telling my daughter the same thing.
While there’s no use in grappling over the decision to have children once you have them and obviously you couldn’t imagine your life without them, if I had to do it all over again, I think it would be less about timing and more about the overall decision of having them in the first place. And while I think it makes sense to have them later in life for many reason like finances, finding the right partner and knowing yourself better etc. there’s a whole lot of reasons that women are finding out why they shouldn’t wait besides just the fertility rate.
Number one is that putting your career first until your 30 and then deciding to just go off of that track onto the baby one isn’t really ideal. After all the work you have put in, you are just going to hand it over to be faced with possible job insecurity at a later age? Then there is the fact that had I really waited to “know who I was”, would that later person have made the crazy decision to have a baby, lol, probably not. Could I have handled motherhood at an older age mentally, emotionally and physically? Ummm….maybe, but I bet it would have been much harder. Then there is the taking care of aging or dying parents factor. If I would’ve waited til 30 to have my twins, I would have had one year old twins while trying to be there for and take care of my dying mother. Even trying to imagine that is putting my brain into shock!
I’m sure the pro/con list can go further and there are things that until we actually experience our decision of waiting later will remain unseen. But as for me when it comes to my daughter, my first advice would be not to have any kids at all and my second would be that unless you just haven’t graduated college yet, then when you feel the time is right for you to have children, then have them.