Written by: Jenny Smith
Is there a perfect age to become a parent? Is it something we should plan meticulously or should we let mother nature lead the way? It seems to be that whatever age we find ourselves having children there are pro’s and cons for each scenario.
Young parents in their early twenties say that it’s helpful to be able to remember their own childhoods really clearly as their children go through similar experiences and that they love the feeling of still being energetic when their kids become teens! They report pregnancy being much easier and not having the issue of managing career breaks in a well established job.
The drawbacks for becoming parents at this age include not having much money saved up to support a family and also not having lots of friends in the same boat and therefore sometimes drifting apart from certain friendships because of lifestyle changes.
Parenting in our thirties
A decade later, our thirties brings a different experience with benefits include being very settled about the decision to have children and clear when it comes to choice of continuing working or staying at home with the kids (if that is a feasible option). People also talk about being more ready to make the level of sacrifice that is necessary as parents and being less selfish than when younger. They also feel appreciative of having had some ‘me’ time in their twenties before settling down into family life.
The disadvantages of having babies at this stage include possibilities of not being able to conceive so easily and the harder toll on the physical body with sags and bags etc. But on the upside, lots of people say that they’ve let go of being attached to being perk and thin by this age!
Into your forties
People that become parents in their early to mid forties have a different experience again. Less common at this age, many people are verging on letting go of the idea of children but sometimes couples get together where one person in particular still really wants a child. The advantages include being a lot more settled in ourselves and therefore able to handle stress of family life with a lot less difficulty, often having more financial security so being able to have more choices about working less.
The drawbacks can be that it’s common to meet other mums of similar aged kids who are a lot younger and at different stages in life. You may also be limited in terms of how many children it is feasible to have.
Lastly, the rare situation, particularly for women, is becoming a parent over fifty. Most women have let go of the idea of conceiving by the time they are in their fifties but it does occasionally happen and for some it can be a totally delightful surprise and some say that they feel it is absolutely the best time in their lives to have a child. Reasons for this view include having much more self knowledge, wisdom and patience than at earlier ages and feeling very motivated to take care of themselves. The two main drawbacks with children at this age, seem to be a much less likely chance of knowing grandparents and sometimes parents having a lot less energy – but this certainly is not always the case and some older parents say they feel fitter and healthier at this stage in their lives!