The Ideal Age For Starting A Family Is…

I became pregnant and had my first child at 32.

Several months ago I wrote a post called 5 Things I Wish I’d Known Or Done Before Getting Pregnant and inadvertently sparked a debate.

Here is the paragraph that ignited controversy within the comments:

“Consider waiting until your thirties to have children. Make your twenties all about you! Be selfish! Get it all out of your system so you are really, really ready to give yourself over to your kids. Kids are demanding and tiring. I absolutely cannot imagine having a baby at 25. At that age, I don’t know how I’d handle the rage that taps you on the shoulder when your child claws you and pulls your hair in the midst of a very public tantrum not to mention the many, many sleepless nights that are chained to parenthood. That’s saying nothing about the overwhelming expense and responsibility kids introduce to your once-simple life. Yeah, yeah, you want to be a “young mom.” That’s overrated. Being a responsible, patient parent who isn’t wishing they were out at the club with friends is way better than being a young mom.”

Here are some of the responses:

I am so tired of the ‘no one is ready for kids before 30”² trope. If you’re not, you’re not, and please wait. Lots of us are. Everyone should wait until they’re ready, but I’m getting really irritated with women who waited until their 30s looking and back and declaring loudly that no one should have children in their 20s. Your experience does not reflect the experience of many, many others.

I am firmly in the camp of waiting till your 30s to have children. I feel like I got to explore and really figure out who I was before I was a mother and that exploration has made me a better mother.

Really depends on the person! If you’re not ready until your 30s, then don’t have kids until your 30s. But if you’re ready in your 20s, have kids in your 20s. Totally up to the person. I’m 26 and having my third but I love it and wouldn’t change it.

I have yet to see anyone who has had children in their 20”²s in the past two decades I would consider a good parent (and this is nearly two decades of heavy volunteering in public school systems speaking). This is not to say they don’t exist, I just have yet to meet one. In your 20”²s you should be free and be selfish and have fun but sadly I have observed far too many 20-something parents still behaving selfishly while claiming to be great parents

The comments go on and on. Now, there is, perhaps, a definitive answer on whether there is an ideal age to start a family.  Eearlier this week, AskMen released the results of their “2011 Great Female Survey,” which asked women to answer 64 questions on sex, career, relationships, online behavior and money.”

That link is worth the click, let me tell you… Women answer everything from have they ever fantasized about their partner’s friends to would they change the size of their fella’s um… you know.

But the two questions that interested me are “Do you want children?” and “At what age do you want to start a family?”

Here are the results:

Of course, everyone is different and various factors come into play when making the decision to start a family, but, generally speaking, these results seem about right to me.  What do you think? Is there an ideal age to start a family? When did you start a family or when do you hope to start a family?

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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