Forbes Woman and The Bump released results of a cobranded survey recently that tries to answer the question of when it is the “ideal” age for women to have their first baby as well as balance a successful career. I would love to start this conversation with the readership of Theta Mom. When do you think it’s the ideal age to start a family? I personally don’t think there is ever a “perfect” time, but I do think women can find a time in their lives that would work better than others…
I was 29 when I had my first child. I knew there were a few things I wanted to accomplish as an individual before I even thought about becoming a mother. I knew once I graduated college that I wanted to immediately begin working in the field and establish myself in the profession. So within my first year of landing a full-time teaching position, I went back to school part-time to earn my graduate degree (knowing that I would eventually at some point want to advance in my career) so earning that degree was a necessity. In the meantime, I met my husband but before I even made plans to get married I knew I wanted to complete that graduate degree.
Once I earned my MA and we were married I also knew I wanted to travel, for once I started a family I knew this would be much more of a challenge. My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to take trips to Europe, The Caribbean, as well as other parts of this country. We really got a chance to travel quite a bit in our early married life.
Having said that, I also wanted to enjoy our time together as a married couple because I knew once we had children that part of our relationship would drastically change, such as the small freedoms of eating out whenever we felt like it; being spontaneous and not having to make plans well in advance because we could just get up and go – that kind of stuff. I knew that if I had children before I began my career, earned my MA or traveled some with my husband, I might have regretted it so I did not even think about having a baby until those other dreams of mine were fulfilled. This was truly a personal decision.
I must also admit that I was very selfish and self-centered in my early twenties. Quite frankly, I was VERY into myself so I can’t even imagine having to take care of another human life at that time in my life. In my early twenties I was really not emotionally ready to care for anything other than myself, let alone a child. As I matured and grew as a woman and individual, I believed that when the time was right when both my husband and I were emotionally and financially ready to raise a child it would happen. And I am truly blessed because that’s exactly how it turned out for me.
If you wait to start a family until you have a bigger house, more money or a better job, the reality is you’ll probably be waiting for a very long time because you’ll never have “enough” money or that “perfect” job. I think the ideal age to become a mother really depends on each woman’s individual goals and aspirations, as well as where she is in her life. Some women are not as career oriented and/or do not go to college (for various reasons) and their one dream is to have that baby – so for these women, having children in their early twenties would make sense.
On the flip side, women who are driven by their career end up waiting until they are in their mid to late thirties to start a family, as they are trying to establish themselves in the professional world. So when you think of it this way, there really is no cookie cutter answer to the question. I believe it really boils down to each woman’s preferences and life experiences/choices. However, if you throw in some curve balls of infertility or unplanned pregnancy, well that’s a whole other variable to add to the equation…
You can read the full article at ForbesWoman here and view all of the results from that cobranded survey here. Cited directly from the Forbes Woman article, below are some of the findings quoted from that survey:
- “Non-moms and women in their 30s are more likely to think 30-34 is the ideal age, while women in their 20s are more likely to think 25-29 is the preferred age.”
- “35% of moms who had their first child at 30 to 34 wish they had their child at a younger age and 57% of moms who had their first child at 35 to 39 also wish they had their child at a younger age.”
- “62% of women surveyed feel that motherhood negatively impacts a woman’s career. Yet, only 30% of working moms felt this way.”
Now, I would love to hear your stories and for you to share some insight into this very hot topic. When did you become a mom and what do you think is the “ideal” age to start a family?