Having kids is the best thing I have ever done and also the hardest. I know if I'd been 10 years younger, I would have been entirely unprepared. If I were 10 years older ... well, we can't all be as lucky as Halle Berry.
My parents had me at 35 and I used to wonder why they waited so long even though they looked like kids in all of my baby photos. Now I get it. They were basically kids up until that point!
I believe the 'sweet spot' of childbearing -- physically and emotionally -- comes after we've all had ample time to check some boxes, get some things out of our systems, and most importantly, time to really, really want the job. In other words, the perfect time to become a mom is in your 30s and here's why:
- You've outgrown your unhealthy habits. No more soda at breakfast or refusing to use seat belts because they're "annoying." By this decade you've processed the message that self-care is not optional but required.
- You'll be less resentful. If you're dealing with the demands of a baby while you're still feeling like a baby yourself, the sacrifices that come with parenting will be painful. Revel in the fact that your 20s are the perfect time to be irresponsible, self-indulgent, and a jerk without consequence.
- More time to check places off your travel wish list. You can slum it at questionable hotels, sleep through long flights uninterrupted, push yourself to take in ALL the museums in one day without stopping for water or bathroom breaks. Once the kids come, it could be a decade before you can get back in the game without injury.
- More time to flaunt your bikini body. No matter what Tracy Anderson tells you, your stomach will never be the same once it has been stretched out that far. It can still be great. It can be fantastic. But it will be DIFFERENT. Use the full extent of your 20s to soak up your pre-baby shape and listen to Nora Ephron. "Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was 26," she famously wrote. "If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're 34."
- You can get further along in your career. It is a lot harder to take a break when your baby comes and then jump back in, if you are simultaneously trying to establish yourself for the first time. This is just true.
- More attention from your OB. For me this was fantastic. I wanted as many ultrasounds -- 2D, 3D -- as I could get and welcomed any opportunity for info on what was going on inside my belly. If you're over the magic age of 35, you will get even more.
- You have more time to want to be a mom. If it doesn't happen when it you want it to, it can be frustrating and painful. But when it does, and you're feeling overwhelmed, you will remember how badly you wanted this and you will be grateful even when you are up in the middle of the night being vomited on.
- You can afford more. Kids are expensive, plain and simple. If you're in your 30s, you're likely to have more earning power and an easier time footing the bill for the carloads of equipment babies seem to need, not to mention space, school, etc.
- You will have more to teach. More life experience means you'll have that much more real world knowledge to impart to your little one and you'll probably be a more interesting mom.
- When you're 50-ish, you'll have teenagers. This is a great thing because having teenagers around to tell you how to dress, how to fix the remote, and how to work your phone will keep you young.
Did you wait until your 30s to have kids?
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