Obviously, making the decision to have kids is the first step, but the second is deciding if you want to have them sooner or later. It's just like Jerry Seinfeld says about medicines: "Do I want quick-acting or long-lasting? When do I want to feel good: now, or later?" When do you want to enjoy your "free time" without kids, now or later? There are benefits and downsides to both approaches.
If you have kids very young, then you are younger as they get older... Your chances of being more of a friend than a parent are greater - very Gilmore Girls, and you will probably end up being a younger grandparent, having more stamina to be able to keep up with your grandchildren.
However, if you start having kids in your early 20's, you may miss out on travelling, establishing a solid career, getting more financially ready for a family, and you may end up with a few regrets... regrets that you'll never breathe life to because you're too scared to be judged so you'll say, "I wouldn't change anything for the world."
If you have kids later - like in your 30's, you've probably had a chance to be wild, had a chance to get some good quality years in with your spouse before complicating things, gotten your career solidly going in the right direction, upgraded to a good-sized home, and you are probably more financially ready (as financially ready for a child as one can be).
Having children later means that you may have more patience (from a few more years of lessons learned, but in my case, I seem to lack that extra patience), but you will also be older as your kids get older, and your body may not handle bearing children as easily.
I have seen cases of both now and later kids, and for us we didn't really make the decision to have kids until later so we indefinitely ended up in the LATER camp. If we had gone into our married life together knowing we wanted a family, would we have started sooner? I don't really think so.
I mean, I'm not really sure what I would have done if I could rewind time and start out my marriage knowing that I was going to want children. I really enjoyed the first several years of our marriage without children. I liked being selfish and doing what I wanted when I wanted, and I liked not having to worry about another person and being able to travel along on Mark's work trips if the destination seemed interesting (even though I did tag along to a farm show in Iowa once... and that certainly doesn't qualify for "interesting"). Enjoying a pre-child-maimed body for all of my 20's certainly was a plus... ah, I miss those days when a tube top didn't act like a spatula smashing down a fluffy pancake.
Are you a now or later kind of parent? Do you wish you would have gone the other way? I'd love to know what you think!
Image Credits: top: Soccer FIT Academy, Bottom: Superstock.com
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Cyndi M. Frick
This lifestyle blog is my outlet to share and advise about the things I love. I always have an opinion!