Every generation thinks that there is a specific time and place for children. The baby boomers had kids young, my parents—gen x started to have them a little older, and now my generation is wanting to have kids as late as their bodies will let them.
Having kids are different ages in your life means all sorts of things. There are always things that you are sacrificing and working harder towards. When you have children young, maybe you aren’t ready financially. When you have them old, maybe your body isn’t ready physically. Over the summer, I work at Target. I am around people who are in all different stages of their life. There are women a couple years younger than me, a couple years older than me who are having to work even harder to support their new family. I see those women work harder than anyone else. I really feel for them when they talk about the online classes that they are taking or how their child is at home with their parents for the day. Seeing other situations that people are in or how they react to them is how I decide what I want to do with my own life.
Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted kids. I’ve always thought that families of four are the cutest thing and that kids can light up everyone’s life. I started to babysit when I started the 6th grade and have always had lots of patience with those younger than me. Ever since about high school, I have always thought that no family is complete without kids. I believe that it is our job to bring life into the world, and that is why we are put here—to share our lives with others.
It has been drilled into my head that my career is important. I am about to be a senior in college and my family has already spent upwards of $100,000 on my degree (that I haven’t even earned yet). This is money that my parents have been saving since I was born expecting me to graduate and start a successful career. I have spent three years, soon to be four, working towards something that is supposed to support myself and a family for the rest of my life.
When I was in middle school, I always said that I wanted to have kids when I was in my very early 20s because I wanted to be a “cute and cool” mom. In high school, I said I wanted kids in my later 20s so I could make sure I traveled before settling down too much. Now, more than half way done with college, I say that I don’t want kids until my 30s and married.
When I tell people that I don’t want kids until I am 30, they look at me like I am crazy. I feel this way because I have spent my whole life in school, working towards an education so I can have a successful career. The further that I have gotten in my education, the more passionate that I get about future careers. Although for health reasons, sometimes I question myself. The older you wait to have children, the more complications. The more health risks. The more expensive it is. The more impossible that it becomes. At that point, I think it could be more beneficial to try to adopt.
My mother had me when she was 26, and had already been married for 5 years. She quit her job, after passing the CPA exam but not getting certified, in order to stay home with me. A couple years later, she had my sister and continued to stay home with us. Although she was staying at home, she still lived a full life, but in a different way. She went to the gym two hours a day, cooked dinners, ran errands, cleaned the house, and it was what she liked to do. Eventually when she got bored of that, she had the freedom to go back to work when I was about 12. During that whole time, my dad was working full time and supporting our family.
Honestly, I go back and forth about what I want to do after graduation. Sometimes I want to be a real estate agent, or a freelance marketer, or do marketing or finance for a company. I have so many opportunities that I am so excited about, I want to make sure that I have the opportunities to pursue them all before I settle down and have kids.
I know that once I have kids, I will have them for the rest of my life. I want to be able to do as much as I can by myself before I have to be responsible for another human being. I know that sounds very selfish, but I mean it in the best possible way. Once I am at the point where I am ready to have kids, I can either quit or pause my career. When I was a child, my dad was moving our family around a lot for his job. I would like to stay in one place after starting a family. I would like my family to be in the place where we are either at the top of our career or can pause it.
Once I have kids, I want to make sure that I am able to give them everything that they could ever want as well as opportunities that I didn’t have. I want to be able to put them in any kinds of sports, classes, or activities that I possibly can. I don’t ever want to have to miss an event because of work.
I know that I sound crazy to want to wait so late to have kids, but I want to make sure that I am my best possible self before I bring a little human into the world. I want to have finished all of the things that I want to do so I can put all of my focus and energy on my kids.
I know that my opinions and emotions towards children at different stages in my life has changed constantly. What are your opinions? What has worked for you guys? What advice would you give someone in their early 20s about what it means to be a parent and what you should be able to provide your children?