There are pros and cons to starting your family in your 20’s or 30’s. I can only speak to the experience of having waited to start our family in our early 30’s. While there are many benefits to having children in your 20’s (health, energy, empty nesters a lot sooner, etc) the following are the benefits we’ve found by starting our family in our 30’s:
- we spent our 20’s finishing our education (we both completed University and went on to do Master’s degrees in our fields – one after the other).
- we found jobs in our fields and built valuable experience in our 20’s. specifically for me, I had close to 5 years at my job prior to taking a mat leave.
- we paid off debt. this included credit card debt, car debt, and even student loans. we were passionate about being debt free and made sacrifices to achieve this end. as a result, we started parenthood with only one type of debt: our mortgage.
- we were able to grow in our marriage relationship prior to having our first child. when we had our baby, we’d been married for 7 years.
- we were able to travel and check off some “bucket list” items prior to having a baby. we figure that you shouldn’t leave all of your big trips til retirement (what if one of you doesn’t have good health?) so we did some big vacations like the 1 month we spent in Australia flying all over that gorgeous country.
- I’ve been able to sit back, observe, and learn from friends and family who had children before us. I was like a sponge. I’ve appreciated hearing what they wish they had have done differently. I’ve taken their wisdom from experience to heart.
- this last one is more intangible: at 30, I felt ready to sacrifice a lot of my wants and desires to raise a child. I felt that I had lived a full life having made the most of my 20’s. I figured that if I happened to really struggle with parenthood, I would choose to be grateful for having lived to 30 and experienced all that I had. (I’m happy to report that I love our life with a baby!).
There you have it. 7 reasons why having a baby in our early 30’s wasn’t so bad after all. They say that there’s never a perfect time to have a child and while this is true, having our baby when we did had many benefits. We are grateful for having made the most of our 20’s to then start a new chapter of our lives in our 30’s. Considering that it’s all that we know, starting our family in our 30’s has been pretty great.