Timing...is everything

notre dame

I got married at age 21, had my first baby when I was nearly 23, and my second at age 25. It's not a timetable that I'd necessarily recommend. Because we had our kids young and were also committed to having me stay at home to raise them, we were also strapped financially--living on one income in fairly expensive region of the country.

Most of my same-age colleagues are now in the early years of childrearing. Their kids are babies, toddlers, and in preschool. My kids are teenagers and have a good amount of independence. I was chatting with one of these friends recently and she was telling me how smart I was to have my kids so young. Because she's in the position of wanting another baby, but realizing that because she's in her forties it's just not worth the health risks for her to get pregnant again.

There are pros and cons to starting a family young--I am well aware of research studies that show that children of young parents don't do as well in school, that divorces are more likely for young marriages, etc. There's also a twinge of jealousy that I have when I see my friends' carefree 20s--John & I had to "grow up" very young to take on the responsibilities of parenting (John especially bore the burden of having to work full-time to be the 'provider' for our young family).

Knowing what I know now, I think I would probably have waited a few years between my wedding and the birth of my son. But at the same time, it seems like it's all worked out just fine anyways.

Picture above is of my cool kids in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, taken about 4 years ago. One of our biggest joys as a family is traveling together--and we've learned how to do so somewhat economically (backpacking through Europe or wherever else we are able to go).


Numismatist Facts said...

I had my kids early at 18 and 21. No regrets here. I am young enough to be best friends with my daughters and healthy enough to participate in all kinds of sports and other activities with my grandkids, ages 2 thru 15. I did return to school in my 30's and finished a degree. I, for one, am glad I didn't wait. However, I realize that there are benefits both ways.

Your children are beautiful.

Kristen said...

They are beautiful, and that's coming from someone who's not a 'kid person.'


Suddenly Sixty said...

My mom didn't have kids until her 30's because she could not seem to get pregnant for the first 8 years of her marriage.

I walked down the isle 3 months pregnant at age 18, married my high school sweetheart having to move our intended wedding date forward since the baby was coming and that was what people did in 1966.

I have absolutely no regrets of being a teenage mom to my wonderful daughter. We grew up together in a lot of ways. I believe that made me a better parent to be so close in years with a clear memory of all the struggles that exist in childhood. That was in stark contrast to my experience with my own mother who was wonderful but seemed to be from such a far away era or planet.

When my daughter went off to college I was still in my 30's and better equipped to handle the free time than I would have been in my early 20's.

Now we talk or visit each day and I am still young enough to appreciate my grand boys who like your kids are preciously adorable.

Melissa said...

I think there is something to be said for both sides. When I was younger I never would have been able to be as patient as I am now.

Waiting has also been hard because, let's face it, I'm not as young as I used to be!

I guess it just depends on the family/couple, huh?

catbonny said...

Stuff like this and observing you and your kids makes me want to have them now, but I know that would be crazy of me, but still I would love to raise my kids like you guys do in the whole school/campus setting. I think it rocks and sometimes I get a little bit jealous of Gameboy and Catgirl.