Parenting

Why I'm Loving 'Geriatric' Parenting

Every time I read an article about the benefits of parenting under thirty, I can’t help but roll my eyes at the paranoia surrounding a woman’s biological clock and physical abilities. Reading another “hurry up and have a baby” article makes me feel like a workhorse who needs to shelve her intellect in the name of populating the earth before I become a withered old hag (“geriatric pregnancy” is what they’re calling it if you’re over 35 these days). What a great way to encourage women to become mothers!

The reality is that you should have children when you’re ready to have children. I’m not an energetic person by nature; I never was. Had I started a family a decade ago I’d still be passed out on the couch for a nap at 2 p.m. So much for the theory that you’re strong when you’re younger. One thing is for sure: If I’d put my own personal endeavors aside in the name of raising a family, I would have regretted not pursuing opportunities meant for the young in my youth. Should we as a culture rethink the “career in your twenties, baby in your thirties” mentality? Of course, because as recent statistics reveal, most women never stop working, babies or not. But that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your goals in order to take one for the team.

There are several very good reasons to wait until your thirties to have children. So, despite what the fear mongers say, keep these in mind:

Infertility may not be your issue, it may be his.

Ever hear of low sperm count or low motility? Not really, because most IVF stories feature tortured women with needle collections and hormonal misery. Guess what: Infertility issues aren’t always on the woman’s shoulders, despite all the rumors about our picky biological clocks. If infertility is an issue, you’ll have better chances of pursuing IVF or adoption in your thirties when you have the stability that comes with your own housing and some money in the bank.

Wiser goes with being older.

Experience breeds wisdom. I’m not the person I was in my twenties and I’m betting you aren’t, either. Life experience ranks higher in value than academic credits in the field of parenting.

Financial stability means a lot.

It feels fabulous to be able to get my little guy a treat once in awhile when we’re out running errands. It also feels amazing to be able to be a stay-at-home mom. One huge financial benefit of being in your thirties is that one of you is most likely earning a good enough salary to enable stay-at-home parenting with a little fun and without the stress of being dead flat broke at the end of each month.

It’s good to want your babies.

So many of the arguments surrounding procreation involve a woman’s implied obligation to society to procreate for the common good. But, if there’s one thing a woman should never do, it’s give birth to children she truly doesn’t want. Kids aren’t a homework assignment, or even a day job. They require commitment beyond a career that you can leave at the office or manipulate as you choose. Give birth because you want to, not because you feel that you have to or should.

Down the line your kids will keep you younger.

My parents were in their late thirties when I surprised them with my arrival. For years they’ve both agreed that I kept them young. Now it’s my son’s turn to do the same, and he’s taken the torch with pride, breathing new life into their senior years. There’s a reason the elderly love being around children: It keeps them in touch with their youth. And as for those Sandwich Generation fears, your kids (who will still be young enough to be paying attention) will see you setting the example when it comes to honoring and caring for your parents as they grow old. There’s no better way to teach them biblical values than that.