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Better to have kids early in life or late?

July 20, 2011
Baby Cartoon

A classmate from high school posted photos on Facebook of her son’s recent graduation from high school.


My son just celebrated his third birthday.

I really have no idea which one of us followed the better path for child-bearing.

The upside of having kids late in life? I’m much more mature than I was at the age of 18 (or 28, for that matter). I have the wisdom and patience of a 39-year-old as opposed to the aggression and myopic perspective of a 19-year-old. We have a very stable household and a solid income. Even during these difficult economical times, thanks to my wife’s financial genius, we’re living comfortably (so long as neither of us loses a job).

The downside of not having kids early in life? When I was younger I had much more energy and health. I’m more tired now than ever. I actually dread a little when my son asks me to lift him up and toss him around or run after him. There’s rarely a day when some part of my body doesn’t hurt or I’m feeling a weird pain somewhere.

Also, why didn’t anyone tell me you hit 39 and can’t stop thinking about your own mortality? At some point almost every day I wonder if I’m going to die and how that’s going to affect my wife and child. So naturally I should be working out and living healthy, but of course I’m tired all the time and it’s easier to eat crap and talk your way out of exercising.

And finally, I worry about the fact that when my son graduates college I’ll probably be 62 vs having had a child in my early 20’s when he’d be out of the house before I turned 50.

Oh and one more thing, we have one child. I think we’d both like more. Try convincing a pair of aging, frazzled, tired, full-time employed parents that they have the energy for a second kid.

I really have no idea which is the better option, the vigor of youth or the stability of age? I’m sure there are plenty of studies that show the benefits of both sides.

Maybe this is all in my head. I do tend to fixate on things to the point of paralysis. Maybe I could just relax about it all, be happy for all my blessings, realize it’s just life and you roll the dice with what you have. Geez… I wasn’t such a big worrier back in the day either.

I’d love to hear from others people and see what you have to say about when’s the best age to have children.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Dottie permalink
    July 20, 2011 12:59 PM

    Well I had my babies at 23 or 24. Im glad I had them early
    In life.The answer to your quiestion, guess it depends on the
    Person.Some people arent ready emotionally at that age.I
    wasnt ready financially, but I have no regretts.Love conquers all.If you started late in life, thats ok too.Guess it depends where God wants you 🙂 Thus that expression…”everything for a

    • July 20, 2011 2:14 PM

      It also helps that you were married a lot earlier than me. Had Jennifer and I had a baby right after our wedding, we’d probably have an 11 year old by now.

  2. Jennifer permalink
    July 20, 2011 1:44 PM

    One thing you didn’t mention, was the age in which “we” (you & I) were married. Now I know you (general) don’t “need” to be married to procreate, but “we” couldn’t have had kids in “our” ealy 20s…because “we” didn’t know each other. We married closer to our 30s, so at best case, our son could be turing 11 (married 12 years next month), as opposed to 3.

    • July 20, 2011 2:07 PM

      That’s an excellent point, kiddo. I should have mentioned that. And of course, I had no interest in being a parent at 19 either.

  3. Martha permalink
    July 20, 2011 3:10 PM

    There is no turning back time now. Take what you have and go with it. Everything will work out fine in the end.

    • July 21, 2011 9:53 AM

      Oh yeah, I’m not planning to change anything. Mostly I was wondering aloud for others who were at the stage where they’re considering kids. Francesca was not happy about this article.

  4. Erin hensh permalink
    July 20, 2011 10:29 PM

    I think when God decides it’s time for you to have kids, whether your older or younger, that’s when your blessed with them. With a 10 month old, Michael is 45 and I just turned 30 3 days ago so we’ve got the best of both worlds… And btw… I worry about him, me or Olivia dying all the time!!! I feel like it’s the stuff you don’t expect that blind-sides you but if you prepare/think about those things happening, they won’t happen… Hey I’m Irish and superstitious!

    • July 21, 2011 9:52 AM

      I did consider Michael while I was writing this, he seems pretty happy with how things of gone, and rightfully so. And I do the same thing, if I think it, maybe it won’t happen. Damn superstitiousness.

  5. July 21, 2011 9:50 AM

    One more comment, via Facebook, from the inspiration for this article:

    Hmmm…. the best age to have children. What a ride life takes you on! It truly is a odd feeling to have grown children – both of them out of high school – at the age of 39. Wasn’t that just us?? Pro and cons do exist for both. I envy your stability in your career. That was not possible for me. How could I have graduated college while holding the prestigious position as PTA President in my 20’s – and holding a full time job?? I look at myself now and would never humor the idea of having a baby at this point in my life (not that i wouldn’t embrace it if it happened). I think I was much more patient when I was younger and yes, had much more energy. I think your right – roll the dice. There is no right or wrong time. Everyone’s path is different and you make the best of it. So, here I am today, closing in on 40 and going to college with my kids! I wouldn’t change any of it! I think I’ll change my profile pic to celebrate my son’s graduation! To all those just starting on this adventure of child raising – enjoy and cherish this time as it goes by in the wink of an eye!!!!!

  6. Jimbo permalink
    December 23, 2012 4:49 AM

    You need to start exercising your body and mind!
    Include your son 🙂
    You will turn back the clock if you stick at it.

  7. Sami Russell permalink
    June 5, 2013 10:15 AM

    I stumbled upon this blog by goggling myself “what is the best time to have a child. I am a 39 yr old mom of 6 kids. 22, 16, 11, 10, 5, & 2. I not only started early but also ended late. I sometimes wonder in the hectic hustle of my world “God, what did I get myself into?” Most of my friends from childhood are ending their parenthood. I question which child benefits most. The one who is now grown? or the one who has a much wiser, stable mom? Sometimes I envy those that “get their life back” after years of putting your own wants and needs on hold for the good of your child.

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