Is There a Such Thing as the "Right" Time to Start a Family?
I used to think to myself, “Before I have kids I want to be married, have a degree, be a homeowner…” The list went on and on with the many requirements that must be met before I would start my family. Mind you I was fresh, young, and experience, single, and EXTREMELY naïve when these ideals took root. As the years progress life happened and those requirements became more and more like conditional compromises. Like so many young women I was working hard and hoping that my fairy tale life would just kind of manifest itself on its own between trips to the gym and filing my taxes lol.
Fast forward to my dirty 30s and I'm still working on my post divorce credit ( yes you read that right post divorce, so much for fairytales ), renting a house, plus still 30 credits shy of my 2nd degree. Between Student loan payments, life expenses, attempting a social life, and the unexpected , honestly feel like I can barely afford myself let alone a kid. I’m sleep deprived, over worked, my edges are fighting to stay alive and I haven’t eaten a balanced breakfast in years and that's WITHOUT a child!
So to the point of the original question: Is there a “right” way to start a family? I throw my head back and laugh.
Now I have friends who had kids young and single who laugh about how their kids will be grown and self reliant while those who waited will still be changing diapers in their thirties and forties. I also know 30 somethings who are married and waited to have kids because they wanted to enjoy being married first , and even those who took the traditional route and followed the nursery rhyme of ,” 1st came love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage,” which is what I always said I would do after watching the single mothers in my life do it alone. But with my love life as a divorcee being a rollercoaster I even found myself considering being a single parent by choice because I didn't want to be an “old mom” just because I didn't see love on the horizon.
Then like a ray of sunshine entered my current boyfriend, saying all the right things and treating me like gold and I thought this is it!
I am going to get my fence, 2 car garage, ring, and jogging stroller FINALLY!!! Then he dropped the bomb , he isn't ready for kids he’s too young!!!
WTF!!! Too young? The world screeched to a halt and I felt like my eggs turned to powder in an instant lol. He wanted to wait and have fun, travel, and be selfish and I thought he was nuts!!
I am already ancient by baby making standards! (Or so I thought.)
Then we started to live, and grow and change and I realized maybe I wanted all those things too. Head spinning, I felt like I was entering the Twilight Zone barely recognizing myself or this crazy idea of waiting to be a mother. Was waiting the wrong way? Was being selfish with my time and wanting to actually pursue my original goals bad? I sought answers in the mothers I know including my own and they all held stories of how they started siting regrets, successes, and dreams with the general consensus being there is NO right way to start a family! I was blown away!
While some leaned on religion as the template for courting , marriage, then babies, others said it they are glad they didn't wait for a ring to signal the “time” to start. The biggest idea being that the choice to become a parent is as individual as our ear prints, (I watch a lot of SVU and ears are more specific than fingerprints lol) , making this question I wrecked my brain with, made life choices based on, prayed over, and fought with significant others about a completely irrelevant issue because the answer was SEEK SELF!
Only I could determine when the right time and the right way was and it was just that simple. I think as a young woman this idea that I need to be “wife” material, maintain a certain image and look so that someone worthwhile will want to marry me, be successful, and pop out a baby all before the, ”You don't want kids?” questions starts to chip away at my confidence and sanity has caused me to put an extreme amount of pressure on myself and my ovaries that really wasn't even necessary. I miscarried and got divorced and thought it was a failure as a woman but that thinking was problematic because it was assigning my worth to my ability to be chosen and to produce a child when there isn't anything further from the truth. I let society tell me what makes me valuable instead of looking to myself for the answer and after the wisdom imparted on me by the many great ladies around me I looked in the mirror and said , “ Girl breath.”
Bottom line is that the only right way to start a family in my humble 30 year old opinion is your way. Times change, people change, growth occurs common values and traditions evolve and at this point I may have a baby with a man I'm not married to but love , I may have a baby while still finding my passion and perfect home, or I may do exactly as previously planned and wait, date, marry, then carry lol but either way it will be on my own terms and in my own time because that's the only right way to do it…