For the past decade or so, a new trend within the Mommy Wars has begun to brew: the best age to raise kids. Twenty or 30 years ago, having a baby in your late 30s or early 40s was uncommon and “frowned upon.” Today, however, having a baby later in life is the new black; in fact, government research shows that the first-birth rate for women over the age of 40 continues to grow, while, at the same time, it continues to fall for those under the age of 30. Despite the statistics, is there really a “best age” for having a kid? If 40 truly is the new 20, how does the age at which you become a parent affect your child?
1. Wisdom and Life Experience
A later-in-life parent has about 10 to 20 more years of life experience under her belt than her younger counterparts--and with experience comes wisdom. As such, older parents may feel more emotionally ready to have children because they’ve already gotten their ya-yas out and are ready to focus on having a family. This, of course, isn’t to say that younger parents aren’t wise or won’t make good choices for their children. The point is that as your little munchkin grows into his scary teenage years, older parents might be able to respond to life’s inevitable challenges with more awareness.
2. Energy and Stamina
One advantage that young parents have over older parents: energy. Many older parents complain that they don’t have the get-up-and-go that they once did, where a 20-something parent’s energy level won’t wane as fast. In other words, older moms will feel the effects of that 20th game of ring-around-the-rosy a lot faster than their younger peers. But hey, isn’t that what caffeine is for?
3. Financial Security
Kids are expensive. Kids also like stuff. And many parents like to buy stuff for their kids. Parents who have children later in life tend to have more money because they’ve been working a lot longer. While a 25-year-old might be just beginning her career, a 35- or 40-year-old is more likely to have established a career--and the Benjamins that come with it. Money can’t buy love, but it sure does make it easier to pay for new experiences or special goodies for your wee one.
It’s easy for the parents of young children to get frazzled, because a toddler’s brain processes its own logic: Of course those peanut butter crackers belong in the heating vent; otherwise, why would the slats be that big? Of course I cannot leave the house unless I’m wearing my Halloween costume, even though it’s December. Older parents report that they have more patience and “go-with-the-flowability” than they did during their younger years, which means that they’re raising their children in a more relaxed environment and don’t sweat the small stuff as much as they did 10, 15 or 20 years ago.
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