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Was Having Kids “Young” a Mistake?

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“Wait… How old are you?” I answer with whatever age I am, and I hear the same thing all the time- “Wow, you had kids young!”

My reaction is always the same- “Yeah…. so?”

My first kid dropped from my lady parts when I was 23. This shocks some people; it definitely shocked my Dad who famously followed his congratulations with “Well, we wish you would have waited.” Thanks, Dad.
It’s a common line of thought that if you have kids when you’re still young (and that perception of youngness differs from person to person), you’ve wasted your youth- your LIFE, even. All that time you could have been out learning who you are, what you want out of life, what direction you want it to go in. That time when you’re still discovering the world and all it has to offer, the FREEDOM- and I spent it having babies. The horror!

“Having kids in your twenties sounds a lot like leaving the party before 10pm.”

Should I have waited until later in life? Do I regret not waiting? Inquiring minds always seem to want to know- and I applaud the inquiring minds. Having children is a BIG decision. It’s one that you make and you can’t take back for the rest of your life. It’s a hell of a lot more permanent than a tattoo. It’s a decision I guess a lot of people think that no one is really “ready” to make until they’re a little older with more experience under their belt. When they’ve weighed the outcomes, the possible consequences, and the financial burden that comes with creating another life and just how much responsibility it is. There are an OVERWHELMING amount of things to think about it when you sit down and try to plan your life plus children.

Of course I thought about the money. I thought about insurance, and whether or not I would be a working mom or a stay at home mom. I thought about health and wellness and doctors and just how much my body would look like a stretched out beachball. I thought about futures with Santa-filled Christmas mornings, and birthday parties with pinatas, and the return of homework via my child. I thought about the fact that I don’t really even like children all that much, and worried that maybe I couldn’t stretch my love far enough to care for someone completely- from head washing to butt wiping. I thought about germs and diapers and baby-proofing and I even thought a little bit about the effect a child would have on my social life. The one thing I DIDN’T think about? My age.

When it comes down to it- parenthood isn’t about being “ready”- Oh lord, that’s hysterical! You’re NEVER ready. It’s not about being too young or too old or how many books you’ve read or how many countries you’ve traveled to.

So what do I think? Did I waste my youth? Was I TOO YOUNG when I started having kids? Are YOU?

I think that if YOU think having children is a waste of your youth… well, you’ve already answered the question for me.

Posted on December 10, 2014 by Holdin' Holden 25 Comments
Holdin' Holden

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25 Comments

  • I had 4 kids aged between newborn an 5 at 25. I copped a lot from a lot of people… Friends who thought it was funny, and arsehole strangers who assumed I was a feral only in it for the money from the government ( I’m still not sure what money they mean.. single parent of 4 getting barely enough to pay for rent, food, bills…) Yet I wouldn’t change a thing. We might not have much, I may not have partied through my late teens and twenties, but we’re all happy and I can relate to my kids in a whole different way than I’d be able to if I was an older mama. Plus, if I happen to decide that I suddenly WANT to go out partying (not my bag of frogs, never has been), then when I turn 40 my eldest will be 20, my youngest 15. I’ll still be young enough to have fun, and they’ll be old enough that I can leave them for a night out 🙂

    • Zobo you said everything !!! Loved it !
      Life starts at 40,! 🙂

      • Thanks mama! It’s true, I’m 30 next month, my youngest will be 5 soon, my eldest is 10 next week.. I’m on the home stretch now, past babies and sleepless nights, a bit more time to myself, and I’ve still got enough energy to keep up with them all.. I can’t imagine having to try and do the newborn thing now, or in another 5 or 10 years. When I got pregnant with my eldest at 19 i got told I couldn’t be a good mum, I was too young. Now those same people tell me what a great job I’ve done, raising froglets that are smart, happy, and we’ll mannered. Babies young might not be Ruhr for everyone, but it was the best decision I ever made

  • I had my first at 23 and my second at 25. I wouldn’t call it a waste of my youth. I have grown up with them a lot though. Sometimes I wish I would of waited til I was older but then I remember I would be so much more tired if they were babies and I was 30.

  • I had my first at 20, the second at 28, and-by some big oopsie- expecting a third at 29. My more judgemental relatives looked down on me at first but my kids ended up being such a joy to everyone in the family that they didn’t stay all shitty and judgemental for long. It’s s personal preference. Lots of leaving the party at ten pm? Hell yes, but I didn’t really care to do that crap anyway. I can enjoy my kids and put them to bed and watch my shows or read a smutty book over a glass of wine at home while the hubs plays xbox. And I love it.

  • I had my children at 20 and 23. Now that I am 55 and my husband of 37 years is 56, we are enjoying ourselves immensely on the “other end” of the spectrum. We have 3 grandchildren and remark on how glad we are that we had ours young and had a lot more energy!

  • I had my first child 3 weeks before I turned 21 and my third child was born just weeks after my 26th birthday. People thought I was crazy. Now at 41 with 3 teenagers, 1 in college and 2 finishing up high school, people are starting to see the wisdom in my decision. My opinion is have kids when you are young and broke, they only want pb&js anyway. I have more time to focus on my career now, even after being a SAHM/homeschooling Mom for the last 19 years. As my kids grew I was able to volunteer more, get out more… I am so glad that I didn’t wait. I will be 43 when my baby graduates and I will have the rest of my life to do all of the things I always wanted to do, with much more confidence and experience than trying to do it in my 20s then having to push the pause button.

  • I had all 3 of my kids by the time i was 21. I’m glad I did!! I’m almost 38 and i had all the energy I needed to keep up with them, and my youngest is almost 17. So by the time I’m a grandma…guess what…I will still be young and energetic enough to keep up with my grandchildren too!! That’s what life is all about!! I really don’t think there is a right or wrong age…what ever works for you!! 🙂

  • I do not judge you at all for having your children at a younger age. I was 33, only two month shy of 34, when my first was born. Then 36 when I had my second. I find I am one of the “older” moms a lot of the time. Many of my friends started a lot sooner than I did, and they now have kids starting (and some finishing) high school, while my oldest is in first grade, lol. Many times I wish I had been younger when I had mine, but it did not work out that way. I did not spend my twenties partying either – it just wasn’t my thing. I think it does not matter how old you are, as long as you love your children and take care of them to the very best of your ability. And just for the record, I do not think 23 is too young to have a child :).

  • I had my son at 18. Definitely wasn’t planned that way. I graduated still near the top of my class and maybe I did miss out on a few things, like going away to college, discovering myself, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Ok, maybe a bottle of wine sometimes. I kid! I have a great kid and I’m not sure I would have the same great teenager had it happened later. Who knows. But my youth wasn’t wasted. I had to grow up quicker than my peers but I think that’s a positive for me. Now my friends are mostly just starting to have kids and I have a great one to take on adventures with me who’s independent.

  • I’m on the opposite side of it, I had my kids at 33 & 35.
    I look at my sister who seems to have more energy and function better on less sleep. Hubby and I were settled in and it felt as though out wield was not only turned on its head from the babes, but because we were already set on our path.
    I think we would have benefited by doing it younger, but I think it depends on the family and I don’t know that I would trade in my time with hubby before kids.

  • I had my first at 22 and while I know being older would have given me the chance to be more finically prepared we have a great life and I have not had to work since my oldest was born. Now I am a SAHM homeschooling my 8,5 and 2 year olds at just 30 and we have loads of fun family time.

  • I had my first child at 23 and I don’t think that it was too young considering that the people in my family were having kids at 17 and 19 years old. I waited the longest out of my mother’s 5 kids. My first child was at 23, my second at 27 and my third at 31. Not too young at all. I want to be about to run around and play with my kids, not break my hip like Barbara Bush did sled riding with her kids. I’m just now starting to feel decrepit as I near 40. I good though because I can still move around and play with my 6 and 9 year old’s. My oldest is a teenager now and doesn’t really play anymore. So I only have 2 little ones to keep up with now. What’s young for having children for one may be different for someone else.

  • I had my first two at age 17 and 18, my third at 22…I’m glad I did cause honestly I never could have kept up with them if I was older. I have a great relationship with my daughter who is now 16 even though she drives me insane with soooo much drama (was I ever that bad???), and my boys are a handful but at least I can still keep up without feeling like an old fart (they love that I love video games as much as they do lol). All I can say is have kids when you have them. There is no right age, they will all cause grey hairs and ulcers anyways. BTW your kids are adorable! Don’t ya hate when they use it to their advantage hehehe.

  • I don’t think you were ‘too young’. I had my first baby by 24 and second baby at 28 :P. I was very much over the whole ‘club twenty scene’ when I moved up to a military base to be with my husband. Yes sometimes my kids can drive me up the damn wall, but I love them. I wouldn’t trade having them at the age that I did. I think anyone that says ” oh you were too young” needs to Shut their damn mouth.

  • For me having children was a decision I made with my heart, not my head. There is always a reason to wait if you look for it, “we need more money” or whatever, I was 27 with my first and now at 38, I still have some girlfriends who aren’t ready, to me that doesn’t matter, do what is right for you, I did, my friends are, and we are all happy with where we are at.

  • I think more people need to mind their own business. My husband & I decided to have a family “young”. I was 23, DH 26, when we had our first. Our second was just over 2 years later. Then we stopped having kids with no regrets. Do you want a big family? Great! Do you not know if you’ll have any at all? No worries! Everyone is different, no one does everything the same. What works for some, will never work for all.

  • Don’t worry if you wait too long then people would have started asking you things like, “don’t you think it’s about time to get started?” “How long are you going to wait?” “You’re not getting any younger” . As long as you are happy with your decision then screw them and remind them that you’ll be young enough to remember their names by the time they graduate high school!

  • I’m 26, and want to be done having kids by 30. I have no children currently. Panic!

    My main motivation in having kids “young” (which is less young than you’re young) is because I was an accident baby to parents in their late 30s to early 40s, and now I’m in my mid 20s with parents messing around dangerously close to their 70s!!

    At the same time, I totally respect women who have children in their later years, for whatever reasons. My sister and brother were both in their 30s before they had children, and a woman I work with had her daughter when she was 40. Everyone has their own reasons for spawning (or not) youths when/if they do, and we’d all be a lot better off if people would just chill out about it. 🙂

    • it was always my plan to be done having children by thirty, as well. My mother was thirty when I was born and she had a lot of health issues, so she was not a very active parent. I did not want to be like her in that regard. I had my sons at 22, 23, 24, 27, and 29. I’m now 30 and would be done even if I had never set that deadline for myself. I would not mind having more children, I love my boys with all of my heart, but my body just cannot handle any more pregnancies. I had my Fallopian tubes removed after the birth of my now nine-month-old.

  • Why wait until your non child habits have formed. Why be the old parent at high school graduation. I have a 6 and 10 year old. I know very well that the energy and stamina it has taken to parent over the past 10 years and the fact that it continues for at least another 12 is something I would not have if I had a baby now. And I’ll be able to run and play with my grandkids, be like my grandpa who had 23 great grandkids when he passed. Why wait? What are you going to wait for. Statistics show that now that women are older having kids there are more health issues for mom and child. Our eggs go bad over time. We only get so many. But in all honesty you do it when you want to. When it’s right for you and the father only. No one has the right to tell anyone different. As long as you raise happy healthy kids what does it matter. That being said go’s bless those of you who are my age younger or older having babies. Just do right by them.

  • I had my first at 19 and my youngest at 27. I wouldn’t go back and wait for anything. When my youngest is 18, I’ll be 45. I will have time to enjoy my grandchildren, if my kiddies bless me with some. I will still be able to enjoy life. Unless tragedy strikes, I will dance at my children’s weddings. My youngest’s father was 46 when we had Peanut. He probably won’t have all of the time I will with him. I was blessed to have my children young. I can relate to them, and I usually understand their homework since it wasn’t so long ago that I was in school.

  • I had my oldest daughter just after I turned 24 and my youngest at 27. I don’t feel like I messed anything up. I have plenty of energy to keep up with them and be an active, attentive parent. We have tons of fun together and when they’re old enough to function on their own, I’ll still be young enough to enjoy my freedom! Plus, I’ll have a live-in DD in 11 years!

  • I had my first at 20, and my second 11 months later. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m now 54. They’re successful businessmen & good humans. I guess u did something right.