What’s the perfect age to have kids?

With the carouselers getting older before settling down and marriage statistics showing that men and women are waiting to get married at an older age (if at all), it is no wonder that the age when they start having kids is also getting later and later.  Third Millennial Men did this great post: Ageing and don’t wait to have kids .

It seems a trend in the Sphere to recommend that you have kids when you hit your 30’s. That’s fine, but be aware that there are issues of having kids too late. Quality of sperm decreases for one, and here’s another that I’d never thought of until I read it here. You want to be able to spend good, healthy years with your kids if you want them, which I certainly do!

So it does come down to when is the best time to have kids and still feel fulfilled as a person, like you aren’t missing out on your “best years” by taking care of little rugrats.  Obviously it’s going to vary from person to person and couple to couple.  The length of relationship and age when you finally settle down into that structure also plays a large part.  Holly and I met in college, I think we were both 22.  We got to spend almost 7 years together just her and I before we started our family.  She was insistent that we try and have a baby before she was 30.  This amount of time was spent pursuing fitness goals (Ironman, bike racing, running races), traveling a bit and partying a bit and generally being selfish.  We wanted some sort of financial stability as well, which wasn’t afforded us at a younger age.  All in all, 29 years old seemed like a good age to do it.  By the time the kids are “grown up” we’ll be about 50 years old and still young enough to do some more cool stuff without them.

One of my old bosses didn’t adopt his first kid until he was in his early 40’s and my current boss had his first when he was 32 (after biking around the world with his wife) and his last when he was 43.  The difference is my current boss lives like a mid-20’s guy and is super fit, super active and does tons of stuff with his youngest while my old boss was set in his ways (didn’t get married until late 30’s) and kids were somewhat a burden to his lifestyle.  That’s really the crux of the situation though isn’t it? The longer you live life as a non-parent, the more set in your ways you get and the more they’ll likely disrupt the little world you’ve built.

Bottom line is, if you are comfortable with your relationship and don’t have any burning desire to climb Mt. Killamanjaro, I’d encourage people that want to kids to have them earlier rather than later.  To some extent, the closer you are in age to your kids, the more you’ll have in common with them too.  The friends I’ve had whose parents had them as teenagers or early 20’s seem to have really close relationships with their parents vs. those that had older parents.  Having kids tires you out and when you’re younger you typically have more energy to deal with all their shenanigans.  Plus, the younger you have them, the more time you have to spend with them in your lifetime.  While children are only young for what seems like a blink of an eye, having your adult children around for a longer part of your life has to be rewarding if you’ve got a good relationship with them.

So what do you think is the perfect age to have children?  Do you wish you started earlier or later?  My final answer is between 25-30, though obviously different strokes for different folks (and we had ours when we were 29 and 31, so obviously my perspective is biased).  There isn’t much at this stage of my life that I can’t accomplish or go after because I’ve had children.  They get to be part of the process and are along for the ride.

12 responses to “What’s the perfect age to have kids?

  1. Our method was “Age we want to be done with kids – 18 = year to have kids” lol. Around 27 I said “ok, if we want them out by the time we’re 50, we should get started…

  2. My wife and I just turned 40, and we have a 4 month old. There’s a reason you’re supposed to have kids in your 20s… at 40 you’re too damn tired to deal with an infant!

  3. This is a tough one…my husband and I met in college also. We were married in our early 20s and had kid 1 in late 20s, kid 2 at 30 and kid 3 in early 30s. I wanted to be done before I was 35…partly because of high risk pregnancies and partly because I wanted to be in my 50s when my little birdies left the nest. My husband and I want to travel together.
    They say marriages last longer when you marry closer to 30+, but I have friends that married then and immediately started their families and had no time to grow as a couple. Don’t get me wrong kids are wonderful, but they do put a strain on the relationship especially when they are young. My husband is a couple of years older than me and just wanted at least one before he was 30. So, I guess I agree that late 20s seems to be the best, but I think that what is more important is your maturity, your strength as a couple, and both of you having the desire to have or be ready for children…I guess that can be different for everyone.

    • Seems really similar to us. We had a chance to be without kids for awhile, and finally the kids are more self-sufficient in the back half of our 30’s and we’re growing closer than ever as a couple and family.

  4. I just had to weigh in on the subject since I have once been the “young mommy” and now I’m the “old mommy” (although I don’t really look my age yet).
    I had my first child out of wedlock, and I had just turned 20. I had only been out of High School 2 years. Wow, that really changed me.
    Then I did find someone wonderful, and got married. He adopted my daughter and we had one together at 28 – PERFECT AGE I am think now… because, we are going to be turning 38 soon and I JUST had little twin boys about 11 weeks ago.
    Holy cow, there really is a difference when you age and 10 years makes it!

    So, we are now dealing with a 16 year old girl (driving, boys, high school sports and all) and a 10 year old, and now 11 week old babies!

    Can you say tired? YES! – But as far as fitness and goals and such, I feel like I’m still there, like I was in my 30s, I just require more sleep now maybe.
    We also take our kids everywhere and expect them to just adapt, so we don’t really let them limit us in our activities.

    We still hike and bike ride, I still enjoy rollerblading and Ice Skating, we just have to make time and make it work with kiddos…

    Now, getting them ALL out of the house and on their own will be another thing completely. Here’s to one in college in just 1.5 years! YIKES!

    • Sounds like quite the challenge! We’re rarely without our kids and they’ve grown a lot because of the adventures we go on (Camping, hockey games, hiking a national trail, hay rides, etc.) Interesting to see you’ve been at both ends of the spectrum, more wisdom than most!

  5. My husband and I got married in our early twenties and our first was born a month after our first anniversary. For us this was perfect; we are each in our later forties now and all of our children are adults. We have a great relationship with them all, they talk to us about everything and their friends all think they have the coolest parents around. We are still young enough to enjoy life and as we are getting more fit and healthy are enjoying it even more. The plus is that we enjoy it with our adult children and their friends/SO. If I had to do all over again I’d do it the same way. The other nice thing is that when the grandchildren begin to come along we still have enough stamina to keep up with them to a degree then we can hand them back to their parents before we need to catch our breath. lol

    • Totally forgot about the grandchildren! Yes, to be healthy and able to help really helps the parents (your kids) plus creates a lasting bond with your grandkids. We’re in the same boat (though behind you by a dozen years) and hope to find the joys that you guys have.

  6. My personal numbers are 22 and 34. My wife and I were 21 and 24, respectively, when our first kid was born. Just worked out that way. I still plan on climbing Kilimanjaro one day.

    Also this, for your amusement. I thought of it when I read your ages.

  7. I had my first at 23 (actually ALMOST 24) BUT we got married when I was 20. That was young for marriage but surprisingly ppl piled on the pressure to have kids. When I was just engaged, everyone told me I was “too young”- then like right after marriage, it was all “why don’t you have kids!?!” ugh! Very ironic too because we got engaged after dating 2yrs and were engaged 18mo- we knew each other longer than some of the idiots giving us “advice” had known their spouses:/ Still kind of feels like we missed out on some things and I really never got in the job market after graduating college but so far things have worked out.
    Being a young mom was annoying because most other moms are more established so there’s an socio-economical disparity and they can also be overly eager to give advice (seriously had one B who had her first a few months before mine and was constantly “telling me how it is” wtf?). However I just had my second- over 3yrs later, and am more middle of the pack in age which is nice. The financial hit is also a lot less because I was very conscientious in buying for my first to get items that could be handed down. I think along with age of parents, spacing of children is also huge point. I think I would have gone insane if I did the dumb “two under two” thing. My toddler is so much more sufficient now than even a year ago. If you have time on your side, have kids somewhat sooner than later (though honeymoon babies seem ill advised- have some time to be a couple) and then spread them out a bit. We’re probably going to try for a third right around/before I’m 30 but we’ll see. Thinking we might stop there but who knows.

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