Back in the old days, people were expected to get married young. Think of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice era. Women were literally brought up and groomed in order to be married off to a suitable family. It was never about love or chemistry; it came down to financial and home stability, family name, and who was a good breeder. Not to mention women got married at such a young age because they didn't live as long as we do today in 2018. But speaking of 2018, times have certainly changed for the better.
While there is definitely a conventional life map of getting married to high school flame, buying a house, then a dog, and finally having a brood of children — there's no law saying we have to do any of that. Many women still feel the pressure to marry and have babies young, but I think that's slowly starting to fade. Women finally have more roles in the workforce and are too busy creating a great career for themselves than worrying about what others think. Once women finally feel like they the stability in their lives to have a marriage or even children, there's nothing stopping them besides some negative judgment from society. Below are 20 people who enter marriage and parenthood later in life, and how it's affected them.
20 Some Older Moms Have Less Patience
There are older parents who say being older gives them more patience while raising a child, but in this instance, this is one momma who thinks she had more patience when she was younger.
"I work with a woman who just got 40, married to a 37-year-old man. They had their baby this year. So far the baby is very healthy, seems to be a lovely child, her parents adore her. This woman says that the main issue older parents have is the lack of patience, younger parents (25-30) have better chances of raising their kids more actively. And if you are 40, you'll have less energy to raise your teen child, since you will be 55-60."
19 ...Then Again, Some Older Moms Are Far More Patient
Just like the first post, not every parent feels like their less patient as an older mom or dad. This mom told Reddit that she found to be more patient as an older momma.
"I actually find that I am much more patient as an older mom. I had my kid when I was 43, my husband was 39. I know that when I was younger I was much more dismissive and irritable about every little thing, I wanted things to be 'perfect' and done the 'right" way,'" she said.
"We're just as active as younger parents, but I do think about what it will be like when the kid is 40 and I'm 83. I think the main issue that I worry about is being an only child, the kid will have to deal with aging parents on her own. Plus there are a lot of maiden aunts with no kids on both sides of the family."
18 Less Anxious
I don't have any kids of my own yet, however, I can totally see me being a less anxious older mother than a younger one. When I was in my late teens/early 20's, I had serious anxiety and was anxious over everything. Now that I am almost 30, my nerves have chilled out tremendously.
"My mom was a lot more sure of herself and less anxious, which I think created a really stable foundation for my youngest brother," one daughter told Reddit. But not all good things come without cons. "However, they had so much less energy, I realized that he would only have an active childhood if one of the kids stepped up. So I would take him to the park, go bike riding, go on hikes, etc. They do try, but it's limiting because of their age. I'm just lucky he had so many siblings that could keep him busy!"
17 More Financially Stable
When you're in your teens and even your 20's, being financially stable enough to raise a child or two is not always in the cards. Most of us now go to college, which means when we graduate, we're in debt and are looking for a job. But when you have a child when you're a little older, being financially stable is more of the norm.
"I had my first child at 31 (first wife) and my second one at 41 (current wife). The change in energy levels is very noticeable. I'm a gym rat and live a healthy lifestyle but it's still there. I'd love to have another kid but I don't want to further the age gap. I'll be 59 when my son graduates from high school. That being said, it's awesome being financially stable and not having to struggle."
16 The Timing Of An Older Pregnancy Worked Out Tremendously
After traveling a lot and partying throughout their 20's and 30's, these parents realized having kids when they were done that phase worked out for the better.
"Socially, we've also seen benefits. We spent our 20's and 30's traveling and vacationing extensively, so it's not like we've missed out on that. And, we're past the age where we go out partying all the time so we have much more stability at home. I can easily see how being older parents could be a problem for many people, but it's been a huge plus for us. But, we are looking forward to the first boy going off to college in less than a year."
15 Health Difficulties
One of the biggest issues with having babies as an older parent are the health issues. There can be many complications — not just with the mom but also with the baby. This is scary enough to hinder any older woman from wanting to try getting pregnant
"Married at 39, kid at 40. Marriage is fine, my 15-year-old son was born with Autism. Some studies indicate Autism could be related to couples having children when they are older. So of course, I wonder."
14 When Your Friends' Kids Are Different Ages
I don't know about you, but when you're in a friend group, you tend to catch whatever fever your friends are into. Once one of our friends got engaged, we all ended up getting engaged within months of each other. I think it sparked something within each relationship. Now that most of us are married, we just had our first baby born in the friend group and I can totally see everyone wanting to now have kids so that all of our kids can grow up together. But what happens when you're the only friend who had a baby late and all your friends' kids are six years older?
"For me, the most challenging thing was not having friends who had kids the same age. Most of my friends had already had kids, or my younger friends weren't ready to have kids. So we were sort of stuck when it came to parties etc. especially when the kid was smaller."
Having a safe and healthy baby in your older years is a time to be thankful. Not only did you defeat the odds but you can now embark on this new, exciting journey as a new parent. It's a time to be appreciative.
"51 here and my daughter (my first child) is 8 years old. So I was 43 at the time. I feel very lucky to have done it so late in life. When our daughter was born my wife took several months off (she works at Costco) and then when she returned to work I took several months off (I work in Silicon Valley). So we had about half a year where we never left her side. I know that could have never happened if I had done this in my 20's."
12 No Pressure!
As aforementioned in the intro of this article, there is no rule saying you have to have children or that you need to have babies to be a valued human being. You do what feels right for you despite what society deems "normal."
"Marriage is one of those things people think they can plan for. You can't plan to fall in love with the 'right' person. 'Oh I'll be married by 25 and have kids by 30 blahblahblah......' Yeah great. So people marry the wrong person just to stick with the expected timeline," one Reddit woman expressed.
"It's too much pressure. There's no 'right' way to go through life, as long as you're not hurting anybody/yourself, you're doing fine, marriage or not, kids or not."
11 Healthier Than Ever
Most people say they were healthier in their younger years, but I don't necessarily think that's true for everyone. When we're in our 20's, we think we know what we're doing and what's healthy, but that's not always true. Just because we might have been more active does not necessarily mean we were healthier.
"I'm certainly in better shape now then I was at 20 — I eat better, exercise more, and we all have fantastic health insurance. I was too busy being drunk and stupid in my 20's to take care of my health."
10 Early Retirement
After getting divorced in her 30's, this woman told Reddit that she came to the conclusion that she probably would never have kids. Then, after a run in with an old flame from high school, she found herself pregnant. Now, as an older mom, she's never been more satisfied with how things happened.
"My son is now 6. Luckily, I was very smart financially and was able to retire early from my job. I get to be the stay at home mom without the stresses younger parents have financially." The only downside to her situation is that she wishes her child could have an older sibling, not only to play with but as support since their parents would be older.
9 Older Parents Can Still Be Active With Their Kids
Many of these entries talk about older parents not being as active as younger, but that doesn't mean they can't bring their children on adventures. One kid told Reddit, "I can't speak from the parent perspective, but my father was 60 years old when I was born, whereas my mother was in her mid 20's (scandalous I know). Obviously due to his age we weren't the typical father/son duo you see in the films, what with wrestling and playing sports and the like. Still, my father made an active effort to take me on hikes through the woods despite his failing knees."
This son also noted that his father encouraged him to be active, exercise, and play with the dog. His father's active stories and imagination also did wonders for him growing up.
8 Kids Can Be Draining To An Older Parent
This is one child who felt like they were draining and annoying to their parents; not because they were intentionally trying, but due to the age difference.
"My father was 50 when I was born and my mum is a decade younger than him, they had my sister is a few years after me. When we were kids, there wasn't a whole lot of running around and activities. We never played any kind of sports with our parents or anything. My dad was 60 and my mum 50 by the time my sister was 8 years old and honestly, they very obviously found us pretty annoying and a big drain on their time and energy."
The saddest part of this story is this person says, "My memories of childhood are of being forever in the way, making too much noise, being too slow, being too forgetful, being too clumsy." So if any parents do have kids when they're older, be sure to recognize that kids will be kids.
7 Some Helpful Advice
This Reddit thread became a great source of comfort (and some discomfort) for many soon-to-be parents or parents who were simply curious if they should try and conceive regardless of their age. One woman explained her gratitude and that she does think it's possible for her to be a great mom, regardless of her age.
"Welp these stories totally affirmed my plans to do this and stayed my worries. It sounds like you're still young enough to play, but old enough to have some major stability and control over your life which I'd imagine is terrific for a kid."
6 With Age Comes Knowledge
Being older means you have more awareness and appreciation for life and its moments. Even though this parent had birth at an older age, they can't imagine doing anything differently.
"Best decision ever, we spend hours and hours just playing with him. I love all the responsibility, the expense, don't mind the gross stuff like diapers, the sapping of my time, tolerated the sleepless nights - though she bore the brunt of it. There has never been a microsecond of regret or doubt. I can't think of a single negative."
5 Modern Family
There are thousands of men and women who are waiting to have children later and later in life. It goes to show that there's more to life than just raising a family and if it's supposed to be — it'll be. Although this child's parents may have been older, they appreciated all the benefits their age came with parenthood.
"I had a very good childhood though and I think my parents being older really shaped who I am today. Because they were older and my dad had an established career, they were very financially ready to have children. I was able to attend nice privates schools and live in a nice house. Before my parents got married, my dad was able to travel the world and went to almost every continent and lived in foreign countries. He wouldn't have been able to do that if he had kids earlier."
4 Interesting View
While many kids and parents have mentioned that having kids later in life allowed them more financial freedom and stability, that can't be said for all parents. Some moms and dads have spent so much of their time saving for retirement, that they don't have much left over for their child's education.
"My dad was 41 and my mom 40 when they had me. I'm currently a senior in high school and looking towards college. One thing having kids later in life caused was my parents are not going to be able to help much with my college tuition and I won't get financial aid. They have money saved up, but they are also only a few years away from retirement and the money they've saved for that factors into whether or not you get financial aid so they have very little money available to spend on me and my brother's education even though it would seem they have enough saved up to practically cover all of our costs."
3 Bringing Joy Back In Their Lives
While aging is natural, many people fear of getting older. And that fear can lead a lot of people feeling negative, scared, and uneasy. But birthing a child in a time that seemed so worrisome could be what was needed to bring joy back into their lives.
"49-year-old here, married for the first time four+ years with a 23-month-old toddler. Call me a late bloomer... So far it has been great. The little doodle has brought great joy into our lives and being married requires maturity that I didn't have as a younger man. I certainly have more patience and insight than I did as a younger man, and I relish the time we get to spend together as a family. I have a vague concern that if/when he graduates from high school I'll be 65 years old, but most folks I mention this to say, no problem, 65 isn't that old. I guess we'll see!"
2 Difference In Lifestyles
There are a lot of people commenting about their lower source of energy as an older parent. But on the contrary, there are many parents who are still just as energized as they were as a kid. It all depends on your lifestyle and your commitment to being an active parent.
"My husband's mother was 40 and his dad, I think, was about 50 when he was born. His dad got sick soon after he was born, but his mom is still healthy and active. He has very fond memories of his childhood and his parents were very creative, involved people. I think it all comes down to how healthy you are and if you take care of yourself. There is a huge difference in a 40-year-old pack-a-day smoker and a 40-year-old marathon runner. My step-father is only 53 and seems frail and sickly compared to my husband's 70-year-old mother."
1 When Your Parents Are The Oldest
When you're a kid, you don't really think about how old your parents, opposed to how old your friends' parents are. But after a few years, it's a random conversation that pops up. And if your parents had you later in life and look like they're older, that can lead on to some ridiculous teasing in the classroom. But it's not something that kids should let affect them.
"I had my eldest six weeks before I turned 41. Her brother and sister arrived before I turned 46. It worked OK for me as the parent and my eldest tells me that apart from a little teasing, it did not affect her. I did not look my age though and wonder if the children helped me there."