I grew up in an area where it was quite common to get married at a fairly young age. A lot of my school friends were married off by their early 20s. Some were clearly quite happy with their lot in life, but a fair few looked a bit miserable. They married the wrong person too young and realised they were trapped.
To me, getting married in your early 20s (or younger!) is risky. You are settling down with someone before you have had a chance to enjoy being single. You are also missing out on some important personal development. This is why I decided not to get married until I was 30. I spent my 20s learning, working in jobs I loved, indulging in my hobbies and having a pretty decent social life.
I was 31 when I met my wife, a year later we were married, a year after the the monkey was born.
I have often wondered how being a parent in your 30s differs from being a parent in your 20s.
Before I continue, let me detail some facts about how having children will affect your life…
- Your social life will take a hit. Even if you have access to an endless supply of babysitters you will find yourself not going out as much as you did before you had children.
- You will be more tired. Looking after children, even just one, drains your energy. After you put the kids to bed you’ll find yourself less willing to engage in hobbies and more likely to pig out in front of the telly.
- Your disposable income will suddenly decrease. Children are expensive when they are born, they get even more expensive as they get older.
- You become more concerned with the future. You will want to save for your children and make sacrifices to your lifestyle to accommodate this. You will also care more about your financial stability and job security.
With that out of the way, lets analyse things.
If you have children in your early 20s you are effectively stopping the development of your social life. You are giving it up before you have had a chance to fully enjoy and appreciate it. In other words, you won’t miss it that much. Us 30-something parents see it the other way. We have had longer to develop our social lives and it hits us harder when we have to curtail our social activities to become parents. Younger parents are less anxious about losing their social life, but we have learned more and had better life experiences to influence how we teach our children.
Us 30-somethings have much more responsibilities than younger people. We tend to be in jobs that require more of our abilities and with it a greater fear of being let go and not being able to provide for the future. This can have a big impact on our home life. Younger people naturally worry less about such matters so they tend to be more ‘sprightly’ and have a much more optimistic viewpoint on life. It’s true what they say, you do get more cynical as you get older.
If us older parents are in better jobs (in theory), then we should have more income. But we also have mortgages, pension plans and lord knows what else to pay for. Younger people worry less about their long term finances.
Also, as we get older we think more about the future. You become aware of your own mortality and start to think about providing for the future. If you have children you think about this even more. But as you may have guessed, use older parents think more about that younger parents.
So do us 30-somethings we make better parents than people in their 20s? It’s hard to say. Young parents have more energy and worry less, older parents have more learned more to pass on to their children but that comes with added worry and and obsession with being responsible. We also tend to be less rash and make better decisions. When we settle down we try harder to make sure the person we are settling down with is truly the right one.
On balance I think I made the right decision to wait till I was 30 before settling down and having kids. I know it is harder considering we worry more and aren’t as fit as we used to be. But I have so many good life experiences that I feel I know more and that help me to be a better father.
What do you think?
Some similar posts that you might like:
Got an opinion on this posting? Please feel free to leave a comment and below and continue the debate.