with Talyaa Liera
I'm Talyaa, the poster child for the concept that there's no one right way to be a parent. I went from stay-at-home attachment-parenting mom of four to being the non-custodial parent, working as a professional writer and channel-psychic. Let's talk about throwing away the parenting manual and exploding the myths and mystique of motherhood!
Check out my personal blog at Juxtapositioning.
I’m the first to admit that I had no long-range plan in mind when deciding to have my four (FOUR!) children. Not that any of them appeared in a basket on my doorstep overnight, so there was some planning involved, but it never occurred to me to sit myself down at 18 or so and think about the next 30 years of my life in terms of when best to have kids, especially when I was having trouble deciding between majoring in Biology (doctor!) or Theater Arts (waitress!).
I may be alone in this un-planning. It turns out that quite a few people put a lot of thought into when they fit Having Kids into the messy, complicated other life-bits like Work, Relationships, and Family.
According to what I gleaned from this Motherlode post over at the New York Times, there are two schools of thought:
1. Have ‘em in your twenties. You’re younger, faster, and funner. Because on the 30th birthday, the human body turns overnight into a crabby old man yelling “Get off my lawn!” And because if you go this route, by the time you’re in your 40’s (the new 20), you can ditch the kids and have a life. So what if you didn’t climb the career ladder and make CEO by 30.
2. Wait until your mid-thirties. You’re older, wiser, and less prone to fall for standard kid attempts to 1) weasel out of something, or 2) form an unholy attachment to your pocketbook. Plus, presumably, by this time you have the money for ballet lessons, Wii, and college tuition. By this time, you need a rest from work anyway. And you wanted to change careers, right? Golden opportunity.
(I subscribed to neither school and had my first at 20 and my fourth at 40. I’m still standing and able to form short sentences. Go me.)
But what about you? Oh, before we get there, how about this stunning news: now we’re linking prevalence of autism to parent’s ages at conception. Um. Fabulous.
And I know first-hand about age-related statistical risks of genetic anomalies like Down syndrome. (My #4. I was 40.) However I also know that Down syndrome and other “defects” (ugh, that word) are common for parents of all ages. Let’s not argue statistics, but are figures like that enough to make you change your mind about waiting to have kids?
For a long time I was by far the youngest mom among my older daughter’s circle. I knew that by the time I was 38 she’d likely be off to college and I’d have a different life. I was just as happy, though, to remarry and eventually have three (THREE!) more children, but all that seemed a left turn from the path I had thought I was heading down. Pregnancy at 40 is a lot different from pregnancy at 20, and my relationship with my younger kids is different from that with my older. But is either path actually better?
Before I just throw my hands up in the air and suggest we all just forget having kids entirely because this whole thing is just too much to think about on the heels of Snowcapolypse and because my eyes have been blinded by the sight of flaming Olympic ice penises (opening ceremonies, oh my), may I politely suggest the following?
1. Have your kids whenever you want.
2. No two families are the same.
3. It’s none of my beeswax what you choose.
#3 notwithstanding, I have insatiable curiosity. Did you plan your kids years in advance? Did you go route #1 (20’s) or route #2 (30-something-plus)? Was the risk of genetic “defect” (that word again! stab a pencil in my eye!) an issue in your planning? Or did your kids appear overnight in a basket on your doorstep?
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