Sunday, October 13, 2013

That darn clock setting

This headline caught my attention today:

Nothing in the article was surprising: The more educated (in terms of degree acquisiton) a woman is, the older she tends to be when she has her first child.  This particularly caught me eye:

"Only for mothers with full bachelor's degrees, or more, does 30 signal the start of peak child-bearing years. And only for them has there been a major change in the likelihood of having a first child after the age of 30."

The article did a good job of reporting these statistics without bias for or against a particular maternal age. I think we ladies can agree that we all have plenty of thoughts and feelings on this topic whether or not we are a mother.  And said thoughts and feelings are in a constant state of flux.

For myself, I had the "10 year plan" approach.  College, First Career Job, Marriage, Early Married Years, Babies.  That's how it fell out for me, along with all the unexpected life that comes along with best laid plans.

I barely "beat" the above statistic, having my first child a few months before my 29th birthday.  Like I said, there is nothing truly newsworthy in noting that 30 is this generation's benchmark for family life. What interests me is our generation's priorities. My priorities and the value of motherhood. And setting aside one dream for another.

I've stepped off the career track indefinitely. I wonder if I could step back in and if I'd be viable. I have some fuzzy dreams of growing myself as a writer. But for now, growing my kids' minds and hearts is definitely my aim and big dream. No, not mutually exclusive with a traditional career. But for me, for now, it is.
The one income thing?  Hard.  Stressful.  Don't want to eat Alpo at 75. We're a work-in-progress.

Still,  as I approach that all-too-soon distinction of ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE (buh, buh, BUHHHH), I look back and think I was a bit too concerned about "the checklist".

I remember thinking people who got married before finishing college were a tad bit, um, crazy.  That college degree in hand and mortgage in place before babies came was the responsible thing to do.

And while those are nice things to hold, I can speak for myself that I put security above dreams of motherhood.  I very carefully guarded my desires to be a mom for the first years of our marriage to protect myself in case they wouldn't be fufilled.

That worked out about as well as you'd expect.

I pretty much came to the realization one fateful day that that it was time to start a family, jack.  In a completely adoring way.  (I was a screaming, emotional lunatic.)

Jeremiah was on his way the next month. Never underestimate the power of tears on a husband.  (But seriously, folks.)

All of that to say that it's neat and orderly to map out your life, but it's not always so relevant to actually living it.

It's time to have a child when it's time to have a child: when a husband and wife agree before God to accept and love the child He might give them. (Insert Nike tagline here.)

So I can say to myself at the same time: "What took you so long?" and "35-ish isn't that bad."  I don't know what the future holds and I never did.

That's the thing about becoming a parent.

It changes you.  And your schedule.  That's what makes it an adventure.  It's hard.  Much harder than I imagined or can imagine still. But I believe it's worth taking.

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