22 or 28, work or not? What matters?

By now we've all heard that society is fighting biology. The prime child-bearing age for women is around 22 years old. Women are waiting until their mid to late thirties to start families but not without cost. It is harder to get pregnant and miscarriages and birth defects are higher. Do we sacrifice the health of our children and ourselves by waiting for the right time?

College, career, travel and financial stability are all prerequisites to motherhood. I was 28 when I had Caroline and was the first of my friends to become a parent. My mother was 22 when she had my brother. I can't even imagine what life as a mother and wife would have been like for me when I was 22. Actually, I had to live at home for 3 months when I was that age in order to get my life together, apply to graduate school and save money enough to put a deposit down for an apartment and buy a car.

Women in their thirties are also choosing to stay home with their children. With a degree, if not two, under their belts and five to ten years of work experience, women feel confident they can check out of the workforce and someday pick up right where they left off. Sometimes, staying at home is financially driven, more more often than not, it is a decision of the heart. Sacrificing years of academic and professional success and maybe health insurance and retirement to care for your children. Is it really even a sacrifice?

To stay at home or work. It is a choice but not a sacrifice. Yes, I'd miss the excitement of the work environment, of meeting goals and receiving a paycheck. Wearing normal clothes and putting an effort into my hair style. Showering and leaving the house. Interacting with adults. No, I wouldn't miss feeling underpaid and unable to manage all of my responsibilities. I wouldn't miss paying for gas or Anne Taylor suits.

Then again, I am usually more tired on Sunday night than Friday night. And nobody at work throws stuff at me. Or head butts me when they are angry at me. And if someone at work drops food on the floor, I do not have to clean it up. When that happens, maybe I'll reconsider my decision.


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