When It Comes to Having Kids, the Only Timeline That Matters Is Yours

having kids should be on your timeline 2021

Having children is an important decision. You could say it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make in your life. Kids will take up a lot of your time, energy, and money. You want to make sure you’re really ready before having kids.

In this day and age, people don’t rush childbearing as much as they did in the past. They take their time to make sure they’re accomplishing their goals before committing to having a family. Here are some reasons why people hold off on starting a family, and why you should feel perfectly fine waiting:

1. Pressure

If you’re in your mid-20s or older, you’re probably constantly being asked, “When are you having kids?” Don’t let this question bother you. Even if your friends are on their second child, that doesn’t mean you have to be. No one responds well to social pressure, so don’t feel like you have to when it comes to having kids.

Instead of adopting someone else’s timeline or expectations, follow your own. This could mean waiting until you find the right partner. Maybe it means you wait until you reach a personal health or career goal. Whatever the reason, you can ignore the pressure and stay on birth control until you’re ready to have kids. No matter what social pressure you feel, remember that you’re the boss of your reproductive decisions.

2. Finances

One reason people are waiting to have children is because of the cost. It’s no secret having kids is expensive. Not only do doctor bills during pregnancy add up, but so can baby accessories, schooling, furniture, toys, etc. According to research, it costs about $233,000 on average to raise a child until they reach the age of 17. Many parents help their kids financially well past that age.

Keep in mind, there are ways to cut these expenses. For example, you could buy clothes second-hand and enroll your kids in public school instead of private. But no matter how frugal you are, you’ll end up spending a great deal of money on your children. That’s just the way it is. This is why having kids later on in life when you’re more financially stable is such a good idea.

3. Life Experience

You don’t have a baby and then automatically become wiser. It takes life experience to learn more about yourself and other people. You have to tackle challenges, experience new things, and you have to fail a lot. This takes time. The more life experience you have, the more mature you’ll be. Plus it will make you better equipped to raise a child.

For this reason, many people wait to have kids until they get more life experience. They may move to a new town, travel, switch jobs, start their own business, etc. They do things that’ll teach them something they can then pass down to their children.

4. Career

Where are you in your career? If you’re unsure whether your job is your calling, put your energy into finding the right path before starting a family.

The longer you work in your chosen field, the more you’ll grow. And with that growth comes flexibility, like being able to leave work early or taking PTO. These are perks you’ll want to have when raising children. So take the time you need to establish your career.

The opposite is also true. If you have your career all figured out, you might be in a great position to start a family. What matters is stability. Make sure you have your ducks in a row — especially with your career — before getting pregnant.

5. Nonnegotiable Goals

Everyone has goals, and we’re not suggesting you can’t achieve those goals with a child. However, it’ll be more difficult. Not only do children impact your wallet, but they also impact your free time.

If your goal is to spend a year backpacking in Europe, you should probably do that prior to having children. If you want to get a degree, party every weekend, or travel on a whim, waiting to have kids is a great choice. And no, this doesn’t make you selfish. It makes you smart to know you’re not quite ready to give your full attention to a child. There’s nothing wrong with that.

6. Relationship Status

If you’re unmarried, you’ve probably been asked (more than once), when you plan on walking down the aisle. Chances are you get this question, even more, when you’re dating someone. Right? Don’t pay it any mind. While there was once a time when people married early and immediately had babies, that timeline has changed in recent years.

In the United States, the average age of newlyweds is increasing. People aren’t rushing anymore. Instead, they are taking their time to ensure they’re with the right person before they start a family. And because people are getting married later in life, it makes sense they’re also having kids later on in life.

7. Emotional Readiness

Waiting to have kids until you’re ready means you won’t ever resent becoming a parent. That’s not to say there won’t be difficult and trying times when you might daydream of a life pre-baby. But you’ll have peace of mind knowing you followed your own timeline.

Instead of missing out, you’ll have had time to take risks, travel, and follow your dreams. And if you don’t, you’ll know it wasn’t because you had a baby.

Becoming a parent is a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. Unfortunately, we live in a society where people form an opinion about you if you don’t have children. While there’s nothing wrong with getting married and having a baby in your mid-20s, that’s not everyone’s journey. If you’re not ready for kids, don’t worry about it. That just means you have a different timeline, and that’s perfectly fine.