This original article was first published here: Embracing the Benefits of Having Kids Young – A Menopausal Perspective
Let me paint you a vivid picture of my mornings. I’m a sprightly 52-year-old woman currently in the throes of menopause. Picture this: I wake up, and before I’ve even had my first cup of coffee, I find myself yelling, screaming, and having outrageous outbursts. Why, you ask? Because someone dared to make my coffee wrong, it’s as if I’ve turned into the She-Hulk, fiercely guarding my caffeine standards.
Now, I must confess, I’m in a constant battle of apologies to all members of my family. My swearing and outbursts have become as predictable as the sunrise. To add a delicious layer of chaos to this caffeine-fueled drama, I have two teenage daughters. One is deep into her GCSE studies, while the other faces the unique challenges of learning difficulties. We all work from home, which means that one seemingly innocent incident, like deciding what to have for breakfast, can quickly escalate into a scene reminiscent of Neo desperately trying to escape the Matrix’s phone booth.
So, what’s the twist in my tale? It all boils down to the fact that I chose to have my children in my late thirties, and that decision has, in a sense, turned me into a female biological time bomb.
I’ve found myself navigating the treacherous waters of teenagers, puberty, and menopause simultaneously, and let me tell you, it’s like starring in my very own version of “Fight Club” on a daily basis. The unwitting victim in this melee is my dear husband, who also works from home and wakes up to what can only be described as a full-fledged verbal cage match.
All this drama just because the milk ran out.
Now, you might wonder why I’m dwelling on my life choices, but there’s a method to my madness. I want to take a moment to compare my situation with that of my young niece, who boldly decided to embark on the journey of motherhood at the tender age of 17. Her kids will be all grown up and out of the house by the time she turns 40, leaving her with an abundance of energy to pursue her dreams and aspirations. It’s her youth that’s allowed her to breeze through the turbulent seas of motherhood with three teenagers in tow, all while she’s still in her thirties.
In contrast, most of my friends who are in their fifties have seen their children leave the nest long ago, leaving them with the quiet echoes of empty rooms and the vague scent of nostalgia. So, as I navigate the maze of menopause, I find myself reflecting on the benefits of having kids young, and why it might be a path worth considering.
Energy to Spare
First and foremost, there’s the undeniable advantage of having energy to spare when you have kids young. Youth is a formidable ally when it comes to keeping up with the boundless energy of toddlers and the endless curiosity of teenagers. My niece can effortlessly keep up with her kids, running after them in the park, playing their favorite games, and being an active participant in their lives.
In my case, I often find myself yearning for a nap by the time my daughters are ready to embark on their afternoon adventures. The daily juggling act of work, hormones, and teenage dramas can leave me feeling drained. So, if you’re still in your twenties or early thirties and contemplating starting a family, consider the boundless well of energy you’ll have at your disposal to chase after your little ones.
The Joy of Growing Up Together
One of the most beautiful aspects of having kids young is the opportunity to grow up together. When you start your family at a younger age, you and your children share more of life’s milestones. You’re still in the prime of your life when your kids are exploring the world, and you can actively participate in their experiences.
My niece and her children have a unique bond. They not only see her as a mother but also as a friend and a confidante. They can relate to her on a level that’s sometimes challenging for parents who have a significant age gap with their kids. Watching them bond and create lasting memories together is truly heartwarming.
Pursuing Dreams Without Delay
Having kids young also allows you to pursue your dreams and career aspirations without the constraints of age-related responsibilities. My niece is a shining example of this. She’s managed to balance motherhood with her career goals and personal dreams seamlessly. Her youth provides her with the flexibility to explore various opportunities without feeling like she’s racing against the clock.
In contrast, many of my friends who had kids later in life had to put some of their ambitions on hold or adapt to a slower pace to accommodate the demands of parenting. So, if you’re eager to chase your dreams and seize every opportunity that comes your way, starting a family at a younger age could be your golden ticket.
The Fountain of Patience
Another delightful advantage of being a young parent is the fountain of patience that often accompanies youth. Parenting is a relentless journey filled with challenges and surprises, and having the patience to weather the storms is a valuable asset. Younger parents tend to have a more resilient spirit, which allows them to handle the ups and downs of parenting with a certain grace.
I envy my niece’s ability to stay calm when faced with teenage tantrums or toddler meltdowns. She seems to have an endless reservoir of patience, which makes the parenting journey smoother and more enjoyable. Meanwhile, I sometimes find myself counting to ten (or a hundred) before I respond to a particularly infuriating teenage eye roll.
Keeping Up with Trends
Let’s not forget the importance of staying in the loop with the latest trends and technologies. Young parents often find it easier to relate to their children’s interests and navigate the ever-evolving world of social media and technology. My niece effortlessly embraces new apps, memes, and trends, which helps her connect with her teenagers on a different level.
As for me, I occasionally feel like I need a crash course in teenage lingo and internet slang just to decipher what my daughters are saying. It’s a constant battle to bridge the generation gap and stay relevant in their lives. So, if you’re someone who values staying current and engaged with the world your children are growing up in, starting your family young can be advantageous.
My teenage girls keep looking at my social media and sharing with their teenage friends, having a good laugh and saying it’s cringe-worthy. Somewhat out of date with the way I video.
More Time for Grandparenting
Now, I know what you might be thinking. “But what about the joys of grandparenting?” Well, here’s the icing on the cake – when you have kids young, you have the potential to enjoy a longer, more active role as a grandparent.
My niece will likely become a grandmother in her fifties or sixties, and she’ll have the health and vitality to be an active and involved grandparent. She’ll have the energy to play with her grandkids, take them on adventures, and create cherished memories together. On the other hand, I’ll be in my seventies by the time my daughters have kids, and while I’m determined to be a lively grandmother, I can’t deny that age might present some challenges.
At least by then I will be escorted in my vintage Rolls Royce.
The Wisdom of Hindsight
While there are undeniable benefits to having kids young, it’s also essential to acknowledge the wisdom that comes with age. As a more mature parent, you bring a wealth of life experiences and lessons to your children’s upbringing. Your ability to provide guidance and support based on the wisdom
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