Having children rather early: better able to conciliate couple life and family life?


#1

Hi there.

Well, after nearly 2 years of marriage, DH and I are currently discerning TTC.
Or rather : suddenly after our return from Compostela, I've been hit hard by an eeeevil BabyBug, so I'm currently in the process of convincing poor DH that now is a good time to start having children. :D

So, and while thinking this over, one of DH's concern is that it will affect our lives terribly and we won't be able to do anything of what we currently do (museums, theater, opera, travelling) as a couple, and which are his main Language of Love.
I've been able to dissipate lots of his fears about that, and to reassure him that I was fully aware how important being able to have quality, cultural time with me was to him and to our couple, and that there would be many ways in which we would be able to ensure we had these things.:)

Yet talking with a few colleagues of mine + reading on CAF (such threads as mkipp's How did you maintain husband and wife relationship while being new parents? ) made me wonder : from what I have heard, it seems there would be a close relationship between the age at which you get your children and your actual ability to do couple things while being a parent. Meaning: being young helped the young parents to conciliate, let's say, a sleepless night with a movie night on the next day, or they would have more energy to just take the baby with them and go to walking, visiting museums, travelling. Whereas "elder" parents were more tired and had more difficulties to cope with the adjustments needed from them as new parents while keeping couple time.

So, this thread is purely informative : I would be interested to know to what extent your experience may or may not corroborate this theory. (fyi: we're both 23)

(I love the way CAF always provides one with so many different experiences. One can see how God is at work in each of your stories !)


#2

Well, we're sort of a mixed bag since my husband and I are 10 years apart...

I was married at age 22, and had our first child at age 24 (day after our 2nd anniversary)... and even at my "young and spry" age - it's tough, I'm not gonna lie... but my DH (despite his "advanced age") was really the one that PUSHED me out of my exhaustion to get out and still LIVE regardless of the fact that we're toting a pile of kids along!

So that that extent... no, I don't think age makes a huge difference (since my "older" husband was the one pushing us to GET OUT and still LIVE)... but simply, pure motivation.

Frankly, you just have to DO it! Sometimes it gets complicated and challenging to go on vacation and travel and see the historical sites and museums with a busy brood... but it's certainly not impossible! You just have to have the motivation! :)

It sounds to me like your husband is a lot like mine... who loves to get out and travel and see the world... so, as long as he maintains that proactive motivation into parenthood - it'll work out just fine!

Certainly don't let that be something that will hold you back from having children! After a while, it gets kind of lonely doing all that traveling and such with just 2! ;)


#3

let me introduce you to the fascinating world of babysitters. how many parents do you know, actually? surely all of them cannot be tied at home 24/7 and utterly devoid of any cultural life and have not ceased conjugal relations entirely.


#4

I can absolutely see your logic. My Dad was nearing 40 when I was born, at the end of the line in terms of my siblings. Being in his forties and fifties as I grew up, I missed out on a lot that my older siblings got to do with Dad because Dad wasn't as young as he was with them. Not to say that older parents don't spend plenty of time with their kids and whatnot, but being younger when your children are younger (younger for parents, not TOO young!) would let you do a lot more with your kids, I'd think.


#5

I think you need to think about what kind of parents you want to be.

My husband and I love kids. Our daughter is our world. We do everything as a family. We are so smitten that we just don't want to lose a moment. We have never used a babysitter and don't plan to. Has it changed us? Yes, but we wanted the change. Not everyone is as close knit as we are, but IMHO it isn't good to just leave your kids regularly. So if you don't think you'll be ok taking them along from time to time maybe it's not the right time. I know it sounds easy to just leave your kids home but it's much harder when they are so little and you are their world. That said the baby years fly by so it's not a forever kind of change.


#6

I have three children - my first at 23, my second at 25 and my third at 32. Trust me you have much more energy for young children in your 20's rather than your 30's or 40's.
We took our children everywhere - we never went on vacation without them. My theory was you owe it to your children to raise socially acceptable, polite children - once you have done that you can take them anywhere.:)


#7

[quote="FFTeacher58, post:6, topic:194902"]
I have three children - my first at 23, my second at 25 and my third at 32. Trust me you have much more energy for young children in your 20's rather than your 30's or 40's.
We took our children everywhere - we never went on vacation without them. My theory was you owe it to your children to raise socially acceptable, polite children - once you have done that you can take them anywhere.:)

[/quote]

I went with my mom to her Master's taxation classes (SO not allowed now) when I was 4-5 years old and couldn't get a baby-sitter. And I just sat there and read my book, colored, or just listened. When you raise a child right, they are portable.

Now if only my nephews and nieces acted that way, they could come visit Aunt CountrySinger more often. :D


#8

My answer is always different, but we’ve been down the hard path in having children. Namely in not being able to have them at all due to infertility.

So my answer is always the same. Don’t delay having children. You don’t even know until you try if you’ll have even one child. If you try and you realize your healthy and fertile, THEN reaccess the situation prayerfully, generously, and better yet with the help of a good priest. :slight_smile:


#9

[quote="FrenchGwen, post:1, topic:194902"]
Hi there.

Well, after nearly 2 years of marriage, DH and I are currently discerning TTC.
Or rather : suddenly after our return from Compostela, I've been hit hard by an eeeevil BabyBug, so I'm currently in the process of convincing poor DH that now is a good time to start having children. :D

So, and while thinking this over, one of DH's concern is that it will affect our lives terribly and we won't be able to do anything of what we currently do (museums, theater, opera, travelling) as a couple, and which are his main Language of Love.
I've been able to dissipate lots of his fears about that, and to reassure him that I was fully aware how important being able to have quality, cultural time with me was to him and to our couple, and that there would be many ways in which we would be able to ensure we had these things.:)

Yet talking with a few colleagues of mine + reading on CAF (such threads as mkipp's How did you maintain husband and wife relationship while being new parents? ) made me wonder : from what I have heard, it seems there would be a close relationship between the age at which you get your children and your actual ability to do couple things while being a parent. Meaning: being young helped the young parents to conciliate, let's say, a sleepless night with a movie night on the next day, or they would have more energy to just take the baby with them and go to walking, visiting museums, travelling. Whereas "elder" parents were more tired and had more difficulties to cope with the adjustments needed from them as new parents while keeping couple time.

So, this thread is purely informative : I would be interested to know to what extent your experience may or may not corroborate this theory. (fyi: we're both 23)

(I love the way CAF always provides one with so many different experiences. One can see how God is at work in each of your stories !)

[/quote]

I had many babies when I was young....between the ages of 22 and 33. I think it is better to have babies young. If you're in good health, you do have more energy. I do have to say that having several pregnancies within short periods of time, at times, made me more tired than I felt when I had a m/c and then a baby at 38. So have them while you're young,if you are so blessed. Once you get older,there are more risks and it can be harder to conceive for many women.

As far as the things you like to do, one child doesn't impact very much. imo
You can find quality mother's helpers,baby sitters, or nannies that will stay with your baby so you can enjoy recreation as a couple. When I was young, I would often have the sitter watch my child right there at the venue (wedding, movie, theater, etc) That way,if baby needed to nurse, I was available. As an older mom, well, the kids are older too now, so I have more helping hands with our preschooler.

I can't speak for traveling, because we didn't do much of that. It was more like road trips to visit family with family outings with the kids.

Culture is important to us too. While we go out as a couple, we also enjoy taking the children to age appropriate events at the theater, museum, etc So we get our fill there.

Like with anything in life, there has to be balance. If we are creative as parents, we have a lot of fun. Children don't have to be a prison sentence.


#10

I went with my mom to her Master's taxation classes (SO not allowed now) when I was 4-5 years old and couldn't get a baby-sitter. And I just sat there and read my book, colored, or just listened. When you raise a child right, they are portable.

Now if only my nephews and nieces acted that way, they could come visit Aunt CountrySinger more often.

Ack! Not to derail the thread too much, but please don't say things like this until you are a parent yourself. And preferrably not even then. Children have different personalities and temperaments and their ability to sit still for long periods of time often is not dependent on bad (or good) parenting. Not to mention that taking more than one child along to something like that is a different dynamic entirely.

Reliable babysitters, grandparents, mother's helpers- all are key. I've had kids in my mid-twenties through the present (pushing 40) and can honestly say I don't have any less energy now than I did then. If anything, I'm more laid back and flexible about things because I don't fret about all the details like I did when I was a new mom. For example, I used to really stress about the baby having a bad night of sleep: is this the start of a pattern? will she do it every night? is it because we spent too long at the park this afternoon? what will her naps be like now? what if I get pregnant soon and she's still waking up every hour and I'm so exhausted I go into preterm labor? Now I realize everything's mutable, life is short, and I'm more likely to roll with it.


#11

I don't know the answer to your question. I was 28 when I had my first child, but I was well prepared to trade in my life of traveling, theater, museums, nightlife, etc, for quiet evenings at home with my hubby renting movies while the kids sleep. We get a babysitter 1-2 times a month, but its more so that we can attend CORE meetings (a marriage group for couples who attended Retrouvaille) and occaisionally some event like a fancy fundraiser.

Even though I found a lot of joy in traveling, theater, nightlife, etc. life is also fulfilling taking the kids to parks for family picnics, going to country fairs to show them animals, and Heryshey Chocolate World. Life does not become boring with children, you just do different types of activities and find joy in seeng their expression when they see a real cow for the first time or go down a windy slide at the playground.


#12

[quote="prolifewife, post:8, topic:194902"]
My
So my answer is always the same. Don't delay having children. You don't even know until you try if you'll have even one child. If you try and you realize your healthy and fertile, THEN reaccess the situation prayerfully, generously, and better yet with the help of a good priest.

[/quote]

this is excellent advice


#13

[quote="FrenchGwen, post:1, topic:194902"]
Hi there.

Well, after nearly 2 years of marriage, DH and I are currently discerning TTC.
Or rather : suddenly after our return from Compostela, I've been hit hard by an eeeevil BabyBug, so I'm currently in the process of convincing poor DH that now is a good time to start having children. :D

So, and while thinking this over, one of DH's concern is that it will affect our lives terribly and we won't be able to do anything of what we currently do (museums, theater, opera, travelling) as a couple, and which are his main Language of Love.
I've been able to dissipate lots of his fears about that, and to reassure him that I was fully aware how important being able to have quality, cultural time with me was to him and to our couple, and that there would be many ways in which we would be able to ensure we had these things.:)

Yet talking with a few colleagues of mine + reading on CAF (such threads as mkipp's How did you maintain husband and wife relationship while being new parents? ) made me wonder : from what I have heard, it seems there would be a close relationship between the age at which you get your children and your actual ability to do couple things while being a parent. Meaning: being young helped the young parents to conciliate, let's say, a sleepless night with a movie night on the next day, or they would have more energy to just take the baby with them and go to walking, visiting museums, travelling. Whereas "elder" parents were more tired and had more difficulties to cope with the adjustments needed from them as new parents while keeping couple time.

So, this thread is purely informative : I would be interested to know to what extent your experience may or may not corroborate this theory. (fyi: we're both 23)

(I love the way CAF always provides one with so many different experiences. One can see how God is at work in each of your stories !)

[/quote]

Well, I was 37, 40 and 43 when my kids were born. Now in my mid 50's, we need to consider college, retirement, tired and sore bodies, and potential loss of jobs at an age where employment is difficult.

Now, I know others that are less than 50 and have the kids either married off and out of college. They are free to focus on the future (and grandchildren).

Certainly it would seem to be the way to go. However, there are also those that have kids early and late. I will wag my finger and say, trading off children for "fun" or a boat isn't a proper parenting attitude. The CCC clearly states that we be prudent in our decisions to have children. And we should not focus on our own desires but those of God. Good luck with the discernment.

Been married 21 years. Children can take all your time. If you let them. Absolutely the worse thing you can do is let your children come between you and your spouse. As, sadly, many couples do. You can have 10 kids and it not be a problem if you don't let it. Or you can have one and it can still be a problem. It's the couple, not the kids that can cause the problem.


#14

Thanks to you all for your feedback ! It’s really interesting to have a look at your experiences. As for our TTC discernment, it’s going its own way, we’ll see where this leads us, but anyway, even if we didn’t decide on TTC right away, there’s no way we would wait till we’re 30 to get at it.

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:2, topic:194902"]
I was married at age 22, and had our first child at age 24 (day after our 2nd anniversary)... and even at my "young and spry" age - it's tough, I'm not gonna lie... but my DH (despite his "advanced age") was really the one that PUSHED me out of my exhaustion to get out and still LIVE regardless of the fact that we're toting a pile of kids along!

So that that extent... no, I don't think age makes a huge difference (since my "older" husband was the one pushing us to GET OUT and still LIVE)... but simply, pure motivation.

Frankly, you just have to DO it! Sometimes it gets complicated and challenging to go on vacation and travel and see the historical sites and museums with a busy brood... but it's certainly not impossible! You just have to have the motivation! :)

It sounds to me like your husband is a lot like mine... who loves to get out and travel and see the world... so, as long as he maintains that proactive motivation into parenthood - it'll work out just fine!

Certainly don't let that be something that will hold you back from having children! After a while, it gets kind of lonely doing all that traveling and such with just 2! ;)

[/quote]

Yes, Em, thanks for your feedback, indeed it seems like both our husbands are quite alike. And indeed motivation is a key factor here, so I did my best to reassure him I was motivated and we would manage.
And I’m sooo with you on the “After a while, it gets kind of lonely doing all that traveling and such with just 2” thing, that’s exactly what hit me after we went back from Compostela: I feel we have had our share of “just the 2 of us doing stuff everyday”, and that it would be great to mix a third party (and then a fourth, a fifth,…) into it. DH still feels perfectly ok with the “just the 2 of us” thing, and didn’t expect me to suddenly feel differently about it, so… let’s see if he comes around.

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:194902"]
let me introduce you to the fascinating world of babysitters. how many parents do you know, actually? surely all of them cannot be tied at home 24/7 and utterly devoid of any cultural life and have not ceased conjugal relations entirely.

[/quote]

I’m totally with you on that !!! I know some people can’t separate from their children, but I / We already agree that we won’t refrain from using babysitters. I don’t have any problem with that since I was one, yearlong, myself.
But well, babysitters can only do so much: there are no use if we want to go travelling around, and I would much rather just take the baby with us for our routine Sunday-afternoon 2 hours in the Louvre.

[quote="MamaJewel, post:9, topic:194902"]
Culture is important to us too. While we go out as a couple, we also enjoy taking the children to age appropriate events at the theater, museum, etc So we get our fill there.

Like with anything in life, there has to be balance. If we are creative as parents, we have a lot of fun. Children don't have to be a prison sentence.

[/quote]

Yeah, I’m totally with you on that. DH definitely wants to share culture with our kids, too ! And I’m in the process of persuading him having the first one now won’t be a prison sentence.

[quote="smallcat, post:10, topic:194902"]
Reliable babysitters, grandparents, mother's helpers- all are key. I've had kids in my mid-twenties through the present (pushing 40) and can honestly say I don't have any less energy now than I did then. If anything, I'm more laid back and flexible about things because I don't fret about all the details like I did when I was a new mom. For example, I used to really stress about the baby having a bad night of sleep: is this the start of a pattern? will she do it every night? is it because we spent too long at the park this afternoon? what will her naps be like now? what if I get pregnant soon and she's still waking up every hour and I'm so exhausted I go into preterm labor? Now I realize everything's mutable, life is short, and I'm more likely to roll with it.

[/quote]

Yes, you’re right. Babysitters, definitely. Grandparents, probably less in our everyday life since they’re living several hours away from us (and we don’t plan on moving nearer to them. I stick by my mother’s motto : “the best for a healthy relationship with in-laws are 500 km between you and them”). I have no idea what we can expect from DH’s parents (his mother was not very maternal to her own kids, so no idea whether or not she will be happy to look after her grandchildren), but my mother has already stated she would enable my siblings and I to endow them with our children one whole week every year so that we’d be able to simply get away (as I’ve got 6 siblings, this means that ultimately my parents will have 7 full weeks of taking care of little children a year)

As to the laid back issue, well, of course I know this may very well change once I will be confronted to the situation for real, but I think I won’t be the anxious-type of mother. I’m not anxious at all in my everyday life, and I’ve got sufficient experience as a babysitter with children of all ages at the same time (used to care for a family of 7 in my last high school / first university year).


#15

Well, I suppose I would be ready, clearly, and would be more than happy with quiet evenings anyway (for example we’ve just started assembling a 1000piece jigsaw puzzle and I love it !), but it’s just that DH functions differently. To him culture is really vital, it took me some time after our marriage to really accept that this was an essential part of him, that his main way of feeling loved was theatre, opera, museums and travelling, but now I’ve got it. And I want to make sure he still gets enough afterwards.

I’m ok with you on that one. It’s not really the “fun” which is important here. It’s more that one of my main mission as a wife being “be the best proof of God’s existence and Love to my DH”, I want to make my best to be able to make him feel he’s loved.:slight_smile:

Totally with you on that point !

So, keep the stories going !:slight_smile:


#16

[quote="shondrea, post:4, topic:194902"]
I can absolutely see your logic. My Dad was nearing 40 when I was born, at the end of the line in terms of my siblings. Being in his forties and fifties as I grew up, I missed out on a lot that my older siblings got to do with Dad because Dad wasn't as young as he was with them. Not to say that older parents don't spend plenty of time with their kids and whatnot, but being younger when your children are younger (younger for parents, not TOO young!) would let you do a lot more with your kids, I'd think.

[/quote]

My parents were in their 40's when I was born. We traveled -Disneyworld/ Disneyland, went to Europe, even went camping and slept in tents (which I can't do now without waking up aching -and I'm 38). It really varies depending on people and how well they age. I think we kept our parents young. My parents took my daughter on a road trip for 10 days when she was a very energetic 3 year old and they were close to 70 at the time. :shrug:


#17

That being said (about my parents) I wouldn't wait. Personally I don't think parents would have either if it was up them. They didn't marry until they were close to 30 and then later found out my dad couldn't have kids -my sister and I were adopted.


#18

you are really only as old as your youngest child, as in, you are contemporary of the parents of his friends and school-mates. So you may be 50 chronologically but only 30 compared to them. somehow this gives you the energy to do scouts, coach sports, be a room mother and so forth.


#19

I had my kids at 22,24,26,28. I’m gonna be 30 in a few months my DH is 38. I think having kids at a younger age was awsome. I look at it this way by the time my yougest is 18 I’ll only be 46. I personally think its better. Babysitters are a wonderful thing.


#20

well I loved having my DS young (I was 22) but I don’t really have any basis for comparison. I will say that it hasn’t totally dried up my life in any way. In fact having DS is so much more fulfilling than anything else I’ve done. If you have a fairly calm newborn you can take them just about anywhere. They nurse and sleep and need the occaisional diaper change but that’s about it. We took him to dinner, we took him travelling to relatives, we took him anywhere and everywhere. Once DS was nearing a year old DH and I would each indulge in a weekend away every few months. I go and stay with my sister and have a blast! I’ve made so many great friends through having him. And I think DH and I have grown closer for being parents. We’ve definitely grown up a lot.
Sure we don’t get out much in the evenings anymore. DH and I never really had the funds for cultural endevours or travelling in the first place so we don’t miss that. But yes there are frustrating times and it does change your life in a huge way. I think it would be best to have your DH totally on board because there is a ton of sacrifice involved. But you get so much in return!:wink:


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