Five Reasons To Have Children When You’re Young And Stupid

I was the accidental product of older parents. A bonus child, as it were. By the time I came a long Mom and Dad were as laid back about parenting as they apparently were about birth control.

It's called a condom, you silly beatniks.

It’s called a condom, you silly beatniks.

I probably would’ve taken this fact for granted but my sister, Lori (the closest in age to me with a nine year difference) told me often while making me touch the electric fence as penance.

Behold to the right, the tool of sibling torture: the electric fence!

Behold to the right, the tool of sibling torture: the electric fence.

This generously imparted knowledge left me with a Rainman-like reaction to electrical shock of any kind and the desire to wait until my thirties to have a child. I reasoned that as an older parent I would be able to avoid giving birth to a sociopathic child who enjoyed torturing younger kids and avoid stretch marks in my twenties.

Look, my Mom’s stomach was a road map of maternity and I wanted to spend my twenties in a bikini. Yes, I was shallow. Let’s not judge.

There I am living the dream--the extremely shallow dream.

There I am achieving my goal.

Well as luck would have it (and by “luck” I mean a rampant fear of commitment) I did wait until I was older to have children. Even older than my mom. I had to have special tests for elderly pregnant ladies and everything. Who says I can’t stick to a plan?

No seriously, who says that? It’s not nice to talk about other people behind their backs. I have feelings, you know.

Anyway, I’ve been very happy with my decision for the most part, but last night I was lying in bed after a particularly taxing bout of ineffective parenting and I started thinking about the down sides of my plan. Nothing is perfect. Not even Meryl Streep (but don’t say that out loud in Hollywood).

I'm an acting tour de force and a g.d. American icon, you sniveling fence toucher."

“I’m a g.d. American icon, you sniveling fence-toucher!”

  1. First of all, let’s address the stretch marks issue since it had such an impact on my decision. If you’re going to ask your skin to perform the greatest of all hat tricks and stretch over an additional human, you want to do it while you’re still producing some collagen and your skin has all of its elasticity.  Later on your skin is going to stretch out and then give up, much like my father in front of prime time television. And despite what I thought in my teens, you don’t stop caring about your looks and life in general when you hit 40.
  2. Also, grandparents are more valuable than gold. Aside from being the only people in the world who want to watch your kids without a salary attached, they will also keep your kids supplied in quality socks, underwear and the type of frilly dresses that you would never buy but little girls go ape-sh!t over. You want to get grandparents while they are still alive and young enough to care. Let’s face it, when you’ve gotten to the age where you’re deaf and in a diaper, you don’t get as excited about tiny sticky humans. My kids only have one set of grandparents left and we have a team of doctors forcing them to stay alive. It’s a lot of pressure.
  3. When you’re young you think you know everything. There’s a certain freedom in that. You don’t have to constantly second guess yourself. You are free to blissfully screw up your children with complete confidence. I agonize over screwing up every day, which ironically doesn’t make me screw up any less. It just takes the fun out of it and screwing up should be fun. Like a Van Wilder movie.
  4. Parenting is stressful and it’s hard on a marriage. If you get married and have children young you have the chance of getting through the challenging years and then rekindling your marriage while you and your spouse are still young enough to travel without breaking a hip. Or you can cash it in while you’re still young enough to take an attractive picture for a dating website.
  5. One word: resilience. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m more fragile than I was at 25 when I thought that knees magically went on working forever and at 2:00 a.m. I have a hard time caring about anything other than another four hours of uninterrupted rest. You have to have a fever, the likes of which could start a house fire and make you speak in tongues to rouse my empathy at that hour and even then you’re guaranteed terrible parenting the following day.

So there you have it. Now you can make an informed decision, justify/regret the decision you already made or just pour yourself a cocktail and ignore this post all together. Personally, I recommend the latter. I also recommend Tylenol PM, so that you don’t lie in bed crafting lists like this until all hours of the night. Trust me on this.


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29 thoughts on “Five Reasons To Have Children When You’re Young And Stupid

  1. Courtney says:

    I didn’t digest a single word–my big takeaway was how awesome you looked in your bathing suit. Brava! My bf from high school keeps asking when we can give up and start wearing Eileen Fisher clothes. Not yet, I tell her.

  2. Jessica Bejar says:

    I agree with you! I thought I was leaving the high life in my twenties. Then in my mid thirties I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy!!!! In the middle of all that my parents moved to Texas…..far away from California…then to top it all off I had my other boy!!!! Now I spend money going to yoga so that I can keep the flexibility past my 60s!!!!! Lol totally get what you wrote!!!!

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Love your phrase “road map of maternity”! There are benefits and disadvantages to having kids young and benefits and disadvantages to having them older. I was on the later end, but not too horribly late. Here’s hoping my husband and I are still young enough to travel without breaking a hip when our kids are gone!

  4. Allaire says:

    As you know, I had one of each (early and late prigs). The late one was a piece of cake comparatively. Less stress, more money, better handle on which crisis deserved attention. BTW, have I lost my job in the Grandparent group? Is actually seeing them and buying presents a requirement? Love you.

  5. I just finished rocking my 3 month old to sleep, and I heard my knees click with every movement. Then I read this. Sad but true, my father died 3 days before my son was born. Man I wish I did this a couple of years earlier.

    • I hear you. I’ve never had more questions for my mom and dad as I did right after my daughter was born and unfortunately they weren’t around to ask. Plus my kids will only know three of their grandparents from the stories we tell.

  6. caseyloo says:

    Well, I had mine kind of on the early side. But not as early as some people were betting on! As you know. I can honestly say, I missed the “road map of maternity”, but was maybe short in the patience department. Thus, falling in the blissfully screwing up category. They may not leave injured, but they’ll leave scarred, in the words of my brother. Just hoping I did it in time to hit the rekindle stage with the hubs, cuz a dating website has only brought said brother the crazies! I agree with the grandparents being priceless too. I deeply wish that my girls could have met my father’s parents. They would’ve taught them things I never can. Anyway, I’m rambling. Suffice it to say, parenting has been the greatest accomplishment, fear, frustration and joy. Now….where the hell did I leave my cocktail?!

  7. WSW says:

    Having left it a bit late myself, I can affirm that you are correct. Sadly I must also point out another downside to belated motherhood, namely going through menopause while your teenage daughter careens through puberty. God is not without a very dark sense of humor.

  8. lexiesnana says:

    Had ’em both when younger and not so young.Both was amazing, trouble with it is now I can’t remember which are my kids and which are my grandkids!

  9. I did it both ways. I had my son when I was 22, then my daughter when I was 33. My parenting of each has been Completely different. Both experiences have been wonderful, but now I’m glad that when my son has children I will be a relatively young grandparent. And apparently, he thinks I did something right because he wants to have kids while he’s younger, too — “like I did!”

  10. I love the title of this post so much I was going to comment without even reading the blog, but that’d be rude. Then I was only going to comment on your hot six-pack o’abs but that’d be superficial. Then I was going to comment on your list, but you’ve covered everything already, so that’d be redundant.
    What I’m trying to say is I think you’re pretty much perfect, but not in a creepy way, only in in a girl power way that you can’t fake.

  11. Colleen says:

    If it makes you fell ANY better…..have a kid at 20 does NOT eliminate the stretchmarkabilty of bellies. Only difference is mine are white now…and wrinkly…kinda disgusting! Damn…now I almost which I’d waited…

    Though it does seem weird that I’m enjoying grand-babies while my friends are enjoying children. Oh well… 🙂

  12. It took me many years to figure this out, but when you’re basically an albino, the stretch marks blend right it with all the rest of the pasty whiteness. Hot, I know. I never really had a plan, and as a result started having kids on the early side, 25. That seems to be how it goes though. It’s always those who have no plan who start younger.

    • I make a lot of plans but rarely follow any of them. That one happens to be an exception.
      Geez, at 25 my big event was being old enough to rent a car. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you were a more mature 25 than I was.

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