Trying to figure out the right time to have a baby without compromising your career? Well, the reality is – something’s going to have to give and no amount of planning is going to change that. There are advantages and disadvantages to becoming a young parent in the workplace and there are advantages and disadvantages to waiting. So what should you do?
This list is based on my perspective, so it’s up to you how you want to respond to it, but if you’re asking me – here are a number of good reasons to delay having a baby and some good reasons to take the plunge right away.
DELAY: You’re significantly financially constrained. Can you barely make ends meet by yourself or as a couple? Are daily expenses like rent, or even food, a challenge? Babies are expensive, and they only get more expensive as they get older. Set yourself up to as good as a place as you can financially (you certainly don’t have to be rich); the last thing you want to be worrying about when baby arrives is how you’re going to pay for those diapers. However, no one ever feels completely financially ready to add another member to the family, so consider if your financial jitters are just jitters or if you run the risk of insolvency once a baby arrives.
DELAY: You just don’t want to have children. If children aren’t on your “to do” list, now or ever – then by all means delay! If you aren’t interested in having children and you’re sure of that, don’t feel you have to bow to peer pressure or your biological clock.
DELAY: You aren’t eligible for paternal benefits right now, but you will be within one year or so. Sometimes, it may be worth it to delay getting pregnant a few months if it’s the difference of being eligible for paternity leave or not.
DON’T DELAY: Thirty is NOT the new twenty. Don’t believe me? It’s science, according to Meg Jay (psychologist, author and TED talk-er). There are biological risks to waiting, it may not be as easy to get pregnant post 35 as pop culture likes to portray. And do you want to take the chance to be the unlucky one?
DON’T DELAY: You can freeze your eggs now. Can you freeze your age? There is a huge difference between raising a child in your 20s and 30s vs. your 40s and 50s. Having your first baby at 40 means that you’ll be 60 when they are in college. Of course, if this is the case, you can make it work – but if you have a choice not to, you may want to consider having your children while your younger.
DON’T DELAY: It’s not a great time at work to have a baby. Is it ever going to be a good time to have to limit your availability outside of business hours? to increase your demands outside of the workplace? Probably not. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to have a baby, it’s not going to come.
You may be wondering why reasons like “just started a new job”, or “nearing a promotion”, or “don’t feel ready”, are not on either of my lists. They just aren’t good reasons to delay or to have a baby. You’ll always be starting new projects and endeavors at work. Unless your new jobs has put you into a financially constrained position or you’ll have access to parental leave benefits after one year of employment, I would take it off the list. And nearing a promotion? I fully agree that you should be as senior as you possibly can before you have a baby, but I also think that waiting for something that may not be entirely in your control isn’t worth missing out on having a family – if that’s what you really want. By the way, no one ever feels ready. Sometimes you just have to pull of that band-aid and see what happens.
Have Kids, Will Work