Help With Timeline!
Tonight my husband and I will be talking about a timeline for having kids for the first time. We've talked about it a little but last night decided we should reevaluate.
I am so nervous about the chat! We are both young and I know he wants to travel as do I. On the other hand I also know he wants kids very badly! We got married last summer and are coming up on one year here. So of course I want kids very badly. I just don't know what to plan for! Saving for travel or saving for a house to settle down in! I WANT to travel, I WANT to have kids! Just can't have both at the same time! I feel like by the time we save up and travel to a bunch of different places, it will be a good 5 to 8 years down the road. Since we are young that woul be fine and we could totally have kids afterwards. But then It could take years to actually conceive and I just don't think I can wait that long! I'd like to have kids in the next few years! Any ideas of things to being up or discuss with my hubby tonight?!
We put off having kids to finish our education - both my ex and have advanced degrees. I wanted to be financially secure before having children. I had my son at 32 and have never had any regrets about waiting. As you can imagine, most of the people in social circle waited at least until 30 to start having kids. No one I know has any regrets about waiting. (The only ones who couldn't have kids when they wanted were a couple who didn't even get married until their late 30's/early 40's.)
I think the best way to think about this is to consider what kind of parent you want to be. Do you want to be a young parent with alot of energy but not as much financial security? Would you be a parent with regrets if you feel like your sacrificed opportunities because you had children too soon? Do you want to be a more worldly parent with a variety of cultural experiences to share with your kids?
Also consider what your prospects are? Based on your education and occupations, how long will it take you to save money for travel? How long would it take to save for a house? Can you save for both at the same time? What do you want to be able to give your kids - would you want to send them to private schools and have money for expensive after school activities? Would you want to be at home with your kids when young? At what point, would you be able to comfortably do that?
It probably will not take you years to conceive children. If you are young and healthy and have no issues that you are aware of, you will likely conceive quickly. You are reading these forums and there are a disproportionate number of women who have struggled or are struggling w. infertility (defined as failing to conceive after a year of regular unprotected sex.) But keep in mind that only about 10% of couples are infertile. Obviously it is a possibility, but the odds are in your favor. I just would not want anyone to make a decision to have a baby NOW out of fear of not being able to have a baby later.
This might not apply if you live in Boston, or another high cost of living area, but it is possible to save up, buy a house, and then travel. If you do live in a high cost of living area, it may not even make sense to buy a house at all, renting might be better financially.
It is even possible to travel after having children, though its logistically more difficult. People do it, though! People take babies to Europe and toddlers to Asia all of the time. I admire those people from a distance, myself. But all kids are different, and I am sure that some of them travel really well.
Right now, we have a one and a half year old and the only place we really want to travel is to see family so we can have something of a vacation courtesy of helpful baby-hogging grandparents. Some of our friends are getting married in a massive six day Indian-Serbian extravaganza in Serbia this year and as much as we wish we could go, it is just not going to happen. If you have family you are comfortable leaving your children with, you could even travel without kids later on. I mean, probably not a six-month long backpacking tour of Nepal, but maybe a week here or there. And someday your kids will grow up and leave and then you can do whatever. My parents just went to Costa Rica. They zip lined through the rainforest! They are in their sixties! Sixty is the new thirty, I guess.
Travel can be cheap, too. We did more of the cheap variety- backpacking through Europe, camping through National Parks, that kind of thing, The young, dirty, possibly slightly dangerous type. We loved it and we are glad that we did it. Some of this I would do w. kids, maybe once they are out of diapers. But maybe that doesn't interest you and you would prefer luxury cruise liners? Perfect way to travel w. kids. They have whole staffs of people just to help w. kids!
You may also be thinking, but we don't have the money for that! Probably you do not right now, you are young and just starting out. But you will likely have more money later- you will get raises, your husband will get raises, you will maybe invest or something. Just stay out of debt, and you will be fine. Check out some frugality books if you need help w. these things. Don't spend a lot of time worrying about who is right, they all mostly say the same stuff. Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman- whatever. They are all going to say things like track your money, live below your means and don't get into debt. This is the best possible advice, no matter what you end up deciding to do!
Very good points to ponder! I am so torn. On the one hand. Yes we are young. But that doesn't mean we would be bad parents. I think I had the happiest childhood I could ever have asked for. My mom had me when she was twenty. I grew up in a small apartment. When you're a kid you don't know the difference between a mansion and an apartment as long as you are loved! I never went without anything I needed, and usually had most of the things I wanted! I know my husband and I would give our children a happy life no matter what. And yes I'm young but staying home and raising children is something I would love to do. As of now I work as a nanny and I love it! I would love to settle down now. On the other hand. I feel like we are OBLIGATED to travel. Perhaps we would have some regrets if we never did. My mom is just now traveling, because she never got to, having me so young. My concern is not that I think we would never have kids if we waited and traveled. My concern is the waiting period and me getting impatient about it being so long before we can have kids!
Very true. We are just starting out and pretty poor but we have no debt at all! We aren't in over our heads with anything. So I guess that's a start. I just feel like we CAN save money... But not for a house AND travel! Or can we? Who knows. I guess that's something to consider, is working towards both goals at once.
Also, we are DEFINITLEY not cruise people :) we are more into the backpacking, unguided, raw adventure.
First of all, you are not obligated to travel. Traveling doesn't make a person morally superior or anything. It is just something that people enjoy and sometimes feel enriched by.
I agree w. you that if children are able to feel warm, well loved, and well fed, they don't need lots of money. Raising kids in apartments is just fine. Poverty (not that you are really poor, but even actual poverty) doesn't make people bad parents. The thing that it does do is to put a lot of stress on the parents. Babies magnify problems. So if things were tight before and then you have a kid and now things are tighter and you are getting less sleep and you are more stressed out, you are far more likely to argue about money.
It doesn't matter if you have loads of disposable income, as long as you and your husband agree about what you financial goals are and what your finances will be post-babies, it's fine. It is totally possible to live well on less money. We do this. But you need to agree about what that amount of money is and what you are both comfortable with.
When you sit down and have this talk tonight, maybe work out a post-baby budget. There are helpful baby expenses calculators online, I think there is one at BabyCenter. Be realistic. Don't assume that you will suddenly be happy living on dried beans and love, calculate in for the nights that you are both exhausted and end up ordering pizza, too. If you are in the US, include cost of health insurance for maternity coverage and for the baby once he arrives as well.
I get that you are worried about being impatient during the wait. The early twenties are a rough time. You are trying to figure out the direction of your whole life! Just don't make decisions out of fear, or based on what you think you ought to be doing.
I can't help much with timelines. I would have had children younger, but didn't meet the right guy until I was 28, so there was no real option for me to be a 'young mom'. Bear in mind though that timelines change. You may say now that you're okay waiting 5 years, and then find in 2 years that you don't want to wait any more OR you may set a date, get there, and realize you're not ready. That's okay. I think it's good thing that you already realize that it may take time to get pregnant. It's great if it doesn't, but you should never expect that the kids will come right when you're ready, and it's good that you're factoring that into your plans.
I TOTALLY get you on wanting to travel though. I was born with Wanderlust, and have a restless desire to explore and see the world. Some people think that's frivolous or wasteful, but it's just personality. When I was in my 20s, I had second-hand furniture and no car, but I prioritized traveling and I'm glad for it. The thing is, you don't need loads of money to travel, and contrary to popular opinion, you can totally travel with kids. You just need to be wiser about it. A Canadian friend of mine has two young children (2.5 and 7 months). They were living in Scotland for the past two years, and took the kiddos on trips all over Europe. They rented apartments rather than staying in hotels, they took snacks with them instead of doing restaurants, and they made it work.
If you want to to satisfy your travel bug soonish before having kids, collect air miles, watch for airline seat sales, and consider staying in cheaper hotels or even traveling overnight (I used to do this all the time, but now that I'm in my 30s I find it exhausting!), eating at markets or buying supermarket food rather than spending all your meals in restaurants. My dad and his wife keep a jar for their change and small bills, which they use towards their next vacation. I would suggest you prioritize your top travel destinations. You may have a huge list of where you want to go, but which ones would you really be sorry to miss out on, and try to hit those within the next couple of years.
Also, I know you want to travel now, but it's worth remembering that you're young and you hopefully have a long life ahead. Having kids doesn't mean you will never travel again. My mom is in her 60s and probably healthier than most 30-year-olds that I know. Since I've been out of the house, she's gone to Italy, Germany, France, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Finland (I came along for that one), hiking in Northern Carolina, etc. My grandmother took her first trip to England when she was 80 after my grandpa passed away. She said it would probably be her first and last, but then she returned a few years later and took another vacation to Ireland.
Sorry, I kind of wrote a novel here! Can you tell I love to travel? :-P
I am currently 34 and having my first baby so I wanted to chime in. I absolutely made the right decision by waiting until this time in my life and I don't have a single regret. I was able to spend a good deal of time traveling through Europe and the U.S. and I learned more - about the world and myself - than I could have ever imagined. Those experiences will, without a doubt, serve to make me a better parent! Is my energy what it was when I was 24? Of course not - but 34 isn't 84, I'm hardly old and unable to keep up with little ones. I feel that people only get better with age, you become wiser, more patient, more understanding, more a lot of things, that only make it easier to direct another person in life.
None of this is to say that you can't be a good parent at a younger age, that's absolutely not true. I'm speaking about myself and in generalities. But i also want to echo what Tarynkay said above - you have zero reason to assume (at least, none that you've shared here) that you will have ANY trouble conceiving. If you're spending a good bit of time here on these boards, your perspective could definitely be skewed. The vast majority of women easily have babies, within the first year of "trying", even into their late 30's. Unless you've had problems with your cycle already, and a doctor has said hey you may have an issue, you should assume your fertility is totally normal! My husband and I started trying at 32 and we got pregnant the first time in just a few months. Yes, we lost the first one to miscarriage but that was a completely random occurrence. We chose to wait another year after losing the first one, because mentally I needed the time to recover, but we got pregnant again on the second month of trying during the second go-round! And everything has been healthy and on-track so far and I just crossed the first trimester mark this week.
All of this is to say, enjoy your life and especially enjoy your youth! Kids are beautiful, wonderful additions to life - but they always make things more complicated and more difficult. And once you have them, you can't go back. You don't need to save up $10000 before you travel - go on a spontaneous weekend somewhere not too far with your hubby! Don't plan it, just go. Stay in a reasonable hotel. Take a roadtrip! All of these are things that are that much harder to do, and more expensive, once baby is here too.
Again, this is all just my thoughts and my opinions, which is what you asked for. I'm not trying to offend or upset any of the younger moms that are on here, we all have to find our own path and you'll find yours soon! Good luck!
No advice. We waited until our mid-30s before ttc, over 10 years into our relationship. Not because we had any plans or timelines, we just didn't want kids until then. We did do a bit of travelling before kids, bought a house, got our careers established. It worked well for us. We still travel with the kids, but it isn't easy and we don't always get to do the kind of things we want, but it's still enjoyable. I did have some problems ttc, but nothing major and not necessarily connected with my age (first child at 36, last one due this year at 42).
My mum had kids in her early 20s and only really got a chance to go travelling in her late 50s and 60s due to various circumstances. And she's not in such a great physical or financial position to do as much as she would like.
"Traveling" with small children does not equal "travelling" without them. Much like enjoying a nice evening out in a restaurant-- of course, you *can* take small kids, but you'll be worrying about what they can eat off the menu, entertaining them, watching for thrown food, and so forth. Quite a different prospect than hitting a hot new bistro with friends, drinking too much wine, and enjoying four courses late in the evening.
Only you can decide what your priorities are. Personally, I wish I was a man who could have started my family in my 40s, because there are a lot of things I value besides being a mother which necessarily are put on hold, or compromised, with small kids. But speaking candidly, given how extremely excited you are nearly monthly at the thought you might be pregnant.... it sounds like a family is probably a lot more important to you than hypothetical experiences.
I think @tarynkay gave terrific advice. Travelling does not make you some sort of superior person- it is a luxury and should be undertaken only if you really desire it. You absolutely do not need to own a house before having a family. My opinion is that you should be an adult and financially independent in every way before undertaking to create & provide for another little person-- meaning, you should be living independently, paying your own bills, not accumulating debt, and having a savings account with enough socked away to provide for the inevitable surprises and added expenses that come about, especially with children [the average American's saving's rate is less than 1% annually; before the financial crisis it was *negative.* This is bad]. If you're already there, and the desire for motherhood is strong, why wait?