We asked seven working moms to give us the pros and cons of having children at different ages and stages of career.
Stephanie J. Wong, PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Became a mom at 27
“The optimal time would be if you feel you are in a stable stage in your career and life. I was pregnant with my first child during residency, which was when I was working full-time and studying for my national licensing exam. She was born premature. While there are no definite reasons why a baby is born premature, stress did not likely help the pregnancy. My second was born when I had already secured a full-time job and health insurance from year-to-year. I also had the flexibility to pump milk at more convenient times. Among my friends, my husband and I had children relatively "young (27/28 years-old)." I don't regret it, but there are differences having children when you are searching for employment vs. having a stable job.”
Licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of The Peaceful Sleeper
Became a mom at 26
“I’m 32 and have three kids (6, 4 and 1.5) and a baby on the way. But I’ve still managed to start and grow two six-figure businesses and am in the process of starting a non-profit.For me the perfect time to have children was after graduate school and a little bit of work experience. I had gained some necessary job experience and had worked into a position where I could springboard into my own business and have the flexibility I wanted, as an entrepreneur, to be mostly at home with my kids. I’d love to answer more questions if you have them!”
Founder of Young Fun Mom
Became a mom at 19
"While the feminist in me wants to say ANYTIME you WANT is a good time to have kids, the realist knows there’s a delicate balance to having kids and a career. The best time, in my experience, is when you are comfortable enough to live without income for, AT MINIMUM, 4 months. I had a child years and years before I was financially stable and it was rough! I then had a child when I was in a situation that I could afford to stop working for six months and it was such a better experience. Not everyone will have this opportunity, but if you can wait, do it!"
Became a mom at 40
"I became a mama later than most of my friends and colleagues. I work with kids and love them, but didn’t want to start a family until I found the perfect life partner. I met my now-husband at 36, we married at 38, and it took us two years to get pregnant. It definitely took longer because of our age, but now I have my perfect family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way."
Profession: Certified PediatricSleep Sense™ Consultant
Became a mom at 26
“My husband and I are both business owners and we had our 1st child during the same year that each of us launched our separate businesses. It was a scary time for our finances, because a new baby brought additional costs and our businesses continually needed investment. However that saying that "every baby comes with a loaf of bread under its arm" rang so true. We received an unimaginable amount of gifts for our baby from strangers to family members that really carried us through that year. Additionally, I matured as a person and entrepreneur immensely, because it became so clear to me how all of our decisions had consequences that could positively or negatively affect my little family.
As a result, my husband and I learned how to make good use of our time, be prudent with our finances, and take care of ourselves so that we could take care of our baby. I also learned that I could not "do it all" as a mom. As my business grew, I put my daughter in day-care and found that childcare support was an important factor in making my business a success and giving me time to take care of myself as a mom. We have found that the greatest hardship came with the greatest joy as well. Our daughter is such a gift and we hope to have more children soon, no matter what challenges we face with our businesses. My baby really brought out the best in me.”
Founder and CEO, Mom Beach
Became a mom at 32
"I had my first child in my early 30s. By then, I was established in my career and could afford to have a child. Several women these days are having children in their 30s as well. I can't think of any cons to having my beautiful boy when I was 32. Pros are that I can afford to care for him, put money away for his 529 college fund, and have more time to spend with him."
Became a mom at 30