Take your time.
These are the three words I would like to repeat to women, especially young women who have a lot of life to live, but feel pressured by society to rush into marriage and have kids.
This thought crossed my mind recently as I watched a rerun of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and Kylie asked Caitlyn when was the right age to have children. Caitlyn suggested 30, but Kylie believed that she should add motherhood to her résumé by the age of 25.
Because “30 is too late."
I could have easily said Kylie was trippin', but I have numerous girlfriends who too feel like after 25, the odds of finding someone who is both compatible and wants children is low, and by 30? Forget about it.
It's fascinating to me, someone who had two children back to back at 22 and 23, respectively. In my last year of my twenties, I reflect what I've accomplished over the course of a decade and while I will never regret having my children, I firmly believe that my life would have taken a different route that would've pushed me further along had I not had children so young. I know most of you believe early twenties is better than being an adolescent or having children in your 40s where your pregnancy will be considered high-risk, but here's what I believe;
The world doesn't stop when you have children, but realistically speaking, a lot of things can be put on hold if you don't have the resources or support to continue business as usual. So where does the rush come from if you aren't mentally and financially equipped to raise a baby?
Girlfriends in their 30s believe that that decade is reserved for settling into families, not starting one. “Children should be pushing the double digit years and you should be established in your career," said one friend who is 34 and without kids.
What is it about being childless in your 30s? Well, many believe that by then, most men are already husbands, have families or are also without children, but aren't “husband material," so many women feel that their choices rest on a thin line. And although that situation isn't a reality for me, I do wish that some women would stop settling and start waiting until the right moment–even if that does take a little time.
If I could leave some words for the young women who are racing biological clocks and societal pressures, I would say:
When I was your age, I was either on my way to college or already enrolled in a university that would light my path towards a lifelong dream to be a writer. Life writes and maps out our journey before we know the road we'll travel down ourselves, and as an early 20-something, I swore that babies would be the last thing on my mind. But life happens and at 21, I got pregnant. The same people I entered my Freshman year with, were walking across stages and entering the real world. My reality looked different and I fell into a toxic cycle of self-deprecation, comparing my chapter five with someone else's chapter one.
At 21, you know more than what you did three years ago, but there's still some life to live. There's still some things you should learn through the dating scenes of New York City, D.C. and L.A. You need to break a few hearts and through expectations, have your own broken a time or two. At 25, what I called my Golden Year, you'll start to understand people more–more so, yourself–and you'll either be living your childhood aspirations that you spent thousands of dollars on in higher education, or you're beginning to understand that the trajectory of your life isn't what you envisioned. Twenty-five is the age of awakening and for me, I was in weird space raising two little beings and feeling like a baby to the world.
As I near 30, what I know now is that you're always a student and should be receptive to learning. Things work best when it happens in its own time, and when we force things that demand patience and a certain level of maturity, we cannot be our best selves. This is not to say that you cannot find you at an early age–it happens. This isn't to say that you can't be a kick ass mother before the age of 25 or after 35–I'm a testament to that–but taking your time produces the best result.
Letting God, the cosmos, whatever deity you believe in, be the one in control and steering the wheel of your existence, will never guide you in the wrong direction.
We coerce things and run against imaginary theories that leave us settling and filling a void to find “happiness." Take your time. Stop rushing. Allow things to happen organically.
It took years of acceptance and coming to terms with my truth and how my life panned out, but if I could do it all over again, I would see the world and Eat, Pray, Love my way to understanding myself.
I would be a better mom if I had waited. I know that now.