But I’m Not a Housewife!

Domestic Bliss, Eventually

Deciding When, Or Whether, to Have Kids

I’m planning to have kids, and now that I’m 30, I don’t want to wait much longer!

That’s why it’s nice to see research results such as these, published in Science Daily around the time of my wedding in 2007.

Instead of just comparing childless women and mothers, the researchers examined how the late-life well-being of childless women compared to that of three different groups of mothers who had their first children at different times—women who became mothers early (before age 19), “on-time” (between 19 and 24) or late (age 25 or later).

When they compared each group and controlled for sociodemographic factors as well, a more complex picture emerged that suggests how much the timing of motherhood matters.

Early mothers were the least satisfied and most depressed of all four groups, while delayed or late mothers were the most satisfied with their lives and the happiest. All other things being equal, the childless women were about as satisfied and happy with their lives as the on-time mothers.

“Most studies have shown that psychological well-being tends to decline when people have kids,” Pienta said. “And it only rebounds much later, when the children have left home. So it was surprising to find the highest level of well-being among the group that was most likely to have children still living at home or still in college. It suggests that delaying motherhood may have some benefits for women—probably related to being more career focused and having higher social standing.”

Really good news for someone who hopes to get something out of this delayed gratification. Waiting is not always easy. (Of course, the act having kids, itself, is not easy.)

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