Grandma Versus Gen Y

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A guest post by my daughter Laura Allen:

“If you don’t find a job after a couple of months in Dallas, you could always get going on starting a family.”

These were my mom’s words right after I got married and settled into my new home in Texas.

A bit annoyed that she’d mentioned this yet again, I responded, “And where would I put a baby in my small apartment? In the kitchen? Babies need space and cost money!”

My mom was blessed with her first grandchild last year, and she is head-over-heels.  I can definitely see why, as my nephew only gets more adorable every week.

But, me?  I’m only 28! I’m a newlywed. I need to have a career, a savings plan, a house. I need to go back to Europe!!

What is it about my generation that makes us think there is a perfect time to start a family – that all these external conditions need to be met before having a baby?

In my mom’s day, it sounds like the only requirement before trying to start a family was a husband.  But my generation seems to think we need to have it all. We want more than the American dream. Some have even called generation Y entitled.

I like to think we are just fortunate enough to have options.  Sometimes, though, there are so many choices, that it’s impossible to make decisions.  I’m hoping that the decision to start a family will just happen one day. That I will have a birthday, eat cake, and think ‘This year, I’m ready for a baby!’

Who knows if I will ever truly feel ready or if I will even be able to produce offspring.

One thing’s for sure though. If Matt and I have a baby on the way, my mom will be one of  the first to know, but only if she stops bugging me now!

Laura Allen was recently married on Bald Head Island and lives with her husband in Dallas. She hopes to continue her career in education and enjoys exploring new restaurants, cooking, and blogging in her free time.

Laura and Me

Photo Top: Laura and nephew Maze during wedding week on Bald Head Island.

Photo Bottom: Laura and I before the wedding.  Photos courtesy Katherine Younger. 

28 responses »

  1. I love that picture! I think there is a difference in perspective on childbearing age. Maybe because we older women know the energy it takes for children and someone 38 does not have the same stamina as a 28 year old. And then there is the thought of being menopausal with teenagers! That is a lot of hormones.

  2. Ha! What a wonderful post, Laura! Seeing as i have a daughter close to your age….i really appreciated your insightful assessment of your generation. You do have so many options and opportunities and choices. Celebrate that for sure. Planning is always ideal. I say …….enjoy a few years with your new adorable husband and then……start a family. Your mom may not like that suggestion but that is my humble opinion! Live life, go to Europe for sure …..and then hunker down!
    Hugs!

  3. Laura, When I moved to England in 1982, right after I got married, I was hoping also to work and build my career as a journalist. I was faced with many comments when I went for job interviews– how old are you (27), when are you going to have children? It went on from there. When I did have my first child at age 29, the British had a term for me as an “older” mother that I don’t remember.
    You have lots of time! I hope the job search goes well and you’re enjoying being a newlywed! No rush to have kids. Let your sister get the attention now in that department. You’ll have your chance. Focus on you and your husband for a couple years! (I hope I didn’t get your mother mad at me for contradicting her advice!)

    • Wow, I can’t imagine anyone asking that in an interview these days! Speaking of moving to England, living aboard is also on my list! Thanks for your comment:)

  4. Haha, I noted the veiled threat! Mom, quit bugging me or you won’t be the first to know! Just kidding. At the risk of alienating my dear friend, your mom, I say take your time, enjoy life, and when you find that you are thinking of babies a lot, then make a decision. As an older mom, I know it’s possible to enjoy children later in life. So have fun now! And definitely go back to Europe!!

  5. It’s amazing to see so many of our friends at different stages in life. Some starting graduate school, some welcoming a second child to their families. We grow up believing that there’s a certain order and routine that must be followed. Once basic arithmetic is finished, we all must conquer the dreaded multiplication tables; after Bio 101 comes (dare I say it) Chemistry. However, once life stops revolving around the academic calendar, we each take off running in different directions with varying strides, ultimately leading us to experience life’s many joys (and sorrows) at our own pace.

    All I can say is that I’m truly enjoying the precious present.

    – Laura’s Lucky Husband

  6. When I was first married, I told my mom that she was not allowed to mention grands for three years. She did anyway; of course; but only to my husband. What was fun was his reaction and handling the situation with my six year old nephew listening. My husband announced that we were not having children, we were only having kittens and puppies! Needless to say, she never asked again.

  7. Like your Mom, I would love to have grandkids too. I was 30 when I had Ashley, not because I chose to wait until then, but because I didn’t get married until I was 29. I have mixed feelings about it all. Children take way more energy than you can ever imagine, both physical, mental and emotional. You have more energy when younger, but then 30 is relatively young. But once you have children, life as you have known it ends–at least for a time. I do know it is rare that you can be truly “ready” for children. Until you have them you have no idea what “ready” really means–what it will be like, or how much money it really takes. I often say if you wait until you have enough money, you may never have kids–they take a lot! But you have just gotten married and should enjoy your new life in Texas as a couple before becoming parents. And definitely take that trip before children. I think you have plenty of time before jumping into parenthood.

  8. Lovely post, Laura, and best wishes on your wedding. I never had children because, like you, I hoped the decision would happen one day and it didn’t. I’m happy with this choice (or, rather, lack of a choice). My only advice is that, at some point if you stay on this path, you want to make peace with the reality that not making the decision means not having a child. With that peace, you can enjoy nephews and nieces (and, then, send them home to their parents), and have many options in life for travel and riskier career choices.

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  10. Great post, Laura. And very thoughtful. Yes, it’s only natural that we Moms get a little carried away about our grand-babies. Who can blame us?!

    I wish we could all ‘have it all.’ Alas, it is the way it is. Something will always be sacrificed for something else.

    I had my daughter when I was very young and, therefore, missed out on all those things that go along with being free at a young age. I was envious of all those who traveled, went off to school, and pursued their careers. But…

    Years later, as my daughter went off to college, many of my friends had kids at home. They were doing the things I was doing a decade earlier. While I, on the other hand, had the freedom to (you guessed it) travel, go to school, and pursue my career.

    It’s a trade-off. I traded my youthful freedom for a more mature freedom. My life was just sort of flip-flopped. Not such a bad thing, really.

    Enjoy your time as a newlywed. It sounds like you are giving some serious thought to the whole process of creating a marriage as well as a family. That’s also not such a bad thing, really. 😉 No matter what you decide, you will always look back and think how things might have been if you had done things differently. That’s okay. That’s life. Just enjoy the journey!!

  11. Interesting thoughts…just a perspecitve from now being 32. I was got married at 23 and we were open to getting pregnant, though my new hubby was in grad school, we felt like we could “live on the edge” and hope for a baby, even though it was not “perfect” in terms of money and graduation times etc.

    It took two years to have a baby. I’m on the more sub- fertile side of things, physically.

    I had my first daughter at 26, and felt like my body was less achy…more “young”, i had an easier pregnancy. We went through 3 years of infertility and were blessed with daughter number 2 last year. That was a harder pregnancy, as i was a bit older (31).

    I’m still a young mom, but even though it is certainly an “unknown” (how will life with baby be, money, the future in general) it is a wonderful adventure at the same time. I tend to urge friends not to put off being open to a baby for very long, as you never know what your fertility situation will be like, and children make you see a new and wonderful side of your spouse.

    I have found that the “perfect” time probably will never come.

    Enjoy the adventure and congrats on your recent wedding!

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