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I’ve never had kids, but I have been one, and that alone has given me reason to believe it’s quite a lot of work. From what I’ve been told, I would start screaming the moment I woke up, spend the day chasing our cats and getting scratched, and refuse to eat anything other than chicken nuggets and ketchup. Honestly, not too much has changed, which is why I know I’m nowhere near ready to have children of my own.
Turns out, I’m not alone. Women are
waiting until much later than ever to start having kids for reasons like financial stability and focusing on their careers. We at R29 decided to go straight to the source, asking women (and men!) what is holding them back from starting a family. Through a small survey (and scouring forums on Reddit), we found some pretty diverse results.
In some cases, those who responded are years away from children. Others are already pregnant and counting down those last days of independence. Ahead are 15 things on people’s pre-parent bucket lists.
Go to grad school.
“[I’d like to] travel more, go to grad school, have a stable income, be able to take care of myself and another being (like a pet), and have a partner to help me before I’d consider children, though as of now, I don’t think I want children.” – Jenna, 21
Work on the relationship.
“I want to be married to my partner for a few years so that we can have a better idea of who we are as a couple before we bring kids into the mix. I also want to be more financially stable, because while I love kids and would honestly be fine having one now in terms of readiness (I was a nanny for five years and know a lot about all types of situations), I want to be set up as a household. I’d also like to be at a place in my career where I don’t just feel like a cog in the machine, where instead I feel steady and invaluable, so that I know I can leave for maternity leave and feel confident that I’ll come back later (if not to the same position, to a similar or better one) without significant struggles or hardships to my career standing.” – Rosemary, 28
Learn more about myself.
“There are plenty of things I want to accomplish — feeling secure in my career, writing several books, meeting the person who I feel like I could spend my life with, traveling more, experiencing life more. But really, I think It all boils down to feeling like I know who I am. I’m a completely different person than I was just one year ago, so I want to let myself go through personal growth to be the strongest mother I can be to my children.” – Sammy, 24
Become more independent.
“It’s a long list, but: 1) pay off student loans 2) backpack around Southeast Asia, hike through the Scottish Highlands, see the northern lights 3) live alone 4) change my spending habits so I save more money.” – Pheobe, 24
Move closer to family.
“I want to change my current living situation. I live in a glorified closet in NYC … I loved every part of growing up in a neighborhood, and I would want the same for my kids. I also want to have a career near my parents. Having both sets of my grandparents a simple 30-minute drive away was so impactful on my childhood. I know my parents are going to be incredible grandparents.” – Madison, 23
Achieve financial stability.
“At this point in life, I do not want kids as a part of my future. If I did though, l would want to become successful and financially stable in my preferred field of work.” – Ryan, 30
Be wild and carefree for as long as possible.
“Live a whole, good, dope life and have essentially every human experience before I latch myself to the mast of child-rearing.” – Emma, 23
Wait for a different political climate.
“My kids can’t be born under Trump. And I want to experience at least one year of living a calm, boring life where I know where my money is coming from always and have it coming in excess. Just one time.” – Maureen, 24
Move to a better area.
“I want to feel successful as a writer, which really just means earning a living wage and having steady work. A book deal if I’m lucky, but I won’t push it. I also want to have moved to an area of the country/world where I would even want to raise children. I live in the racist, hateful trenches of the South right now, and I can’t imagine bringing a kid into this.” -Stephanie, 27
Go off antidepressants.
“We wanna establish good eating and exercise habits, adopt a doggie and train it well, and I’m hoping to be able to get off antidepressants until then. More practical stuff: save up money, move, graduate med school, and put in two years at my first job.” –
Buy a house.
“Our main goal right now is buying a house. Our current deadline for that is summer 2018. Hubby is due to get another more substantial raise soon, which will hopefully make that a reality.” –
Foster a pet.
“I’ve wanted to foster dogs for a while. Last month, I basically told my husband, ‘I need baby or I need another dog NOW.’ Haha. I put in an app with a rescue I’ve helped with events, and they have a dog lined up for us to meet this weekend to see if we are a good fit to foster! So, that ones happening!” –
“I do animal fostering, and I want to do a bunch more of that before it gets harder. I’m trying to get a bunch of baby rats adopted right now to reduce how many pets I have here.” –
Get the house professionally cleaned.
“Something I’d LOVE maybe RIGHT before [my partner gives birth] would be to go out to a movie or something similar and to lunch, basically be out as much as she can handle and come home to a sparkling clean house from a maid service. This would be great for the day before. That way, when you come home, everything is clean and that can really minimize stress.” –
Go out to eat as much as possible.
“Our last week before my induction, we went out to eat a lot. Brunch, dinners, etc. Movies too, as you said. If there’s anything else you still wanna see, find one of those 21+ theaters with the recliners. That was the only way I could sit through a movie in theaters the last trimester. I also got my nails and toes done, which was nice.” –
Pay off student loans.
“Haven’t paid off all my student loans yet, but the private one will be paid off this month, and three federal ones total about $11,000 with reasonable monthly payments (about $100/month), so I’m not worried. My new goal for these is to pay them off before we need to buy new cars.” –
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