Katrina Alcorn, author of the bestselling Maxed out: American Moms on the brink, says women who delayed having kids ‘‘to try to get a foothold in their careers or to get some financial stability’’ are being pushed beyond their limits as they struggle with work-life balance and the additional burdens that mid-life brings.It's pretty straightforward. Women should ideally marry around 22 or 23 and start having children by 25. The longer they wait, the harder it gets in every way. And for men, they should try to get married by 27 and start having children by age 30, although they may have a little more flexibility so long as they marry a younger woman. And by younger, I mean 10 years younger, not two. 36 and 26 works much better than 36 and 34 in the parental regard.
‘‘They find themselves in their 40s, sandwiched between raising young kids and trying to take care of aging parents while also trying to support their families financially,’’ she explains to Quartz.‘‘It’s too much.’’
One Washington, DC-area working mom in her 40s (who asked not to be named) tells Quartz: ‘‘I feel like I am a parent to four small children not two, and I’m not sure cloning myself would even be enough.” She’s also caring for her sick mom and dad (who live in another state) and juggling an array of end-of-year parties, concerts and “graduations” for her preschoolers. At the same time, she is holding down a full-time job, like her husband, except hers demands regular travel.
The men in these high-powered couples are wilting under the pressure too. Alpha dads have to navigate what Dutch Economist Lans Bovenberg calls ‘‘the rush-hour of life,’’ typically in one’s late 30s or early 40s, when child-raising and professional responsibilities peak. Unfortunately, economic and social structures that have traditionally supported parents are disappearing.
One review of the academic literature shows ‘‘common sources of support for older parents like family, friends, neighbors and community,’’ have been found to exist ‘‘minimally, if at all.’’
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
The price of delayed parenthood
Even for those who gambled in the fertility roulette and won, the costs of spending that additional ten years riding the carousel, building the career, and finding oneself are much higher than anticipated: