Having enough money to support a child is the main concern for people entering parenthood, especially for women in the workforce.
Women are stereotypically considered the primary caregivers of the family. Now, 70 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 are a part of the workforce, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
It is more expensive than ever to raise a child in the states. Families will spend an average of $233,610 from birth to age 17, according to CNN.
With the absence of reliable support from employers or government, many women are forced to make the decision between keeping a job or caring for their children.
This means that women today are working full time while still responsible for feeding, cleaning, comforting and disciplining their children. That’s a lot of work, and often forces the women to choose between their career goals and their relationships to their families–and that’s if their money situation is not forcing them to work.
Women should ease some of their stresses by waiting to have children until they are older and their careers are established.
Many women are already catching on to this idea. Since 1970, the average age of first-time mothers has gone up from 21.4 years old to a record 26.3, according to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics.
This is partly due to a decrease in teen pregnancies and the increase in women having their first child at ages 30 to 34. Hans-Peter Kohler, a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, said in an interview with the New York Times that “when the economic picture is uncertain, people hold off all sorts of commitments, and having children is one of them.”
The economy is still unstable, and sometimes, merely waiting for a solid career is not enough to lift the economic burden of having children. With childcare costs higher than many can afford, a cultural shift in the American workforce is needed in order to prioritize policies that accommodate new parents and families.
Employers should consider having free or discounted daycare for their employee’s children, allowing parents to work from home when needed, paid sick days and paid parental leave. Revamping policies for new parents would improve a family’s economic security, thereby improving their productivity because they’re not plagued by stress and guilt it would also benefit society’s overall economy.
Maybe then, women would be more confident about their ability to have a successful career and family life. The two definitely can be intertwined, some women just need a little extra help.
However, many women don’t want to wait for government or businesses to pull themselves together.
Putting a career first would give a woman the time to grow and find stability. The older a woman is the better equipped she is emotionally and monetarily for the vast changes that come with raising a child.
It would be good to hold off on having a baby until student loans and credit–card debts are paid off and enough money is saved to better prepare for the costs that lie ahead.
Women should wait to have kids because there are so many responsibilities that can be overwhelming at such a young age. People are still learning to take care of themselves, and it only gets harder when another human being comes into the picture.
While the decision to wait to have children is a personal choice that holds a personal impact, it is always smart to plan and be prepared for parenthood.