Being an older parent has its pros and cons. I'm financially stable, but my kids will get less time with their grandparents.

  • I didn't worry too much about when I'd have kids when I was growing up.

  • I got my career on track and was financially stable before my husband and I started our family.

  • Being an older parent has its pros and cons, but in the end, it's the right thing for me.

I was never a child who wanted to play house or dolls, and being a mom wasn't something I ever really thought about early in life. It wasn't that I hated the idea; it was more like I was oblivious to it as an option for me personally. Because of this outlook, I spent much of my young adulthood pursuing other interests and not thinking about biological clocks ticking.

Then, I met and married my husband in my 30s, and we decided we wanted to try to have a baby. We were lucky that I was able to become pregnant easily, and we welcomed our first child just before my 35th birthday. We eventually ended up having three children over the course of the next five years, so our last child was born around my 40th birthday.

The upsides of being an older parent

One of the things I love most about being an older parent is how much of my life I lived on my own terms in my 20s and early to mid-30s. I spent months backpacking through Europe alone. I've lived all over the country, from Washington, DC, to San Francisco. I dedicated time to following a career path in the way I wanted, working for a small startup as one of the first 100 employees. That company was Yelp, and it went on to IPO and is still a huge success; because I had the time and energy to dedicate myself to the role, I feel an inordinate amount of pride in being part of that story.

Most important to me, though, is that I was financially and mentally more resilient and responsible when I became a mother than I would have personally been at an earlier age. As a child whose own parents were only 17 when I was born, this was hugely important to me.

Tiffany Nieslanik and one of her children. She is wearing sunglasses and smiling at the camera.
Tiffany Nieslanik says there are pros and cons to being an older parent.Courtesy Tiffany Nieslanik

The challenges of being an older parent

Being an older parent has many positive aspects, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention some of the challenges. One of the bigger ones is that our children will likely have less time with their grandparents. Unfortunately, two of their grandparents have died in the last few years, and my youngest two children likely won't remember those grandmothers.

I also think a lot about the fact that my husband and I won't have an "empty nest" until we are nearly 60. Sometimes, it feels like a long time to wait until we can once again take trips just for two or to have more space in our home for us.

Finally, playing with younger children gets more tiring the older you get. As I near 50, I find I have less and less desire to play games like "monster chase," which is a bummer for my youngest, who, like all small children, loves the thrill of being chased by a person they unequivocally trust.

Tiffany Nieslanik and her youngest baby.
Tiffany Nieslanik says she's glad she waited until her mid-30s to start having her children.Courtesy Tiffany Nieslanik

I'm happy with my choice

At the end of the day, I'm glad I made the decision to become a mother, and I'm also glad that I waited until I was older. I believe that when you have children, you are giving up a huge portion of your time and energy to raise them, no matter when you do it.

In my case, I preferred to take the energy and inexperience of my youth for travel and work and then use the maturity and settledness of my older years to impact my parenting positively. While I can see the appeal of doing things the other way around, for me, waiting longer than average still feels like the right choice that has had the best outcome for our family.

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