Samantha GrindellSat, 3 April 2021, 12:12 pm
- I want to be a mom, but I know I’m ill-prepared right now.
- Meanwhile, more and more celebrities under 25 are becoming parents.
- They can afford to care for their kids without sacrificing the freedom of their youth – unlike me.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
There are many things I want to do in my life: write a book, travel to Australia, live somewhere without a roommate.
Above all else, though, I want to be a mom. I have a feeling that raising a child will be the thrill of my lifetime – but I’m nowhere near ready for that step.
At 26, I rent a small apartment in New York with a roommate, am in a relationship but am not married, and just got booted off of my parent’s health insurance. I’d never had a full-time job with benefits until 2020.
But I think if I were an A-list celebrity, I would have a baby by now.
Because even though my heart twinges with longing each time I see a mom holding her baby, I know I won’t be ready to raise a child anytime soon.
But I don’t think stars like Jenner and Hadid had kids before me because fame has made them more mature; they can just actually afford to be parents, unlike most other people in their 20s.
Young people are waiting longer to have kids of their own today
The average age of first-time moms in the US has increased from 21 to 26, according to a 2016 study from The New York Times, and the average age of first-time fathers is up to 31. The average for mothers jumps to 30 if the mom is college-educated like I am.
In addition, between December 2019 and December 2020, the US birth rate decreased by 4.4%, putting it at the lowest it’s been since the Great Depression.
Young Americans today also have more expenses than the generations before them did, as Douglas Boneparth, the president of Bone Fide Wealth, told Insider. Necessary costs like Wi-Fi and cell phone data plans increase their spending, and wages haven’t increased to offset those costs, all while people are living in a “consumer economy” that requires them to spend more money to keep the system afloat, he said.
Millennials also have less money than their parents did, even though they’re saving earlier, as a result of the Great Recession and ever-growing student debt fees, as Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reported.
“Millennials as a whole are pushing out these big life goals, like buying homes, having kids, and getting married primarily because of the trauma from 2008 to 2009,” Boneparth told Insider. “It set them back financially.”
When you’re already behind, the additional costs of having kids, such as food, diapers, childcare, emergency medical costs, or saving for college, can be infeasible.
Those financial stressors don’t exist for many A-list celebrities, removing a huge barrier to parenthood.
Money doesn’t offset the emotional toll of becoming a parent
Dr. Tovah Klein, the director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of “How Toddlers Thrive,” told Insider that becoming a parent is a “monumental shift” no matter how much money you have.
Klein said that there’s no magical age that makes people prepared for that shift, nor is there a checklist you can fill out that will let you know if you’re ready.
Starting a family is a decision largely based on emotion, so it comes down to whether or not a potential parent feels the sacrifices that come with having kids are worth it.
There are benefits to being an older or a younger parent as well, according to Klein. The former will likely be more financially stable, while the latter might have more energy to keep up with their children.
However, Klein did acknowledge that sometimes it’s clear young people aren’t in the right headspace to start a family.
“Say you’re just out of college or you’re just starting a new career and you’re enjoying all that freedom,” Klein gave as an example. “That’s not always the ideal time to become a parent.”
But many stars have already achieved professional success at a young age, so they don’t have to focus as much energy on their work as people who are just starting their careers might.
Plus, wealthy people, like celebrities, can arguably enjoy their freedom while they have kids thanks to the resources available to them.
Wealth allows you to be more ‘free’ even if you have kids
It’s undeniable that money makes certain aspects of parenting less stressful, because it “smooths out the rough edges of parenting,” as Boneparth said.
For instance, a wealthy person wouldn’t have to worry about being able to provide for their child. They could also hire employees such as nannies, chefs, cleaners, and personal assistants to help ease the burden of parenting responsibilities.
And for parents who can hire full-time nannies, there’s less of a trade-off of freedom for a family.
They can still have nights out and travel sans kids, removing the “either-or” from the parenting equation when it comes to money (though the emotional cost of being separated from their children would still exist).
Parents who are well-off will also likely be less stressed overall, according to Klein.
“Financial stressors are among the biggest stressors for parents, because not only are you worried about yourself, you’re worried about a child,” she said.
Since money isn’t a worry, it’s not a leap to think that many A-list stars are willing to become parents at a younger age because their day-to-day lives wouldn’t change as dramatically when a kid enters the picture.
Young, famous parents get the best of both worlds
I don’t know why certain stars decided to start their families at young ages, but it’s clear that their wealth and resulting access to resources likely make the responsibilities of parenting feel a bit lighter.
They get the best of both worlds, as they’re able to experience the joys of parenting earlier in life while still fully embracing the wild days of their youth.
This parade of famous, young parents highlights the gulf between them and most Americans, suggesting that if a larger number of people had the options and opportunities they had, there might be more parents their age outside of Hollywood.
I don’t have a crystal ball that can tell me what my life would be like if I were an A-list celebrity. I’m sure there would still be challenges, and having the ability to do what I want in my 20s would probably be important to me no matter how much money was in my bank account.
But if I knew I could care for a child as they deserve without having to give up my freedom, why wouldn’t I make my biggest dream a reality as soon as possible?
Read the original article on Insider