The “Perfect” Age for Motherhood? Survey Says…

Finger lickin' good fried chicken worth every. single. calorie.
Finger lickin’ good fried chicken worth every. single. calorie.

Late last month I officially entered my mid 30s. I was looking forward to this day much like a trip to the DMV. In addition, two gentlemen, not much younger than I, referred to me as “ma’am” during the past week alone. I had only three birthday requests: finger lickin’ good fried chicken worth every single calorie, an exercise class to rejuvenate my body and spirit, and for both kids to nap for at least half an hour, at the same time. As the impending day approached, I found myself reflecting on the past year more so than previous birthdays. 33 was quite a year that included celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary, moving across the country with two under two, a new position for my husband as a financial advisor and, most importantly, the arrival of our son.

The average age for first time mothers is 25 years, according to 2006 data from the Birth Data File, National Vital Statistics System, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Biology indicates the ideal age range to enter motherhood is our late teens and early twenties. However, sociologically the best age may be defined as the stage during our lives in which we are financially stable and wiser from life’s experiences, which in most cases means our thirties and forties.

So, what is the perfect age to enter motherhood?

Is it in our late teens and early twenties when our bodies can bounce back quicker, boast more energy to chase little ones and have younger grandparents to be an active part of their lives?

Is it in our late twenties and early thirties when we have completed higher levels of education, traveled the world or perhaps celebrated a few wedding anniversaries?

Is it in our late thirties and early forties when we have achieved professional and financial success and are invigorated with life’s experiences to share with our children?

Alternatively, does it have nothing to do with age and more with our current life stage? Or circumstances in which we feel pressure from family and friends? When we start to seek happiness through the eyes of a child or look for a best friend for an only child? Or when we feel the clock ticking?

Mom, Dad: “I’m pregnant!”

I recall the reaction from family and friends when we announced the news of our first’s impending arrival. One response stood out for me, “I never thought this day would come.” I was confused. Was I too old? Having had Elia at 31, and Tomás at 33, I believe these blessings arrived at the “perfect” time for our family. Despite being at the height of my career, my newly acquired skills as a mother came at the “perfect” time in my architecture career. Now that I am in my mid 30s, I possess more maturity, inspiration and vigor than ever before.

However, I acknowledge that entering motherhood was easier for me than some of my fellow friends. It is painful to hear about fertility issues, health complications, relationship and adoption struggles and miscarriages, even more so being a mother. Stories shared with me have made me sensitive to the innocent question, “Do you plan to have kids?” as well as, “Do you plan to have more?” For this reason, I consider motherhood a blessing at any age.

21 Again
21 Again

34 started beautifully. It was a tantrum free day, both kids napped at the same time for over an hour, I ate not one, not two, but three pieces of the most succulent fried chicken at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant with my hubby, and was even able to sneak in a Barre3 class with my youngest sister. To complete the day, I arrived home to an intense smell of chocolate. My husband managed to prepare a delicious homemade triple chocolate bundt cake while watching the two and even cleaned the kitchen. Thanks to the only birthdays celebrated by the little ones, he could only find candles with the number “2” and “1.” I felt 21 for those forty seconds as I was serenaded with “Happy Birthday.” As I blew out the candles, I felt intensely happy at that moment surrounded by my growing family…and no dirty dishes!

What do you consider the “perfect” age to have children?


  1. My “plan” was to have children well before I turned 30, but someone else had different plans for my life. I was 31 when Addison was born (I turned 32 a week later), and I can say, without a doubt, that she came at the most perfect time in our lives! Good thing my “plan” didn’t work out. 🙂

  2. I never really had a “plan” as to when the perfect age was because I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to have any of my own. But Scott & I had decided that if we hadn’t gotten our adoption call (or gotten pregnant) by the time I was 36, that would would forfeit the application because we figured it wasn’t meant to be. But someone had different plans, and I got pregnant at 33 and had Andrew when I was 34… which just barely met our timeline! 😉

  3. I love this post so much! I got chills at the end, love that your hubby placed the “21” on the cake! SOO sweet! Sounds like a perfect birthday for you.

    Sometimes I wish that we had started trying earlier as the struggle to bounce back from the pregnancy is definitely more of a challenge in our mid-thirties, but they are all blessings, whenever they come in our lives!

    Happy belated birthday Ana!

    • I’m with Trish….I adore that your husband did all of that….each part- the babysitting, baking, cleaning and the candles….They can keep 21…I don’t want to be back there AT ALL, haha! Now ask me in a few years when I’m a little older and I may change my mind 😉 Happy Birthday and welcome to 34.

      And speaking of the perfect age, I just spoke with Ashley Angelico today about how easy it was to “plan” when I became a mommy- ha! I think someone above knows our perfect age and it’s probably better that way. <3

      • Michelle, my husband will be glowing when I share yours, and Trish’s, remark about the candles! You are right, someone above knows our perfect age and I could not agree with you more that it is probably better that way!

    • Thanks for your note Trish! It’s true, it is a slower “bounce” back to our pre-baby figures once you are in your thirties. Chasing after two so close together has made it a little easier for me.

  4. I wanted to have all of my children before 30 but as life happens my son was born a few months after my 30th birthday and I hope I am able to have more!

    • Jennifer, sometimes life has a different course for us, but I know that you will be sharing more wisdom and experience with your son!

      • I agree 1000%! That was just my “plan.” It took us a while to get pregnant and when we found out that I was, it was pretty much a miracle! He is my universe and I cherish every second with him! I hope to have more children one day but I am beyond blessed with the one child I have 🙂 I used to think that everything had to happen by a certain age, now I just live one day at a time and am grateful for the time I do have.

  5. I am with Michelle in that I am SO happy not to really be 21 and for the two miracles we were given when we were given them! I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried, so I am glad that we aren’t in control of these decisions. Had I gotten pregnant when *I* wanted to, I would’t have enjoyed the Saints’ Superbowl win as much as I did!

    • I was pregnant during the Saints Suoerbowl win…actually, it was more like me, passed out on the sofa with the dog & being abrubtly awoken by the sound of fireworks when they went off.

      • Nicolle, I am sorry you had to spend the Superbowl as such, but I am sure you have a fellow Saints fan to join you on the sofa to watch their game now:)

    • Ashley, isn’t it funny how life works?! I too am glad I was able to enjoy the Saint’s Superbowl win as much as I did!

  6. I enjoyed reading this post, Ana. I have to say that everyone’s comments make me feel a bit old because I had my first (and only) daughter at 38. I don’t regret that one bit; she was a blessing and I treasure every minute we are together. I’m still surprised when I hear that some couples have an age limit for when they want to have children, such as before 30 or 35. My 5 closest friends had their children at the ages of 38, 39, 41, 42 and even 45! We all have good careers and are very lucky to have happy, healthy children/families. My point is that over 35 is not too late to have children! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing Shelley! I can tell you are having a great time with your little one. You’re right, it is never too late to have kids. You are only as old as you feel!

  7. Loved this Ana! I know all about that hankering for fried chicken!
    Seriously, though, I had Nathaniel, my first, at 32, and we won’t even be talking about whether or not to have a second until he is 2, and I’ll be nearly 35. I am right there with ya! Sometimes I wonder if we waited too long, but most of the time I’m glad we spent almost 5 years married and saved a lot of money before having children. It was what was “perfect” for us.

    • Thanks for sharing Amber! You are right, it’s nice to spend a few years with just the hubby before the kids come along. I am glad we used that time to travel and focus on us as well as our careers.

  8. I had my first when I was 23- although not planned, a blessing in disguise! I knew that if I ever had anymore it would be before I was 35 and they would be close in age. Life being what it is, I had my second at 36 and my third (and last) at 38. I don’t count years anymore, I certainly don’t feel like an “older” parent (although I did make my mom a grandmother at my age!) I’m 43 and I love being active with the younger ones and hanging out with my 20 year old. There isn’t any perfect age, it’s all what we make of it!


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