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What's the Best Age to Have a Baby?

Whether your clock started ticking early or you're feeling a time crunch at 40, deciding when to have a baby is never simple.

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I look at my friends in their early 30s who don't have time to read a book for an hour because they're chasing after a toddler. But I've had a few decades to be totally selfish, so I'm OK with the fact that I don't have time to myself. We can't suddenly jet off to Hawaii, but what we have now is so much better.

When I was younger, having to leave the office at 5 p.m. to relieve a nanny would have irritated me. Now I don't feel guilty because my baby has given me a greater purpose. And being a mom helps me manage my time at work better, so leaving early isn't stressful. And when I get home, I switch right into being a mom. I couldn't have done this as seamlessly in my 30s.

I can't pretend it's easy all the time. It bothers me that my daughter won't have her grandparents around for a very long time. And because my metabolism isn't as fast as it used to be, I have to work extra hard at keeping off the baby weight. My body just isn't that elastic anymore - I couldn't have accepted this when I was younger. And I can't retire. I'll be 58 when my daughter finishes high school, and I'll be facing tuition bills while my friends plan to stop working. It's a good thing I really love my job!

Originally published on February 9, 2011

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