Left and right, peers all around me are getting married, buying their first homes, and growing their families. It makes sense. During our twenty-something years, a lot of changes happen. Relationships develop, college grads become young professionals, and young adults transition into full-fledged adults with responsibilities like mortgage payments and diaper bills.

To an extent, it’s just part of life. We’re growing up and making decisions every single day that determine the path we choose for ourselves. Some of us are married to our careers, others are married to the loves of their loves. Some of us are basking in independence, others are supporting a spouse and children and keeping the home life a stable, growing environment.

Truthfully, there is no right or wrong way to live life. As much as I find myself a traditionalist, however, I’ve realized something. I do want to get married and have a family someday, but “someday” is the key word here. I’m 26-years-old and I don’t plan to become a parent in my twenties.

Honestly, there are a whole host of reasons why I’m not ready to make that commitment, but here are five solid reasons why it’s a-okay that I’m not prepared to enter motherhood as a twenty-something.

5 Reasons I Don’t Plan on Becoming a Parent In My Twenties

1. Right now, my career comes first.

I spent four years in college where I challenged myself academically. I took endless exams, wrote countless papers, and stood in front of many classrooms presenting in front of my professors and peers. It took four long, hard, wonderful years for me to earn my B.A. in Communication and minor in Sociology. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, and it’s an accomplishment I pride myself on to this day.

I see so many jobs these days that require a minimum education of a bachelor’s degree, for careers that don’t exactly pay that well. It is so incredibly difficult to find a well-paying job that uses my degrees and my unique skill set while also keeping me productive and thriving.

If I were to become a parent right now, I’m honestly not sure how I could continue working while supporting a child. The cost of childcare nearly equals the salary many jobs pay. With the rising cost of childcare, could I afford to work? Money aside, I want to enjoy the early stages of my career. I’m still trying to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up” and this is the time for me to put my career first. I need to continue gaining experience, networking, and paying my dues to earn my way up the career ladder.

2. I have aggressive financial goals.

By the time I turn 30, I want to be debt-free. That means I would have paid off my student loans two years ahead of schedule. That might not sound like much, but it means saving myself a ton of money in interest in the long run. I also want to buy a new car by then, which again, requires me to save money now.

One of the biggest drawbacks to starting a family at a young age is financial freedom. There are so many bills associated with children, from diapers, to clothes, to daycare, and more. If I want to reach my financial goals in the next four years, I need to keep focused and continue paying down my debt and saving as much as I can.

3. I want to enjoy married life first.

I’ve been dating the man I love for over fours years now. We’re not quite at the getting married stage, but when we do, I know I’ll want to cherish married life for a while before introducing children into the dynamic. Right now, it’s just the two of us and our two puppies in our little house in Maine. We both work full-time, enjoy our friends and families, and most of all enjoy each other. We have goals and starting a family just doesn’t fit into our five-year-plan. There’s nothing wrong with us wanting to stay just the two of us until we’re both ready to take the next step. Right now, it works!

4. I am not ready to be a mother.

Quite simply, I am not even mentally or emotionally prepared for parenthood. As mature and independent as I am, in many ways I still feel like I’m growing up myself. I don’t own my own house yet. I’ve only just started my own health insurance policy. I still beg my mom for leftovers and ask my dad to research tires for my car. In short, I lack the maturity required to parent another human being.

Right now, I’m a twenty-something figuring out myself and my life. I have so many things I excel at and have many instances where I seem like the most mature, put together person you’ll meet, but in other ways I am just not ready to take care of another human being. And hey, that really is a-okay.

5. I am selfish.

With certain parts of life, I reserve the right to be selfish. I love my sleep. It is so amazing to sleep in on weekends and during the workweek I head to bed early to catch up on much needed rest. With babies, sleep goes right out the window! How many sleep deprived parents do you know? Probably a few.

Sleep aside, I love my independence. I enjoy traveling, going out with friends, and having the freedom to do what I want during my free time. Parents are on duty 24/7. If it’s not at a job, it’s a home with the kids. There’s really no break or reprieve, aside from a babysitter. Full-time duty comes with the parenthood territory. Right now, I am far to selfish with my love for independence to make a major change like starting a family. Heck, I have two puppies and they’re more than enough responsibility for me right now!

Parenthood isn’t for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that. I do envision becoming a mother someday, but it is not a step I plan on preparing for in the near future. Ideally, I want to be more financially stable, successful in my career path, married, and actively planning to have a baby when the time feels right. If it happens, it happens, but it’s not something I am planning on for the time being.

To all the parents out there: kudos to you for juggling work, home, relationships, and kids. You’re amazing! To anyone who judges, please refrain. Parenthood is ideal for some, but less than ideal for others. Let’s be supportive in our individual choices to have babies now, in the future, or completely opt out altogether. We are all entitled to the choices we make. Everyone’s life path is unique in its own way. For me, motherhood is a chapter I plan on embarking on years down the road, and that’s a-okay.

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