What's the Right Age to Become a Dad?

In celebration of Father’s Day this month, three men talk about the age they decided to start a family
Saturday , 11 August 2012
Javan Bennett
Javan Bennett
Duncan Raeside
Duncan Raeside
Dave Crane
Dave Crane

20s
Javan Bennett, 27, plasterer
When I found out my partner Carly was pregnant, I was still in college, so initially I was worried about how we would cope financially and be able to support our child. Luckily, we’re both from incredibly supportive families, and my mum and my sisters made a real difference to me when my son Isiah was born.
Although it took me a little while to adjust to having a child, I did know straight away that I wanted to be there for my son and be a good role model for him. Because I had done quite a bit of clubbing and going out with friends at a young age, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything in terms of my social life, but looking back, I know I initially wanted to pursue a career before having children.Honestly, if I was advising other fathers who had children in their 20s, I would tell them it’s really not that hard if you have a supportive partner and family. Because we were both so young when our first son was born, we pulled together to make it work. People may think to themselves ‘look at these young parents’ but it just makes me want to prove them wrong and show them that young people can do it, and that we have the same kind of morals that our parents have. Both Carly and I want to bring our children up properly, set them a good example and provide a secure and loving environment for them.
Now that we have three sons, I am a much more hard working person. Every day is a working day for me! Perhaps it’s also my personality, but I am much hungrier to do well and be a good role model for my sons. I love my family, and the fact that I have three boys in the house means things are constantly happening – you have all these little personalities developing together (and some times arguing)! With the arrival of my second and third boys, I was worried that I wouldn’t have the time to give them all individual attention, but again it comes down to having a great partner and supporting each other and our boys. I don’t think there is any right age to have children; it all comes down to having the right mentality and being able to handle the responsibility when your child comes along. Personally, I wouldn’t change a thing.

30s
Duncan Raeside, 34, financial adviser
When I found out my wife was pregnant, I was over the moon. We both felt it was the ‘right time’ to have a baby (I was 33 when my son James was born) and so when we were lucky enough to get pregnant shortly after trying to – we were thrilled.
Before I had my son I had travelled extensively. I had lived in Dubai for six years before James came along, so I’d ‘done’ young and free. Having said that, we were the first of our Dubai friends to have a baby, so we found ourselves calling on the UK parent friends for lots of advice – and now as baby pioneers in Dubai, we are the default Babypedia! It’s nice to have friends with kids now though, as there are conversations you need to have sometimes that you wouldn’t bore your mates that don’t have children with.
Since having James, our lives have had to become more structured, which is a good thing. At first, parenthood was a shock to the system, but it was always enjoyable. We did well getting our heads around it early on – but it took me a little longer than my wife would have liked before I realised how much work was expected from me, to be honest!
It’s not so much that I feel older now that I have a child, but I do feel more focused and grown-up. I dedicate myself more to work now, and have my eye on long-term financial security. I am less interested in going out every night – but having full-time help means we still get to go out with our friends, and my wife and I always cover for each other and give the other space and free time. I got to go to a friend’s stag do in Hong Kong and my wife went on a hen do in Paris earlier in the year.
I think that north of 30, there’s less to be scared of – less that you might be missing out on by not having kids. For some men it is more physiologically scary than the reality. And I know what a blessing it is – I have lots of friends who are struggling to conceive and we lost a pregnancy at a late stage, which makes you realise how incredible it really is to be a parent.
If you are secure in your relationship and finances, take the plunge. We have friends that have a before-baby-bucket-list which they seem to extend every year, delaying having kids. But having a family was the next exciting frontier. We have a second baby on the way, and I can’t imagine a bigger adventure. 

40s
Dave Crane, 44, Life designer, hypnotist, personal development and branding expert
I have always wanted to have children as I believed I would be a great dad, but to be honest I never really worried about having a child at a particular age. The body clock ticks differently for guys, so I never thought about my age much. Our job is easy — we just have to be able to pay for everything!
My wife Azizah and I have been together for about eight years and married (this year) for five of them. We’d always planned to make a family but the timing never seemed right, so in the end, we just went for it anyway. I was in my early 40s when my daughter Maya was born, she’s almost two and I am now about 60! No, I’m joking, she makes me feel 10 years younger in terms of my outlook and the amount of sleep I am now getting.
Although age never factored into my decision to have a child, I had been, done and seen everything I needed to before becoming a parent and before getting married too. It was time for a change of pace and outlook, and I wouldn’t have done it unless I was 1,000% ready. It’s been a buzz of discovery ever since. Nowadays, when you think about people like Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, who are celebrating their love with kids in his sixties, the rules are different. We have a very dear friend who has had two children in his 60s, so I think if you are mentally ready to have kids, you should go for it whatever your age.
Since having Maya, my life has changed immeasurably for the better. I have unlimited patience at home and very little with time-wasters outside, as I’d rather be at home chilling with my girls than anywhere else in the world. In fact, I like it so much we’re planning to have another baby in the next few years. My advice to people thinking about having a baby in their 40s? Just go for it. If you’re not dead, you’re the right age. You have so much to give and so much of your life to share. Chances are you’ll never feel truly ready, so just jump in and grow wings on the way down.

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