I've been brainstorming about mothers for the last 10 years. I grew up in one type of parenting scheme, my husband - completely the opposite. Having experienced and observed both , here is something to think about: interesting and curious.
When we lived in UT, if a woman is not married around 21-23 , there is a lot of pressure to do so. And even more so, once the girl is married , is the pressure to have children. Mothers are typically fall somewhere between 22-25 years old for the firstborn, and by 29-30 they are experts at juggling 3+ kids in between the endless laundry, school, shopping, UT church and everything that comes with it - meetings ,etc, etc. Education is promoted, but... I know very few women , that actually DO something with their education. I am very happy to say, that all my friends are exceptionally talented, and are not only amazing mothers, but are fantastic professionals. However... that is more of the exception. Many others go to school... to get married. It is in the lines ofthe mentality of " doing something until the "right guy" comes along and then be a mother". Don't get me wrong - my view is such: Motherhood is an amazing and wonderful thing. Every women must experience it to be complete. And motherhood - when understood and fulfilled - is a job , no, scratch that, it is A LIFE of itself. What I saw in UT, however, was nowhere close. Whether the pressure to comply with the society and tradition, or the age of itself, but many young mothers , while abundantly blessed with children, see it as a "of course. how else would it be" kind of thing. And ...really do not do anything to raise the children. Yes, kids get older, but... there is more to parenting then just feeding, laundry-ing and homework. The mentality "well, everyone survived" is overwhelming. Not all, but in general, there is a massive lack of simple motherly love and CARE. Kids seem to be added to the family , just because they are "supposed to be", or "ready for another one". Result? Worn out mother with a scrunchy, no ( or run-down ) make up, sweats or whatever-was-first-in-the-closet fashion, and ever-so-tired face expression. Yes , motherhood is tiring. There are no magic tricks or shortcuts ( unless you have an extra bank account just for nanny), and there are days when things can get crazy. BUT. When one is ready for the child, it is different. Yes, work and effort, but you WANT to do it. Just the same as you are happy to pick up the socks that the hubby throws all over the place, the same way you are happy to change a stinky diaper, because you LOVE those who you live with and you live FOR THEM because you WANT them in you life.
There is a difference of having a child be a center of one's life because it is desperately WANTED , vs the fact that... one does not know what else to do with life except for cooking both :food and children. It makes me wonder - how much and WHAT can be given to a child in such environment? The exceptions of love , care and unconditional parenting a few and rare.
Is it the age? The environment and social ( and religious) pressure? Both?
On the other hand, here in NYC, and in Europe, where I grew up, I see the opposite. Mothers not even thinking about the first child until 30, with very typical first-born ( if not the only born) at around 36. To that , there needs to be added , that at 38 women here look better then 25 "standard utah age". Motherhood approach differs significantly. There is a completely different outlook on parenthood. While many women had very successful careers before the baby, many devote themselves to one's( many times one and only) child. The interesting observation that came up from talking to other mothers is the fact that ... the reason for many stopping on , let's just say , two children, is not the age, or the finances ( as many are exceptionally stable - which one cannot say about "typical" starting family) , but the reason is this : "have no more energy to play, to run, to teach..." . I see mothers AND fathers running on the playground with the child/children, playing tag, hide-n-seek, etc all over the place. Children are surrounded by love and attention, and definitely know that they are loved and wanted.
In thinking about both types of parenting... my personal preference is a mix. It definitely is easier to recover from the pregnancy with younger body, even simply from physiological point of view. But there must be understanding of responsibility one takes upon him/herself by bringing even one child here, which comes from maturity. On top of everything that children need to learn to be successful in life ( that can only come from a parent who is prepared and willing to do whatever it takes to teach a child) , they most and foremost , need LOVE. The kind that only is possible to give if one is READY to love. Unconditionally and completely. Through tantrums and kisses. Through happy laughs and upset tears. Through cooing and teething. Simply "just because". It is a kind of love that does not require something to love for. You just DO. When "ready" - neither age nor experience matter. And at the same time, when family is created because of "tradition", "supposed to", or social ( and/or family) environment and pressure, there seems to be a need for a "reason" for loving a child. Or better yet - for KEEPING one around. My view : giving birth to 10 kids but living in such mentality does not make one be a good parent no matter what age the parents are. Children are responsibility. From the day they are born, til the day you die. They change your life the way you never thought was possible to live, adding the whole new understanding to happiness. If you decide to have one - give your child more then you have ever thought was possible. This is the only way to repay God for the most miraculous blessing and joy He gifts us: a loving family. And a four toothed bite is really the best body art ever created.
What would YOU rather be? A young parent and learn by mistakes? Learn from experience and apply? A mix ? Or something different? I am interested to hear.