Fatherhood: Is it too late for me?

I’m 45 years old and never really considered settling down and having a family. But now, I’m thinking about it more and more and think it’s what I want. If it were to happen, being realistic, I might meet the woman of my dreams, say, tomorrow, and there would be the year or so of courtship, and maybe we’d get married the next year. Then I would be 47. If this implausible situation were to occur, would it be selfish of me to want to have kids?

Does anyone have any experience with this? I think about the idea of being 67 when my kids are entering college, and know that this is less than the ideal situation. But then again, I think about it not happening, and that makes me very sad.

Selfish to want them? No.

Selfish to have them? … I won’t judge.

Now, at 45, you are thinking about marriage and children …

If, at 45, you were thinking about leaving your marriage and children for a red sports convertible and a hot babe, basically trying to go 180 on all your earlier choices, how would you feel?

In hope not.

At 46, I think I’m finally in a place where I could be a good parent. No way in hell I could have before now.

I hate to echo poster #2’s point, but is this possibly a mid-life crisis sort of thing? Your post kinda makes it sound like you’re just looking to pass SOMETHING onto the next generation.

If you aren’t yet w/ a woman you want to reproduce with, but are looking to reproduce SOMETHING, that’s something you need to think about. If that lucky lady doesn’t wander into your life sometime soon, there’s plenty of other ways to influence future generations.

Maybe some volunteering/mentoring w/ kids would be a good way to get the pent up feelings out. Coach a sports team, volunteer for big brother programs, possibly even adoption.

I’m still a young’un, but the idea of dealing with an angst ridden teenager at age 60+ doesn’t sound like a fun idea at all to me. My parents had a hard enough time dealing w/ me when they were in their early 40’s. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m basically your age. I have a 10 year old and a 9 year old. I honestly love them more than life itself. I don’t even remember life without them.

Could I imagine starting new at the moment? It would be hard, but hey it was hard 10 years ago too.

In 10 years, you will either have kids, or you won’t have kids. My choice would be to have them. WOW. They make life interesting!

It depends on what kind of family/financial security you can provide if something happens to you, since as an older dad you have fewer years in front of you to earn money for your kids’ upbringing and education, plus you are more likely to die or become less than 100% healthy while they are still young enough to really need you.

But if you are ALREADY financially prepared, and you are part of an extended community of some kind that will welcome your kids - well, then, why not?

Some people will accuse you of selfishness for wanting children at this stage of your life. But, it is selfish to want them at ANY point in your life, so I don’t know that this argument should stop you.

For the record, I have a 57-year-old friend who has a 10 year old and a 4 year old. Sometimes I think it is sad to consider the risk that he won’t be able to provide the physical/emotional/financial support they need as they age, especially the 4-year-old. The dad is quite healthy but has already given up some strenuous physical activities due to the usual aches and breakdowns of aging. Will he climb mountains or go on a memorable week-long camping trip when his 4-year-old is a teen? I doubt it, and that’s too bad.

On the other hand, last time I checked, the odds weren’t perfect for anyone, at any age. A healthy young man could get run over by a drunk driver; does that mean he shouldn’t have kids?

Also, assuming you are a good guy not just looking for a bimbo, I should think you could bring a lot of joy into the life of a mature woman (still young enough to have kids, but that could place her in her mid to late 30s, easy) who may have given up on finding a mate and having kids.

Just don’t wait TOO much longer, okay? Paul McCartney with a toddler is a bit icky, I gotta admit.

My dad was around your age when he had me, and I turned out all right. We had some generation-gap type problems, and it’s a bit sad now that he’s dealing with elder issues and my peers’ parents aren’t, but none of those are things I couldn’t handle. Obviously your mileage will vary, but I say go for it if it’s what you feel. Just don’t fart around too much!

My dad had me (first marriage and first child for both parents) at 42. My brother was born 4 years after that, and my youngest brother was born 4 years after that, making my dad 50 at the time (he’s 63 now).

It’s a myth that older parents can’t “do” things with their kids. My dad still throws a football with my youngest brother, works out daily and is active. No, my dad won’t be able to lift heavy boxes up four flights of stairs to my youngest brother’s freshman dorm room - but he sure as hell can pay someone to :slight_smile: He can also afford a large chunk of our educational costs due to waiting to start a family later, as well as offer us wisdom and perspective my friends’ younger parents often struggle with.

Age is not the problem. Maturity and presence of mind are what matters.

I got my first one just before I turned 30. Many a times have I wished I had gotten to it younger to have all the energy and little need for sleep / food to have small children happy at home. Keeping young kids satisfied, healthy and stimulated is hard work, and it doesn’t end at 5 pm. YMMV.

Hey, why not. You’re 45, not decrepit. You may outlive us all. If a home and a family is what you want and what would bring you joy, go for it. But before you get married, think if it turns out we couldn’t have kids, would I still want to marry her? If the answer’s yes, then that’s a good sign you’re not settling.

How is your health? How are your finances?
The advantage to having your kids young is that your chances of staying healthy, of having the energy for small kids, is better when you are younger - which doesn’t mean that it always is, just that the odds are better you’ll live to see them as independent adults. If you aren’t in the best shape or health now, then you are at a bigger disadvantage for age.

The advantage to having your kids old is that you are often more financially stable - not struggling to make ends meet. If you are 45 and still haven’t started saving for retirement, have a negative net worth, and are living paycheck to paycheck - you negate the advantage of starting late. Saving for college AND retirement if you don’t have a start on one of them will be tough.

Lots of people do it, but I had a very stressful year last year - my sister is 40 and has two small children. Her husband is fifty - and not in good health - he has a hard time pushing the stroller around the block, much less running behind a two wheeler or playing tag. She had cancer last year. It made me realize that what I committed to when I had kids was staying healthy and alive until they can live without me - something I have little control over. It isn’t selfish one way or the other. But kids are an impossible to conceive level of scary responsibility until you have them.

That is the best statement in all these posts!

I was 30 when we got married and had #1, then #2 came along when I was 40. Our boys are young men out on their own now and doing fine, even though I am almost 66 years old. We have a “foster” daughter (we raised a friend’s daughter while he was unwilling to do so in his youth) and she has kids 8 and 10 that we consider our grandchildren, and our oldest son has a 14 year old son that stays with us as much as with him.
Physically, perhaps we are not the active people young ones need sometimes, but we do all we can do for these kids. It is all in how much you are willing to be there for them. Us older folks are not always decrepit and senile!

It’s hard to answer this one hypthothetically, there are so many complexities. The simple answer is that 47 is not too old to have children and be a good father.

I am 51 and have kids 10 & 12. I have friends whose kids have graduated from college. I have cousins my age with grandchildren nearly as old as my children. But I am healthy and fit, coach my son’s baseball team, meet all their teachers, and am otherwise very active in their lives. But it’s harder at 50 than it is at 30, I have to say. But at the same time, my career is established, we’re financially secure (at least more so than I was at 25 or 30), and of course, more mature.

Are you going to marry the wrong woman just so you can have children without waiting any longer? It’s one experience to find someone so you can have children, and another to want to have children because of who you’re with.

Why do you think you “never really considered settling down and having a family” until now? Is this a passing impulse or a fundamental change in you? I never seriously thought about having a convertible until now so I bought one in June. Kinda different. The situation was never right for me to have kids until I was in my late 30’s but it wasn’t because I never considered it. It wasn’t a specific goal (I didn’t date by interviewing “potential mommies”) but I knew that whoever I married would also have to want kids.

Yes, you would be almost 70 when the kids are getting out of college. That’s not a showstopper but you’ll be the oldest dad in the room at the kindergarten play, the PTA, and college graduation.

I lost my dad to cancer a little less than a year ago and it was a difficult loss because not only was he my father but he was also my most trusted advisor for getting through most practical aspects of life, like financial planning and my career. Even at 51 I miss having him as that sounding board. He was 84. If you live as long, your kids could be saying that about you when they’re still in their 30’s. That’s where the whole “selfish” question comes in. (Of course, if a bus makes a wrong turn *my *kids could be saying it tomorrow…)

I think it depends on WHY you haven’t done it already. What held you back?

If you haven’t been able to maintain a committed relationship in the past, why do you think you could do so now?

If you weren’t sufficiently selfless to have children before, what’s changed?

The fact that you’re becoming old enough that it’s now-or-never doesn’t mean you’ve addressed the issues that kept you from doing it before. Urgency doesn’t equal resolution.

OTOH, though, if you have overcome whatever barriers held you back, then age alone doesn’t have to stop you. The odds of conceiving a baby with Down’s syndrome (which increase with the father’s age, too) might.
You can make a huge impact in the lives of children as a coach, teacher, mentor or Big Brother. Give it some thought?

No way is it too late. My dad was going on 60 when I was born, and he’s still in great shape at the age of 83. If you’re prepared financially for it, I don’t see any problems.

I just became a first-time parent at 41 (yay me!) BUT I’ve been married for 18 years. If the plan is to woo and marry someone and then pop a sprog immediately, you’d have to be marrying a woman with very compatible views. Introducing children to a family before you’ve settled into married life properly can put a real strain on the relationship, and is not something to do just because someone’s clock is ticking.

Don’t rule out marriage and parenthood. My dad got married, for the only time, at 44 and had his first child at 45. His wife (my mom) was 20 years younger. They had 7 children together. He was a great dad.

Put me into the group of I dont see why not …

My parents were over 40 when they started popping us out, and they never seemed to have problems. Though being later in life and more settled they were actually better able to provide financially than someone still in the startup phase.

Just something to think about … you have more experience looking at kids and saying that 'Id totally do that" or “no fucking way would my kids get away with that” and filtering it through what society has as acceptable behavior. Someone who is 20 may still be of the mindset that they were not going to turn into their parents … and raise horribly behaved sucktastic kids.

My husband is 45 and we recently had our first child, so put me in the camp of “gee, hope it’s not too late.” :smiley: I do think he’s a better father now than he would have been 8-10 years ago, although he’s pretty worried about taking the kid to school and being mistaken for Grandpa.

Even though I wasn’t their first, Dad was 46 and Mom 40 when I was born.

They were great parents. The one thing that was weird was that my folks were the age of many of my friends’ grandparents, but it wasn’t any kind of a childhood trauma for me or anything.

If you have a partner you love and you both agree it’s what you want, go for it, but only under those circumstances. My $0.02.