@canarydiamond: I’m totally the same way!! A young family isn’t really that appealing to me, but having grown kids (and at least 3 – 4 of them!!) sounds awesome.
If I could go straight to being a grandma, I’d totally do that. If I have kids, I want to get started by 30. My mom was only 22 when she had me and I LOVE having young parents.
I’m not posting this for those that don’t want kids, but for those on the fence, this is an interesting article:
Like Overall and Benatar, Bryan Caplan believes that people need to think more rigorously about the decision to have children. And Caplan, too, draws on an academic discipline—economics, in his case—to provide some clarity. The result is “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think” (Basic).
According to Caplan, a professor at George Mason University, the major mistake that parents (or prospective parents) make is overvaluing the present. This is a common enough error. Workers in their twenties and thirties don’t save enough money for retirement because it seems such a long way off. Then their sixties roll around, and they wish they’d spent less on S.U.V.s and HDTVs and put more into their 401(k)s.
Couples, he argues, need to think not just about how many children they might want now, when they have better things to do than microwave Similac, but how many they will want to have around when they’re old and lonely and watching “The View.” Caplan recommends what he calls the “take the average” rule:
Suppose you’re thirty. Selfishly speaking, you conclude that the most pleasant number of children to have during your thirties is one. During your forties, your optimal number of kids will rise to two—you’ll have more free time as your kids assert their independence. By the time you’re in your fifties, all your kids will be busy with their own lives. At this stage, wouldn’t it be nice to have four kids who periodically drop by? Finally, once you pass sixty and prepare to retire, you’ll have ample free time to spend with your grandchildren. Five kids would be a good insurance policy against grandchildlessness.
Caplan does the math and concludes that in this case “the best number of kids is three.”
Although the figure may vary from one family to another, the same calculation, Caplan argues, applies across the board. Kids are a pain in the ass when they’re small. They require lots of care just at the time their parents tend to be busiest establishing themselves in their careers. As a result, most people stop producing children before they’ve reached the number that would, over the long haul, maximize their self-interest. “Typical parental feelings paired with high foresight imply more kids than typical parental feelings paired with moderate foresight,” Caplan writes. (Unfortunately, he does not explain what parents should do if their ideal number of children includes a fraction.)