parental leave

Susan J. Demas: What's the ideal time to have kids? Sadly, there isn't one in America

Photo by Susan J. Demas

Photo by Susan J. Demas

"25 years and 252 days - the perfect age to have a baby" is the (London) Telegraph's headline about a 2012 survey.

Coincidentally, that was almost my exact age when I had my first child, which was (unbelievably to me) almost 13 years ago.

A 2013 Gallup poll confirmed that having your first kid by 25 is ideal for American women, although more educated respondents were likelier to say waiting until you're 26 or older is better.

But if you'd like to know the truth, there really is no ideal time to have kids in America. Now that Mother's Day is over, and our once-a-year bouquets are starting to wilt, let's get real.

We're one of only three countries with no maternity leave law, something Hillary Clinton just vowed to change. Many Americans don't qualify for unpaid leave. Paid sick leave isn't required. Childcare costs are out of control. And if you stay home with your kids, your career will probably never recover.

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