A Man’s Biological Clock

We have people who visit this site who have no interest in children or family life. We’re fine with that. Really. Why they visit our family blog is none of our business. Perhaps it’s because they have no kids and have a ton of extra time, who knows.

These folks tend to leave snarky comments. That’s okay, too, I enjoy answering them in the comment section. Wendy would rather stick to writing and speaking (and raising children, by the way). When she reposted an article about parents’ biological clock (The Biological Countdown), we got a snippy response from someone:

Actually, men are pretty fertile from about 12 to 80. Their season is pretty much their whole life.

Thanks for your quick biology lesson. The point, expressed in a later comment, was that men don’t need to have babies early in their life. They can wait, even as long as their sunset years. I’ll have my children in my 20s and 30s, others in their 60s and 70s. Why? Because, unlike women, we can.

But just because we can do something doesn’t mean it is right, or preferred, or even a good idea. Women have only a window of opportunity to have children, but as this commentator so brilliantly observed, men can produce children till their ripe old age.

If this is your idea of good family planning, Wendy and I strongly encourage you to reconsider. Here are a few good reasons why.

1. You have more energy when you’re young.

I’m 41 years old, and I’m already feeling tired. I used to play games with my kids on the living room floor. Tickling nights were a most common evening of fun. Impromptu games like Get the Pillow and Tree were invented on the spot. Today, I’m 41, and those kinds of games are just plain tiring. Besides, the older brothers have taken up the task and would out do me if I tried. Looking back, having little kids in my 20s was a true blessing.

2. You learn a lot when you have your own children.

Also looking back, I can honestly say I was stupid when I had my first child. I thought I had life mostly figured out. Then parenting came along. It changed everything, and for the better. I cannot imagine learning the great depths of love without walking through the life experience of parenthood. I’m glad I took the plunge at a young age, and I can’t help but encourage other young couples to do the same.

3. You can enjoy life when you’re old.

At 41, some people will be perhaps start thinking about life with children. I’m starting to think about life with grandchildren. My home may not be as orderly as the young 25 year old who’s thinking anything but children, but it is full of life. There’s never a boring moment.

Come to think of it, I haven’t been bored in years. I remember lots of boring moments as a childless single guy. Not many with a life of so many lives.

My suggestion is to have kids in your 20s and 30s. Do you really want to be in your 60s? Though it may be physically possible, it is not desirable.

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • Liz

    My suggestion is to have kids in your 20s and 30s.”

    But you, Chris, are having kids in your 40s.

    • Sheila

      Obviously Chris means start having children in your 20’s and 30’s. The majority of your children will then be born in those years. Even if you have a few in your 40’s there will be older children to help out by then.

  • LLR

    We’re glad we waited till we were emotionally mature. Can’t imagine having them earlier. Too immature for the responsibility.

    For us, that meant late 30s, early 40s. Everyone is different. 

  • Tonya

    Wow!  You’re young!  :-)  We have a wonderful friend who is close to 50, has one son who is 16 who he sees mainly on weekends (divorce situation).  He regrets hugely not choosing differently during life and not having more children.  Recently he mentioned he was going fishing in Costa Rica.  I commented about how nice that would be to go and he said, “You have 5 children.  That is a MUCH bigger blessing than going fishing in Costa Rica.”  Regret isn’t fun.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      This reminds me of someone I knew in my 20s who expressed the same thing. He and his wife were about 50 when they had their first. I admired his financial wellbeing (he was quite wealthy). He stopped me cold and said, “I’d give it all up to have a house full of teenagers right now.” 

      That’s a testimony that gives you a second thought. I wrote about him in our book, Love Another Child.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BZXHT7XDXDDSOBCWGPTUGYGV5Q Elizabeth

        The wife was about 50 when they had their first? Did they use in-vitro or a surrogate?

        • http://comptines.over-blog.com/ Nicole Snitselaar

          I worked in a crèche where mothers left their young children while getting over a sickness… or a late birth… many were over 50… one even had twins… and I as a young girl I ended up thinking it was “normal”!!!! :-)))))))
          But they were tired and depressed most of the time!

          • Marita

            You probably only saw a subset (the “older, tired” subset) of older parents. I am a parent of young kids at age 50, and trust me, I’ve got loads of energy to play with them.

            I’ve also seen young parents leave their kids at a creche, so it’s really hard to characterize older parents as “bad” or “less worthy.” And why would you want to, anyhow? Are you thinking Chirs and Wendy can’t be good parents to their babies?

      • Marita

        Spoken like  a man who has no teens!

    • Hank

      You are both lucky. Going fishing in Costa Rica is fun, too. Some people have neither one.

  • Amy

    Oh, so true.  All of it.  Especially the “tired” part.  LOL  I joke when friends ask my opinion about parenting, “You should have asked me when I only had 2 kids.  I knew everything then.”  LOL  Good post, as usual.  –Amy

  • http://www.torishomefront.blogspot.com/ Tori

    As far as waiting to start having kids when you’re more mature…I’m absolutely convinced that God has used my children to mature me.  My dh and I married when I was only 17, and I was 18 when my first was born.  I would have been, I’m sure, a very selfish, egocentric person if not for motherhood.  Not that I’m a saint, or anything, lol.  Plenty of faults still to work on!  (I realize the article was about the dad’s perspective, and I’m pretty sure that my dh would agree with me on this.)

  • Kathy

    I had my first when I was 25 and I thought that was too old! lol

    Here I am at 44 and still going. Our youngest is just 10 months.

    I agree with you Chris. I’m tired! lol. Not too tired to be a mother, but too tired to play floor games that our teenagers now do too.

    Parenthood is easier physically if you start young. If you wait until you can afford it, you may never start. OR you could find that you can’t have children if you leave it too late.

    Good post Chris. :-)

  • Rizzi1009

    im 25, my husband is 31 we currently have 5. ages 7 years dow to 4 months. and would love more!

  • Kathy

    I agree Tori. I was selfish and immature until I had my first baby at 25. I hate to think what I would have been like at an older age had I waited.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BZXHT7XDXDDSOBCWGPTUGYGV5Q Elizabeth

    My Dad married for the first, and only time, at 40. I was born when he was 41, my youngest sibling (of five) when he was 53. He was a fantastic Dad and did far more with us than the younger fathers of our peers did with them. My mother’s father was 54 when his first daughter was born and 60 when my mother was born. My mother said he was a great father. The sad thing about waiting that long though is he died before he became a grandfather so he missed out on that, and we missed out not knowing him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tiara-Smith/100000386126152 Tiara Smith

    there are also health benefits to having children at a younger age,like lower risk of breast cancer for women (google that one.) And I was reading that people who live to be 100 are more likley to have been born to younger parents.why? the best DNA goes first.(I’m not saying one shouldn’t have them when they’re older though).

  • someoneinTN

    Unfortunately, younger parents die all the time. Think back 100 years ago before medicine was improved at the number of those who  died from diseases before 25-30 with several young kids. I recall an old saying America invented the grandparent.

  • Hank

    Why is OK to be tired for the kids you have in your 40s and 50s? I don’t expect my teenagers to raise them, or to do most of the “work.” That’s my job. If you are saying you are too tired for the babies you have now, aren’t they being cheated?

    It’s “outdo” not “out do”, by the way.

    • Sheila

      Chris did not say that he expected his teenagers to raise the younger children. There is nothing wrong, however, with older children helping out with their younger siblings.
      Families need to raise their children to have a servant’s heart and a willingness to lend a hand. Every member of a family is a part of a team.
                Raising a child to be the centre of their own universe and to expect people to revolve around them is creating selfish, self-centred individuals.
                 Children aren’t cheated just because you feel tired!

  • Debra Collins

    I like reading your blog and had to comment this time. We have experienced two extremes. We had our first child when I was 19 and my husband 20. Although we were mature for our ages, we did not have a lot of patience, money or life experience. We had two more children in the next 7 years.

    Fast forward to today. I am 50, my husband 52. We have just adopted our two year old foster child. She came to us at 6 months. We are also adopting a one year old from China with a severe cleft lip and palate. We are way more mature, and have a lot more money and unending patience now. We are not trying to succeed at a business, etc., having already been successful in that world. My husband still works and I stay home. We play on the floor with our daughter every night! I don’t really feel tired at all. I don’t eat grains or dairy and just a little meat. I had many health problems in my twenties and thirties from eating those things! My husband is an amazing father, much more so this time around. We are expecting our first grandchild in May. We can’t wait for her to play with our two little ones.

    Tomorrow I will be having my first baseline colonoscopy. My husband is a little scared of me biting the dust and leaving him with two toddlers! So I’ll be doing all the “old people” screenings. I probably wouldn’t bother if I didn’t have the little ones. Who knows, maybe that will save my life.

    There are so many children that need parents out there. There are orphanages where the children are emancipated at 16, given about $30 and put out on the streets. China has thousands of kids with special needs, some very minor, just waiting for a family. There is a huge need for foster parents in this country. Do you think an orphan would rather have old parents or no parents?

    • Hank

      Great post! There is so much emphasis on “having” a child on this blog. Meanwhile, there are thousands of orphans hoping for parents (old or young) around the world.

      We’re older parents, too, and find that we have more free time to spend with the kids, because we are not establishing our careers. Older parents rock!

  • Marita

    “At 41, some people will be perhaps start thinking about life with
    children. I’m starting to think about life with grandchildren.”

    Don’t you already have two children, from your daughter Alicia?

  • Razingruth

    Mr. Jeub,
    You have grandchildren, don’t you?  I thought one of your eldest daughters had a baby (or two)?  I would think being a young grandparent would be a bonus, in some ways, too!  However, I also don’t think there’s anything “wrong” about being an older parent.  Sure, your energy levels aren’t as high as they used to be- but, that’s balanced out by the fact that someone older usually is more financially stable and/or emotionally ready. 

    I do wonder if you see a certain level of hypocrisy in this statement?
    “But just because we can do something doesn’t mean it is right, or preferred, or even a good idea.”  I’m not being snarky.  I’m asking this out of genuine curiosity.  Let’s extend that statement to having 16+ children.  “Just because a woman *can* have a child every year doesn’t mean it’s right, or preferred, or even  a good idea.”   I suspect that you didn’t mean to imply that a man who waited until he was older to have a child was superior to a 19 year old boy getting a girl pregnant.  So long as that parent loves, provides for, and puts the time and energy into raising a happy, healthy child- why does it matter what age they are?  Which is better- waiting for a secure, healthy relationship at forty to start having children or having two 18 year olds rush into a family when they’re not secure?  What do you think?

    • Sheila

      I think you are being snarky!

    • Sheila

      I think you are being snarky!

      • Carla

        I think she is making some good points. Why is it “snarky” to ask questions? Sounds like you don’t have any answers.

      • Carla

        I think she is making some good points. Why is it “snarky” to ask questions? Sounds like you don’t have any answers.

  • Aimee

    Everyone has a different lifestyle.  To be tired at 41, 31, 51 or 61 is personal experience. At 35 with a husband 20 years older and a 3 year old son. My husband is up (some times annoyingly) at 5:30 to mop, do dishes and bike 13 miles to work.  Chris, I welcome you to my home so you can tell husband his son was a mistake. Do you like chicken?

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      Come now, Aimee. Those words would never exit my mouth, and I am not saying older people make the “mistake” of having children. Re-read my article and you should see where I’m coming from. Your reaction does not follow my blog post.

      Do I like chicken? Yes. I don’t get it?

  • Dana

    We started young too and are on baby number eight. So glad we started young! Great blog post. Totally agree with the, “Come to think of it, I haven’t been bored in years!” Life is much more fun when it’s full of children. 

  • John E.

    Tired at 41? Lemme tell ya something Chris. Since I was born, my father has woken up at 5:30 AM and knocked out several miles of rigorous cross-country running. At 55, he’s started Crossfit, and olympic-style weightlifting. He’s been a model of fitness for me and my nine siblings our entire lives, and all of us have adopted similar exercise programs. We’re proud to have a father who exhibits such discipline, both mental and physical.

    Seems to me that tiredness at 40 is a choice of the individual. God willing, barring accidents and sickness, I’ll be going strong well after that age.

    And for those wishing for a “house full of teenagers” at 50, it seems they would do well to investigate the many opportunities available to mentor children from disadvantaged homes. Rather than sighing over opportunities lost in their youth, an individual with ample resources and no children at such an age could do a world of good!