When Are Men Too Old for a Baby?

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Recently, an issue so-powerful-it-could-only-be-emailed was batted around the hallowed halls of EcoSalon. The issue was complex, kind of like asking 24-to-39-year-old women to name their favorite Jonas Brother. Sure, the middle one seems a bit cute, but is it really okay to have an opinion on the matter? And while we’re on the subject, could our own Stiv Wilson be dreamier while reporting on insanely important issues around the globe? Probably not, and let’s get back on target. (Seriously, people!)

Rather, the EcoSalonistas were debating another topic – and that was men having children past 50. As some of us saw it, people will go all monster judgey on women having kids over 40, but no one bats a fake eyelash over men doing the same. NBC’s 30 Rock is gravely exploring this topic as 50-year old Jack Donaghy has a baby with his younger girlfriend. He tells Liz Lemon, “50 is the new 40 for men. 50 is still 60 for women.” To quote the great Tina Fey via the great Liz Lemon, “Whatever, Tony Randall.”

Men often remarry or have children late. Aforementioned actor Tony Randall has his last child at age 78, while Charlie Chaplin had his last at age 73. Yet bring up a woman having children into her 40s and you’re going to hear some hooting and hollering on the matter. Recently, the bloggers over at Babble raised a spectacle on the web when they mocked a group of 30s-to-early-40s actresses who dared to risk aging out of their barren wombs. (The original article has since been taken down, but luckily our friends at Jezebel still have it cached.)

We responded by looking at the issue of fertility drugs for the plus 35 crowd o’ women. But what about the boys and men? Do men worry about older paternity? Or do they fantasize about changing dirty diapers alongside young girlfriends who look like Elizabeth Banks? We polled a few, prodded some others, and found the following.

PROS OF OLDER DADHOOD

“Derek” (names all changed for privacy aka “How many people are going to read this now?”) thinks older fatherhood enables more financial security and a better life for his kids. Stephanie’s husband is 16 years older, and she tells me that he’s very attentive, calmer and nurturing with their kids. And research backs this up, as “older dads are three times more willing and more likely to share in the daily child rearing tasks, including diaper changes, feeding the toddler, and putting the kids to bed.” Steve said he’s not ready to settle down anytime soon (Steve is 42) so it’s either older fatherhood or nothing. Probably nothing. Thank you, Steve.

CONS OF OLDER DADHOOD

Mike thinks older fatherhood means “more cash, less ass.” Quippy, and as Captain Obvious might point out, indicative of the fact that some people believe children cost money and can hinder your ability to sleep with women, sexually or otherwise. David says “having less energy” and “uh, DYING” as a con of being an older father. And Mitchell told me that he doesn’t want to be mistaken for his kid’s granddad.

Image: Courtesy of NBC

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DISCUSSION

4 thoughts on “When Are Men Too Old for a Baby?

  1. At the tender age of 39, I don’t think I’ve ever been in better shape to be a dad.

    Which is a long way from saying I’m ready for it. Which is good, because I have no plans for it in the near future. :)

    But I’d like to be a father one day, although I’m not feeling any pressure right now about it. As ‘Derek’ says, an older age can equate to better financial security, and since I’m only a few years into a new career I certainly need that extra time to establish myself.

    In my sleepy English hometown, I saw quite a few guys I knew from school become fathers in their 20s by default. They didn’t plan it, they didn’t want their routine to change, but it happened and they simply dealt with it. And that’s a type of fatherhood I’m eternally glad I missed ending up with, back in my, um, skirt-chasing, semi-clueless late teens. Appalling as it may be, that’s a pretty common pattern if I’m any judge.

    On average, the longer that men wait, the more level-headed they are about it all, and therefore probably the more dependable. That’s what my gut says…

 

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