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December 12, 2012

We waited years before having kids. Big mistake?

With a third kid on the way and a 1,100 square foot, one-bathroom Brooklyn apartment, my husband and I talk a lot about when we'll be able to afford a home to comfortably fit our family. I'm 35, he's almost 40, and neither of us thinks we can even begin to contemplate shelling out for a mortgage or higher rent for another five years. In the fall of 2018, all of our kids will finally be in public school, and we will have the $5,000 we pay in child care every month back in our bank account. I will be 41, my husband will be 46, and perhaps then we can start to consider a second toilet.

Not all of that $5K will go toward a family home — to pay for preschool, we stopped contributing to our 401K years ago. So 2018 will also be the year we start paying into it again — not that we will ever be able to retire — and, hey, let's put some away for college, shall we?

Let me just stop you mid-eye-roll to confirm that yes: We are, by the standards of most Americans, rich. My husband and I both have steady jobs, make good salaries and are lucky enough to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world simply because we want to. As Gawker's Hamilton Nolan wrote earlier this year, we can't cry poor just because we don't have a lot of money left after we've spent it all.

So I'm not complaining. But you know what I am doing? I'm wishing. I'm wishing we had started popping out those kids, oh, say, five years earlier than we did, so that maybe, by 40, my bedroom and my sons' bedroom wouldn't be separated by a fake wall. Which is what I thought about when I first saw the cover of this month's New Republic, featuring a photo of a graying couple and their toddler son and the very effective line: "We Are Having Kids Later Than Ever. We Have No Idea What We're Getting Into."

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