I just read an article in The Guardian about how millennials have become “priced out of parenthood.” How, in the struggle to earn enough to pay off their tertiary education and buy a house, they have nothing left over with which to raise a child. It makes me wonder: what’s our obsession with being SO financially secure?
I mean, I understand that it’s important to look after your kids. And I empathise with couples living in shared housing or who don’t have the support of extended family to fall back on. But I do have to consider that this attitude is all over the place, even for people who could quite comfortably start a family. Is it even possible to get to a point of complete and utter financial perfection where all else is taken care of and you can 100% safely pay your child’s way?
Over the years, I have seen many couples chase the perfect moment for having a child – which is somewhere after securing the latest car, purchasing that dream home or doing those renovations, getting that promotion, and of course after this and that overseas trip. Does this mean they’ll be waiting forever?
I guess I’ve been brought up in a home – a busy and happy home – where every child is a gift from God. Mum and Dad told us that if they were generous with God, He’d look after them. And considering we’ve gotten wealthier with the arrival of each child, that’s an argument I’m in no position to fight. Immigrant parents who used to struggle to treat us to McDonalds are now almost done putting nine kids through private schools, and living in a nine-bedroom house (with Nana too), where we are never wanting for anything. Whether you have faith or not, you have to agree that it worked for them, and you have to see that we have more than ever before.
Children aren’t meant to be convenient. Even if a child does come when their parents have everything else in place, they’re sure to bring their own kind of chaos. We’ve become so used to controlling everything – like our bodies – that kids just become another part of our plan. This seems like a selfish attitude to take towards such a miraculous gift.
It’s funny – in the developing world, couples have more children to ensure their financial security: because their kids will grow up and take care of them. And here in the developed world, we do the opposite and then are shocked when we can’t fall pregnant as easily as planned, or when we end up surrounded solely by our collected possessions. Okay perhaps that’s dramatic, but really, is it that bad? Children don’t need much to start – just milk from their mother, really. Have a little faith. A bit of struggle is worth all the joy that comes with it, right?
After all, there’s got to be a reason for that age-old saying, about how every child arrives with a loaf of bread under its arm. Every baby brings joy and all kinds of good things with its arrival!