The other day I received a call from a close friend of mine. She asked me if I planned on having more children. I laughed a little bit and made a joke about it but essentially told her that in order for me to have another child, I preferred to be married. I also told her that I was perfectly content raising my daughter as an only child. She followed up with a slew of other questions ranging from if I felt overwhelmed being a mother and if I felt that parenthood was expensive. I answered her questions openly but then realized that she was actually surveying my decision to become a mother as some sort of tally mark as to the impending decision she had to make for herself.
For most twenty something millennials, motherhood seems to be this far off plan that is grouped into a fairytale. The plan is normally to graduate college, travel the world, land a corporate job with a great salary, get married, buy a house, and then have children. It is planned so perfectly that when twenty something millennials turn into thirty something women, the conversation starts to change. We start the ticker on our biological clocks in the determination of planning the right time to actually give birth. Women ask themselves – Should I do it? That fairytale turns into a reality really quick.
What’s Love Got To Do With It?
According to research, divorce rates have decreased by nearly 18% between 2008 and 2016 but so are the number of people that are rushing to the alter. In 1960, the median marriage age for women was 20 years old and for men, 23 years old. Fast forward to current day, the median marriage age respectfully is 27 and 29. Even still, it is said that most millennials will be well into their forties and still single.
What does this mean when it comes to having children?
When I have talked to women about this very topic, their responses all mirror one another: who am I going to have children with? While some women are settled into raising children solo (you normally see this with older women who are done waiting for a husband and decide to go through alternative methods to become pregnant and raise a child), the majority of women would like a partner to share the load with. Child rearing is already difficult and the choice to do it alone can make the task even more daunting.
Childcare Can Cost As Much As Your Mortgage
The average cost of childcare in the United States is $11,666 per year but ranges between $3582 and $18,773. Per month, that number breaks down to the average being $972 per month, low cost childcare being $300 per month and high cost childcare coming in at $1564 per month. While financial stability plays a major part in the decision to have children, with today’s economy, it is nearly impossible to plan for these types of expenses with adding in student loan debt, monthly expenses, and for the average millennial, the hopes of travel.
With These Facts, Why Would Someone Actually Want To Have Children?
This article does not seem very encouraging does it? I get it. This is a mommy blog. You expected to click this link and read some overly zealous article about how love conquers all and everyone should sacrifice their lives for motherhood. Here is the low down: becoming a mother is a very beautiful experience but it is also very real. This article began with the hard facts because, those are the parts that stick with people – money and companionship. The truth is though, having a child is a blessing but a responsibility that goes far beyond both of these two things. Women do it every single day and households make it work. You will never be completely prepared for having a child.
As I had this conversation with my friend, I told her a few things. I never encourage women to have children. I encourage women to do what it is that they truly desire. If having children is not what is in their heart to do, never do it – not even for your husband. Mothers are normally the primary parent so the responsibility of raising a child can fall heavily on the mother. Mom shaming a woman into motherhood is wrong.
Love Conquers Much, Like Conquers More
I say this confidently – nearly all mothers love their children. There is a natural bonding that happens in motherhood. Even though the love may be present, a mother must prepare herself for the like and dislike of parenting. There are good days and bad days. There are days where you will look at your child and your heart will melt in love and other days you will cry in the closet and wonder why you made such a crazy decision. This is the reality of parenting in its rawest form.
The truth is though, you cannot enter parenthood with the aspirations that your life will be the same. Your life will not end. You will not turn to dust. Things will just be different. I encourage all women to write their own narrative on motherhood. A woman can choose to make it the most beautiful experience by simply saying, “I commit to this decision.” Ultimately, you will never be prepared especially if it has not been experienced yet.
Do you feel that you were prepared for motherhood?