This is a response to the popular article Hey Young People: Now's the Time to Get Married and Have Kids. You can read it Here.
As I write this article I am sitting on my couch in my pajamas. I am drinking my second (third by the time I hit publish) beer of the evening and eating queso and chips with my roommate. We are laughing at Taylor Swift and watching 20/20. We are acting exactly our age. We are both 21, and I know that she will not mind me speaking for her when I say neither of us is ready to get married or have kids right now.
An article is making it's way around the internet urging young people to get married and have kids. The author insists it is time. He lists several reasons and paints a happy rosy picture of what it is like to be married and have kids at a young age. I first saw the article on a friends facebook and she happily proclaimed how right he was- she is married with a child, and is 22. Good for her! But does that mean I am ready to have a child? Does that mean I am ready to get married? Does that mean all twenty somethings are ready?
The author gives us 8 reasons why we all need to settle down ASAP:
1. You don't need money to get married.
Well brother, hate to break it to you, but in the great state of North Carolina a marriage license costs $60. To me, this is a week of groceries. No joke. I am so broke that $60 is that crucial. Why would I want to throw that down on a piece of paper to tell me I love someone? Now imagine that maybe I would like a half decent ceremony. Maybe a dress I didn't find in a dumpster. Oh and maybe we wanna get a house and afford things like lights. We are probably going to need some money. The author continues with the way we are willing to spend money on other activities, specifically things like partying or the bar. All I have to say is he clearly never went to nickle draft night if he thinks the bar is anywhere close to a $60 venture for a normal 21 year old.
2. You aren't your parents.
This guy makes it clear his parents had a great marriage, and that's awesome. He then goes on to say he has friends who's parents did not, and they were doomed to a childhood of abandonment and guilt. My parents are divorced. I can honestly say I have never felt doomed. I don't feel like my marriage will be theres, because as he said I'm not my parents. However, if I jump into marriage with the first twenty something I find don't you think the marriage is a little more likely to be doomed?
3. Marriage is about experiencing life with your spouse by your side.
True. This is a big reason why people get married. If I get married I hope I have a life partner. Right now though, I am having fun experiencing life alone. Call me crazy but I like not having to worry about cooking enough food for two. I like not having kids running around screaming. I like staying up until four am binge watching tv and not worrying about waking my husband up. Maybe one day these things won't be fun anymore. Maybe they always will be.
4. Youth is a Gift
True again. This guy is on a role with the facts. He asks who do we give these gifts to...Our bosses? The bar? (starting to take it this guy doesn't like the bar) Corporations? Or do we give them to our spouses and kids? What gets me on this whole reason is that we don't even get the option to give it to ourselves. Is it really so wrong to spend our twenties on ourselves? What about our thirties? What about my eighties if I so choose? My youth, my energy, my endurance is just that- Mine.
5. Family life is Edifying
The author says that families are held together by love and that they help you grow and mature. I agree. He says that spouses and children illuminate your life- I am sure they do. However, he says that no other relationship can compare- specifically not siblings, not best friends, and not parents. This is nonsense. My sisters are my world. My mother is my guiding light. My best friends are my family and would do anything for me. If this is the only family I ever have I will be completely fulfilled. My life is illuminated, and these people help me grow and mature every day without marrying me or being my offspring. The author then goes on to say a long term live in partner is not a substitute for the commitment, love, and sacrifice of a partner you're married to- so basically get a piece of paper or this guy says your significant other loves you less. Insert eye roll emoji.
6. You don't have to wait for The One
I agree with the author that there is not just one person out there we are capable of loving. I have loved more than one person in my life and I sure hope I will get to love another. However, even though I loved them, I am so glad I am not married to them. The author says you choose to love your spouse every day and that the only thing that makes someone your soul mate is marriage, and that is it. Marriage makes them the one. Isn't that the most ass backwards thing you have ever heard? This guy is basically saying it doesn't matter if you marry a hobo you meet at a gas station, if you marry him he is your soul mate. Personally I would rather wait until someone I am compatible with, happy with, and my personality compliments. But hey, that's just me.
7. Biology is a Thing
Sometimes you just read things that make you go WTF. This is one of them. The author starts out with saying he isn't a doctor, but he's pretty sure that there is a window in which women can conceive kids. True, once a woman enters menopause she can no longer have children. He then says we should take this as a hint and that it isn't the best strategy to have kids past your early thirties. Wait, what? I know women who have had healthy, beautiful babies in their forties! This guy just said he isn't a doctor but is handing out medical advice. All women are different, and all their bodies are different. As a woman I will be first to say that while it may be unhealthy to have a baby when your body is not capable (and as someone who isn't a doctor I can't tell you when that is) what is even more unhealthy is having a baby when you aren't mentally ready, no matter what age that might be at.
8. It'll be the Best Adventure of your Life
I bet having kids and a marriage is an adventure. If I ever get to go on this adventure I will be so excited. But what about all the adventures you can't go on anymore once you have a spouse and kids? The author pokes fun at dying your hair blue, going to rock concerts, and drunk dialing your ex. While these may not be your best moments when you look back on them at 80 (or maybe they will be!) they sound pretty fun! Just last night I was talking to my best friend Kimberly about going to a concert...one I couldn't go to if I had kids. There are so many adventures I am looking forward to- law school, moving to Seattle, this coming Thursday night at the bar- that I couldn't participate in if I had a husband and kids in my hair. If having a spouse and kids is the BEST adventure of our lives shouldn't we save the best for last?
If you are my age or close to it and married with kids GREAT! Seriously, I am happy you are happy. Good for you. I am not bashing people who make these choices- but the point is they are your choices, and everyone doesn't have the same right choice. If I was to get married right now I would be miserable. Add a kid into the mix and I would jump off a bridge. I am just not ready- and that is 100000% OK. When I am, be it at 25, 35, or 105 I will figure it out. And until then I am having a great adventure with no money and feel perfectly fulfilled. So, young people, I urge you to use the gift of your youth to do WHATEVER YOU WANT. Think of it as a choose your own adventure book- you are in control. Go to school, get a job, start a blog, dance on the bar, get married, whatever. Just make sure it is the right choice for you.