Monday, May 23, 2016

A Millennial with an Old Fashioned Lifestyle


Recently I stumbled across an article on Refinery 29 that talked about how to tell your parents you don't want children. The comments on the article were endless of twenty-something year old women that decided to never have children. They agreed that it was so difficult when they told their parents they have no desire to settle down and have children. For many different reasons, this seems to be the trend among millennials and the article addressed the difficulty they have going up against the 'old fashioned' family themed generation of their parents.

Frankly, I disagree with the entire article. As someone who was born in the 1990's, I don't feel like the criteria they placed on millennials and their parents were correct. They implied that when you hit a certain age you were expected by society and family to start procreating. I don't view parents of millennials as 'old fashioned' or can even see how the majority of them expect their children to make offspring.  In fact, I think most people in the world today wish millennials would not pro-create. The parents of the children born in the 90's were very career driven and modern. It was about woman's rights in the workplace and how women shouldn't have to stay home with their children. At least, thats what I saw in the movies.

The parents of the 90's paved the way for what is considered 'norm' now. The average American family this year consists of both parents working full-time jobs while they pay a babysitter or school to take their children each day. The average American twenty-something woman is either a single mother or a single woman without children.

I found telling my parents and friends we were having children much harder than if I had said we weren't , and at age 21, was I crazy? I was met with reluctant excitement. I could see the fear in their eyes, Would we be able to support children? What about my children's safety in this rapidly declining world? I'll be honest, I have the same fears. Parents only want what is best for their children and it is almost instinct to worry about them no matter their age.

I got married young, at eighteen to be exact. So, I've seen these same half-hearted congratulations before. I was the girl always one step ahead of all the other girls my age. It was easy for people to question my life-decisions. So, why did I decide to have children?

I have had the unfortunate experience of watching five of my grandparents die over the last few years. With four of them, I was lucky enough to hold their hand in hospice. I'll never forget sitting in the hospice room with my great-grandfather. He was napping, still slightly coherent. I remember holding his hand and talking about the paradise, he squeezed my hand just a little tighter. Then the rest of the family came back from lunch. I looked around and realized the only people in the room were his two children, a few grandchildren, and many great-children. His wife, my great grandmother, had passed from Alzheimer's many years before.

Thats when I realized if he hadn't had children, he would be in a room completely alone right now. Dying completely alone. They say you come into this world alone and you go out of it alone but thats not true. You come into this world alone with a room full of people that already love you, You should go out of it the same way. This was the most terrifying and painful experience of his life and he was surrounded by the people he loved for the sole reason that he had children.

People say millennials are selfish, they are selfish for not wanting the responsibility of children. But I can honestly say I am selfish for having children. I did it to be surrounded by people I love. I did it so I wouldn't have to be alone. I wanted to see what the love of my husband and I could produce. I wanted to see the dream that we had as two young kids. So maybe millennials are selfish haha. But even so, I'll continue to be one step ahead, and make as many babies I want.

What do you think would be harder? Telling your parents you are never having children or telling them you are having children?

2 comments:

  1. Anna, I love your strong writing style. The piece about holding your great-grandfather's hand was so well expressed. You write like you have something to say and are going to say it! I like that very much. Write on! - TOM

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