Monday, October 29, 2012

Over-Planning Parenthood

THIS is an interesting article written by a Singaporean girl on her thoughts about getting ready for marriage and starting a family, the preparations she and her husband-to-be must go through and have in place before saying 'I Do'. At the pace the cost of living outrace the dual income expected the chance of a marriage materialising appears dim. The problem is over managing a biological event and the cause of it is we no longer feel safe for our future. Perhaps we have become convinced that we must master our future in order to be successful and it comes with proper planning and results to show. I believe this approach is wrong and cause endless problems.

Firstly, we must admit that we are alive so we can procreate to keep the human race going. For the first time in our history we are now beginning to see population decline in the civilized and developed world. Better health care, lower infant mortality and higher standards of living assure longer life span while at the same time people wants to sacrifice less and enjoy more. In the equation of birth-life-death, people live longer and takes longer to die. Couples no longer see it is their responsibilities to have children, many are quite content to leave their wealth to foundations or charities after they go. For them, children are a choice and they may not need to rely upon them when they are old. Friendship can be found among their peers in nursing homes and dying is in the hands of paid professionals who are experts in burying the dead with an honorable homegoing party.

However, for a large segment of the human race, having children is almost mandatory, so like this writer, she wasn't discounting not having children, but having them later and fewer. To me it isn't the right decision. Just like waiting for Mr. Right to come along when you aren't sure who he is. So when is the right time to marry and have children?

Unless circumstances prevent you from marrying early, my advice is get married not later than 30, ideally between 25-28, and the men should be of the same age or a year or two older.

Assuming you marry at 26/28 (girl/boy) and start having children within 2 years, then you will become parents at 28/30. By the time you reach 50/52 your eldest child will be 22 and just about to enter the workplace, and you preparing for retirement in a few years. By then, your eldest child will be in courtship and also planning marriage. If you are lucky when you retire you will be elevated to grandparenthood and experience the joy of having babies to watch over. Admit it we all love to have grandchildren. I know of many friends my age and older without grandchildren now feeling loneliness. Either they marry late or their children don't plan to get married or marry in their mid to late 30s.

Many young people don't (or can't) marry because they keep looking for Mr. or Ms. Right and for every lost year the choices narrow tremendously. Some like this writer wants to be ready financially, but this is the wrong pathway. Financial readiness is a shifting post and the longer you defer settling down the more your body gets used to singlehood and then your brain starts telling you that getting married is going to be troublesome. If you have already spent 35 years living alone, why decide to spend another 35 with somebody? It may be a huge risk. As we get older I dare say we also get less romantic but more practical. Many bachelors and spinsters I know are happy where they are.

When you fall in love, don't wait for signs and approval. When you want to have babies, don't count your savings and think of education and climbing career ladders. When you hesitate and wait you allow yourself to be dictated by the unknowns and hence lose out the joy and challenges of become parents. There is no such thing as being ready to become (successful) parents. It is an illusion young people should avoid.

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