Why I Refuse To Jump on The Baby Boom • LOVE, SEX & RELATIONSHIPS

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Baby Bears

Okay so I thought this was a 'thing' like a trend of the moment in 2015, not necessarily a good one... but lot's of people were having babies. Aw cute... No. Not so much. It seems again in 2016 Facebook is constantly popping up with announcements of people 'expecting a little bundle of joy.' Don't get me wrong children have amazing qualities, such as the leap of faith to do things, us adults (probably) wouldn't dare, they are inquisitive and caring, however let's not avoid the obvious... they do require a lot of time and responsibility.  Something that I think this day and age are to frivolous about and don't quite process... you know, the fact that it's a person?! So before you read this post and think I'm a child hating demon, let me just stress that these are some of the procedures that I think should be in place before bringing another number into this overly populated planet.

This post was inspired by numerous conversations I've had over the last couple of months with various friends of mine, all in different stages of their lives, professional and personal, and it seemed they were all sensible enough to come to the conclusion 'What are people thinking getting pregnant at such a young age?!' And before you read on and get offended, this is an early warning that this post is my brutally honest opinion and it's not for the faint hearted. So if you are likely to throw a strop, please exit this post pronto. I would also like to note that this post is pretty long, so you may want to grab a cup of tea or a glass of water and some popcorn as we dive into this topic of conversation.

So... Now you have been officially warned... My Mother had hopes of going to a top dance school to pursue her dream of dancing, which she had trained for in multiple classes a day, every day of the week since the age of three. However at the age of 20 that dream all came crashing down when I started to grow in her womb. Yep, like a little alien I grew inside her and well... you know the rest. Sure enough my young mother had to re-evaluate her life, bought her own businesses and her life took a completely different direction. She raised me single-handedly and then I flew the nest and went to a Performing Arts college and then to the worlds top Fashion School. Simple right? Wrong!
Parenthood is about so much more then buying cute baby clothes, and pushing them in a pram down the high-street. It ends an era of your life and embarks you on a completely new journey called parenthood. So kiss goodbye to weekends away frolicking with your friends at festivals at the drop of the hat, or the chance to just pick up and move countries, travel the world or even have a mental night out on the town where you don't make it home until two days later and you're not sure how you've been up so long. You are now constrained to time schedules of your child's lifestyle and it's habits of sleeping and eating.
And as all young Mothers say 'I don't regret having...' or 'It's made me a better person' (rubbish, has it! - The only difference now is you care more about someone else than you do about yourself slightly) or my personal favourite 'It's changed my life for the better' (again has it really) I think it's important to note that they also all say 'If I could go back of course I would do a few things differently with my life' (i.e. have a career and a nice house and probably a husband and a decent wage coming in before bringing life onto Earth). This is always hilarious to me, as although of course children are precious and loved by those closest to them, it's more often then not in today's society that they don't exactly bloom at the most ideal of times. What do I mean by this? Let me explain...

(So as pre-warned, if you are offended I'm sorry. But this is observation from my own Facebook timeline and so many of my friends. So again sorry. I do not mean to annoy you personally if you fit into any of the following...)

Okay, so I'm going to attempt to paint a general picture in your head of probably about 25% of your timeline at the moment. '... and I are are lucky enough to announce that we are expecting a baby!' Great. Another girl from your school, who you know lacks for too much intelligence to be bringing up a baby. Am I surprised? In many ways yes, but in other ways no. Everyone starts commenting how wonderful the news is, how they are 'blessed' and excited for their arrival. Hold up... is this so great?
Society today has told us that being a young mother is ultimately okay, because age doesn't depict who is and isn't a good mother... True. Age doesn't define someone's ability be mature enough and ready to raise another human. However, what does depend on who is and isn't a ready for the joys of motherhood, is their ability to look after themselves and to make the obvious judgement of when is appropriate to have a child.

Whilst being raised as an only child by a single Mother was something I enjoyed growing up, I cannot deny the possible psychological benefits of having the stable paternal support of my biological Father and how the outcomes for my opportunities would have been greatly improved if I had the 'standard' two parent set up. Yet whilst these couples on Facebook post pictures of their first scans, who haven't been together long enough to be able to say they can survive the tests of anything the world throws at their relationship or to fully know each other's capability to be a loyal parental unit, I wonder why their parents haven't installed some levels of sensible decision making in them?

 Being in a relationship can at times be like a job. A good job, your dream career in fact, but still a job. It's not something to take for granted and definitely involves a lot of effort on both sides, but like a job, you see results for good work and promotions up the ladder if you continue to do well. What starts as relationship comes moving in, then perhaps a proposal if that all goes well, maybe a pet later on, then a wedding and you become a married couple. Following passing these steps should come a baby. When you are in a stable settled place in your life, under your own roof with someone who has dedicated their life to you in sickness and in health. However when in a relationship for under a year and decide to make a lifetime decision with someone they barely know, it doesn't seem like a recipe for a happily ever after. Instead I see multiple jobs and no stable career prospects, money struggles, low rent apartments that you can barely afford and arguments with over child support. Which sounds better?

Now don't go thinking I know their are exceptions to the rules, of course there are. Some people have children and then get married, however in these cases it's most likely that they have been together a considerable number of years and survived most relationship challenges such as first holidays, a serious illness, a job loss or some form of struggle. They know their partner well enough to know they won't bail on them when the going gets tough and will flake when the seas are rough and choppy.

So whilst I sit here and arrogantly judge the poor youths of today, who have no university degree or are climbing up a stable career ladder, having children when they still act like them themselves, what is my actual solution or alternative to this sudden baby boom? Well... here's 13 little pointers that may give you a bit of a clue if you're ready to have a child or not.

1. If you can't look after yourself and stand on your own two feet, don't teach someone else how to stand on theirs.  It doesn't take a genius to work out that if you're still living with your parents or have just got your own place for the first time, you're probably not 'adult enough' to be adding another person to your living arrangement. 

2. If you are working the job a 16 would do as a first job or are working multiple zero-hour contracts you are not in a stable position to fund a child. It also doesn't take a genius to work out that babies are expensive. Toddles are expensive. Children are expensive. Teenagers are expensive. Being an adult in general is expensive. At no point is life not expensive when you are funding your own lifestyle and that of another growing human being. You will need to be spending more money on things your friends are spending on going out, eating in nice places, going on holiday, festivals abroad, new furniture for their flat. But now you're going to have to wait to fix your broken coffee table or kitchen cupboard because you have to pay for a new school uniform and a book bag, they need you to bake something for the school bake sale. It's no longer about you, you need the money to fund the activities and interests of your child, be it swimming, playing an instrument, gymnastics... etc. etc.

3. If you don't have a serious amount of savings or the money to put into an ISA, or even know what an ISA is, you probably shouldn't have the finical strain of a child.  This point is a natural continuation from point two, meaning that if you're currently living like a celebrity for the first three days of the week and a homeless person for the rest, making a £10 note last you from Thursday until Monday, you're clearly not finically sensible or mature enough to handle to great pressures of paying out for another person. If you can't handle your finances and the ability to save what are you going to do about baby bonds and ISA's for when they grow up? 

4. If you had been presented with the idea of having a child 2-3 years ago and it wasn't a plan you already had in your head, don't suddenly think because you're pregnant it's a good idea. I think being a parent should be a definite sign of reaching a mature-enough level of adulthood, that you can look after yourself so well, you can now focus on another human. I know that I am not ready to be thinking about being a parent to someone so impressionable within the next two or three years, no way! I've got more travelling to do, Connor and I will be studying for Masters and PhD's. It's just not the right time. If you feel that the idea of someone showing up on your doorstep somewhere between now and the next couple of years at any given moment and handing you a baby to look after for the rest of your life scares the living daylights out of you, they hey, guess what... you're not at the ideal time to be calling yourself a parent. There are plenty of easy ways to stop yourself getting in a sticky situation, there are many types of contraception - I'm one for the pill, and of course condoms. If you're not planning on having a baby, make sure you're wrapped up and protected against the shower. The baby shower that is. Just because you fall pregnant means you have to go ahead and have a pregnancy. You're an idiot if you fall pregnant without meaning to in the first place as their are multiple ways to protect yourself, but don't suddenly think if an accident happens and you've been safe that it's suddenly the right time. If you're unemployed and still in your old room at your parents and dating multiple people... Don't have a baby.

5. If you haven't got a clue about which parent-type you want to be or which parenting techniques you and your partner will employ, you clearly haven't thought this through well enough to have the responsibility of a child. Now I'm not saying that you have to have everything worked out, as life is full of surprises and things will always change unexpectedly; however you will probably from time to time seen a mother shouting at a crying baby in a pram or been ignoring their child and talking loudly into their phone on a bus journey or even screaming their name as they run loose down the street and thought to yourself 'I would never do that with my kids' or 'I am not going to be like that when I'm a parent.' Right? It's natural to judge those who seem incapable of controlling a two year old who's the size of a large teddy-bear, the children who just scream and shout in a place clearly not aimed for children and just questioning why on Earth they brought their child to said obviously adult environment and those parents who just think that shoving sugar and fatty processed foods is a good idea to keep them quiet and calm. So if you find that you have a rough idea of what diet you would want your child to eat, what type of routine and extra-curricular activities you would try and encourage them to try and pursue, what sort of clothing, bedroom, entertainment ideas you would have, then you are in the planning-parenthood mode of thinking. If you have no clue what to feed a child, when is a sensible bed time, what bath temperature they should have and when they should be bathed at all, I'm going to say now... you need to be thinking of this before having a baby.

6. If you would require help from your parents/friends/family/out-sourced help multiple nights a week you aren't ready for a child. Your parents have their job, they've fulfilled their part of the deal of bringing you up and raising their own child, they do not have to immediately become the parents to your child because you can't be bothered to suck up to the responsibility of looking after your own off-spring. You clearly aren't in the mindset to be settling down and raising a family, so don't bother bringing a family member into the world.

7. If you haven't thought about which area you want to raise your child (or haven't moved their already) and what school system you want your child to go to, then you aren't thinking about raising a child. For me a child's education is priceless, the opportunity to learn and be inspired, to discover a talent and to be in a positive and active learning environment is one of the most important parts of their brains growth and development. You want to make sure that you are happy with the school you're sending your child to and believe that they will be able to thrive and flourish in this establishment. I know that I want my child to go to be best possible private school, because it's something I always wanted myself. My mother didn't want me going to an all girls school, which for me was the closest private school in my area, despite it being one of the best in our county, she said she wanted me to have a 'normal' upbringing and not believe that money could get me what I wanted, that hard work and a social scene needed to co-operate and for me to learn about multiple backgrounds. That was her choice, my choice is to give my child an education in a smaller school with a historic background in a nice country location. If the idea of what type of upbringing you want your child to have and where you think is best for them to live, then other important life decisions aren't on your wave-length. This indicates that you're not thinking about the full responsibility of being a parent and the important choices you need to be planning ahead.

8. If you weren't planning on having a baby within the next year or two, then you probably haven't thought about anything else well enough to have a child. A similar point to number four, this is more about the discussion between partners of where they are at in their relationship and what stage they are looking to move to next. If you haven't been together more than about three years or so, I would say it's far too soon to be having children. Raising children is a mutual decision, as the idea of a family is about having a strong working unit with a good, healthy relationship. If your partner is adamant they don't want to think about having kids in the next couple of years, you surprising them with a baby bump is not going to change their mind. It will probably send them running for the hills. I repeat my above point that you can prevent having a child. Wear condoms! Or better yet, "Don't have sex. Because you will get pregnant and die."

9. If you look at the age your parents had a child and think 'I could not have done that at that age' you probably shouldn't be having one either. This is probably one of the quickest ways you can assess how 'ready you are' for becoming a parent. Like I said my Mother was 20, I'm 20 this year and that impresses me that she had the capability and maturity to look after me so well, however I do not possess that same level of mature decision making and therefore should not be having a baby any time soon. Your parents may have been in their thirties and reading this at the age of 28 be thinking 'I'm still not ready!' but that's okay no one is forcing you to have children, the universe is not going to think any less of you for not procreating. The world is so overpopulated and in so much debt and environmental damage you're actually doing the world a huge favour.

10. If you don't know how to use English grammar correctly and form articulate sentences, you probably shouldn't be teaching another person to speak. It's not a moo-moo, or a bah-bah, or even an oink-oink - it's a cow, a sheep and a pig. Please don't pass down your idiocy onto the future developers of our world, read them classic children's bed time stories, develop their imagination and creativity through the power of books and the written language. No one likes the sound of a 'chav' so don't bring a child into the world speaking like one. They should be able to use the words 'their and there' correctly, be able to understand the difference between affect and effect and no know to articulate a sentence without using text talk or slang for every other word.

11. If you find it difficult to do basic things such as waking up at or before 6am, using household appliances (such as a washing machine or the ability to clean an oven) or cook healthy nutritionally balanced meals, you are incapable of the responsibility of caring for someone else. I know so many of my friends who think waking up early is somewhere between 9 and 10am. I wake up at 5:30-5:45am to make sure I get everything done that I need and that I am being productive. That's just for me as one person, not scheduling in anyone else. Just me. Solo. Connor and I have a planned Skype session once a week we are so busy and when I come up to Sheffield to stay with him for a week or two, our schedules continue to operate in the exact same way as if we were apart. 
The only difference is that we both decide on a meal plan and split the cost of the shopping for that week and of course sleep together in the same double bed. We are now showering and brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed at the same time, together, no longer alone. But our working day does not alter. Whilst some may find this weird that I travel for over four hours to see my boyfriend and then don't spend every waking moment with him - for us it works perfectly as I can blog and edit, meanwhile he goes off and does hours of cycling training. It's a harmonious partnership that suits both of us. 
Meanwhile, his flat mates seem to spend all day in bed nursing raging hangovers, getting up around 4pm and start drinking at 8 or 9pm and partying until 10am the next morning. Not exactly the most responsible way of living. Because of their drug-fueled habits and their inability to have a sensible routine or any fun without the influence of some kind of stimulant it's clear to say that, should they stupidly sleep with someone under the influence and not take proper pro-cautions, they are a) a fool to themselves and b) in no way ready for that kind of role. They can't wash up, use a slow cooker, make rice or even clean up any form of mess they make, let alone take the bins out. None of these traits are the ideal foundations of a parental candidate.
If you find that ironing is a difficult task and you can't separate your washing without help or you seem amazed that one person can cook a roast for a family all by themselves, then please do not think it's a good idea to be welcoming a new addition to the world. 

12. If you didn't go to university because you couldn't be bothered with the hours of studying, the thought of moving out and having no money or any of the other elements of being an independent student, you probably should be having a child at the age of university student. I'm not saying that a university degree makes you a perfect parent, however those who actively oppose the idea of spending the minimum of three years obtaining a degree because of the amount of work or the effort that you need to put into it, in order to get a first is quite honestly worrying to then hear the same person talk about having a baby. Babies are a lot more effort and hours on end than sitting down in the library to write an essay, or studying in your halls for your end of term exams. If you don't want to be a student because you like the idea of earning money and living more luxuriously than the average student... well I hate to break it to you but you're less likely to earn yourself up to the ranks of a high earning income with no grad scheme or degree to fall back on. Unless waitressing is your life goal, then by all means carry on serving me food. Also on the same note about money, you won't have any if you have a child because you will be paying for the fact you have a baby. Am I missing a loop hole in obvious common sense here? 

13. If you don't understand the way our country is run, basic political news and information, and the legislation or what the parties stand for, you're probably not at a part in your life where you are able to fully understand how this affects you and your future. You don't have to be a politician or work in London's Westminster to know what the heck is going on with the future of your country and therefore how your life is ultimately going to be dictated and run according to the law. If you don't vote in political elections because you can't be bothered, you have no clue what's going on or simply don't care... you are sadly mistaken and should start giving a damn about how the world is shaping to be and start investing your time in learning how your child and therefore you are going to be dealing with the new changes to the system. Politics, although you may not think or notice it, creates a huge aspect of our day to day lives and especially our finances. If you don't like what our country spends it's money on, don't sit there and moan if you haven't made a vote. You are not entitled to your opinion if you haven't used the opportunity to let your voice speak. If you vote and then are unhappy with the changes, you've tried to shape the country with your single stand and are obviously concerned about your wellbeing as well as others and therefore your child's as well. 

Whilst I am perfectly aware that it is none of business what other people do with their lives and as long as they are happy it shouldn't matter, I am also aware that everybody judges. Even if it's silent. I however am simply voicing an opinion online for the world to read, and my opinion stems from knowing that whilst this happy news is all well and good now, give it a few years when they inevitable find parenting a lot harder than they imagined and the sleepless nights are destroying their health and my tax paying money is raising their child, that they may agree they should have waited a few more years to reach their mid 20s or 30s to have another persons life in their hands.

Apologies to anyone who is offended by this post, however everyone is entitled to voice and opinion, which given opportunity most will.
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1 comment:

  1. This is awful, some one needs to slap some sence into you