40 years ago women were expected to get married, have kids and homemake for their husbands. Thanks to world war II and women’s lib in the 70s the expectations for women are different. We are now expected to thrive in the workplace as a blue collar employee and share child rearing duties with our partners and nannys. This is obviously a hard thing to manage which is why people are waiting longer to have kids and why the Howard government has to give away money to induce people to start putting buns in ovens. I’m nearing 30 and only a few of my friends are pregnant or even married. Things have changed a lot since the 60s.
But I don’t think this is the only reason why people have held off on having kids.
It’s fun to be a child. You have no responsibilites, you get to play all day and you still have a joyous wonderment about the world instead of a jaded know it all approach. You don’t have to worry about mortgage payments, taxes or career enhancing opportunities. The minute you buy your own house or have a kid you are forced to start making adult decisions. Life becomes all about the next pay packet, meeting or phone call that takes you on your goal to paying off the 30 year debt or making your garden look that much prettier.
I don’t take any joy in any of that. Yeah the pay packet these days is a hell of lot better and not renting means no surprise visits from the real estate, but the cost in those things adds up to more than just money. I find myself longing for no responsibilites and a tent somewhere near the beach to enjoy life. Some people can work 9-5 five days a week and live for those times away from work. Some people even live for their work. They enjoy the security of a house over their heads and a constant stream of cash.
I guess I’m not brave enough yet to take the jump out of that security . Will some catalyst force me to make some major life changes or will I just eek out my days silently chipping away my soul till there is nothing left. Or will I just constantly whinge on my website about how much my life sucks when there are much bigger problems out there than my struggle with middle class australian suburbia? Is my problem just that I read The Women’s Room at the influencial age of 16?
The truth is I want to be a kid again or at least have that spontaneity that a child has. Instead I have the guy at the food court knowing that I always have a coffee breaka and the lady at the coffee shop automatically writes down flat white. My teenage horror has come true… I’m terribly predictable!