Young women putting off starting a family

Posted By on September 14, 2011

From the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper:

A generation of young women have been put off starting a family because it will damage their lifestyle, career and looks, a survey shows. One in three childless women quizzed now say they don’t ever want to become a mother while increasing numbers of thirty-somethings in stable relationships and with good jobs have different priorities.

Almost half would rather get on the property ladder than have a baby while 28 per cent would prefer a £100,000 salary, according to a poll of 2,000 women….

Childless women just aren’t willing to make the sacrifices they now see are necessary for motherhood with 44 per cent feeling sorry for working mums struggling to have it all, the survey said. A quarter think working mothers always look exhausted and one in five say it looks so difficult it makes them think twice about having children. Half of childless women over 30 look at stay-at-home mothers and think it will be difficult for them to get back on the career ladder and a fifth believe they’ve lost their identity.

Body issues are also a factor with three in ten worried about the effect pregnancy would have on their appearance.

Read the entire piece at THIS LINK (be warned, there is a big sidebar with lots of tabloid-style photos and article links). There are so many things this survey points to, but notice that the conclusion is for someone to provide “support systems” so young moms don’t feel it is such a struggle to keep a career and have a family at the same time. Interpretation: taxpayer funding should be used to provide “free” day care and paid leave for mothers so they can have the kids and keep the job (see Kay Hymowitz’s earlier article, which comments on this very issue). This means mothers who choose to forgo the second income and stay at home with their children end up footing the bill for those who do not want to make the same sacrifice.

It really is not possible to have both the full-time career and a meaningfully connected mothering relationship with our children. That more young women are choosing careers, houses, and bikini bodies over children is an incredibly sobering commentary on our times and reveals that we have put our trust in what we can have right now to make us happy — rather than being willing to make the long-term investment in the future that is bringing up children to be responsible adults. And, no, this doesn’t mean stay-at-home mothers do not “work.” It means that work is done in the context of the family and with the involvement of children… the household economy model we advocate here at LAF. Much to mull over….

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About The Author

Jennie is the wife of Matthew and mother of ten children, all of whom keep the household bubbling with life, learning, and levity. Jennie co-founded LAF in 2002 with Lydia Sherman and has been delighted to hear from women all over the world who enjoy their femininity and love to cultivate womanly virtues.

Comments

10 Responses to “Young women putting off starting a family”

  1. ShawnaLynn says:

    So encouraged to read “thinking” writers! Thank you.

  2. mrsgrievous says:

    These must be superwomen to still have a nice body after sitting in an office chair all day. I feel like I’m getting too old even at 25 to keep waiting around for someone to marry me.

    Your blog is an inspiration to me. After thinking about how my mother struggled to work and be a single parent (not by choice) and how it affected me to be in day care and school all the time, and then reading your posts, I am excited about the prospects of motherhood. I hope that staying with my future children before they are school aged will be an option for me. :)

  3. We hear this a lot from adults who grew up in day care and “after school care” — many due to divorce and other circumstances that did not allow their mothers to be at home with them. That generation wants something different for its own children, and this is excellent. But don’t be discouraged that you are “too old” at 25! There is so much for single women to do in the church and community that I call them the “secret weapons” of our culture — weapons that have not been properly put to use in the past half century. I highly recommend Christine Pohl’s book, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition. She outlines many of the things single women (including but not limited to widows) did in the early church to make it vibrant and successful and also shows how they reached out into the surrounding community to help others who were struggling. Today we rely on government welfare programs to help those in need when that is an area unmarried women and widows handled for centuries, teaming up with families in the church and other women to be the hands and feet of Christ. In busying ourselves about such things, we get our eyes off our own needs and begin investing in others.

    If God has given you the desire to marry, thank Him for it and ask Him to fulfill the desires of your heart. But there’s no need to just “wait around” for Mr. Right. Find what needs doing in your immediate area and begin to do it. The other side of the coin to careerism is that it robs unmarried women of this precious time to be devoted to Christ and ministering directly to others through discipleship, hospitality, and what Scripture calls “helps.” What a change we would see in our world if women embraced this role again wholeheartedly and made the church a powerhouse for concrete encouragement, giving, and rest for others! Godly men are praying for such spouses — women who are busy about God’s work and focused on others. And as you work alongside Titus 2/Proverbs 31 women, ask them to pray with you for a godly spouse. You never know when someone’s grandmother or aunt will decide to introduce you to a potential mate. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. God means for Christians to network with each other and help each other in just these kinds of ways. When we see it in action, it’s beautiful!

  4. irisT says:

    each time i read such a post I wonder…do you really believe that working mother ALL make a free choiche to work? Well let me tell you, they do not. Most working moms I know would love to stay home, but they cannot :-(

    Let me tell you my story. When I married, my husband and I had the same idea: he would work I would stay home with the little ones. Good idea, except 1 day before our wedding he lost his job.. What is a girl to do? Dump him? Postphone untill he has a new job? Well i was not marrying the job, so I married him. Due to the crisis it was hard for him to get a job. So i had to stay at work.
    Soon i got pregnant with my little girl, and i was still working and my husband still had no job, a year later my little boy came a long still no job. And now a year later I am pregnant with nr 3. And finally my husband finds more and more temporary jobs. So they are temporary, i cannot quit my job (he says) because we have a lot of bills to pay.
    Now let me see, had i just quit my job we would have no income which meant ending up on the street, children being taken by the child protection services, probably and ending up in a two income family that isnot christian.
    So I think I made the right choice, even though all of me screams out to be a stay at home mom.

    now am i bad christian to be a working mom? No i am in fact, just as the bible says, a help meet to my husband, and i think i am a better one than “holy stay at home moms” that force their husbands to work 2 or 3 jobs, and so making it impossible for the fathers to spent any time with their children. Eventhough the bible calls on fathers to educate their children in the word.

    Now I am a good chaste keepre at home, just as soon as i get home. My house is a home, a safe haven, laudry and so are taken care of when the babies sleep, and also my husband tries to help. That is not unholy, that is loving your wife as christ loves his church… He sees i cannot do it alone. And afterall he is more home then I am..

    Now how is my relation with my children? Great, they love me, I love them, when i get home all my time is for my family. This makes them devellop in happy, well manered, good develloped children. Even the people who take care of them when dad is in his temp job say so. I know i have a better relation with my kids then some of the stay at home moms in my church who don nothing with their kids except change and feed them, and shout that they must be quiet because tey cannot follow “as the world turns”, or need to update their blog or read thing that anoy them so they can post that on the blog…

    Do i feel quilty for getting matternity leave? No. I worked since I was 16, payed for my own university study, never was on social security since. And I payed taxes and premiums since then…I am now allmost 40, so i payed enough to be entitled to it. and afterall i pay for peolpes income who came here yesterday and cannot find a job, and “ladies” who get a child from a diffrent man every year without mariage…so i have no problems with getting something i payed for….
    And childcare? We pay ourselve when we need it.

    Now last thing: I work 32 hours, just enough to make do. The day i am home with my babies is the day i educate them, play with them andso.. It is alot of stress and i rather be a stay at home mom.

    And basicly I get a bit tired by reading judgemental posts from ladies who seem to know all..saying i cannot have a good relation with my children our be a good christuian lady just because i work. I know for a fact that they are not perfect, since only god is perfect. And the bible tells us not to judge. So PLEASE donot judge a woman just because she is working, there just might be a very good reason for it.

  5. SusanneT says:

    I consider myself very lucky in that we always intended that I would give up work in good time for the birth of our first child and become a SAHM, I fell pregnant almost immediately and although it has been financially difficult at times I have not had to work outside the home since. My children did/ do attend Nursey – but only for a few hours a week to interact with others, not to free up my time and I am therefore a full time homemaker.

    Both my husband and I feel this is important he would be very against me working and I believe mothers should stay home as a priority over additional income, but I fully understand that this is simply not possible for some, especially as there is no doubt that (sometimes for well meaning reasons / sometimes not) the UK tax / benefit system often discriminates against the traditional family and SAHM’s.

    As far as ‘waiting’ so long to marry and then start a family. There are so many reasons for this. Contraception & sexual liberation mean that men can get what want, and women are surprised when they don’t comit. Men are not attracted to Un-feminie, willfull and self obsessed women as marriage prospects and couples often only marry when they decide to have children – often too late. It’s often very sad !

  6. Iris, please read our “Start Here” article, which addresses this issue. We do not sit in judgment of women who are forced to work due to hardship or circumstances beyond their control. Our beef is with feminists who insist that all women must work, that staying at home with children is not a legitimate choice, and that those of us who do must finance the lifestyle choices of those who do through our tax dollars.

    Look at the mess our country is in financially. We are beyond broke. We are so deeply in debt that it will affect our great-grandchildren’s children. Entitlement programs are the chief reason for this. Government welfare is unbiblical and burdensome on the entire society. Social security is hobbling along on borrowed funds that don’t even exist. Overwhelmingly, it is men who are out of work, yet the federal government has been promising to “create” jobs for women, thanks to the feminist lobby. It’s utter insanity. Kay Hymowitz has written extensively on this topic from many angles, as has Brian Robertson. I highly recommend their work, which demonstrates that forcing more women to work outside the home has cut job opportunities for men and made it much harder for men to support their families on a single income. It can be done, but it is much more difficult than it was even forty years ago.

    As Christians, we need to do everything we can to refuse hand-outs from Uncle Sam, which all come from our neighbor’s pockets. An employer providing maternal/medical leave is one thing; the Federal government forcing taxpayers to cough up for it is another entirely. Please stick around and read more. We have working moms who write for us and even single moms who are making it through work-at-home opportunities and encouraging other women to do the same (even mentoring them through the process). LAF wants to see more moms able to go back home and get out of the rat race, so we’ll continue to publish articles that point ways out. Click on “Getting Back Home” and check the archives for more information.

  7. Amanda says:

    I know that for me at 25 (A college student pusuing a M.A. then a PhD), starting a family is not for me, however I do respect those that do believe it is. Everyone has their path… I’m just not strong enough to be a stay at home Mom. :)

  8. nyb says:

    irisT: Thank-you for being a real woman.

    Jennie: I have some beef to pick with you: “As Christians, we need to do everything we can to refuse hand-outs from Uncle Sam, which all come from our neighbor’s pockets.”

    I’m not saying you do it, I’m not saying a lot of large Christian families do it, but there’s a certain famous large family (The Bates) who on national television admitted to happily taking such hand-outs. They do not have health insurance and rely heavily on the Christian run clinic and the fact that they “can walk into any hospital and get the same care as someone with health insurance” all while proclaiming a debt-free existence.

    Sorry, bud, but someone is paying for that hospital stay. I highly doubt that they are paying off a $5000-a-pop visit with cash the day of release, especially when they need to get free care from the clinic instead of going to a regular doctor’s office. If they could afford to pay for medical bills out of pocket, why don’t they have insurance and thus pay less?

    If you really think that nobody should be using the handouts, then I guess you wouldn’t mind removing the stipulation that all hospitals must serve anyone whether or not they have proof of insurance. My dad likes to call it “get health insurance or die”–just like the good-ol’ days. The same law that lets illegal immigrants get care allows many large Christian families take care of their ever growing breed.

    Don’t get me wrong–I don’t care how many children you choose to have. But if you don’t want me footing the bill for maternity leave, I don’t want to foot the bill when your kid has tonsilitis. My parents taught me to always have health insurance no matter what the cost whether I’m perpetually ill or not. Because the money I pay in while I’m young and healthy is supposed to pay for me if I ever get something really devestating.

  9. nyb, choosing not to go the government health “insurance” route doesn’t mean Christians are choosing to have no insurance whatsoever and hope someone else pays the bill. I’m not sure where you got the idea that you would have to “foot the bill when [my] kid has tonsillitis.” Our family uses Samaritan Ministries, which is a health sharing program where Christians bear one another’s medical needs. Our monthly “insurance” payment goes directly to another family with a health need, along with a personal note to let them know we are praying for them. For minor medical needs (like doctor’s visits for an infection or something of that kind), we just budget a small amount each month. If we don’t need it one month, it rolls into the next month. It can be done. We’re paying for braces for two children out of pocket, along with all minor medical needs. (Major medical is shared through Samaritan.) If something “really devastating” comes down the pike, the thousands of Christians participating in Samaritan are there for us…not some taxpayer-funded program.

  10. GrowingGirl says:

    I wish more people would quit thinking of marriage and children as confining and soul-crushing. Motherhood can be such a blessing if you change your mindest! My sister thinks of it that way, and I always try to tell her how excited I am to get married and start a family. I get the classic, “You won’t even know who you are!” It’s so sad! They act like you’ll turn into a blood sucking, soulless vampire . . . lol:) I love your articles! They inspire me and keep me motivated. Thank you!

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