This article is in relation to the surrounding environment and many generation Xs opting out of parenting not out of chose because they do not want kids but more because they don’t think they can get time off work, the support they need or the financial barrier to support them. It is a sad fact as even though we are over populated – the fact that people are choosing not to have them for those reasons is a problem.
- According to a new study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, 43 percent of Gen X women and 32 percent of Gen X men do not have any children
- Instead, ambitious Gen Xers feel stalled in their careers and are working 60+ hour weeks trying desperately to keep their debt levels under control. The combination of huge student debts (Gen X is the most educated generation and is now paying for it) with the current financial turmoil and lack of advancement opportunities (those boomers aren’t retiring quickly enough!)
Opting Out or Feeling Forced Out of Parenting?
In a Washington Post article, Petula Dvorak writes:
‘Nearly half the women who make up Generation X — 43 percent — have no children. Attribute it to more opportunities in the workforce, relaxing social pressure, advances in contraception or watching women such as myself slip into an increasingly dishevelled state of hysteria for years after childbirth and vowing not to follow suit. She then goes on to talk about the issues of debt, ambition, stalled careers and long hours that were mentioned in the study and ultimately concludes that this isn’t just some contemporary trend toward being child free. Rather, despite the supposed choices that women of our generation have, as significant contributors to the family income (91% of Gen X women are part of a dual-earning couple and one third of them out-earn their spouses), many Gen Xers may feel there is simply not enough financial wiggle room to have children.’
Where Are Our Choices?
- Need to allow one parent or the other to take some time off to have and raise children are missing.
- Those supports include maternity and parental leave, decent affordable health care options and subsidized day care.
- On the other hand, society also needs to be more accepting of men as parents
- We need to push for a society that values family and parenthood.
- One that recognizes that role that parents play in raising the next generation.
- One that recognizes that fathers, like mothers, may need to strike a balance between their career and their family life.
- One where women don’t feel that they have to be an equally uninvolved parent in order to reach their goals, but where they can ask their partner to step up too.
- Women also need to be willing to let go, work with their partners and accept that they cannot do it all.
- Parenting while having a career is challenging, requires sacrifices and necessitates an acceptance of less than perfect.
Support is Key
- Parenting is hard and people need to feel supported in their choice to become a parent.
- in difficult economic times where families are having trouble making ends meet and where fear of job loss has people putting in longer hours for less money.
- When societal support for parenting does not exist, it is no wonder that more people are opting out.