Okay round two of this whole thoughts entry, now the title is pretty intense and this could be a huge topic of its own.
However today I want to talk about marriage and at what age society ‘expects’ you to get married and have children. The idea for this topic came from when I met up with 3 of my University friends, we meet far and few in between, adult life has taken over – long gone are the days where we literally lived in Oxford Street.
The conversation all started off by discussing how long we’ve known each other, 9 years! Then we started talking about marriage and babies, when we’d like to have them and how old we’d be when our kids turn 20.
Yes that is a scary thought… Out of the 4 of us, I’m the only one whose married so it was interesting to hear their perspective on things and the pressure they’re receiving from different ends.
I think when you come from a Pakistani/Indian background there’s automatically an unsaid ‘expected’ age for marriage. About 10years ago it was 19/20 where you were to get married, now it seems to be more acceptable if you’re in your mid-20′s and after that there seems to be a certain pressure. Pressure from family, friends, relatives and possibly even yourself. And this seems to increase as time goes by…this makes me question why? At the age of 27 I still haven’t really figured out who/what I am. Yes I have a career and a hobby both which I love but I still don’t feel like I’m there yet, where ever there may be. And if I had met Nojmul when I did, I would probably still not be married, the idea of feeling pressured to get married really scares me. And to imagine, there are several women at the moment who are feeling the same pressure. To be fair I think that the pressure of marriage and offsprings lays in most cultures.
My advice to you all do not stress yourself out. If it’s meant to be it will be. If you force it/rush it, you’ll probably settle for someone who you don’t entirely want to be with but decided it’ll do, because you’re freaking out about age, time, etc.
Our conversation moved over to kids – so if you get married at 27, you have a couple years to yourselves, I think thats the ‘accepted’ time-frame before everyone starts questioning ‘when are you going to have a baby’. However for me it started a day after I was married and my sister kept/keeps asking me if I’m pregnant yet. Back to the point I was making, married at 27/28, baby at 30 – by the time your child is 20, you’ll be 50. I’m just going to let that settle in there for a second… 50 sounds as scary as what 25 did when I was 10years old. It’s actually not that far away and if you decide to have more then one child then that means you may even be 55+ to see your youngest get to 20. Okay I’m going to stop there. I feel like now, more then ever, more women are very career focused, owning their own companies, in leadership status in the co-operative industry. Something has to give and it seems like having children is one of those things. And theres nothing wrong with that, if its an individuals choice. It’s my decision if I marry or stay single or just be with someone without a label. It’s my choice if I decide to have children. Mine, not the cultures, not societies. Mine. Women should be congratulated for excelling in their careers, instead of having to choose between one or the other.
For my day job I teach Design Technology focusing more in the realms of Resistant Materials, Electronics and Graphics, in a mixed gender school and the girls that choose the subject are far and few. Whenever I recommend the subject to a parent/girl they often come out with the same comment ‘I/she won’t/doesn’t need the subject in my life’. This again could be whole other topic in its own right but the point is that from a very young age this idea of being solely a homemaker is embedded to some young children’s mind and it carries with them until they’re adults.
I always remind students to work hard in their GCSEs and give it their all and even after trying your hardest all doesn’t go to plan then it’s not the be all and end all. The same applies to women(and men) in their 20s 30s 40s – marriage isn’t the be all and end all. It may all sound a bit rich coming from someone who isn’t in the situation but believe you me I’ve had my fair share of pressure from family and society.
The thing is, we make the traditions and culture so if we want to change it then it’s something we have to actively do together. Some idealistic views on what life should be like was created by people many, many years ago and it suited them at that point in time but things have changed, we’ve moved on.
Think about it, we update our phones to move with society so that we can function to the best possible ability – then why not update culture and traditions about how we choose to live the rest of our life?