Hometown family breeding

Life was very simple in the town that I grew up in.  Expectations were low, ambition not really something people really focused much on, and goals were pretty much in place to tick the following boxes:

  • Be employed
  • Rent a house
  • Have enough money for food and booze
  • Get married
  • Have kids

Usually the latter was done by the tender age of 21.  In fact, it was so common that my mom used to tease me about being “on the shelf” at the age of 23, as I was the only single one of all my friends.  More so, by the age of 23 I was godmother to 4 children. Finishing school was encouraged, but not necessarily celebrated much due to the fact that if you planned on staying in town, there weren’t any high-profile jobs you could aim for anyway and so the general consensus was that there was no real point to it all.  A lot of the friends I knew at the time dropped out early to go to tech and learn hand skills or find a job to make money instead.

The usual thing was to make just enough to cover costs and then spend the rest of your time in and out of pawn shops to get through the rest of the month.  I once saw someone walk in with a frying pan and out with just enough money to buy bread, milk and smokes for the week.

The thought of private schooling, tertiary education, international travel for one’s children wasn’t very common place.  Contraception was also not something that was a very highly positioned habit.  To illustrate my point, I’ve just picked this up on Facebook from someone who still lives in my home town:

scpreg

 

A few thoughts come to mind:

  1. 7 months into a pregnancy and only now there’s a thought to have a scan?
  2. If this person cannot afford a proper scan, how will they afford this child a good life?
  3. Grammar.  Tsk tsk.

Now, I know I sound so judgemental here.  The truth is, I am.  Despite the fact that I was a high school drop out.  Despite the fact that most of my friends from back there all fell pregnant and got married far too young. Despite the fact that I fell pregnant myself.  Despite the fact that I’m a self-taught professional who has no qualifications and despite the fact that I am absolutely no better than anybody else, from my hometown or elsewhere.

But being judgemental is not why I’m writing this.

See the Facebook post above just took me back to the days when I shared the same mentality.  This post took me to a place where I remember waitressing until late at night just so that I could pay for my unborn child’s clothing and toiletries.  It took me to a place where the thought of insurance, medical aid, investments and retirement annuities didn’t exist.  It took me to a place when I was much younger, naive and always worried about where the next batch of money would come from and if it would arrive in time before I needed to pawn a kettle.

So much has changed since then and most of it has absolutely nothing to do with money, but more about better decision-making.  And I needed that reminder today.  Because as much as I want to have children in the future, it terrifies me.  I worry that I won’t be able to give the children all the fancy things like private schools and international travel.  It worries me that I’ll have to give up sleeping in late, learn to do homework again (yuck!), get used to stinky nappies and it worries me far more than it should that I will have to clean up vomity clothes.

It worries me that my life experience has made me think so responsibly, possibly even irrationally in terms of planning ahead.  I’m also fighting that I don’t get too comfortable in my current situation, to the point that I’m sometimes terrified for it to ever change.  At least, that’s what I’m thinking today.  Until the next time I hear a baby mewling or I run into my brother’s little sort-of daughter and she steals my (and Jon’s!) heart again.

I’m conflicted.  But broody.  But selfish.

Is this even normal?

I think my point is, I’m so busy worrying about whether I will ever be ready for a baby that I’m worried I’ll worry myself off the idea. Because ohmygod I don’t want to have to worry about the basics again. And the funny thing is, this is where Jon usually reminds me that I wouldn’t be alone.  That I mustn’t forget he’d be part of the package and it wouldn’t be all me this time.  And that in itself is something entirely else to worry about.

Worry, worry, worry.

Disclaimer: I am very aware of the generalisations I’ve made above and not one reference is directed at anyone in particular.  I also really do not mean to offend anyone by these generalisations.  I’m also aware that not everyone from my hometown was like this.  There were the exceptions of kids at school who were dedicated, super clever and finished high school to go on to varsity and have yet to get hitched or pop out a brood.  And some of my other friends have even managed to do all of the above and still make the right kinds of decisions in order to provide for their families.  So it’s not all bad.

 

3 comments

  1. Po says:

    I relate to this – it’s almost as if people who are more financially stable worry about this more – because once we have a tiny glimpse of what is possible with money we feel anxious unless we can give a kid the whole package! But from research I have read done in the US (I don’t have cold hard numbers here), it is not what school a kid goes to that counts, it is what happens at home. If the kid is getting lots of love and support and encouragement to learn and read at home then it does not matter so much what type of school they go to. And then look at you – maybe your parents did not have the money for you to go to private school, or travel overseas, or attend uni – but look how successful you are! They must have done it right.

  2. Angel says:

    Oh LAWDY do I hear you!
    I would get myself into a total lather about pregnancy and costs and time and readiness and siblings and age gaps and costs and working and costs and and and… My Glugster had to keep reminding me of the same thing- that I wouldn’t be on my own if we had a baby!
    XX

Comments are closed.