First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby carriage according to the childhood rhyme.
But a recent story on National Public Radio says young people are flipping that, wanting children but lukewarm about the notion of immediate marriage.
My advisory board of SYWM (Smart Young Women and Men) tell me this true, but only sort of.
The consensus seems to be that marriage isn’t the key, but commitment is.
Some of the responses advocated for the traditional:
“…HELL no. I would never willingly have a kid with someone that wasn't willing to make a lifelong commitment to me first. A kid is a lifelong tie to someone that maybe things didn't work out with, and I can barely stand my exes as it is.”
“I want a house, marriage, and then kids. However, I did buy a dog with A. without a ring. So fur-babies I guess are the exception for me.”
Others argued the opposite:
“Definitely, yes—kids first, marriage maybe…I don't necessarily want to get married, but I definitely want kids. The thought of a wedding is repugnant to me, but I feel a crushing need for a baby. Several of my friends feel this way as well. I think it stems from the issue of divorce, how prevalent it is these days. You can avoid that fear by never getting married. Also, weddings are soo expensive, forget that!”
One young mother said motherhood had brought her wisdom. “Before kids I couldn't have imagined having a child while single. Now, I know marriage isn't that important....but a partner is.”
And one young Charlestonian said no one she knows has time for either marriage or kids.
“We are still more focused on our careers and trying not to grow up too fast. However…commitment and marriage aren't necessarily viewed as one and the same anymore. I would be fine with having a child with someone who I have a long-lasting relationship and without the paperwork to make it official.”
And, for the gay community, they’d love to have the choice. In DC, where gay marriage is legal, “Marriage came after children only because they couldn't actually marry until 2010 (the year DC allowed same-sex marriage). The committed relationship definitely came before children, however.”
So, I’m wondering…should Charleston rewrite the nursery rhyme?