Millennials are Replacing Kids with Plants and Pets, and I’m Totally Here for it
Born as an early 90’s baby, I’d say I’m a true millennial. My generation was the one who, unfortunately, was raised with the baby boomers notion that life would be a breeze if you just checked off the boxes. Get a degree, a good job, find a partner (preferably one of the opposite sex), buy a house, and pop out the little ones. It sounds nice, right? The idea that if you just follow these easy steps, your life is set up for you? Hit your 60’s and then you can just retire. How great! But it’s 2023 and us millennials are having a harder time than I think a lot of people realize. Did you know that we’re the first generation predicted to do worse off than our parents? At least financially, and if not, then mentally (I learned this from the new Netflix doc Working – how millennial of me).
To be fair, our parents generation was blissfully unaware of what waited around the corner. Their parents were tough, so they wanted to be nicer (generalizing, obviously). Their pushover qualities did not set us up for success. We all probably weren’t disciplined as much as we needed to be, and when the real world became our reality, we were painfully unprepared.
College today is kind of a scam, let’s be real. A single person working a minimum wage job could never purchase a home on their own, in fact, “A full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a one-bedroom rental in only 7% of all US counties — 218 counties out of more than 3,000 nationwide,” according to CNN. Single income family households are few and far between.
If you’re a queer couple looking to have kids of your own, be prepared for the long and expensive process of making that happen. If you have fertility problems, you better have good health insurance, or at least a career that can afford your medical bills. And speaking of health insurance, anyone in the middle class is totally fucked. There are several ways of defining the middle class by the way, but the most recognised is through their income. Did you know that a household’s income that ranges between $35,000 – $139,000 is categorised as middle class? So that means if you make just under $3,000 a month, you my friend are a middle class citizen. I make a bit over that, and financially, I feel quite broke most days.
But there’s a difference between broke and poor isn’t there? Broke is someone who is temporarily in a financial bind, where being poor is a bit more systemic. I live pay check to pay check, however, I can somehow make a trip to Mexico happen. This is not poor.
Back to the plants and pets though. Life is expensive, at least for us millennials and Gen Z-er’s. So if we’re still kind of figuring it out, adding a kid to the mix sounds like a joke. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends my age with children, it’s not like it can’t be done. Is it a breeze like our parents era built it up to be? My guess is it’s probably not. And so, with our innate nature to nurture, we’re left to build our own little families in new and innovative ways. Fur babies easing our anxieties, because we low key feel like failures as we try to break our families cyclical trauma. While plants are coming in clutch as they provide health benefits, and social status through instagram posts.
I’m 31, and when I was a kid I thought I was meant to be married with kids of my own by this age. A strange notion don’t you think? That us kids are thinking of having kids? Just a thought.
However, as I see my own home turning into a little garden oasis, I’m not upset about it at all. My partner and I are about to move into an adorable little two bedroom together, where our fur and soil babies will thrive. Is soil baby a thing? Also, we got a good deal. But if you’re single living in California, I’m sorry but the odds are not in your favor (ie: basically me for the last 10 years).
Not having kids does give us a little bit more financial stability, but what we really get is time. Time to experiment and explore what we want our futures to look like. Maybe there’s kids, but also, maybe there isn’t. Is it really so bad not to know?