18 October 2009

DINK or SINK



You may or may not know that DINK is an acronym for “Double Income No Kids”. Apparently, the word came about in the 80s at the height of the “yuppie - Young, Urban Professionals” culture.

Most of us, married with children, would have begun our married lives (if both were working) as DINKs or perhaps we’d be known as DINKYs (Double Income No Kids Yet) then. The natural progression of which is to enjoy a childfree marriage and to be eventually ready to propagate humanity with mini versions of ourselves.

It’s my guess that confirmed DINKs deliberately chose not to have kids because they had no time, no inclination, or any interest in expanding their dynasty. It is commendable that those, who do not have strong paternal/maternal instincts, choose to remain childfree. We all see and hear enough of babies abandoned at birth, children left to fend for themselves, or even neglected. So perhaps it is some blessing in disguise that these people, although they can well meet the expense of looking after a child, decide not to have any because they know their own limitations. Finance is not the issue here but the emotional aspects of bringing up a kid from scratch. I guess it’s safe to say that if one is not capable of handling the emotional upheaval that comes with having a child then; it’s a good decision.

On the other extreme, there are those who can’t afford to have a child and yet have one after another. In this case, I believe it’s lack of family planning plus an attitude of “we’ll get by” somehow. Sadly, this is not the same world as when our parents or grandparents lived in. Back then, we used to hear of people having 10, 12 or even 14 children. Today, we hardly hear of this practice. I know of a young couple who have five children. They are so proud to be parents but they can barely feed themselves. How will they manage? Those kids are going to grow up directionless. I hope I am wrong.

We hear of women in war torn countries giving birth when there isn’t enough food to get through the day. I don’t understand this at all. There’s an imbalance in the way things should be. Those that can afford do not and those that cannot do.

In the case of DINKs, it’s possible that both are working and neither wants to give up their job to stay at home and take care of a child. Sometimes I think it’s also because both don’t have any desire for children. They don’t have the space and time for anybody else in their lives except for each other and that’s fair. There is no point in having a child and regretting it later. There is no turning back once that child is here.

However, I think that as careers take off and when retirement is on the horizon, life begins to slow down and somehow there’s a feeling of missing something. I am only guessing here, since I have a child.

However, I’ve seen a couple of my own family members who died alone; with no spouse, no children and I felt sad for them. I think of those without children who gloat because they didn't have to struggle through the difficult years. What will become of these people when they are old and have no one with them? I am sure that as they got on with their childfree lives, they saw the majority of their friends go through the phase of having babies, struggling with school-going kids, handling terrible teenagers and juggling all that goes hand-in-hand with being a parent. Perhaps during those moments, they would have felt relief at not having to deal with that roller-coaster ride we all take with our kids.

Nevertheless, at the end of it all, when one gets older, that cranky baby, that naughty child or that incorrigible teenager becomes an adult and goes off to find his or her own path. This is when all that went into the growing-up years begins to pay off. You find that your child is an extension of yourself. Certainly not exactly the same person as you are, but a nice replica. I’ve read somewhere that childbirth is the only time we can assist God in creating a miracle. I like that idea and the knowledge that my genes do not end with me, makes me smile. A not-too-distant future with grandchildren fills my heart with anticipated joy.

And what of the SINKs! I made that up! Single Income No Kids. Same as DINKs, only worse because one works and the other stays home and can afford the time for a child. No kids because well, because they don’t know, just like DINKs, that when they grow old and have only each other and when the other is gone, loneliness awaits.

I’m sure there isn’t any hard and fast rule about having or not having a child. Those that don’t, usually have their reasons and I respect that completely. Those that do, join the club because the future is just going to get better and better.

This post is just to put down in words some of my thoughts.

So, what say you?

7 comments:

Antares said...

A lot of stuff that happens to each of us as we navigate the unknown seas of our destiny is beyond our personal control. The fact that I am a father (and, gulp, grandfather) is the outcome of multiple moves in response to localized and non-localized stimuli that apparently follow no set pattern. My brother, on the other hand, is a 67-year-old bachelor completely set in his idiosyncratic ways. His only friend is a temperamental 25" TV set. The digital age bypassed him completely. You could say he's a living analog museum. He would have done well as a pedophile monk in medieval times. It astonishes me to realize we share the same ancestors.

Lita, your thoughts are rich with human warmth and understanding. I'm so glad you started this blog!

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

My dear Antares, You give my soul a lift whenever I am in doubt about what I write. I haven't completely shaken off the shackles of conforming to the norm yet. Your comment gives me courage to go forward.

Thank you for always dropping by and propping me up!

xoxoxo

Patricia said...

I have two children, and I remember times from when they were little, that I wished I'd not had any children at all!

Their teen years were the hardest. I now realise that they'd both been trying to break free and see if they could stand on their own, without us. And, it was also a time for us to realise that we could let go, and that we - and they - would not die!

Now, I have two young adults with me. I enjoy their company, their thoughts, and their friendship. I love both of them, and I know my life is full and rich because of them.

To each his own, I say. Kids? No kids? Make a conscious decision. No 'apa boleh buat? Tuhan bagi' crap for me!

I'm all about choosing what you want in life, and going out and making it happen. No drifting, and no screwing around and hoping the consequences would be easy to handle!

I liked this post. Gives me something to think about all day :)

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Dear Pat, Honesty is your middle name. I don't know of many moms who will openly say that they, at one time, wished not to have had kids. Hahaha I did too and I've never been worried about saying it. After all, those feelings were just shortlived. We are beings who feel just like everyone else.

Thanks for the candid comment, darling!

Richard Loh said...

Lita, sorry for deviating from the topic.

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Johan H said...

Hmm, looks like I'm a NINK then - no income, no kids. :-)

Where I come from, you are told to marry even if you are dirt poor because a) what will the neighbours say if you didn't, b) I want grandchildren, c) who will look after you when you grow old. Marry first! Forget about money worries! Once you marry, I guarantee you God provide for you. And of course, the same people will stay silent about the couple at the kampung who quarrel every day because there's hardly enough to feed little 5 mouths, and neither husband nor wife is even 40 years old!

What's your opinion about the concept that people with no children are selfish and will only think for themselves?

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Johan!

Nink! Complicating my life lah you!

What I think about the concept that people with no children are selfish and will only think for themselves? Hmmm *scratches head*

I think they lack the opportunity to not be selfish!

I could write more but that would be an entire blog piece! ;)