Married by 25 - are Girl Guides' expectations too high?
While most of us single twenty-somethings grew up with the knowledge that shifts in attitudes eroded the path to traditional family life decades ago, it seems the generation behind us may be determined to repave the way.
A recent Girlguiding UK Girls’ Attitudes Survey, which polled girls aged 11 to 21 on their views on families and relationships, found that British girls in 2012 have an increasingly outdated idea of when they will achieve key milestones in life.
On average they expect to own a home with a partner by 23, get married at 25 and have their first child at the age of 26.
But with marriage on the decline, divorce rates still high and cohabiting couples as likely to become parents as married ones, just how can those of us yet to enter family life be expected to know, or indeed plan for, what’s ahead of us?
If the Girlguides have starting a family timed to perfection then I’m already way behind schedule. I may be in a relationship (thank heavens for small mercies!), but at the age of 25 I’m still renting and a proposal, never mind a baby, is little more than a girlish daydream entertained on only the dullest days in the office.
At the moment I’m happy to remain an ambitious, career-focussed twenty-something for whom a family remains at least another five years away.
But the Girlguides did get me thinking. Our timeframes may not match up, but marriage and children are still something many of us aspire to. For now the best plan us twenty-somethings can make for the future is to check our partners want the same, whether it’s marriage, cohabitation or kids; lest we get to thirty-something and find ourselves thoroughly disappointed and starting all over again.