This happened two decades ago when our first child was less than a year old. It was an ordinary weekday but crisis soon unfolded when news came that our usual domestic helper would not be coming that day. Both of us had work and there was no one else to take care of our child. Finally, we had to resort to leaving our child with a family friend at their place.

There are many families where both spouses are working and managing things at home with the help of grandparents or other extended family and domestic workers. A family I know has a system where things are arranged so, that on Sundays, while the domestic worker has their day off, the family also gets a day to spend together with no cooking involved as this is done in the days beforehand. All the family members are now very much accustomed to the arrangement.

Young families today, especially nuclear families, are facing serious challenges. Often, both the spouses are working outside of the home with serious work responsibilities, nobody to support them at home and little help from extended family. Due to the increasing financial requirements, ‘not working’ is not an option to consider, and in many situations, the pressure and stress at work is unbearable. Friends and neighbours are also going through similar situations and are not able to extend any support.

Even the couples who are yet to have children are also facing various kinds of issues. Very often, it happens that when an independent person gets married, they expect the same lifestyle to continue after marriage and reach a stage of disillusionment within the marriage. Their care-free lifestyle is no longer possible as they become answerable to many people and are forced to live up to several people’s expectations. Many young people, although they may be well-educated professionals, are ill equipped to handle the challenges of married life and its pressures. Sometimes, the unnecessary and imprudent intervention of the parents, though well-intentioned also creates many problems.

It is high time that we develop a support mechanism, which may include emotional, spiritual, physical and if possible financial support too (temporary loans etc.), for young couples and families. The Church and youth ministry leadership should apply its mind to this serious concern and evolve some innovative approaches.

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