You’re Not Alone & Not Selfish.
When you reach a certain comfort zone in your life, with yourself and your singlehood – it’s near impossible to give up and let go. How do you ever prepare yourself for marriage and having kids, when you’re so independent? What do you do if you just don’t feel ready, even though society depicts that you should be?
Over the past four years of my singlehood, I’ve not only learned to embrace myself and my singleness, but I’ve also become quite addicted to it. In last week’s blog post, I shared with you the steps I took, in order to reach that. It wasn’t easy, but I got there, and now I’m pretty sure I’m addicted. To the point where I have no idea how I will ever give it up. Of course I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life, no matter how comfortable I am in my own company and skin. No matter how much I love my single life. But right now, I just cannot see it. And that makes me wonder, if I will ever be able to.
It also goes beyond not seeing it, I also don’t feel ready for it. Getting married and having kids is huge. It’s an astronomical commitment which means giving up a lot of my alone time and independence. It means sharing my space and time. And that’s just the beginning, because the weight that comes along with it, is extremely heavy. And I’m just not sure I’m ready for those responsibilities. A part of me doesn’t even know if I ever will be, even though I’m well past the average age of marriage and having a first child.
Pressure from your family and society
Thankfully, my family is pretty understanding, and they let me do my thing, because they know I’m happy. That I love my life the way it is and have a full and happy life. But even the most understanding families have their moments. Also, most families are not as understanding as mine, and I know many people that receive so much pressure. If you’re single, odds are you’ve been on the receiving end of many comments and questions regarding marriage and having kids. Probably even been pressured and made to feel bad about your age. I’ve managed to develop thick skin towards it, and try to brush it off as much as I can. But the buzz in your ear is constantly and consistently there.
It’s not easy to stop obsessing over it, and eliminating the echoing voices from your mind. It’s hard to ignore and not take to heart, to not feel hurt and ashamed from those comments. But it’s also just going to make your life worse if you don’t just stop caring, even if it’s your family, and just live your life. You be you, and live for no one else but yourself – no matter what people say, or who they are.
Your siblings are married with kids
If your siblings are married and have kids, then the pressure mentioned above is usually even worse. Not only others on you, but also you on yourself. I’ve wasted away many tears and too much energy on letting this get to me. On wondering what’s wrong with me and why am I so unlovable? It took me a lot of time and hard work to get over it, and understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. That I am very much lovable, just haven’t found the right person yet. But when your little sister is married +2, you find yourself wondering why aren’t you? And even more so, why don’t you even feel ready for that yet?
It’s not easy being the “single sibling”. You get so many questions and pity over it, even if it’s not necessary. And it’s definitely not wanted. Again, the key is to just not care about it too much, to not let it get to you. People will say and think what they want, but you choose whether to let it get to you or not. So, so what if my sisters are married with children? It doesn’t reflect or say anything about me. When the time is right, and I find the right person, and feel ready, I will be too.
All your friends are getting married or at least have serious relationships
I used to be “the one with a boyfriend” out of all of my friends. Most of my close friends didn’t have long term boyfriends like I did. At the time, I was certain that by 30 I would already be married, maybe even plus some. However, here I am now, a few months passed 30, and I’m nowhere near that. Or even close to being ready. Now I’m “the single friend”, in a pool of married friends, or at least in serious relationships. Which is strange to say the least, but also was a sore point for quite a while there. It took me a long time and hard work, to get through this, too.
Two of my good friends, for example, are both married. And while we’re still a golden trio, they now have double dates with their husbands. Which is a little deflating, and sometimes it would make me feel left out. But I try not to get jealous. I highly recommend working on eliminating jealousy from your life altogether. It’s okay to a certain extent of course, but when you give it too much space, it can consume you and make you miserable.
You’re already passed the average age of marriage
Over the past few decades, the average age of marriage has gradually increased. However, not enough for society to stop scorning if you’re not married by 30. The world has become so modern, and has made so much progress on a wide array of issues. But if you’re over 30 and still single, there must be something wrong with you. Furthermore, you’re also probably perceived as miserable, constantly receiving pity looks and comments.
You don’t feel ready yet
There’s no magic formula. You cannot snap your fingers, or pray and wish hard enough to be at that point where you feel ready. I don’t think anyone ever feels 100% prepared and confident. I think some people may want it more, may be more suited for it. Some people just might have more of a knack for it. But I do believe that what it boils down to, is finding the right person, or the right point in your life where it fits.
Personally, I think that a big part of it is that I’ve yet to find the right person. Someone worth giving up my singlehood for, someone to go through the journey of bringing a child to the world with. Also, it’s just not the right timing for me. I feel like at this stage of my life, I’m not yet ready to give up myself for a child (as terrible and selfish as it may sound). I also don’t feel like I’m at the place where I can take care of a baby, let alone give it a good life.
It’s a huge responsibility
Having a child is giving up a huge chunk of your life, of your time, and dedicating it to this small being. A baby requires your full devotion, you cannot half-ass raising a child. They need you to survive, they count on you for everything. This is a huge responsibility, and many people seem to overlook that. Also for themselves when they just jump into parenthood, and also for others.
I know that many of my married friends get constantly asked about when they’ll be having a child. Even I, as a single woman, get asked all the time about having a baby. They throw it into the air as if it is that simple, “so, when are you going to get pregnant already?” Which is extra pressure no one needs. It’s such a huge responsibility which should be taken on, only when you feel ready enough to do so. When it’s someone you really, really want and it’s the right time.
Where does the energy come from?
Having a child also requires a vast amount of extra energy, to get up in the middle of the night. To deal with crises or illnesses, keeping them calm or entertained, and just overall care for a whole other being. I see my brother in law coming home from a 12 hour shift, and his son immediately wants to play ball with him. I can never understand how and where he derives that energy from.
Or when my sisters both work and take care of their children, and still manage to stay semi-sane. It just seems so tiring, especially since they barely seem to get any alone, down time to just relax. They always need to be on demand. They’re in a different place in life, and I’m hoping that one day, when I’m ready, I will find that energy too.
How do you explain to a child the concept of death, of God, religion and faith? How do you set them free into the world and not worry constantly?
These are questions that have been constantly on my mind lately, which I can’t seem to let go of. It’s really f*cking scary to bring a child into this huge, messed up world. Not only because of the enormous responsibility, but also because of having another separate piece of you out in the world. How do you stop constantly being anxious about their well being? I know I would get super worried and distressed over every tiny little hiccup. Or if they’re out anywhere on their own when they’re older.
Furthermore, how in the world are you supposed to supply appropriate answers and explanations for matters which you can barely understand yourself? My biggest fear is death, not only my own but the people around me as well (if not even more). It’s something I can barely handle and avoid thinking and talking about at all costs, because it causes me serious anxiety. So what in the world do I do if my child asks me about it?
These are all issues that I’m still trying to figure out myself, and one of the things I’ve learned is – There is no straight forward fix. There is also no one fix.
Unfortunately, I have yet to find answers or ways to overcome those issues. Nor have I managed to formulate a direct path towards being ready for having children. Or committing myself to one man for the rest of my life, and getting married for that matter. I cannot see it happening any time soon, and I don’t feel close to being ready for any of it.
However, as I’ve mentioned above, I do think that it is a matter of place in life. Where you are and what you’re up to. Even for married couples who really want a child, they have to wait for the right time. When they’re financially stable and have all the means to accommodate a child in their lives. I also think that when you find someone who fits into your world, someone you work well with – it will increase your willingness and ability to face all of the mentioned challenges and fears.
Life is about more than just marriage and having kids
I’ve preached about this too, many times over. Many people seem to forget or just completely disregard the fact that this world has so much more to offer. I do believe that the main reason I don’t feel ready is because I have so much more I still want to achieve. Things that a child and even husband will prevent me from fully reaching. And yeah, that sounds selfish, but it really isn’t. Because while others might want kids, I want to have a successful writing career.
To each her own.
The world has so much to offer, and each person should be able to pick and choose what to take from it. There’s nothing selfish about putting yourself and your dreams first. About wanting to fulfil yourself in more than just having kids. Besides the fact that having kids is not for everyone, there is more than just that in life. To me, my baby is this blog, is my writing. And if people can’t accept that, that’s on them. Because there is nothing selfish about wanting more out of life and focusing on yourself.
Too many people have hinted to me that a life without children is a life unfulfilled. I completely disagree.Kristin
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!
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