Never Married, No Kids. Those are the circles I fill in on official documents.
I grew up mostly in small town, middle America and in those small towns it is completely normal and expected that you marry your high school sweetheart, college boyfriend, or the person you met immediately after college. I gladly did none of those things and in fact I’ve never really met a man I’d want to marry.
A long time ago I decided to stop following the rules, the blueprint. I didn’t care that other people were getting married and having kids; they somehow saw their lives as more mature or relevant than mine, but I did not. Just because you are married, does not mean you are smarter than me and if that were true, I would be smarter than 51% of you. I’m grateful that I always heard that voice inside of me telling me I was settling and I was lucky enough to walk away or lucky he walked away from me. However, as I grew older, I began to wonder if something was wrong with me. I wanted to be with someone, to have a life with someone but that man was not showing up.
Over the years I’ve asked questions to married people and divorced people and they’ve been honest with me. Some have said it’s the best decision they’ve ever made, they love their spouse and their life. Some have said they made a mistake, they married because they were following a plan, or they thought they would finally be happy once they had the spouse, the house, and the kids.
I’ve watched those plans fall apart, fathers abandoning their families and their promises, women raising children alone and most surprisingly, women who thought a husband and children would fulfill them, yet they find themselves wanting more out of life – they love their husband and their children, but it turns out it was not their true purpose to simply have a family. I’ve listened to mothers profess that their children are the best thing that has ever happened to them, but in the same breath admit it’s not important to have children, it’s not what everyone said it would be and I’m not missing out.
That’s what I’ve discovered; it is not my Life Purpose to have children. I’m not even sure I want them. I know I would love my child and be a great parent – and there was a time in my life when I wanted children – and maybe I will have a child, but I don’t believe that is why I was put on this earth. Let me be honest, a lot of people were put on this earth to do more than just procreate, but they ignore their gift, their purpose, and instead follow the blueprint – because it is scary and hard to listen to that voice inside of you, telling you to fulfill your purpose or “worse”…to roam this earth alone.
I’m fortunate to have a mother that never pressured me to get married or have children. She knew I could be complete without them, I don’t feel like a spinster, or that I am denying her the experience of being a grandmother to my children. And let me be clear; none of those reasons are good enough to bring another life into this world. A child is not born to complete me, make me feel loved, or validate my plan of what a family looks like. It is not my child’s job to help me fit in with the other mothers. I know so many women who didn’t know what to do next, so they had a baby. Or they had a baby because that’s what all their friends were doing. I also know women who were born to be mothers. These women are easy to spot – there is something about their tone, their actions, the way they talk about children – I can tell that this is what they were put here to do. If having a child brings about a learning experience, or growth that we can share with the world – amazing. What a miracle. But if we are having children in order to fix something…what a shame.
The same rules apply with marriage. For a long time I wanted someone, some man to save me, to make me feel safe again. Now I know that is not his job, it is mine (and my higher power’s). Marriage is a new, man-made tradition, it didn’t exist 10,000 years ago. It is an unnecessary luxury which protects assets and bloodlines. And I’m totally down for it. I’d love to get married and I fully buy into the commercialism of it. But there are a lot of women out there who marry for the wrong reasons, the wrong expectations. Again it comes down to purpose. I don’t expect my partner to save me, I expect him to be a mirror for me so I can grow into the most useful version of myself. I expect him to support me mentally and emotionally through those growth periods. I expect him to respect me the same way I want to respect him. It would also be really nice if he could cook, because I’m not good at that.
Sometimes I’m asked why I’m still single. And then I tell the story of the date I recently went on where the guy asked me for a hand job because he ‘had a hard week’. Another guy asked me if I would like to have casual sex and maybe be friends, “see what happens.” I don’t understand where these men got their manners or their expectations but that’s why I’m single right now. I am such a romantic, I love the door being opened, I love having the first bite, I love the picking me up at my place, I love chivalry. Yes, those two guys are worst case scenarios and sometimes there is a man who shows up and he is a gentleman, but maybe he’s just not the one for me. Odds are he isn’t. If it was that easy to fall in love, we’d all be doing it.
Someday I will fall in love. I will be with someone who supports my journey and maybe we will decide to have a child. But I also know the hero’s journey is a lonely one and while it makes me sad to think about it, I could probably come to accept doing this life alone. I’d rather be alone, living my true purpose than living a false life because of fear.
Having a husband does not validate my existence.
Having a child does not validate my existence.
I am a woman and an adult regardless of those two factors. Those are the circles I’d like to fill in.