Single or Childless and Free to Roam


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Free to Roam – You Choose

“Don’t you want to get married?” “Don’t you want to have children?” Those who are single and childless arrive at that status by different means. No matter how you got to that point, there is a stigma and social isolation. However, God gave you one life to live so brush of the Debbie-downers and enjoy it.

The stigma is that there is something shamefully wrong with you for being in either of those categories. If you are single, then there is a defect in your personality why a man or woman did not want to be with you. If you are childless, then you must be selfish for not wanting kids or you are having fertility issues.  The Reality is there is NO SHAME in being single or childless. It is your business and no one else’s. By now, you have ran out of reasons to tell people because no matter what you say that reason is not good enough. So, here is a solution – stop providing an answer, let people think whatever they want because they always do. People choose not to understand because they feel uncomfortable with your status. Plus,  they will always think their lives are better than yours no matter how screwed up things are in theirs.  Quit worrying about other’s opinion and do your own thing.

The stigma that you are unfulfilled in your life and you will never be happy. The reality is some singles will feel unfulfilled and sad while other singles will go out and live – it is all a choice. You can stay cooped up at home and throw one long pity party or you can see what the world around you has to offer and get involved. The other reality is there are married with family people who are unfulfilled and unhappy. So, this is not a single problem but an individual choice problem. Singles have an advantage because they are not tied down and are free to change things with little impact on others.

The social isolation from friends and family who intentionally leave you out of family oriented activities. The reality is relationships change due to life changes. The married person has other priorities which is how things should be for them. The single person need to accept that and find like-minded people who share their status. It does not mean that the connection ends but it has to change. Find other singles or childless people your age and plan activities with them. If you do a simple internet search, you will find lots of groups or try Meetup.com

The presumption that you do not like children and feel sad or jealous around couples or families. The reality is some singles or childless do feel jealousy particularly if this is something they wanted-that’s life! However, not everyone is envious of someone who is  married or a parent. Some childless people like kids and do well with them for short periods but do not want children. Some singles like being single (this does not require additional explanation). The other reality is some people’s kids are demon-children and no one wants to be around them, some people are shitty parents and no one wants to be around them either, some marriages are relationships made in hell which will make anyone want to ran further away. Solution: Get together with people who respect your choices.

The assumption that you are desperate to get out of the role of single and childless. The reality is that can be true for some. However, it never occurred to others that some people do not make good partners or parents. It takes a lot of work to be in a good relationship or be a good parent and not everyone wants to rush into that role or even want that role. Solution: Avoid people who keep bringing the pity-party to you. They are just mean-spirited people who cannot see beyond their idealized world.

The assumption that you are not allowed to or can give sensible relationship and parenting advice based off your experiences with kids, relationship or observations. The reality is most often, common sense is common sense and it does not take being married or a parent to see certain things. If all it took was a change in status to be an expert, then divorce, therapists, DV shelters and CPS would be nonexistent. Yes, there are some situations that require previous experiences to have a much clearer insight; however, those are few and far between. Often times you will need both to help – the person who has been there in order to have a shared experience and the person who sees a bigger picture because they haven’t been there.

The blatant truth: Many married and family couples live very boring, mundane and monotonous lives and events they consider to be interesting is in essence not . While Johnny’s poop story is funny and Mike ‘s mowing mishap is hair raising, it is usually the most excitement they experienced in a long time. Marriage and family comes with certain responsibilities which does not scream excitement for most couples; It’s just life. A single and childless person have the freedom to roam and do more because there are limited barriers. The single and childless who take advantage of this are the ones who are more fulfilled.

The bottom line is people will judge because you are outside the norm. Relationships will change and some people will treat you like a leper. Solution: Develop the I-don’t-give-a-**** attitude and build your life the way it suits you. When you periodically look back at your life, you will either have major regrets or a wealth of experience that were enjoyable and interesting.

Anti-Pity Party Exercise: If you still use a calendar, look over your last few months and upcoming months to track how often you made a date to do something you enjoyed. If it is blank, then get off your butt and find something to do.  Not sure where to start?? E.g. My activity calendar in the past  4 weeks: 1 overnight beach trip, 1 local town street fair with a walk in the park afterwards, 1 hike with a social group, (missed event: a car show). Upcoming events: 1 Air show, a paint nite and I will add as I go. So what are you planning to do?

 

 

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A Child Is A Blessing But…


When I was 16, my older sister gave birth to my niece, who passed away recently, and I was over joyed to be an auntie. I am from one of the Caribbean Islands so it is not uncommon for families to live close to each other or live together in a large home. In this situation, we lived at the same residence. When my older sister went back to work, I, a recent high school graduate with no job, became the auntie and full-time babysitter for over 1yr of her life. This was my first close encounter of the parenting kind.

The things I discovered was a baby is cute, smells good, and needs to be protected. The other things I discovered was that a baby/toddler is demanding, needs constant supervision and can be extremely annoying and exhausting. As soon as my sister got home each day, I was waiting at the door with her bundle of joy because I needed a long break. Years later, I did the same thing for another sister during my between college take-a-break transition period. So, I have empathy for stay-at-home mothers and fathers.

Being the youngest child, with many siblings and therefore many nieces and nephews of varying ages, I have had a wealth of experience with kids that most parents have yet to encounter. I used to work in a child behavioral health clinic for a number of years which showed me the not so sweet side of children and bad parenting. I seem to have been saturated with all things children for most of my life. I should have been overjoyed at wanting my own little blessing. On the contrary, I decided during my early teens  that I never voluntarily wanted to be pregnant and gave birth to anything. At one point in my life, I thought adopting was a good idea because there are so many children who could use a good home and I also knew that I would be a good mother if the opportunity every arises.

However, at the age of 40, I still do not want kids. This was clearly re-enforced a few days ago at a family event in which 3 people I knew had kids under 2y/o. Again, they are cute, they are funny, they are a blessing but they are annoying and exhausting over an extended period of time. I had to briefly watch two of those munchkins while Elmo was playing on the computer screen. After 15 minutes, I was anxious for the parents to come get their little blessings so I could enjoy some adult time.

I am very happy for the families or singles who choose to be parents. It is hard work and one of the most important tasks to choose in life. However, children are not for everyone. Those of us who know what we don’t want are perfectly happy with that choice. Yet, those with kids seem to feel the need to dictate to others about their reproductive rights. I witnessed an uncomfortable conversation in which a friend who has one 2y/o was being told she needs to have another because the child needs a sibling.  I know people are not intentionally trying to be rude but there is a prevailing idea that ‘what is good for the goose is good for the gander.’

Kids are life altering. Unless you have a 24/7 nanny or you are a bad neglectful parent, then the burden of responsibility is always on the parent to take care of your child/ren. This is not a burden that everyone wants or is suited to handle. Those little buggers demand your attention, energy, sleep time, constant direction and instruction, you as an adult who knows children shows and songs by heart, they can be frustrating, irritating, and aggravating. They are sweet and sour all wrapped up in one cute body. A parent made a bargain to take on the good and cute with the bad and smelly when it comes to parenting. That is your choice! So, while a child is a wonderful blessing, it is a choice that some made and others rejected.

Motherhood Plan #2 or 3 or 4


It took the CPS team 10 days after my phone interview (actually it is over a month or so since I expressed interest in this child) to  make a decision about a darling 7-year-old child who is in foster care. I received the message on my phone today and it was not a surprise. It is a no-go for this household. However, the thing that did surprised and bothered me greatly was that the CPS team did not choose ANY of the families competing for this child (believe me this adoption process is a competition of the best looking family on paper).  I thought this is very F-ed up.

I think I am more confused now about the process than when I started. Even my adoption worker commented that she does not know what criteria these people are looking for in a family. Seriously! So because they did not find the “perfect” family for this child, she remains in foster care still waiting for the next round of contestants to start this ridiculous show all over again. Did I mention this is F-ed up!

I acknowledge that this has worked well for some families and I am truly happy for them but… I really have no words for my experience especially this final situation. Neither did I have any words with the child before this, they did not want to start the family review because they did not have enough families vying for the child. When the review did start, then the team changed their minds on having the child adopted as single to mandating that she needed to be adopted with her brother. Anyways, as promised, I did informed my adopting agency of my decision to discontinue and I am just waiting for the wrap up and ending of this journey.  I cannot say that I will look back on this with fond memories.

So what’s the next step? I wish I knew. I am not one to put a time limit on such things as motherhood but the reality is I am not getting any younger. I would like to enjoy this experience and share what I have to offer to a child when I am young enough to do so. I am not trying to join the trend of becoming a first time mother at grandma age. I don’t care how youthful someone is but my belief is child care and rearing requires the energy of the young. I have seen too many grandparents raising grandchildren and there is an obvious difference and deficit due to age.

So my logical options are (in no logical order):

1.  move to another state and try the adoption fiasco there and hope and pray for something different

2. Attempt the artificial Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI) process and pray and hope for the best that it works and go through pregnancy as a single

3. Wait and marry someone (before I am old) who has children and take on the role of stepmother

4. Pray and hope that I may meet  and marry someone with father potential while my eggs still has some life and try for the pregnancy with a hubby

5. Save or borrow enough money to do an overseas adoption (my ideal). I think the minimum cost for overseas these days is $30,000

6. Just forget about being a mother and live with it (the hardest reality of all)

At moments like these I wish to be a kid again when I did not have to think about such things and life was simplier (in hindsight). Oh well, one thing I did learn is that there are some very beautiful children out there who need good homes and some love, safety and structure in their lives. Some of the kids need a little more understanding and patience than others but they were all absolutely a blessings.