I am single.
That’s not a secret.
At this point, it’s not my choice. At most points, it hasn’t been my choice.
As a result, I don’t have kids.
Again, not my choice, because I’m not married and while I admire single parents and hold them in high esteem, it’s not something I see myself entering into by choice.
There are a bunch of articles floating around the interwebz about “the things that single people are tired of hearing” and normally, I don’t share them, but since I’m writing this out of a place of genuine emotion, I’m doing it now, on account of …. I’ve dealt with every single one of those.
Disclaimer: I want to tread lightly here. Before I go further, I should point out that I’m quite sure that there are things that married people and parents are tired of hearing, too. I’m certain of it. I don’t know what they are… I do my best not to gripe about this to my married friends. We don’t talk about this. But I’m sure there are things. In fact, some of you might be annoyed with what I’m about to say.
Here it is.
“Just wait til you have kids.”
This is how the conversations go:
“What’d you do last night?
“Ordered a pizza and watched Netflix for 6 hours.”
“Ugh, I wish! Just wait til you have kids. I never watch TV anymore.”
The one that stung the most was “I don’t think we’re really the best teachers we can be until we have kids.” While that one wasn’t said to me or directed at me, it happened. I said nothing, because I know your intent wasn’t to hurt me. I know that. I know I was just in the room while you were reflecting on how being a parent has made you a better teacher…. but it still hurt a little bit. Because I may never get that.
And you know what? Fair. You’re busy. I get that. Kids are busy. I watch you guys parent your kids and I think you’re superstars. There’s a big part of me that has considered in a very real way whether I’m selfless enough for kids. It’s a lot to give up. It’s a lot of freedom that you no longer have, and I see that. I don’t know how you do it coming home from working all day long to parenting your kids with everything you have in you. Especially my teacher friends…. you spend all day with little kids, and then go home to kids of your own. I know it’s not the same kind of care, but trust me when I tell you I legit think you’re superstars. Also, if I’ve met your kids, please know that there’s a pretty good chance that I love them to death. If you’re important to me, so are your kids. I love your children because I love you.
But when your answer to asking what I did the night before, or what I did on the weekend, or what I like to do with my free time is to shake your head and say “just wait til you have kids,” I don’t think you realize how much that hurts…. because I’d give my left arm to be able to have kids right now… but it just hasn’t worked out yet. It might never work out, and I have to be ok with the possibility of that reality or I’m going to be miserable until I die. I’m only not-even-30-yet so if I never get married, that’s a long time to not be married and not have kids. It’s also enough time for it to still happen, and I totally understand that, but I have to be ok with the possibility of it not going the way I’d like.
I understand that I could do other things. I do enjoy Netflix though, especially since I just discovered it on Monday (oh my gosh, do you watch Suits!?). But while I am single, and while I have no children, I have chosen that instead of sitting home and wallowing, I will do what I’d like with my free time. If that means that I watch Netflix for 6 hours, then sometimes, that’s what it means. Sometimes it means I take my dog on nice, long walks. Sometimes I play my violin for hours until my fingers are numb. Sometimes I go to Bible Study.
I can’t have kids right now. At this moment, where at 10 pm on Saturday I’m sitting on my couch alone watching TV, I wish that I had a baby monitor on and that I was listening to make sure kids were still sleeping. I wish I was hanging out with my husband. But… that’s not my reality. When you’re putting your kids to bed, please know that I would rather be putting mine to bed than watching TV at most times.
So when I tell you that I watched Netflix for six hours straight, and you wish you could go back in time to that, it would probably do us both a lot of good to remember that there are plenty of times that I’d like a time machine to propel me forwards.
Can we all just be happy with what we have, instead?
No one gets hurt that way.