I saw a post on tumblr about a woman who confessed to being tired of being a wife and mother. That sentiment resonates with me so hard. No one tells you how exhausting it is to be a wife and mother before you do it. As a woman, you’re just expected to be able to handle it with a smile. It’s supposed to come “naturally” to you. That’s not the case.
Being a mom is hard work. None of this comes easy, at least for me it doesn’t. I find myself stumbling through everyday, barely making it through with no real guidance on how to proceed. Yes, you can get advice from other parents, even your own if you’re on good terms. The problem is, every human is different. While your kids may take after you, they are still their own people. Same goes for you in relation to your parents. What worked for them when dealing with you won’t necessarily work for you when dealing with your kid(s).
Having kids and getting married young (as in early/mid 20s young) can make you burn out quick. Trying to figure out how to raise a tiny human, be a wife, and be an adult all at once when you’re barely out of adolescence yourself is not easy. In my case, I got married at 20, had my first child at 21, and a second unplanned child at 27. I never really got time to figure out who I was as a woman before I was thrust into the wife and mother roles.
Was some of that my fault? Looking back on it, yes. I admittedly rushed into a relationship and marriage and I fully admit that was a mistake now. The real question is, why did I do it? Why did I feel the need to jump to marriage and motherhood? Well, for that you can blame society and the expectations we place upon women and girls.
From the time a little girl gets her first toy, it is placed in her mind that motherhood and marriage are the Ultimate Goals. We expect girls to feed and clothe and change their baby dolls like they’re actual children, so we give them dolls that behave like babies. We expect girls to want to play house, so we give them kitchen playsets. We impress upon them that it’s natural they’d gravitate towards toys and games that require them to care for the needs of others.
All of that puts into a girl’s mind that what she should be striving for is marriage and children. Everything we do is tied to that main goal. How many times have you heard someone say to a girl that “little boys don’t like it when you do that”? How many times have you heard someone say to a woman that she’ll “never get a man” if she does something undesirable? How many times have you heard someone say that a woman needs to “think of her future children” before she does something society deems unacceptable?
Every single thing a woman does is always tied to her potential future husband and children. Our needs and our wants do not matter. What matters is what these imaginary people may think about our lives and our choices.
Now, some women are able to shed themselves of that way of thinking early on. Others have support systems that actively fight back against that way of thinking and encourage them to find themselves first before buckling down in a relationship or having children. Those women are somewhat lucky. They do have to deal with society outright questioning them on why they aren’t married or don’t have kids yet, but they don’t have to deal with actually being married or having children. That’s a different beast altogether.
Once you have these little (and not-so-little) people depending on you, things get complicated. You now have someone to answer to. You have someone whose needs come before your own. As I said before, when you’re just coming out of adolescence, that’s a lot to take in. You want to be young and reckless and selfish, but you can’t. You have to be the Levelheaded Responsible Adult.
I can see some of you questioning now why that’s a bad thing, and it honestly isn’t all bad. Learning a bit of responsibility is a good thing. However, I’m one of those people who believes that everyone should have a period of time when they can be a little bit selfish and a lot carefree. That period of time helps you figure out who the hell you really are. You’re able to develop an identity of your own outside of “mom” and “wife”.
When you don’t have that selfish time and your identity becomes that of “wife” and “mom” and no more, a resentment can develop. It’s made worse by the fact that people feel you should be grateful to have those roles and if you express otherwise, you’re pinned with the label of “bad mom” and “bad wife”. Those labels come with a lot of stigma and outright hatred from people, so it’s no wonder women work had to avoid it.
Anyway, I said all of that (and boy did I get wordy) to say this: Don’t rush into a relationship. Don’t feel as if you have to get married or you’ve missed your chance. If the person you’re with loves and supports you, they’ll support your decision to not marry until you’re comfortable with it. If you’re single, don’t be in a hurry to find a husband. Let it happen when it happens. If you force it, you’ll only end up regretting it in the long run.
Last, but definitely not least, do not rush to have children. Enjoy the time you have with yourself and with your partner before you have kids. I’m not saying you won’t be able to travel and stuff with kids, that’s just not true. What I’m saying is things become more complicated when you bring kids into the mix. Take the time to enjoy being an adult before you become an adult with kids.