Friday, April 3, 2009

In the Singlehood: First in a series of posts

I am single and childless by choice.

Don't get me wrong, I like kids and enjoy spending time with them, but I really don't want any of my own. During my adult life I've never had a maternal instinct. I've never really pictured myself as a wife and mother. Or just a wife, for that matter.

There's a lot that influences this. My parents raised me and my sister to be independent. Mama Cat always told us, "You don't need a man to be a fulfilled person." That's the message that Grandma Cat passed on to Mama Cat when she was a kitten. A lot of it had to do with Grandma Cat's marriage to Grandpa Cat. During their later years, they didn't get along, but they never divorced. Grandpa Cat was an alcoholic. That alone should say it all.

(Then again, Mama and Papa Cat have been going strong for 36+ years as a married couple. Go fig).

Meanwhile, Papa Cat told us, "The only person you can ever depend upon is yourself." His message was influenced by the fact that we had no extended family in Connecticut. Our family tree branches into the New York/Newark metropolitan areas. We had no biological relatives around to depend on, so we created our own little network. To be honest, we're much closer to our chosen family members than our blood relatives. And we prefer it that way.

As we were growing up, Sister Kitten and I were taught, from an early age, how to cook, how to sew, and how to do laundry. When it came to automotive care, Papa Cat gave us AAA cards when we got our licenses. He also told us how to plan a budget and balance a checkbook.

We were raised with good manners and lots of discipline. Yeah, we both got spanked on occasion, but only if we did something to deserve it.

All of these tactics helped me and Sister Kitten stand on our own two feet. We both own condos, pay our bills, and hold down good jobs. Mama and Papa Cat still help out on occasion, but for the most part we do this by ourselves.

I'm proud to be independent. However, many people think it's strange that I have no interest in marrying and starting a family. It's become more common for couples to decide not to have kids, for whatever reason, but people will look twice--nay, three times or more--when a single woman decides to remain a bachelorette.

Here's my thing: relationships take work. It's like holding a job. I'm not at the point in my life where I would want to invest my time and energy in a partner.

But that's not the only thing...

I hate dating. I absolutely loathe it, despise it, detest it. Dating is like auditioning for a part in a movie over and over again and never getting it. I don't do well with small talk. I don't do well with awkwardness. There's either a spark, or there isn't. I don't like men fawning all over me. I need space.

But most importantly, this is what colors most of my feelings: In the past two years, I've known 12 friends and acquaintances who have either ended relationships or have divorced. All of these relationships have lasted for five years or less. This doesn't bode well for my generation.

I just don't see how some of my friends could have spent thousands of dollars on one day of their lives, only to have no return on the investment in five years.

I like living alone. I enjoy being able to go wherever I want, whenever I want. I actually am looking forward to being a spinster.

I have a lot more to write about this subject, but I won't do it now. In fact, I've decided to write a series of posts about it, which I will call, "In the Singlehood." For my next installment, I'm going to write about my experiences as a bridesmaid.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this series takes me.


Jodi said...

My best friend feels the same way you do. She wants to be a spinster who lives in a home filled with basset hounds (she doesn't like cats). Seriously though, I applaud you for making that decision for YOU and not doing what society expects from everyone.

My hubby and I are childless by choice and I completely can relate to what you are saying. People still ask.."awww, when are you guys going to start a family?" They are usually surprised by our response. Don't get me wrong, I really love babies & kids, but they aren't for us.

NurseExec said...

Great post--you should write a book on the subject :)

Amber said...

fabulous topic! I can't wait for the next one :oD

drollgirl said...

there is nothing wrong with being single and happy. good for you!

i am 38 and live with a boyfriend and i get the WHEN ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED and WHY DON'T YOU HAVE KIDS questions a lot. i hate it.

Jenners said...

What is that saying? A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. Or is that just from a U2 song? It is a good thing to be an independent lady ... every woman should be able to take care of herself. But if someone comes along, just don't shut the door on just never know what life might bring you!

Looking forward to see what you come up with in this series!

Aileigh said...

I was always meant to be a mommy... A Partner? Maybe not. But I totally get what you are saying. I don't think I could have lived my life without children in it, but I had come to terms with living my life single before I met Golf Man. I love him, sure, but you are right, it is a lot of work. Frankly, the only work I want to put in is for my kids. I love him, but sometimes, I think it would be easier alone. I say you do what is in your heart. No matter what the outside world says. I think my Momma must be related to Momma Cat! My Granny is also married to an alcoholic... for 50+ years!