Happy Almost Christmas everybody! I hope you’re all ready for the holidays, snuggled up with warm socks by warm fireplaces eating Christmas cookies or whatever it is you do for the holidays. For those of you who are missing loved ones or just stressing in general, my heart goes out to you. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but a pair of warm socks really improved my outlook on life this morning…I urge you to try it if you’re feeling less-than-cheerful. 🙂
Anyway, this post was inspired by Progressive (and maybe a tiny bit by all the Star Wars fans). For real. My girls and I were watching TV together this morning and that silly, misogynist Progressive commercial came on. If you don’t know which one, I’ve linked it below:
I was so proud of my girls because both of them just rolled their eyes at it & laughed. “Where’s her husband? She doesn’t have to have a husband. Crazy man.” My girls are often such silly little creatures, but they are also super, extra special! It made me think of a conversation with a friend the other day in which it was suggested that girls learn to become co-dependent from the womb. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this and decided it’s ultimately true.
In utero, we’re all dependent on our mother’s care to keep us alive. As babies, we depend on our parents for our every need. For boys, the older they get the more independent they’re taught to be. When they fall and scrape their knees they’re told to get up and walk it off. “Stop crying like a little girl.” (Which is another post entirely.)
It’s a little different for girls. We’re taught that we can be whatever we want to be, but somewhere along the way “whatever you want” turns into “someday you’ll meet a boy and you’ll want to get married and have a family…” and “someday when you’re married…” yada, yada, yada. We go from depending on our parents to depending on a man “to save us” from…I don’t know what…loneliness? Having to pay our own bills? I mean, really, I’m not sure why females automatically get handed the role of damsel in distress and boys must automatically assume the role of the provider. (Like that’s all either of us can be??) It’s pretty typical though. Little girls then spend their whole lives dreaming about their fairytale wedding day and then pitying themselves when it doesn’t happen in the timeframe they’ve allotted for themselves. Single at 30, anyone?
Because that’s what this whole life is about, right? Getting married. Having a family. We’re conditioned from a very young age to believe that our ultimate goals in life should consist of fairytale romances and a prince to whisk us off to his castle in the sky to make all the babies.
Some of These are great things and I’m not knocking them in any way. I myself enjoy my family and my marriage more than anything, and to be perfectly honest, I never wanted that when I was growing up. Getting married and having a family just wasn’t a goal for me. I thought it meant sacrificing everything else I wanted: college, a career, happiness in general. Now, I couldn’t picture anything better.
Having said that, I want to teach my girls that they can be anything they want to be and that includes single. Even at thirty. Being single doesn’t make you sad. It doesn’t make you pathetic and lonely. It doesn’t mean your life is wildly off track or that you’re destined to be a cat lady. By all means, if you want to be a cat lady, be a cat lady! I’m just saying that no matter what age and stage you may be at in your life, it can still be whatever you want it to be. You have the power to mold your life into whatever you want it to look like. Boys don’t have to be falling over themselves for your attention in order for you to feel validated and worthy. This goes for boys, too. Life is about much more than what the opposite sex thinks of you. Period.
I want to encourage my kids to really stop and take inventory of their lives and their goals, to determine if what they have decided they want is really what they chose for themselves, or just an idea that someone else has established for them. If they don’t want to be married and have a ton of babies, awesome! If they really do want marriage, awesome! If they want to run away with the circus…well, I guess that has the potential to be awesome, too. As much as I want them all to be independent and free-thinking, I also want them to know that marriage doesn’t have to mean co-dependence either. It doesn’t mean that this other person is going to come in and create all your happiness for you, but it can be a joyful experience all the same. I asked The Cuteness (my 8 year old) where her happiness comes from and she said, “my heart.” I thought that was a pretty great answer.
We create our own happiness.
You might as well stop waiting for Prince Charming, let go of any expectations that other people have set for you and your life, and just start LIVING! Start enjoying your life for what it is, wherever you’re at in this moment. It’ll be hard at first if you’ve always operated under the impression that you can’t be alone, but the more you do it the more liberating and enjoyable it will be. Learn to be okay with yourself/your life and you’ll never need to worry about needing anyone else; they’ll just be a bonus. 🙂
Merry Christmas my lovelies!