Thursday, May 19, 2016

When Your Mom Constantly Drops the "H" Word

You know your birthday is coming up soon when your mother constantly drops the "h" word. What "h" word? Husband. "I wish you would get married." "Who cares about me? You get married and have children!"

I love my mom. I really do. She's sacrificed a lot so that I could get an education and have a good life despite growing up (and still living in) a high-crime neighborhood. She's worked hard to keep me on the right path. Advice hasn't always been the best but she tries because she cares. That being said... I wish she would stop telling me to get married and have children because it doesn't help.

Those of us in our late 20s (think 25 and up) and 30s and even 40s get enough grief from the world as it is. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me why I'm not married, told me that my biological clock is ticking, or pitied me for being single at 30, I'd have enough money to pay off my student loans and fund working towards a PhD if I wanted one (spoiler: I don't.) Yes, I'm 30 and unmarried. Yes, I'll be turning 31 on the 30th of this month (11 days away but who's counting?). No, there are no current prospects. Yes, I'm perfectly happy with how things are.

I've been very fortunate to have my point of view regarding my singlehood challenged (in a good way) recently and it's helped me with the "ache of loneliness" (as I've heard Jackie Francois Angel call it before). As I've written before (and won't rehash), I've entrusted my singlehood to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and my loneliness to God. Earlier this year I mentioned how I'd decided to date myself. It went well. lol. I definitely learned a lot about myself and it helped ease some of my fears regarding the vocation of marriage. I don't feel like I need to discern my vocation any longer (despite well meaning people trying to push me towards the religious life) because I've never been as sure about anything I've discerned before. If you say "well, you can't discern without someone to discern with..." Trust me, I've discerned to the point where I know this is what God wants me to do. I just haven't found the guy to live out my vocation with yet. And, yes, this is my way of saying there's been someone in my life whom I seriously considered the vocation with but it didn't work out. Surprise to almost everyone since I don't talk about this with almost anyone. lol.

A few weeks ago I came to the realization that I've done all I can in regards to putting my part and and my effort into furthering my vocation up to this point. I've figured out what things I needed to personally work on and I've worked hard on them (though I'm sure some of these things will be lifelong projects). I've prepared myself in every way that I can by myself. I can't think of anything else I can do so I'm just not going to do anything. While I've always placed things in God's hands and have reminded myself that it's all in His time, not mine, I had left things entirely in His hands... as in, I didn't put in any effort on my end. I changed that and made an effort. Nothing has worked out thus far so I quit. Yes, you read that right: I quit. Cue Mom revving up her comments on getting me married off. lol.

I'm not saying that I quit making an effort. I'm not saying that I quit with the dream of getting married. I'm saying that I quit trying to make things happen because I've unconsciously let the comments get to me. Unknowingly to me, I was almost pushing myself to trying to please others, in a way. I pushed myself beyond my boundaries to try to meet someone so people would get off my back about being single. As uncomfortable as some of it was, it was good because I learned a lot about myself... including the fact that I don't like certain things (e.g. online dating). Though I've prided (ruh-oh) myself on being an independent woman, the comments really did -- and still do! -- get to me.

Unless you're single beyond your mid-late 20s, you don't know how much it sucks to have people constantly reminding you that you're by yourself. Even the most content person in their singlehood will eventually feel low because of the comments. Honestly, most days I'm perfectly fine with the fact that I'm still single at 30. I'm grateful to have the chance to continue my education and do something I love. I'm grateful to be able to rest and nap when the anemia kicks my tush. I'm grateful to be a little selfish and to take care of myself because I neglected that for so many years. I'm thankful to be able to do things I missed out on doing in my late teens and early 20s because I was helping take care of my dad. I feel like I'm getting a belated chance to experience some selfishness before a fella and a family become my priorities. Getting it out of my system is great because I grew up as if I was an only child (older half-siblings are still practically nonexistent in my life) so I have selfish tendencies. I'm still growing and it's wonderful. This time in my life is further preparing me for the future.

Do I long for a husband and children? Of course. I love babies and I love love. I love the domestic life... probably more than I should. lol. I love take care of people. I love cooking. I love cleaning. I love doing things that I will be doing as a wife and mother. 98% of the time I'm perfectly happy with waiting because I know that God's plans for me are greater than my own plans for myself. If waiting means that I'll be an "older" bride, so be it. But it's that 2% of the time that still hurts. The comments make me think "will I run out of time before I can get a chance to have biological children?" New fears and doubts pop up.

If you have friends who are still single and over 25, please don't constantly mention their singlehood. Unless they ask, please don't try to set them up. (side note: I'm shooting my friends serious stares at this point; I hate being set up.) Please don't make "subtle" comments about the fact that they're single / would be a good mother (or father) / should discern other vocations. Don't even ask to pray for their vocation; just do it. Pray for them and their future spouse.

If you're a parent of someone who is still single and are reading this, while we appreciate you wanting to see us happily settled, I think most of us would rather you pray for us and our future spouses than have comments made about our singlehood. Even if we don't find about it, your prayers would greatly help us in ways that only God knows we need.

For the tl;dr crowd: some of us have accepted that we will be single for a while (even if we don't want to be) and are content with where we are and what we're doing in our lives in the meantime... but that doesn't mean that the comments about our current state in life don't affect us. The more sensitive the person is and the bigger their desire for a family, the more demoralizing the comments will be. Please just pray for us and our future spouses. If we get excited about furthering our education or career or having a list of things we want to do so we're not just waiting for our other halves, feel free to get excited for/with us. Some of us (like myself) aren't sitting around, waiting for our future spouse to come along. We have other things going on and not just things to pass the time until we get married. That's okay. We're not broken in any way. Only God knows why some of us marry a little older than others. How about we all just thank God that we older single people take marriage more seriously in a culture where divorce is even sometimes glamorized?

Anyway, sorry for this sort of rant but it was building up and I needed to let it out because I feel like I have this conversation way too often with fellow single people.

I'm pretty much caught up with my coursework so I may blog again tomorrow. We shall see where the writer's block is and how the time management works out for me. ;)

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D


Meet You In Galilee said...

I admire how content you are being single. I know God has incredible plans for you and I can't wait to see (or shall I say read) what they are! Prayers! <3

Emmy Cecilia said...

Thank you, Meet You in Galilee!! :D

AnneMarie said...

You are so great! This line in particular jumped out at me: " I'm saying that I quit trying to make things happen because I've unconsciously let the comments get to me."-->Good for you!!!
I think it is so easy to do this in any vocation. As someone who was not pregnant until over 2 years into marriage, it could be really tempting, at times, to let all of the well-meaning (but quite inappropriate) comments and questions from others about children/family size get to me in a bad way.I found that it really is so much better to focus on living out whatever vocation you are at peace in and not try to meet the expectations of others. It's still much easier said than done, though :P

Emmy Cecilia said...

Yes!! I think most comments are well meaning but they carry a hard wallop at times. I wish people thought about the comments before they made them. On the flip side, a friend struggling with infertility for years can hurt when people ask when she'll have children.

Claire Christina said...

Heh, one of my college friends texts me every now and again with the most ridiculous/obnoxious well-meaning comments fro family, friends, acquaintances. She suggested compiling the best ones into a book! (Which is a hilarious idea, but one that I let go of because it got pretty bitter-feeling pretty fast.) Glad you're weathering the storm well. :)

Emmy Cecilia said...

Oh dear. lol. Have you seen that book about weathering single life as a Catholic written by someone who I believe was single well into her late 30s?

Claire Christina said...

Which one!? I've read a couple of them, but several years ago, no longer remember much. Nothing helpful, at any rate.

Somebody should write a book for "How to find purpose/direction when you've accomplished all your non-family-related life goals and feel like you've been putting off adulthood for 10y, but not on purpose"; that's what I've been needing recently. Fortunately, this year's theater project has filled some of that gap!

Emmy Cecilia said...

The one by Emily Stimpson -- this one:

Emmy Cecilia said...

Same here for that last one. I decided to fill my time with selfish goals like traveling in the meantime. I do other things -- voluntary charity work -- but I'm also giving myself a chance to get all the selfishness I can out of my system while I have time.