So, I’m 24… way too young to get married, have two and a half child (because I still feel like a child in so many ways), settle down into a house with a white picket fence. Or so I thought. Most of my close friends are in the same boat, being single or in a relationship but so far from the point of envisaging life being quiet for long enough to get married and have kids. A few years ago, if a former classmate said their ‘I dos’ or had a baby, they’d be the exception but as the years pass and my facebook feed continues to be littered with engagements, marriages and baby announcement I have started to realise that I am becoming the exception.
Don’t get me wrong, the tides are shifting. People are choosing to get married a lot later or not at all, children are no longer a given and discussions about the types of relationship people want to have are becoming more common. This, of course, is coupled with the wider acceptance of varied sexualities and sexual preferences. Overall, there are just more people choosing to live outside the pre-determined family box established by our parents and their parents.
My family was pretty standard. My parents got married in their mid-twenties and are still together. They had two kids within the space of 5 years. My mother is a teacher, so while we were growing up she was with us most of the time. Dinner was on the table awaiting my dad’s arrival most nights. Having grown up with these examples of relationships and family dynamics from my immediate and extended family, living or choosing an alternative remains a challenge.
While I consider myself a radical feminist, I still envisage myself walking down the aisle. Why? Why do I want to wear a white dress? Why? Yes, I was socialised to believe that marriage (and a wedding) is what women should aspire to. I still get questions from members of my family about when I’m getting married, about how many kids I want as opposed to whether I want kids at all. But at the same time, I know an alternative. I don’t think it’s necessary to sign a page and say I do to prove your commitment to another person but does something magical happen on the altar, as I’ve been told by some married folks and of course, the movies? How can I be a great wife, awesome mother and have a ridiculously amazing career all at the same time? For all of the women close to me, something had to give.
The question of whether women can have it all has come up so many times when hanging out with girlfriends and I am yet to decide of myself whether I can have it all (my own modern family: have a partner who doesn’t mind staying home while I am travelling the world, who will gladly share all the responsibilities that come with the home, with kids who feel loved by me even though I might not always be around, with a high-powered career, surrounded by people I respect and who respect me) or whether I can have it all but not at the same time?
Picture credit: http://www.freepik.com/free-icon/white-question-mark-on-a-black-circular-background_750291.htm