I grew up with a mother who fulfilled the role of stay-at-home mom, while my father worked and provided for our family. My mother met my father at age 19 and they were married just before her 22nd birthday. She was a mom. He was a dad. Together they dedicated their lives to raising my brother and I into respected, compassionate, and intelligent adults.
This past Saturday night I went to my cousin’s housewarming party. She is my age, 23, and just had her first child. I look at her life and I envy her, not because I want a child or because I don’t have a house, or because she has an excuse to stay in on a Saturday night and can feel okay about it; but because she seems so content and thrilled with everything that is happening in her life. She loves being a mom, having a house, and a boyfriend who loves her. In this moment, she is happy with the traditional path that so many of us follow; the path that leads us to build and raise families of our own. As I watched her prepare guacamole and fulfill the role of “adult mom,” I kept thinking about how much I wanted to want everything she wanted. (Quite a mouthful, right?) I began to grow frustrated with myself because I know that life for me would be so much easier if I wanted to be married with kids right now because of how it is such a pre-destined role for women.
Now, I know society has changed drastically over these past few decades, but I still see majority of women and men fulfilling their expected roles. I see others around me who want to have careers, but are still so concerned with following the respectable path of dating, then moving in together, then getting engaged, then marriage, then kids, then maybe a couple more kids, and then spending a large amount of time waiting for those kids to grow up and follow the exact same path. By societal standards, this is destiny for many of us.
I, myself, am on a path so similar to the one I just explained. However, I am not so sure I want to be, or if I think I want to be because that is what I am told. I question whether or not I want children, and whether or not I am a suitable candidate for marriage. Despite my lack of uncertainty though, I wish those were all of the things I wanted and things I knew I wanted. Instead, I want to travel the world, learn new languages, write a book, maybe write a few books, live in many different places, grow in my career, maybe eventually change my career, and ultimately, discover who I really am and if I am, in any way, prepared to give into society’s expectations of me by becoming a wife and mother.
When people ask me if I want children, I always reply by saying, “I don’t know.” I tend to get strange looks, and sometimes I get lectures from people telling me that I should want a family one day. They are right though. I should want a family one day, and I should know that I want a family one day, but life in my mind is bigger than family. I do not think that I was born to become a mom or a wife or a combination of the two. I wish I did think that though. Instead, I am always restless and always wondering about what is meant for me and how I am supposed to play this game when I can’t seem to play by the rules.