Last week I had someone ask me when I was hoping to settle down and start having kids. Mind you, I’m 22 years old, single, and I’m only in the first year of my first “adult” job. But this is honestly a fairly common question.
The thing is, I’ve never been the person who has wished to be a mother or a “homemaker”. I know some women want that life, and that’s their choice (that’s literally what feminism is, giving the woman a choice in how she spends her life). I’m not saying I’ll never have children, I assume I will, but I don’t ever see myself being a stay at home mom (stay at home pet mom is a different story).
Growing up my father has always been the “Mr. Mom”. Partly because my mom was unable to fulfill that “role” because she was sick, and partly because I think he actually enjoys doing it. He does the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and all of that stuff. I see myself marrying someone like him, I’m fine doing cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. and will be sharing those roles with my husband, but I also see my husband sharing the role of providing and taking care of the children (I mean more than just going to their events, I mean full fledged parenting and playing a large role in their lives). I am no way saying I won’t love, spend time, or provide for my children. I just don’t see myself being the generic soccer mom, and I think that is okay.
I’m currently taking an online class through work on Resource Development and Grant Writing and today’s reading included a quote by Craig Bowman stating:
“Passion fuels our work. It sparks our dreams. It gives us hope. It fires our imaginations. Passion gives us the courage to do, to give, and to share.”
That quote really struck a chord with me. I think that summarizes what I’m feeling about the question of settling down.
I am passionate about have a career I am proud of. I am passionate to find a job I love, where I feel fulfilled, and believe I am impacting the world in some way (no matter how big or small). I see my future as a destination where I feel passionate about my career and hopeful for the future. I do want to “settle down” at some point (I’m sick of being single but also don’t put any effort in so that’s on me). Later in life my opinion on having kids may change, but for now I think it’s okay for choosing to be passionate about a career and fulfillment in that way.
I know myself and know I can be very resentful. It’s one of my biggest flaws, and I recognize that and try not to be at all times. But I know that it is something that I constantly have to work on. I think recognizing your flaws and actively working towards bettering yourself through them is important. I would never say I want to “fix” my flaws, because that implies that I’m broken in some way and need to repair a part of my personality, but that’s not the case.
For me I think there’s a connection between my passion and imagination versus reality and resentment. I am passionate about having a meaningful career, as I’ve mentioned, and imagine myself having this extravagant professional life. Even if this doesn’t happen, I know I will grow to accept it. But I’m at the point where I’m still allowed to have hope and passion that this will happen. Because of that, I don’t want to “settle” into a life where it will limit me in that sense, because I know I will resent myself and the people around me because I’ll believe all of us played a role in my “failure” (my interpretation of failure, I’m not saying settling down equates to failure).
I think the important part, for me at least, is to at least try to follow the plan I’m passionate about. If it is not my fate, if I do end up settling down and going down a different path, I know I’ll come to accept it and love it. But I don’t want that to be my path because I didn’t try hard enough to follow my passion. I wish to never lose hope that I can succeed in the ways I imagine, but also wish to never resent my life because I thought I could do more.