I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
August 24, 2011
Last month, five of my friends from high school and I took a trip to Sea Island, Georgia.
It was part of an annual Girl Trip we’ve been taking together on and off since we were in our early twenties. I wrote about this latest vacation together shortly after I returned– but what I didn’t tell you was that I also shot video while I was there for iVillage. Why, you ask? Because I’m one of iVillage’s new iVoices. Here’s the finished product:
Y’all. I told you that house was nice!! And before you make your snarky silver spoon comments in your head, let me assure you that none of us could have afforded to stay in anything approaching that house had it not been almost free of charge.
Anyway, it’s interesting to me that our lives, once inextricably bound together, have gone in totally different directions since we graduated *cough* 18 *cough* years ago. Only two of us have had kids, so it was refreshing to have conversations that didn’t revolve around children for a change. I miss that.
But having children and a husband and a career that’s based entirely on my domestic roles did inevitably put me on the other end of a divide in some ways, too. My lifestyle is totally different from that of my single friends– and I don’t think it’s any better or worse. I’m simply on a different path, and my only regret is that it’s the path that too many women feel compelled to follow.
Because the more years I put in as a wife and a mom, the more I’m convinced that neither role is essential to happiness.
I love my husband with everything in me and I’m very, very glad that we’re together. But I also have to admit that marriage is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It takes constant energy and communication and reassessment to blend two lives together, and all that effort certainly isn’t discussed when couples are deciding whether to get engaged on The Bachelor!
I think most married people, happy or unhappy, would agree that if you can’t find someone who you honestly feel in your soul that you could get along with and live beside for the rest of your life, you really shouldn’t do it. You’ll be happier and more content focusing on your positive relationships with friends and family.
And as a mom and stepmom for ten years now, I can say unequivocally that too many women are having children who probably shouldn’t have. Those of you with little ones will be AMAZED at how many parents completely lose interest in the job once their kids hit puberty. Many of the issues that cropped up once my stepdaughters entered junior high came only because they had so many friends whose parents had emotionally checked out. Once parenting gets rough, a surprising number of moms and dads seem to decide it’s not doing anything for them anymore, and they pretty much let their kids do whatever they want– so long as it doesn’t inconvenience them.
Having watched all of this go on for years, I believe now that too many women are having children simply because they feel like they’re supposed to, not because they feel a true, unshakable calling to be a mother. And I wish that our society put a greater emphasis on positive relationships in every form they might take, rather than forcing a one-size-fits-all family unit ideal onto every man and woman. We’re all so very different- How on earth could we presume that each one of us will find happiness and fulfillment with a spouse and children?
What does this have to do with my relaxing girl trip? Well, I find myself mulling over these things whenever I see my girlfriends, I guess because we all started out with endless possibilities before us, and it’s interesting to see what we’ve chosen, where we’ve gone, where we’re headed next, and how we feel about it all.
I want all of us to be happy, no matter which path we’ve taken. I want all of us to feel fulfilled as women. And I want all of us to keep getting together every year until we’re dragging our oxygen tanks behind us to the beach.
How do you feel about marriage and children? Are they truly the keys to happiness, or is it all societal, stereotypical hype?