Inspired by fellow blogger Nickkie from Nickkie & Co. Her post on Babies, Husbands, Careers, Who Says?!? made me want to reflect and share my experiences. Go check her out!
So they say we’re supposed to have it all by 30 right? The husband, the kids, a dog, and a white picket fence. Seems old fashioned, but yes, these are the standards women are measured by.
God forbid you don’t meet you’re knight in shining armor in high school,
get through college together,
have a healthy set of twins,
start your career,
build your dream house,
and live happily ever after.
Oh and the dog. Can’t forget that.
So what happens when you don’t get that by 30?
Actually, I don’t know.
Because I’ve accomplished a lot of those things well before 30. Most of them actually.
I am married to my high school sweetheart, we did get through college together, we’re both in financially stable careers, live in a nice neighborhood, and we have a beautiful daughter.
I don’t say all of that to sound boastful and brag. In fact, I say all that to do the opposite. I’m here to tell you that having the “30s” list checked off means nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I feel truly blessed and favored to have a happy, healthy family, but trust me when I say, it’s no cure all.
I have a husband. Does that mean we were madly in love all the time? No.
I am in a career that I enjoy. Does that mean I’m exempt from prejudice? No.
I have a child. Does that mean I’m greeting with sweet hugs and kisses every morning. Absolutely not.
The reality is, all of these take work. Not just cook-an-occasional-meal-and-have-an-argument-or-two work. I’m talking weary, tireless, compromising, patient, sacrificial work. Work that most people fail at, or flee from, the first chance they get.
Choosing to check off my “30s” list well ahead of schedule brings with it a different type of pressure.
Most nights, rather than hanging out with friends and going to karaoke night, I have to choose between spending time with my daughter, working overtime to get ahead at work, or exercise.
Most nights, I’m in bed by 9pm because I’ve crammed 10 hours worth of work into 7 and a half and I’m exhausted.
Most weeks, I’m lucky to get more than 2 cooked meals on the table.
Most nights, I redo my budget because I forgot to pay for daycare (again!)
To those women who haven’t accomplished a single thing on their 30s list and feel like a failure- I too feel at times I’m failing. Miserably.
Juggling the house, husband, kids, and career can be daunting to say the least. You put pressure on yourself to check off the list? I put pressure on my self to keep the checkmarks there!
Instead of worrying about when Mr. Right will walk into my life, I worry about how Mr. Right became Mr. Left.
Instead of listening to my biological clock ticking and worrying about having children, I worry about if my body or hormones will ever be the same.
Coming from someone who has checked off most of the “30s” list- it’s not the end. It’s not the solution to your problems, and it certainly does not make you the woman you are.
The pressure society puts on women is absurd and tremendously contradicting. You think society expects women to get married young and have kids? Think again. Getting married TOO YOUNG gives you just as much criticism as waiting too long.
I’ve heard everything from “Aren’t you a little too young to be married?” to “You should be out experiencing life. Not tied down in a committed relationship.”
“I don’t want you guys to hold each other back from living out your dreams and goals.”
“Oh aren’t you naïve to think that this is true love. Cute.”
Or my absolute favorite, “Oh you must be super religious.”
So let me get this straight, I’m too young to be married, but I better not wait too long because in three years I’ll be too late? Got it. Makes sense.
But even after all that, the reward for all the hard work I put into keeping my “list” checked is invaluable, irreplaceable, and unconditional love. Which is well worth it if you ask me.
But for some, it’s not worth the work. And honestly, I don’t blame them.
The “30s” list is not for the unprepared and unwilling. It is for intentional, determined, passionate women that want to get it right the first time. So if getting it right the first time means that you drive down the road a little slower, I’d much rather you do that than speed down the road and hit several potholes along the way just to say you got there quicker.
Still, no matter what age you reach your “30s” list, if you ever decide to, it will not be your end-all-be-all. It will open a new phase of discovery, struggle, and self-awareness that you can’t experience otherwise.