I’ve been hesitant to write a post like this, I don’t want to sound overly opinionated or for anyone to think they need to have sympathy towards me plus this blog’s purpose is for things that I have tried and liked, not a place to get a point across to others. There are two things that I am going to address in this post, one being the fact that I am very secure in my status of being single and the other being that even though I am not a mother doesn’t mean that I do not have a very special place in a child’s upbringing and my experiences do count.
My niece is nine years old and for the last at least 3 years she asks me who is older, myself or my sister. Everytime we go through the whole line of who is older and younger between my brothers and my sister and I. My niece will then say, I thought Aunt Ashley was older because she is married (well now she has a baby so that has gotten added in recently too). My niece will then go into questions of why am I not married, when will I get married, who will I get married to, and this past weekend she added in that she wanted to babysit my kids so she could read them Bernstein Bears books. When she brought this topic up while we were in DisneyWorld a few weeks ago she included questions of why my most recent ex-boyfriend wasn’t around anymore and why I couldn’t marry him. Answering any of these questions to a 30 year old isn’t easy, let alone a nine year old inquisitive girl. I luckily have been able to give her enough explanation for her to move on to a new topic but this one wasn’t as easy (the little thing is getting too smart). Thankfully my sister in law was there and jumped in a little. We continued to tell her (like we do all the other times) that people marry at all different ages and you only get married when you love someone that you want to share your life with and be with for forever. She then proceeded to say that she wanted me to get married, I responded with hopefully someday when I love someone that loves me as much as I love them but that if I had been married or even had a boyfriend I wouldn’t be able to spend all the time I do with her and her brother and do all the fun things we get to do together. And finally that monorail pulled up and the questioning stopped. My sister in law and I were talking and she is very wise and she always has the right things to say. She said she was happy that my niece had someone in her life that was single and independent, that she could see that you don’t need to get married to have a full happy life. Never before had I thought about those things. I’m very happy that I haven’t settled in my life, geez had I had the life I thought I was going to have while I was going through my first couple of years in college I could have been married, living in the midwest in the country and had six kids by now (pretty scary since that is not me AT ALL!). At times it can be difficult to be the only single person at a family or friend gathering as many people in Buffalo settle down pretty early in age but I do not regret the choices I have made to remain single. As I tell my niece and want to continue to be a role model to her, you only get married to someone that you love and who loves you back. Life isn’t always easy but I think I’ve done a pretty fair job getting through it and have experienced a lot that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do had I been tied down. Moral of the story is, everything happens for a reason, my reason for being single could quite possibly be to be a role model for independence for little girls.
And onto my second point, I have seen a lot floating around on social media about unless you’re a parent you shouldn’t have an opinion of raising children. The act of raising children is extremely trying and I have definitely had my fair share of seeing parents work their tails off to raise their children to be happy, healthy, successful and upstanding individuals in the community. Their job is the hardest one in the world and I would be scared out of my mind to have to raise a human being to be the best he/she could be. However, I am always deeply saddened when I see that parents feel as though anyone without children shouldn’t have an opinion on raising kids. It’s usually no secret to anyone who knows me that I have pretty strong views on child rearing. I believe I have a pretty decent list of experiences in my life to give an opinion or two. I won’t go into the details of my history of schooling and work experience and the research I have done plus the long list of personal experiences of being around nieces and nephews and friends’ children but I think that I have seen enough good things that work that can help a person or two. Even my sister trusts me more than she trusts anyone with her baby (she said that I knew more baby stuff than her and now I will now never let her live that down). Every parent should receive as much encouragement and assistance as possible to do all they can do to raise their little ones. I’m not saying every little advice that I have is the perfect thing for one particular child but if a parent is having difficulty in an area with their child why wouldn’t they want to know something that could be beneficial? I agree there is a time and place for advice and opinions but maybe parents should be more open to hearing a different view once in awhile.
Normally I don’t blab on about something like this but these are two things that I have been thinking about recently and thought that my views are a little different than what is typically shared and should be heard. Self reflection is something that I have been working very hard on the last few years and I see more and more individuals not able to do the same. Self reflection is a sign of maturity and growth and hearing a different side of an argument might possibly give someone else that chance to self reflect themselves.