Writing In Bed "Shouldn't You Be Married By Now?" Marianna Tabares

I’ve made it plenty of years without being asked about why I’m not married and why I don’t have kids. That is, until Monday.

I was hanging out at Starbucks to help get my mind off a few things and get some writing done. As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed one of the employees trying to help the guy who was sitting over by the cream and sugar cart with something he was trying to do on his laptop. I got up to throw something away before heading out and the man looked up at me with big eyes like he needed help.

I fussed with whatever computer glitch he had but I couldn’t help either, so I got up to leave. He started telling me that he actually lives in another city but stopped in there while he was working nearby. He told me he’s Armenian and has only been here a year for work and asked how old I am. I told him I’m 29 and he said, “Oh really? But you have a baby face. Are you married?”

“No.”

“Oh, you’re Mexican, yes?”

“Yes, my parents were born in Mexico,” I answered.

“Oh, your people are usually married at your age or have kids, no?”

Trust me, I took no offense to this at all. He then asked a bunch of personal questions that I gladly ran away from when he had to answer his cell phone.

I’m going to be 30 this year and the last time I ever considered marriage was three years ago. Since then, I haven’t given it all that much thought and there’s truly no rush.

One day in high school, I was talking to my favorite English teacher and he asked me why I wanted to be a teacher. I said, “Because I want to show young girls that they don’t have to get married right away, that they deserve to go to college if they want to.” He said, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married and have kids. Not all women want to go to college.” I was stunned to hear him say that but also surprised that I was suddenly forced to change my thinking after years and years of having it drilled into my brain that college had to absolutely happen for everyone.

That day also set something straight for me about being fair with all women and respecting what they most want from life. If a woman wants a husband and kids and it’s what her heart truly desires, that’s no less awesome than wanting to get through college and doing whatever with a degree. I look to my best friend sometimes as an example of what I might want from marriage if it ever comes to me. She’s my age, she’s got a Master’s Degree and she’s engaged. Most importantly, she’s still the same person I’ve known for over fifteen years. I really appreciate that because it’s important to me to still be the woman I am and not completely change certain parts of my personality just because I’m in a relationship (naturally, I won’t be talking to strangers at Starbucks anymore when that happens, so I’ll change THAT). Then I read some amazing mom bloggers and I think, Oh wow they look like they’re having fun and holy crap, they’re hot!

I guess what is happening here is that I really appreciate what new things I can learn about how different women define themselves as they make huge life choices that change the way they’ll approach each day. Some choose to stay single and they fill their lives with exciting adventures, or just private nights at home doing whatever it is they  most want. Some women create new lives with partners and they raise children, keep a household in order and make their families a number one priority.

I feel like these days, a hot cup of coffee is my number one priority and all of my choices are undoubtedly selfish. I’m mostly grateful that no one in my family has ever pressured me into getting married or having kids, and it’s probably because all of my aunts, except maybe one or two of them, are divorced.

The last time I spoke with my grandmother was months ago. My mom and I were on the phone with her as well as one of my mom’s sisters (one of the two who is still married). I joked and said, “That’s it, Grandma. You ain’t gettin’ any grandkids outta me. Looks like I’m gonna end up single (or as I said in Spanish, solterona).” She said, “That’s fine. Go ahead and screw around, you’re still young.” Or, something to that effect and in much more eloquent language.

She passed away on Sunday and I’m kind of glad that she joked with me like that because she never had before. Coming from a woman who raised eleven kids on her own after my grandfather died, it seems like decent advice.

Featured Image via HyperGoldfish on DeviantArt

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  1. 42, single and all good over here, sis. It’s other people projecting that are the problem. Haters gonna hate, right? I think my grams has given up understanding my lifestyle choices, but my gramps is himself an iconoclast of sorts, and will often whisper to me “just as long as you’re happy, doll.”

  2. My grandma is always saying crazy stuff to me like that. Advice like that coming from her is beautiful!

  3. Sorry for the loss of your grandmother.

    And being anew 24, I already have gotten pressure from my family to get married and have children. And pressure from myself. I know i’ll start freaking out about it in a few years as I near thirty. in the meanwhile, i’m happy having my college degree, recently unemployed and one of the few girls that went to my high school that still doesn’t have children. (matter of fact, one of my life long acquaintances asked if I had children, at 19 when I ran into her while she was working–she has a daughter.)

    families are great. single hood is great too. enjoy whichever one you find yourself in!

  4. *giving up

  5. I think that as modern women we feel anti-feminist if we consider being happy with marriage & family life and diving up career goals. But the thing is, the 20-year-old wife with 2 kids is no less of a feminist than a 30-year-old single gal, as long as she freely chose her path. It’s all about having the power to choose. Thanks for this article! :)

  6. I’m 26 years old, and when I came home from the UK after finishing my Masters degree last year, my mom started hardcore with these little comments such as “I guess I’ll never be a grandmother,” or “Since you and your brother are never going to have kids…” Okay, my brother is 24, and I was under the impression that we both have plenty of time. Reading this was nice, because I realized that I was not the only one that starting driving myself at a young age to put my education first. All of my friends are married with kids, and we’re in our 20′s, making the majority of my conversations with them revolve around what time I can get to their house to watch their kids, etc. I’m glad this is a problem I don’t have to worry about solving yet. :)

    • PS, I totally wouldn’t have gotten to do the traveling, etc if I was married with kids! That experience was amazing, and taught me a lot about myself, including the fact that I’m not ready for my own little family just yet. :)

  7. I was in the army ready to get out and start doing contracting work working on blackhawk helicopters. Then I met my husband, we got married, still planned on being in the military, but then I got pregnant. Haha, that little surprise cost me my entire career! Although, I NEVER in a million years planned on being a stay-at-home-mom its the best thing i’ve ever done. And I’m still going to school. You can be a mom and a college student! You just have to reallllllly work at it. I’ve had so many tiring nights, but I know once my kids are away from the house at school, I’m going to want to get out and work. I do, however, sometimes envy single girls that get to do anything they want at a drop of a hat, but I would never give up my daughter to have that life again. I know its cliche, but your own kid is the most amazing thing in the entire world!

    http://tattoodhousewife.blogspot.com

  8. I’m so sorry about your grandma, but she’s also right! I’m 34 and single and have no plans to marry or have kids. But people who do decide to do that are alright by me too ;)

  9. I was married at 19 to my high school sweetheart, never had kids & divorced two years ago after 17 years of marriage. My new boyfriend is my soul mate but we’re both thinking that marriage usually screws everything up so why mess with a good thing. I always say that I don’t think ppl should get married until AT LEAST 30 & no kids until 35 because they don’t have enough brains & experience to be in a mature relationship or raise kids. So you’re doing just FINE, girly! You wait for YOUR soul mate, or not. Just be happy & realize you have an awesome family that supports & loves you. Great article!

  10. Great advice from your lovely grandma. I think I’ll take it, too.

  11. I really love this article. I was always the girl who was okay with the idea of getting married very young and having kids right away and got mad at those who looked down on me for that. I wasn’t feeling forced into my choices, so what did they care? Of course, in the last few years, I’ve thought, “What the heck was I thinking?” and that childhood plan of being married by 26 puts me into a panic. Love this article, LOVE you, and love your grandma <3

    Becca Sands | 8/11/2011 06:08 am
  12. First I’m sorry about the loss of your grandmother, she sounded so amazing! I LOVED this article! I recently turned 31 and all my close friends are all married and have children. I am the only single gal. Sometimes I feel alone and like I am missing out on something but reading this and the wonderful words of late grandmother make me realize something I have always known but seem to have been forgetting lately. Everyone is on their on path in life and while no one in my family has ever pressured me into getting married, which is cool, I do have a person who constantly asks “when are you getting married?” “are you seeing anyone?” and even when I say “I enjoy being single.” They just don’t get it. I think they need to read this in order to get it.

  13. P.S. cringing at my typos and grammar issues above, but I digress… I re-read your article and a few things come to mind 1) Your grandmother does sound AWESOME indeed–a fabulous role-model and I hope you are doing well with the loss of her. 2) I too don’t look like my age so hopefully that should play into all of what I typed above… I get a lot of what you do about the age thing and it really can be an asset more than how I used to look at it as a detriment (the older you get the younger you look was once said to me, and NOW I treasure that comment), because a silly fear I had was “oh my gosh, when you “fall in love” for the first time you should be young and beautiful and I’ll be all icky and it won’t be all magical (uh, what makes/made me think that?)…. 3) My friend’s mother once said, “When your biological clock starts ticking, it will be the loudest clock in the room!!” I think mine is broken…….

  14. I’m 22, and most of the people I’ve been with for the past four years have graduated, gotten married, and gone on to have grown-up jobs. I’m on the six-year plan, (I changed my major after an awful freshman year) and I still have absolutely no idea what to do when I do graduate. It’s been easy to kind of get down on myself, wishing I had done everything differently, wishing my boyfriend would ask me to marry him, and totally wanting the domestic life that a lot of people I know are beginning. I’ll admit it, I want to get married, but even though my life is not exactly where I thought it would be four years ago, I’m still the happiest I’ve ever been.

  15. Loved reading your article… I can relate… I am going to be the “big 4-0″ next month, AND I am not married and I’ve honestly never been “in love” either. I don’t think I really had a problem with that either. The relationships I was in were lame and just self-destructive and not what I wanted either. Recently, I “woke up” and realised (UK spelling :o) there is nothing wrong with me (contrary to my prior belief over the past few years). I have a BEAUTIFUL cousin who met her true love and married him at age 42. She told me, quite simply, “you’re a late bloomer.” Ever since she said that and I pondered how she is amazing and if she now has this new life then maybe the same could be in my future. The thing is to stay true to yourself. No need to sacrifice who you are just to “keep appearances.” Most of my friends who got married young are divorced and remarried (and MUCH happier this time around), so I skipped all of that and when I am ready and meet “him” then I might just get married…. Stay tuned :o)

  16. Sorry to hear about the passing of your grandmother. I have to say, she was kick ass for having raised eleven children on her own. I appreciate you discussing this topic on how women seem to get badgered about if they’re married and/or have kids or not (questions that I’ve been asked quite a bit these last few years). It’s nice to see some light being shed on women who choose to live a single lifestyle and simply enjoy life in a different way. That’s not to say I don’t value marriage (heck, to hit mom-status someday is like Spongebob becoming manager of the Krusty Krab…eh, okay bad analogy but hopefully understood nonetheless) but it’s just not, as you said, a number one priority right now. I guess in a way you could say that single women are like mothers to the rest of the world rather than to their own family. That’s probably pushing it but we’re all mothers if you really think about it. (Sorry for any cheesiness that may have surfaced in that last sentence; my eyes are considerably glazed over from long hours of screen-staring)

    • I can feel the motherly instinct. I sorta feel like a lot of my guy friends looked at me that way (the ones that didn’t wanna smooch me, at least). And I’ve had a mother bird feeling sorta come outta me when I’ve been around certain friends. Also, I’ve given very serious consideration to adoption and I think I will definitely do that as well as maybe push one or two creatures out. Someday.

  17. Sorry for your grandma. But so good that you got that great advice. Most older women aren’t like that, and this is so good as she passed away right now. You can let her go with a good feeling about it.

    I’m 15 years old so this doesn’t say that much about me, I haven’t kissed, had a boyfriend or had sex before. It’s getting more regular that you have all these things at such a young age.. I don’t really need to wait long, it’s more that I just haven’t found the right person yet. I’ll screw around, as your grandma said, when I’m ready for it.

    • Oh, pffsh. PLENTY O’TIME before you gotta worry about that stuff. Pleeeenty. :) At 15, I was a little boy crazy but it was safer to not get involved with them until senior year. I sorta hated the idea of having drama after a breakup when I still had to go to school with the same people for 3 more years. A lot of girls were way ahead of me, already getting too romantically involved and getting distracted from the stuff that really mattered, like having better friendships with other girls and academic pursuits (good grades). <3

  18. LOL Screwing around, still on the list. I think so far I’m doing good at having followed the advice many women gave me. They told me to wait to get married til after 30. So far it looks like it will turn out that way. They want me to travel a bunch and wait on having kids. Considering how terrified I am of that thing they do when that little human comes out of your body and they have to umm, make more room by tearing skin, I THINK I CAN TOTALLY WAIT.

  19. I had the same feeling for such a long time, several of my younger friends (meaning 18/19) are engaged and are already planning their children’s names or have children. At 22 I can’t imagine getting married and having babies, I get more excited planning my future career. I had to understand that what makes me happy, doesn’t make them happy and vice versa. Part of me though thought they were going to loose the chance to develop as a person on their own. It was in fact the same mom blogger who made me think maybe being a mom doesn’t mean losing yourself.

  20. So sorry about your Grandma Marianna! She’s right though–screw around! :)

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