It was all supposed to be so easy.
Grow up, go to university, enjoy your youth for a few years, then settle down, buy a house, have the big wedding with the big white dress, the perfect photos, the perfect venue, the perfect gushing speeches, and then pop out a baby; then a second, between two and three years later. Finally, your family is complete. You have achieved the Dream. You are now free to pat yourself on the back and rest on your laurels into a comfortable middle age spent pottering around the conservatory.
That was the way my parents did it. And their parents before them. And their parents’ parents, and every film and TV show seemed to share the same message. That was just what you did, as an adult. You grew up, you got married, and then you lived the rest of your life in contented conventionality.
But what do you do if that never happens?
What do you do if life gets in the way of the Dream? If the post-university Having Fun years went on slightly longer than expected? And then slightly longer than that. And slightly longer again. And before you know it you’re knocking on the door of middle age and you still haven’t managed the bit with the big white dress?
I’ll tell you what you do.
You start searching the self-help aisle in bookshops. Rifling through books with over-long titles like How To Be A Man Magnet In 12 Easy Steps (apparently the secret is to wear a blouse unbuttoned just that little bit further than is necessary, and twirl your hair around your fingers coquettishly whilst licking your lips. Not too often though. Just often enough for your prey to be tricked into thinking that you are both simultaneously very interested but also not at all interested). You pore through every single one of the two hundred and twenty four sub-headings in each of the books, and you end up just as confused as when you started, and harbouring a strong suspicion that the opposite sex might actually be aliens.
You sign up for every internet dating site that you can find, and spend every evening typing a series of witty one-liners into cyberspace about how you are really into rock climbing but also love staying in with a DVD and a bottle of red wine.
You think about actually going rock climbing on the assumption that it might attract some rugged outdoor types.
Finally, after a million dates and a million conversations with friends about how you are variously “too picky,” “always go for the bad boys” or even “too intelligent/independent/insert other adjective you previously thought was a compliment” to ever be married or attract any kind of mate, you give up.
Yes, that’s right, you give up.
You do the precise opposite of what all the books told you to do. The precise opposite of how the Disney fairytales end. You do something few people seem to consider as an option.
You have a baby on your own. And it is absolutely fine. Because who needs conventionality when you could just be yourself, and do what makes you happy, and forget the pressure to get things “right.”
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31 Comments Add yours
Yeah. Love this. Maybe I’ll follow your style for number two (of the baby not toilet kind!). I’m currently in the ‘search’ mode but I’m not sure I have the patience to do it for very long!
I am still hoping against hope that I manage to do things more conventionally for number two (baby!) but I fear it may be a pipe dream! I definitely recommend the less conventional route.
Modern age seems to be pushing the boundries of conventionality at every corner which is a good thing as there should be more than one option out there for people. Better to raise a child on your own and be happy that have a child in an unhappy marriage after all. #triballove
Yes definitely-that would be awful.
Love this! There is something extremely liberating and empowering about ditching the dream. You can just be who you want to be. Pen x
Thanks. It has been liberating in some ways.
Love this, you knew what you wanted so you went and did what you had to do. I know soany people who have settled with someone who “will do” because they feel under pressure to marry and need to get moving if they want children. So lovely to read your story. #KCACOLS
I often find myself wondering just how many couples have settled. I find it quite sad to be honest, but maybe I am just a romantic. It was something I definitely considered, but I couldn’t even manage to find someone to settle with!
and there is soooooo much pressure to get things right isn’t there? so many people judging and making their own misguided assumptions. we have to do what is right for us and I’m pleased you made a decision for you to have a baby! not because society tells you but because that is what you wanted! #KCACOLS
Thank you! And thanks for commenting.
I absolutely LOVE this!!! You took your happiness, your wants and desires into your own hands. You refused to settle, and that is truly admirable. I think of how many people stay in a marriage for the children, or how many people settle because they want that dream. Great read, thanks for sharing! <3 #KCACOLS
Thank you! I do often wonder how many married couples are really happy, or whether they have settled, although I would be very sad if they had!
I agree why do we feel the need to do things just like everyone else does it. I think you just have to do things the way that works best for your own family and your own lie. We all have unique situations and experiences as human beings and as parents. Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS #TribalLove
Thanks for commenting!
You should never settle for something because it’s the norm or it’s what other people do. Happiness is far more important. Thanks for sharing, found this interesting to read. #KCACOLS
Thanks for commenting!
This is real girl power, making your own decisions, following the path that is right for you. x
All about doing what works for you! Don’t think there is a right or wrong way of doing things but hopefully your fairytale ending is still just round the corner for you – whatever you want it be! #KCACOLS
Thank you. I hope so too!
I really enjoy this. Your story is admirable and you’re setting a great example to your child that they can be what ever they want to be! #kcacols
I love this. Life’s too short to be conventional, especially if it’s not going to make you happy. I think you are setting a great example, both for your child and other women who feel pressured into doing something that society deems they should do. Thanks so much for linking with #KCACOLS. We hope you come back again next week.
Thank you, that’s a really lovely thing to say. Thanks for hosting and commenting!
Who needs conventionality, and can’t live without conventionality is frightened of life. And is loosing his personality.
Agreed! Thank you for commenting.
What do you do if life gets in the way of the Dream? That’s really impressed. You signed up for every internet dating site, I thought a single mom but I don’t have the courage to become, thanks for your sharing to help me look at things in a new perspective.
Thanks for commenting!
Good that you’re following you’re own dream! More and more the considered conventions are being challenged. Why? I think because a lot of people don’t suit the happily ever after heterosexual fairytale. We need more fairytales with kick arse single mums and flying rainbow flags gays. Yeah?
Definitely! Thanks for your comment.
Love that! Very funny, just remember – conventional is dull!