Well, it is time to address the BlogHer article that piqued my interest in the first place. I saved this particular blog post for last (last of the articles I came across late last week) because it hits so close to home. Even though Stephanie and I may have differences regarding dating and the possibility for a meaningful relationship (more on that later), we share so much. Where to begin?
First, Stephanie never shied away from her love of children. She discusses her years spent as a teacher and coach, all that she has given to children in her life. That just wasn’t the case earlier in my life. During my 20s, I let my issues surrounding infertility get in the way of my love for children. I simply thought that it hurt too much to spend day in, day out with kids not my own. Well, I can’t believe just how wrong I was. I finally got over myself and realized the truth that I am meant to be a teacher. I am meant to make a difference in the lives of children. I just wish I would have discovered that little gem of self-awareness earlier. Then again, everything happens for a reason. All of my experiences in business – good and bad – have made me who I am today. I doubt I would be planning to take over my parents’ business with my brother if I didn’t have all of that business experience.
Speaking of my brother, Stephanie’s statement that her love of children began with her younger brother rang true to me. Did I want children of my own before my brother was born? Yes; it is one of the first and only things I wanted out of life. However, when my brother was born, I was ten years old. There was enough difference in our ages that we weren’t necessarily playmates. My younger sister (three years younger) and I were each other playmates. Instead, my brother taught me what it is to care for a child. As his babysitter, I would make him bathe and help him fall asleep. As his older sister, I made sure he had the opportunity to spend time with me during my college years. I taught him to appreciate classic cartoons such as Looney Tunes and The Jetsons; he taught me how to ski. In other words, he will always be my baby brother. Nothing can change that. No matter how many children I adopt, he will always be my oldest child. If one day I am a successful parent, I will have my brother to thank, along with my parents, grandparents, and sister.
If I don’t at least attempt to adopt as a single woman, there will always be something missing in my life. I think this is exactly what Stephanie is feeling as she approaches 40. It is what I felt as I approached 30. It is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It is the reason why I decided to change careers and go back to school. Everything in my life – at least anything worthwhile – relates to my dream of creating a family of my own. Everything.
As a single woman, that dream becomes infinitely more complicated when it comes to the topic of men. Stephanie comes across as extremely pessimistic when it comes to dating, particularly for a self-described love and relationship advice columnist. Why? Why not leave open that possibility that you will meet the right man, even as a single mom? It might take more work to find the right man, but it can be done.
This is what I am struggling with at the moment: Making room for others in my daily life. As I go about creating a life I love, the life I’ve always wanted, I need to find ways to ensure that I am not getting too wrapped up in myself. I need to make time for others, make sure that I am available. How will I ever find the right man if he thinks I am too busy for any kind of meaningful relationship? What kind of mother would I be if I put myself before my child? Unfortunately, it can be too easy to shut the most important people out of your life, even if that isn’t your intention at all.