Having it all: What does that mean?

12 Aug

I’ve never taken a pregnancy test, and won’t have kids at my age unless it’s through adoption or a future boyfriend’s slash partner’s slash husband’s existing kids.  I felt distant from the whole “women having it all” debate from a few months ago because, let’s face it, I am an outlier in many ways:  I’ve never been married, don’t have children and will never “have it all” in the eyes of some people.  Sometimes those eyes are even my own.

I’ve dated men that I thought I might spend the rest of my life with and perhaps have children, but either I decided that wasn’t the best scenario or they thought otherwise.  It’s mostly been the latter, to be honest, though I haven’t yet lost faith that a match is waiting for me, somewhere.

Yoga teaches me to be content with what I have and to not focus on what is lacking.  I really do believe that to be true, timely and forever advice.  But seriously – many discussions in life and through work focus on children and family, so it’s sometimes hard to not feel on the outside of debates about maternity leave, Marissa Mayer and related long articles in the Atlantic.

Tim Kreider wrote eloquently about this “Referendum,” as he called it, in 2009 in the New York Times. My friend, Jocelyn, who lives in Washington, D.C., sent it to me after we’d compared our lives.  When we both lived in D.C. a decade or more ago, we were single girls looking for love.  She’s now married, with two children.  Reading this today, I have to admit, I am trying to find the conclusion and words of wisdom in Kreider’s post.

When I was growing up, I wanted to have the Brady Bunch – six kid – because I grew up with one sister.  As I got older, I realized that financially, that was pretty much impossible.  Rachel Campos-Duffy (yes, of the Real World San Francisco) has made it work, but it’s pretty rare.  (Note: I only learned about Rachel’s Brady Bunch in recent days, when I at first thought she was married to Paul Ryan, that other conservative politician from Wisconsin.)

I’ve had single friends try to and even become single moms as they got older, but I never considered that option. I’d be too scared.  I can’t imagine trying to raise a child on my own, though my friend, Theresa, in New York is making it work and is blissfully happy.

Arrested development, not of the TV variety necessarily, partially explains my situation.  I started dating and more at a later age in life than most (turning 30 was a landmark year for me, including a move to Baltimore), and I wouldn’t really change the way that life has turned out.  It’s just, different.

While watching season one of Girls recently, I got a little nostalgic and also realized this arrested development component listening to the internal and other dialogue from Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa.  Unlike Hannah, I have not been obsessed with getting HIV, but I was amused and intrigued with the scenes around her a) doing a Google search for the “stuff that gets up around the sides of condoms” and b) being diagnosed with HPV.

HBO Girls

One of the many awkward sex scenes that she has with Adam was something I experienced, umm, in recent years.  Color me young at heart.  And as a Planned Parenthood employee alum, I nearly applauded when Hannah’s ex-boyfriend, Elijah, declared that there isn’t a test for HPV in men.  So there!

Where am I going with this? I’m not completely sure, but felt compelled and really wanted to share my own take on “Having it all.”  And maybe my children will one day be dachshunds.

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