I was reading the latest issue of Marie Claire magazine and there was a fascinating article about single women in the workplace. It resonated with me because, as you are well aware, I’m single and support myself financially. And yes, I have definitely felt the tension between the haves (those with kids) and the have-nots (those of us without kids). Fortunately, at my current place of work, I don’t feel that tension – my co workers are respectful of my time and vice versa – but I’ve definitely worked in places in the past where there was an assumption that because I don’t have kids, I don’t have anywhere else I should be, so therefore, I can work 24/7. The reality is that, because I’m single, I am also responsible for making sure the bills are paid, the groceries are purchased, the car is maintained, the laundry is done, and anything else that goes on in a household. It may be a household of one, but trust me, my air conditioner needs to be repaired like my married friends and when I lock myself out of the house or car, there is no one there to bail me out.
I don’t want this to sound like a pity party because I love my life! I have made my choice and decided not to pursue the “married with kids” route. Yes, I love kids. Yes, I want to get married. But I also really enjoy my independence. I have more than enough room and love in my heart for a husband, but I don’t think kids are in my future….and, now, somewhere in New Jersey, my mother is weeping.
There is a group called CLUE (Communications League for Unmarried Equality) who has encouraged us to blog about this very topic on the eve of the 4th of July, but it’s been on my mind ever since I read the article in Marie Claire. It’s a double-edged sword, really. You want to be available but you don’t want to make yourself TOO available. And the reality is – I don’t feel as if anyone has ever come out and said, “You’re single. You don’t have to do drop off and pick up at school or camp like I do.” And again, my friends and current coworkers are fair and balanced about these things. But do you think there is an underlying prejudice? Years ago, when I worked for a job that required a lot of nights and weekends, it was just implied that I’d be there. No questions asked. Needless to say, I never had food in the house and the laundry was never done.
Onto other things…..
CLUE also tells me that single people do a better job of maintaining relationships. Bella De Paulo writes in her article on Psychology Today’s website that “people who have always been single are more likely than currently married people (especially) or previously married people (to a lesser extent) to help, encourage, visit, and communicate with friends, neighbors, siblings, and parents.”
That statement is making me think – is it true in my circle of friends? I definitely think I’m one of the people who tends to glue others together, bringing together friends and family. I don’t know – perhaps it is because we don’t have kids to make us exhausted by the end of the day? I don’t have the answer, but I suspect that I’ll be a social butterfly, married or not.
I’m not sure if my being single is what keeps me communicating with friends. I think it is stereotypical to think that way. One of my dear friends, who is married with kids, is an excellent communicator, is always there for me, and is always ready to drop to hop in the car with her twins in tow.
If this topic interests you, I encourage you to tweet and blog about it. Our hashtags are #unmarriedequality and #singlesblogfest and #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination.
Happy Independence and Interdependence Day! Whatever path you’ve chosen in life, may it be full of bliss and happiness.