I’m going to reveal to you, right here in this post, an insight that will probably change the way you view being single. Before I do that, let me be clear about my views on singledom (from many years of personal experience): It can be incredible, if you appreciate it. Unfortunately, in many cases (if not most) people only really appreciate their single years when they’re married with children.
What do I mean? Being single equals freedom. You can do what you want when you want and with whom you want. On an average Sunday I’ll snatch a peak at Facebook in between mowing the lawn and taking my kids to the park (after waking up at 6am for the early shift) and read the status updates of my single friends. Here are some examples:
– “Enjoying the spring day with a latte at XX and relaxing. Care to join?”
– “Anyone up for 11am brunch at XX?”
– “Can’t wait to hit the hiking trail. Weather is awesome!”
Am I jealous: hell yeah! I’ve forgotten what brunch is! Yes, I have fond memories of my single days. But did I appreciate the value of having basically zero responsibility and unlimited options? Did I rejoice in how lucky I was that I could spend a Sunday doing whatever I felt like, or nothing at all? Maybe a little, but nowhere near what I should have. I couldn’t possibly appreciate those days until I was married with kids.
You see, there are certain things that you can’t possibly appreciate until you’ve experienced life without them. But there are also things you can never really appreciate until you personally experience them.
I enjoyed my single years and I can now fully appreciate the freedom they came with. But as great as they were, if I had truly understood then what it means to be a parent I would have been much more motivated to get married a lot sooner than I did.
Being part of a happy marriage is a great thing, no question about it. But being a parent is something that is just indescribable. Unless you are one, you simply cannot understand what I’m saying. I’m not saying this to belittle the role of aunts, uncles or godparents. They play a valuable role and they certainly feel great love toward their little ones…but it’s just not the same as being a parent.
My children are my life, my heart, my soul. My life revolves around them. When they are sick I cry with them and wish that I could transfer their pain to myself. When they laugh my heart gets so big I fear it might burst. I remember my mother telling me that one day I would have children and then I’d understand. I finally know what she meant.
If I only knew what it meant to be a parent when I was single, I would have done so many things differently. I would have set my mind to find a spouse instead of spending so much time in search of fun, success, and personal satisfaction. It took me a long time to realize that I was focusing on myself — my needs — instead of focusing on building a family with someone else. When I finally “got it” I started dating differently. I began thinking about how I could give instead of what I could get or what they could offer. Now my life revolves around giving to my spouse and kids, and luckily, my spouse’s does the same.
When I look back at those wasted Sundays I just wish I could have them back to spend them riding on a kiddie train around a little zoo in Bergen County, NJ with my 3 year old. If I only knew then what I know now. But I didn’t. I couldn’t, because I wasn’t a parent.
I know that many of you reading this really do want to get married and are trying hard. But there are also many of you who aren’t. Maybe you just aren’t ready. Maybe you’ve get unrealistic expectations for what a good spouse should be. Maybe you’re doing everything right but just haven’t found the right one. Maybe.
But maybe you just don’t get it because you don’t, you can’t, really know what you’re missing. Maybe reading this will inspire you to think about that family you don’t yet have, and motivate you to change how you date and think. And maybe one day soon you too will feel what every parent feels.