Not Harder; Just Different

I’ve never had anyone specifically come out and say “your life is so much easier than mine because you don’t have a husband or kids”, but I can’t count the number of times it’s been insinuated.  By friends, by my sister, and even by complete strangers.

I don’t claim to have an overly complicated life and there are many times I’m “over the moon” that I don’t have a husband and kids to consider when making choices.  I certainly have the ability to quickly make life choices without anyone having the opportunity to talk me out of them.  I also live alone in those choices.  If I make a bad choice there is no one but me to blame, torture, or fix it.

The point is…none of our lives are harder; they are just different.

Maybe I’m over simplifying a bit.  This post isn’t about life threatening diseases.  It’s about the difference between having a husband and/or kids and not.  I realize that some people are dealt a horrible hand of cards and I won’t minimize the hardships in their lives.

My own sister has said to me at times “I wish I had time to myself”, but what she doesn’t realize (since she had her first child at the age of 20) is that the very time she wishes for is fleeting.  Sometimes “time to myself” can turn into nearly debilitating loneliness.  There is a cost to everything in life, including “time to myself”.

My best friend says she envies me because I have time to eat right and exercise (not that I do most of the time).  She says she doesn’t have time.  We spent nearly an hour on the phone the other day discussing it.  I countered each of her excuses with what I considered a viable option.  She dismissed most of what I was saying due to her preconceived notion that I couldn’t possibly understand since I don’t have a child.  I don’t claim to have answers for my friends with kids, but being dismissed is frustrating as hell.

Even my dad said to me once that I needed to cut my sister some slack because she had kids and that I had no idea what it costs to raise kids.  This coming from a man who has always hammered into us that “you made your bed and now you have to lay in it”.  I get it, raising kids can be expensive, but my sister has always had an excellent paying job and is constantly flaunting her material things.

And then, there’s my grandmother.  She’s often made me feel like the black sheep of the family because I never got married and never had kids.  To understand how insulting being the black sheep of the family is, I only need to point to a couple of my cousins.  The first had a child as a teenager, out of wedlock.  Her three children ended up being raised by her ex-husband who wasn’t the father of any of them.  Her younger sister’s Facebook banter includes R to X rated material while at the same time advertising her in-home daycare.  I wouldn’t allow her to watch my children (if I had any) and we are “family”.

And yet, I continue to get dismissed or treated as if I live a life of luxury.  I chalk it up to different life choices.  I went to college, I moved away from my hometown, I found a different life than some of my family and friends.  How does that make their lives harder than mine?  And, not just different?

  • While my sister was paying for diapers and formula I was paying for my college education.
  • While my friend struggles to eat right and exercise, so do I.

I will admit I live a pretty amazing life, but it isn’t because I don’t have a husband and/or kids.  It’s because I made DIFFERENT choices.  Those choices certainly were not easier to make.

What do you think?  Do you have a husband and/or kids?  If so, do you think that your single friends live a life of luxury?  If you are single, do you get dismissed by your married friends?

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