As I grow older, I often find myself thinking about what my life might look like in 10 years. I have a general idea of what direction I’d like to go in, yet there are still some uncertainties. However, I do not think this is inherently a bad thing because I think it is equally important to be aware of the things that I do not want for myself. That being said, I am able to reassure myself because there are two things I know for certain that I do not want: marriage and children.
Although I do not plan on getting married or having children, it does not necessarily mean I plan on being single and alone for the rest of my life. My outlook on the two simply goes beyond the traditional views.
When it comes to marriage, I have a hard time embracing the tradition because of its history. It very much stems from patriarchal beliefs that value women as physical property. In modern day, we still see fathers quite literally giving their daughters away to other men as they reach the end of the aisle. There is therefore no denying that it remains a patriarchal institution.
As for having children, I am hesitant because of the great responsibility that comes with being a mother. A friend of mine once tweeted something along the lines of “I don’t want to be a mom but I wouldn’t mind being a dad”. It was something that instantly stuck with me. After reading the tweet, I feel as though I couldn’t help but notice the different standards to which women and men were held in terms of parenting. Even in very healthy relationships, where both parents were amazing, women always seemed to have greater responsibility. I, as someone who dislikes being held to certain standards, do not believe I would be content knowing society didn’t expect my partner to perform the same parenting duties.
If later down the line I decided I did want to be a parent, I still do not think I would be open to being a biological mother. This is partly because I do not think I would have to give birth to a child in order to love and nurture it. I would much rather look to be a foster or adoptive parent, given that there are countless children in need of a home. I would also find greater satisfaction knowing that I helped contribute to a system that is often neglected.
I think there are many limitations for women when it comes to the nuclear family and legal matrimony. I believe there are alternatives that better align with my values, beliefs, and long term life goals.