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Fighting Social Norms

I’m at an age where people expect me to have ‘accomplished’ certain things. By now I should own a house, be married and have a few kids so that I can be considered as winning at life. So I thought I’d go through the ‘checklist to life’ and see how I’m going.

Owning a house ✓

Yes! One item checked. About 2 years ago now Jarrod and I talked about buying a house but at the time weren’t ready to jump into all that and wanted to save some money first, we’d been together a year at that point and hadn’t lived together yet so we wanted to make sure that was going to work out. I also wanted to get out of debt and actually have something to contribute to a deposit so we decided to rent for a year and then re-assess.

As you know we have been living in the house we bought for just over a year now so we obviously went ahead with that. It’s only the two of us in our house but it has 4 bedrooms and you can guarantee that when people find that out they give us a knowing look and say “oh, planning for the future?” because of course we are filling all that space with babies!

Married ✗

It seems like, in some peoples mind, this is the most important aspect of the checklist. Marriage is the end goal to life. Maybe this might have been true 50+ years ago when society was even more closed off to “alternative” lifestyles and the point of life was to get married, procreate and have your name continue on through the ages but I don’t understand why it’s still considered such a big deal. Perhaps even more so to some people. Those people who have their weddings mapped out from the time they understood the concept, those people who have this idea of the ‘perfect married couple’ and shove it in everyone’s face, those people who have to have a better wedding than everyone they know to show that their relationship is superior.

I have no problems with the idea of marriage and committing to someone for life. Would I get married? Sure. I really just don’t like the pressure behind planning the marriage, specifically the wedding. To me they should be about celebrating your life and future together not about how much you spent on the food or the reception or your clothes or about how many people are in your wedding party. I wouldn’t want to deal with the stress people put on themselves by making it the ‘perfect’ day. I’d much prefer to save a bunch of money from not having a hyped up wedding and use that to have a nicer/longer honeymoon.

Overall, I couldn’t see my life changing too much if I did get married. I’d just have a fancy new ring, a piece of paper and a new surname.

Kids ✗

If one more person tells me “oh you’ll change your mind” when I say I don’t want kids I may bite their face off. My body and my brain are my own and I know how I feel more than you know how I feel. If I say I don’t want kids, I’ve never wanted kids then maybe you should believe I don’t want kids rather than pushing your ideals onto me. Furthermore I don’t care whether someone feels like having a child was the best decision of their life, why does it automatically need to become part of mine? I have to say, I’m not looking forward to being even older and getting the old “you’re clock is ticking” every time the subject is raised.

Obviously having kids is a sore spot for me. It’s the one thing where people just do not understand if you don’t want them. They just can’t fathom that a woman wouldn’t want a baby to look after and nurture. I want to live my life the way I want to live it and not have the burden of a child to look after. I don’t want to have to outlay thousands of dollars on a child I’d much prefer to spend that on doing nice things for myself. Many people would say that is selfish and perhaps it is but I’m not telling them how to live their lives and expect they shouldn’t feel compelled to tell me how to live mine.

Yikes, 1 out of 3 on the checklist but fortunately, succeeding in these things aren’t what keep me going in life. Hopefully one day, as people become more and more open minded the checklist will change and become about living your best and happiest life rather than living the same life as everyone else.



12 thoughts to “Fighting Social Norms”

  1. Social norms need to die. Seriously, marriage? Bah! And I know I’m probably in the minority, but I refuse to have a wedding. I’d much rather just go to the Justice of Peace or whoever and get married that way. I refuse to have a wedding that’d cost 20 grand or more. I’d much use that money on a good honeymoon or on a deposit for something!

    As for the kids part, I’m the same. Even as a child, I never fantasised too much on being a mother or having a kid. And as I grew older, I realised that I don’t want kids of my own. My career is pretty much kid-oriented, so that’s enough for me LOL. And agreed on the expenses on raising kids. I’ll spend that money on myself, thank you!

  2. You’re doing better than I am. I have none of those things. When I was younger I wanted to get married so bad. But honestly, now I just want to skip that part and go straight to the baby part. Maybe it’s because the ideals of my current bf are different than those of guys in the past.

  3. I’m totally with you when it comes to kids. I don’t want kids either, and it’s incredibly annoying when people try to convince me that I’ll change my mind. What if I told them that about not having kids?
    Regarding it being selfish or not, I think the choice to have kids can be just as selfish. Do all parents have unselfish reasons to have kids? Definitely not.

  4. I’m married and have a job I like, but I still feel like I’m way behind where I should be. I feel like I should be making more and not live in an apartment anymore. And I also feel pressured to have kids, but I don’t want them yet (if ever honestly).

    People in general need to kill the idea that women can only be accomplished when they have kids. :/ But there are also people who talk trash about stay-at-home moms for not keeping their jobs and depending on the kids’ father. Either way, women can’t win.

  5. I think you’re moving along quite well with your checklist. :) Although you shouldn’t have to build a check list based on social norms. I believe you should be free to live your life however you want it! If you want to wait to get married when the time is right, then you can wait! I’m sure I’ll end up doing the same thing. I wouldn’t want it to be a “let’s get married because everyone says we have to” kind of thing. The whole day and ceremony is a “you” thing!

    And that whole having kids thing drives me nuts too. I’m barely at an age where I should be graduating college and I’ve figured out that having kids = ugh no, never. Yet my parents keep pushing the idea “oh you’ll change your mind.” Life can be great without kids! Traveling the world is my dream and I’m pretty sure that can’t happen with a house full of kids!

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  7. You inspired me for my latest post. I agree with everything you wrote and then some. Social norms are ridiculous. Live your life as you want to.

  8. It’s really sad how we’re all being pressured to fit this cookie-cutter image of “happiness” and “success”- complete a corporate husband, two kids, and a beautiful house with a picket fence. (ugh society)

    I believe it’s important to have your own set of goals in life. And if people don’t get you, well they can kindly piss off. It’s the 21st century.

  9. Technically speaking, these are all social norms and unwritten rules. I took a sociology class last semester, and I was flabberghasted with what I had learned. Anyways, it’s really up to you and your partner when to have kids. NOT the neighborhood, not your parents, not your friends, but YOU. Also on a side note, sometimes, people can’t have kids due to whatever reason, and it’s said that those people should adopt. Well, isn’t animals just like having kids? I have a cat and I think of her as a kid. She acts like one.

    I think what you’re doing with your life is great thus far. Keep it up, and don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do just yet.

  10. Thank you so much for writing this post. It helped me feel less alone in something I have been feeling alone in so thank you for that. Social norms suck, why can’t we just realize that everyone reaches “a happy life” a different way?

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