19 March 2012

Having it all


There is a way to have it all, even for "you can't have it all"ers. That way is to marry late. I can name without much thought a number of smart girls who, not having been given a husband early, found ways to keep themselves busy and solvent and in the process made good names for themselves in their lines of work. Many of them are able to keep up that work after marriage since they established themselves in it beforehand. I wonder if they know how many of us are sitting in our houses feeling really jealous.

If they did, I think a lot of them would come and give us a hard kick.  Many of them sat in their houses at the end of countless workdays knowing every bit of that jealousy. Although I didn't have to live with it long, spouse anxiety is not a good feeling. Everybody wants that question answered. I'm not even going to talk about loneliness; the mention suffices. Though I may envy the lady who now has the husband and kids AND the name recognition and credentials and therefore public respect and earning potential I never will, I would not sacrifice one hour with the husband God gave me for any of that. It is better for me to tend his hearth than to be known and successful in the market. Our length of days together has also meant a family so big we can barely fit ourselves and our picnic into the car.

I like the idea of having it all. But I like my husband, like, so much more (and picnics too). So let's not be jealous, because they're really nice girls and they've earned what they have now. That's how their lives went and this is how my life went and haven't we all wasted enough of our lives wanting things that aren't ours? How much worse is it to mope about something we don't have that we know we don't really want?

". . . and last of all, behold! the mustard pot, which he had been sitting on without knowing it . . . ."

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't marry until 28...and not for lack of trying. He just took a while to notice me. But I worked as a school teacher, cleaned houses and tutored on the side, so that when I married, I wasn't in debt and I could pay off his seminary debt. :-)

I had an awful time waiting (let's not even mention the sexual temptation there) but I enjoyed my students, still keep in touch with them, and I'd not trade my husband and kids for the world. Even if I did seriously consider signing up for every e-harmony type gig out there.

Melrose said...

I know only one such woman. She was a very successful model and traveled the world modeling for respectable women's clothing catalogs. She is beautiful and now very world and business wise after all of her travels. She later met a very smart man to marry and they have a beautiful home, had a daughter, then we're shortly later blessed with twins. But even better she's so kind and compassionate that everyone loves her.

The Mama said...

I like to nope I'll have enough energy after I finish having and raising a brood that I can have it all then. It's possible, right?

The Mama said...

Hope! Not nope. Proof I don't have it all at the moment!

Gayle Wilson said...

I'm not that old but am somehow realizing that though there may be many years ahead, they are lessening (I should've taught math). And I'm realizing I won't know my grandkids beyond their college years, if even that. Since I gave up self-pity for Lent, I'm not bothered by the thought.

I got tired of waiting for a man so I went to China. Found one anyway, but we stayed and then sem. So, small family (we would've had more if we had been stateside with real jobs), late start, tiny IRA (but no debt!). No regrets, but life rarely turns out as planned, eh?

And we are likely often wrong as we assess the lives of others.

Leah said...

I had a twinge of jealousy when I decided to get married instead of retaking that horrible New Testament qualifier to get myself into a Masters program at the Sem. Plus, the application fee I had already paid! I was just going to be out the $40!

But I realized all those plans were because I'd figured I'd probably never marry, and here was someone willing to marry me! So I got over it pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

So I take it that a guy has to go to sem to find a woman willing to marry young and walk the Lutheran walk, as it were. That leaves the rest of us saps out of luck, huh?

Leah said...

I actually met my husband during undergrad. We just weren't actually dating/engaged until our senior year. I think the trick is to attend a Concordia! I have many friends who married young to faithful Lutherans. Most of them ended up being teachers, a few were pastors, but some were accountants, or premed, or business majors.



And it's funny that we refer to the early 20's as marrying "young." I'm only 26, but when my grandmother was my age, she was celebrating her 10th anniversary.

Anonymous said...

"I did seriously consider signing up for every e-harmony type gig out there."


Don't knock e-harmony type services. I met a great Lutheran guy on one of those when I was 19 and married him when I was 21 and he was 28. It has been a great life. He had been in a good job for a while and was ready to get married. Sorry, but it is hard to meet older and therefore suitable men when you are a teenager. Our goofy society expects us to find someone our own age while using college as the world's most expensive dating service. It is just plain cruel and looking at the results, rather ineffective. E-harmony stuff is fine if you are discerning.

I plan to give my kids much more help in finding a suitable spouse even if that includes using a service. Extended singleness is miserable for most people who are chaste.

pekoponian said...

I had it all and I didn't like it very much. I was the one with a better job in healthcare for the first nine years (and 3+ babies) of our marriage. It meant working mostly evenings and nights and weekends and holidays and full time while amazingly pregnant, etc. BTW, whoever dreamed up the idea of working during pregnancy until virtually the moment of birth either was stupid or had a desk job. "Having it all" means missing a lot of things with your kids and I would not go back even though I actually do miss what I used to do.

Anonymous said...

Your story is encouraging, Leah. Unfortunately, I don't know any ("Confessional") Lutherans, male or female, who are under 30 and live in my area. Maybe the above Anonymous' way (e-harmony) is the only option....

Gayle Wilson said...

If they're on eharmony, they may be desperate enough (and I don't mean that unkindly) to go to adult confirmation classes with you. Our congregation just got 2 new male members via "Christian Mingle" :)

Rebekah said...

The Mama, I plan to be thoroughly over wanting it all by then.

Gayle, I'm even wrong assessing my own stupid life. :P

Pkpn, I was thinking more of being able to continue working part time/from home/with some degree of flexibility in an already established job. We had to juggle a little at the beginning and it was rotten. :P

Anon, I wish you well and I don't think there's any shame whatsoever in eharmony. PS, what is going on if you have to go to the seminary to find a woman? I thought that place was for dudes. I know, I think a lot of stupid things.

Anonymous said...

If they're on eharmony, they may be desperate enough (and I don't mean that unkindly) to go to adult confirmation classes with you. Our congregation just got 2 new male members via "Christian Mingle" :)

LOL, I sure wasn't desperate when I married my Lutheran husband whom I met through the online service. I went to the classes before I could join his church, and I was still young and cute. Anyway, few of my friends met and married anywhere near as good of guys that they met around town or in college. I can only think of two that married really good guys the first time and both guys were from Germany! Anyway, I specifically wanted someone a little older like 5+ years, and it was harder to meet someone older because they travel in different circles than teenagers do.

etem said...

rebekah, I've had a very similar conversation with myself many times. Only exactly the opposite. You see?

Gauntlets said...

Well, look, I was cleaning out my basement and I came across a box just full of it all! Whee!

So if anyone of you want it, give me a call. Otherwise, I'm just going to Freecycle it.