Remember when starting out in your careers at 24 people would tell you: “You are too young to get married and have kids. Put you first. You have your whole lives ahead of you, wait to have children.” Whereas if you fast forward to a whole year later and you turn 25, now the question changes to, “Why you aren’t married yet?”
For me, I was never going to get married and I worked very hard on my career. I did put me first and that lasted a whole 30 years before I met my amazing husband who is a Marine. He swooped me out of D.C. and off to California, and we have been here a little over three years now. I had never lived on base surrounded by young families and for me? I absolutely love it. I also get to rent kids for the day and return them at the end of it! Bonus!
I founded an international nonprofit for military significant others so I hear so many stories from couples with kids and couples without. I think it would be fair to say there are a lot of couples with kids and, from what I hear from couples without kids, is how hard it is to make friends when they get to a new base. Makes sense, right? We don’t have schools to meet others, or sports teams, dance classes, etc., but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to make friends without kids!
There are tons of organizations in our communities like kickball leagues, rope courses, ribbon dancing, scavenger hunts, etc. My organization puts together events and programs all over the country to do things like White House tours, America’s Got Talent and even restaurant happy hours so that even friends with kids aren’t excluded. They are out there, so make sure to Google and Groupon your way through your community and start with some of these ideas. They are a ton of fun and anything team building makes memories and friends forever. Kids or not.
To all my fabulous non-kid homes, just pull the trigger and get out of your comfort zones. Once you do I promise you your group of friends will form very quickly and you will be able to feel as a part of the community and not so isolated. Trust me, I know it can be hard sometimes when people ask you if you have kids, if you are trying or when are you going to start. I get it almost daily because I am 35.
They don’t mean it to pass judgement, but it is a very frequent conversation we have with families. I can speak to my own personal experience because after my miscarriage it became very tough to answer those questions. Also, my husband has pretty much been gone our entire marriage and, hey, it takes two to tango right? So now that he’s home we’ve been trying with no luck and so, when that topic comes up it does make me uncomfortable.
But here’s something that may help you. Say, “Not yet but we’re having fun trying!” For me? It works and then the conversation can move on to other things.
A lot of you have expressed to me the pressure you feel to start a family, but don’t let yourself do that. Hey, we are fabulous too! Don’t lose sight of the fact we have some pretty cool aspects to our lives. Happy hours last minute, spontaneous vacations, bucket list items you have time for. Neither life is better than the other but we have to enjoy our journey too!
I absolutely love hanging out with my family friends and their kids; they raise some pretty awesome ones and they never cease to amaze me. Kids these days, sheesh — so darn smart! Also, when I get pregnant they all know I am going to be terrified and I can’t do it without them! I would panic. I just wanted to remind those who are trying, not trying or have had a hard time: Don’t feel pressure and go be crazy! Life is too short to be caught up in what others have, OK? Look around and be thankful for what you have right now and life will end up the way it’s supposed to anyway. Now, get up from reading this and go book a wine boat cruise for tonight and have a glass for me!