We’ve all heard “single mom by choice” or SMC a million times. These are women (mostly) who have reached an age where they are still single but want to start a family and aren’t waiting for “the one” any more. I applaud these women- they are courageous. They take their happiness into their own hands and own it.
I recently read an article on CNN, Why More Woman Chose Not To Marry. These women, according to the author, refuse to settle and are fine with a string of short-lived relationships and value career success over building a traditional family dynamic. They still might marry if it happens, but if it doesn’t, they will live on and pour their time into what propels their sense of purpose. The bottom line of this article: a lot more women will either stay single for a long time or for life and that’s not a bad thing.
I remember when I was about 17, my mother invited a mentee over for dinner who was in her mid-thirties. She was a world traveler. She had a long term boyfriend for about seven years, but because of her traveling schedule and high-powered job, they didn’t move in together nor had any plans to marry. She didn’t want children. I remember feeling puzzled. Eleven years ago, this was a bit of a scandalous proposition.
But now that I’m a single mom, dating fitfully with a series of short-term beaus, I get it. I see why settling with her man at the cost of her career was unsettling (she worked for The American Red Cross as a director and lobbyist). She was passionate about her cause, so much so, that it was her baby. She felt an enormous amount of pride in doing “good works.” It fulfilled her. Her man was a bright light, an added bonus, but it didn’t DEFINE her.
One thing that got me thinking about the “spiking divorce rates” is that maybe, just maybe, the reasons divorce is on the rise correlates to the fact that women have more options and the societal stigma of divorce isn’t a strong mitigating factor. Completely unscientific, but plausible.
Wisely (I think) women are pouring their time into what fulfills them and marriage plus 2.5 kids isn’t the standard anymore. Life’s compass can lead to a multitude of positive directions.
As a single mom, in graduate school, with a high-paying job (thank you to the career gods above), I am quite possibly a Single Woman By Choice. I am waiting for someone to literally blow my mind. I will not settle for less. I’m no longer encumbered by the failure feelings of my lifestyle.
And that, my friends, is women’s empowerment at it’s best.