All the single ladies . . . asking your married-with-kids friends this.

11975404602o2VgLI bet lots of you didn’t think you’d be “here” at this place in your life. Maybe that means with a “surprise” baby or a home away from family. Maybe you never dreamed you’d marry someone like “Bob” and love him so much. Or find motherhood so difficult and so wordlessly wonderful. I certainly didn’t dream I’d be 41 and single with no kiddos. Not that I remember really dreaming of much; I’m a pretty present-reality kind of woman. But, now, with my eggs aging daily, I guess I did think I would be a mom. But that’s for another post.

What I really want to know is this, you married moms with kids in the home, what would you be doing if you were 41 and single. I mean, after the vacation with umbrellas in your drinks: What would you do with your life? No need-driven, 24/7 job as Mom-in-Chief. Where would you live? What career path would you choose? How would you spend your free time? With whom would you spend your time?

Please deal in reality, i.e., if you really can’t paint or sing, don’t suggest a job as an artist or on Broadway.

I really, really  want to know. Post away.

21 Comments on “All the single ladies . . . asking your married-with-kids friends this.”

  1. good question Judy !! not sure if I can even ponder that because the “what ifs” seem irrelevant and can really suck the contentment out of present circumstances. I do know that “normal” is a phrase I have given up on (in a healthy sense). God’s economy has proven to be nothing like mine and I am delighted to be at the end of my efforts to prove otherwise !! To take a glimpse of what life might look like without being a mom has actually been the source of many a journal entry lately. However, my stirrings of the heart come from watching my children grow up and leave the home. I am left wondering…”what now” and truth be told it feels very empty and bittersweet. Releasing carries with it regrets, loss, joy, and uncertainty all rolled into one big lump in your throat. Trusting takes on a whole new twist with each passing year and I am fighting to discover my deeper identity. I recognize the ache is from God and that He alone, in all His mystery ,is enough. Somehow ,I see more clearly than I ever have, that no matter the road you are on (singleness, motherhood, widowhood etc) all lead to an “end” of emptiness apart from God’s “full” filling. His fullness is so alive and vast, its like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and not being afraid because I know its my only hope.

    • Wow, Jamie. Thanks for that. I will wait with you as you figure out what you’ll do with all your time now that you’re almost an empty-nester!

  2. It’s hard to picture my life without kids. Oh wait. No it’s not. It is hard to imagine my life without that lump on my couch holding onto the tv remote asking what’s for dinner.
    I’m thinking if I were 41 and single right now I’d be:
    wealthier, more beautiful, thinner, a professional career woman working my way up the corporate ladder at some Fortune 500 company, have more friends, writing my own blog (big smile here). I’m sure there’s more but I’m getting depressed so back to reality.

    • Michelle: You are one of “happiestly” married people I know. Quit your complainin’!

  3. If I were 41 and single I’d have a cleaner house. 🙂 As Jamie said, it’s hard to imagine the “what if’s” because present reality is all-consuming. I’d still be writing, which is what I love doing the best. Instead of having a built-in playmate, i.e. “husband,” I would have to do a lot more initiating to spend time with those I love. I would love to have had the opportunity to travel more, and perhaps my writing would get me that. I’m not a corporate-ladder climber, so I think I would be content in my role as writer, wanting to reach people for Jesus and help others grow in their relationship with Him. But the 9-5 slot doesn’t suit me very well. I honestly don’t know whether I would have stayed on staff or not if my only option was to stay in an office the whole time.

    I’d have a lot more animals–David’s not big on pets. I’d eat out a lot more, and hopefully with friends, not by myself. I think I would have to work harder to not have life just happen to me, but to make my own way along God’s path. There would definitely be the wondering of why God didn’t have a life’s companion for me: I dreamed of being married since I was a little girl.

    I would have to find some way to spend time with little kids, though. Maybe volunteering in the church nursery. I don’t do that now because I have my own, but if I didn’t have my own, I’d want snuggle time with someone else’s.

    Would I be closer to God? I don’t know. Would I be lonely? If I let myself be. Would I be content? Hopefully more times than not.

    Although I push against the goads sometimes, wanting more peace and quiet, I’m sure, like Jamie said, when that time comes for me, I’ll be sad. It sure would be nice to not always be the one having to come up with the dinner plans, though!

    Oh, and I probably wouldn’t live in Florida! I’d remain the California girl I’ve always been on the inside. 🙂

  4. Wow, that’s a good question! Interestingly, I have been pondering it a bit lately, thanks to two things: listening to Switchfoot’s song “This is Your Life” (which has the lyric, “this is your life, are you who you want to be? this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be when the world was younger, and you had everything to lose?), and Noah asking me recently what I want to do when he’s grown up (he’s going to be 13 this year!).

    If I played it safe, I’d probably be working as a teacher (I used to teach physically impaired kids). I’d travel in the summers, doing mission trips or serving with humanitarian groups. I’d also do more performing in community theatre or church drama. I’d have the time and money to take voice and piano lessons. And yoga! Like Stephanie, I’d have a lot more animals (rabbits, cats, dogs, rats, a bird…). I’d probably be a foster parent.

    If I didn’t play it safe, I’d go full-time overseas. I could see myself working at an orphanage or school in Asia, Africa, or Latin America.

    Since I am married with a kid, though, we are still hoping to adopt, and I am hoping to go to Uganda the next time a group from our church goes (we have a sister church in Luwero, Uganda). I also want to bring Noah on some closer trips (Mexico, the Navajo reservation) to see what the missionaries our church supports are doing.

    Thanks for asking!

    • Wendi, I’m so glad you wrote in. I learned new things about you. I’ve looked into foster parenting, but the average time is 18 months, and I don’t think I would be able to bear giving the child back! Do keep me posted on your adoption plans. What an adventure.

  5. I don’t have to think much about this question. I feel like I need about five lifetimes to do all that I feel like God has given me a passion for doing, so right now I’m just trying to see what He actually wants me to fit into this finite time.

    But if I weren’t a mom, I guess I would have more time to pursue these things: I would love to have been an ARD at some point because I love helping women connect with their hearts and become more fruitful in their ministry (I know a lot of moms are ARDs, but living overseas I am limited by my lack of local language, which is limited because I’m a mom!). Beyond that I think by 41 I would have liked to move into more counseling and mentoring, probably getting a masters in counseling. I would definitely be writing more than I do, if not trying to make it as an author. At some point I would have loved to work at WWC! I don’t know that I would have lived overseas for the past 10 years because it’s really my husband’s adventure streak that instigated that (though now I love it).

    In short, I think the things I dabble in as a mom right now I would be doing full time if I were single.

    • Dearest Gina, I love how well you know yourself and your passions. You’re welcome at WWC any day, anytime (I still might be able pull some strings). You’re one of my heroes!

  6. There has never been a question about it. I would be a photog for National Geographic and live overseas. The shop I would own on the side would be a bakery. The foundation I would start with the bulk of my income would come alongside communities to help build wells and fund seed money for women to start their own businesses. There’s nothing particularly spiritual about it, but clearly, this is all ‘what if’ anyway, right? Getting married later than most of my friends offers the opportunity to straddle the fence and think about both sides. But because God has led me in this direction, I’m content to photograph my kids and bake bread at a more reasonable hour.

  7. Is it ok for a male to answer this question?

    Well, assuming it is – I would definitely pursue my passions more. These would include traveling the world on a motorcycle (a BMW or a Harley V-Rod perhaps), putting money into cars and maybe racing one of some sort (anything except NASCAR), and training and fighting in MMA as a side job or a hobby.

    The biggest one though (and this still applies as a married dad too, but it’s darned near impossible now) would be for me to keep bettering myself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. To become the best me that I can be.

    In doing so, I would hope to not only glorify God by using what He gave me wisely, but also if He would ever choose to bless me with a spouse then I would have as much to offer her as possible.

    • Cool, Mike. I’m glad you wrote in. Last night I was at a baseball game with a family of three little boys. The men in front of us were talking baseball players, stats, etc. And my friend Rich said he’d know all that stuff if he weren’t married with kids.

  8. i didn’t read the other posts, so maybe i am “copying.” (there’s a kindergarten-er word for you.) i am not sure what i would do. i think probably the answer to the question is that i would work a job that pays just enough to pay the rent and food and allows me to travel lots. and lots. not a week here or there, but chunks at a time where i get to slow down, enjoy the scenery and the life. i don’t know what kind of job that would be, nor do i know where i’d go. but i do know that i’d go. i’d ski. sit on the beach. take lots of pictures. try to speak the languages.

    and so now that i am typing this, i realize you have lived and are living the life that i’d be living with no kids!

    • Ha! I can’t ever see you at a desk job. And it’s cool that you are getting to see the world through your hubby’s job and giving your girls such an amazing worldview as you go along.

  9. got here thru another blog, but I love the question! I got married at 40, but had “given up” at about 36. (We adopted at…my age…42 and 43, then a bio-baby at 44…). I do often think about this. I’d still be working a hospital job full-time and own my own house. (The money I had saved for a house went toward adopting our son)! I would drive a red Jeep Wrangler. We have an amazing group of single women in our church who would be closer friends…I do regret that I am missing that. I would travel to Maine on vacation, but not too many other places…I would spend a lot more time reading without having to stay up really late to do it! And I never would have discovered a lot of the character “flaws” that have shown up since husband/kids….

  10. Great question oh sister of mine…

    Lots of things come directly to mind, but I wanted to “think” about my answer. I think I would have waited a little longer to get married and have kids. That is all I wanted to do when I grew up. Now I wish I had traveled or tried new things.

    What would I be doing?? I think I would be as assistant to someone famous. Maybe a NASCAR driver or even Robert Pattinson??? I could get paid to keep people doing what they do and what I love to do… I could travel the world/USA and send back fun pics and bring presents…

  11. Love you so much Judy – can’t say I haven’t thought of this many, many times as I try to juggle romper room & hubby.

    If I were still single, I’d be in Washington, D.C., working as a White House Correspondent for a major TV network (WHAT? A network correspondent who is NOT a liberal? Could be possible? I’d make it so.). I’d be able to travel the world w/ the president on Air Force One, so the need to get my passport stamped multiple times would be met. I’d be as involved w/ my church as possible, but my ministry would clearly also be my work, which would likely consume me. Happily.

    Must go – going to interview a local sheriff about 9 horses found starving. Oh the mundane quality of local news. Blah.

  12. I would be training for an Ironman distance triathlon. Definitely. It is on my list of goals but not possible with the order of my priorities currently. So, it is moved into the ‘before 60’ instead of ‘before 40’ category.

    Also, I would probably still be serving with Here’s Life Inner City or a similar other non-profit. I would be living in a less resourced area of my city and I would strongly consider the possibility of being a mom to children in the foster care program, maybe even keeping an ear out of the possibility of adopting an older child.

    No regrets here. But those are passions that were able to be nurtured aplenty when I had only my own agenda to prioritize. Those passions are still burning and I know that in an alternate universe they would be lived out differently than they are now.

  13. Seeing as the precedent has been set for males to post I am diving in…

    For me it would involve something with considerably more risk. Risk is not the friend of the married man and father. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a trade-off with wonderful benefits, but also at the expense of some of the more “adventurous” urges I still have.

    I would either be a foreign correspondent and travelogue writer (a la Robert D. Kaplan), or an intelligence officer recruiting and running agents to fight the forces of darkness.

    Upon retirement I would become a Michelin Star award winning Chef somewhere on a mountain lake. This would enable me to amass an enormous fortune with which I’d form a foundation and give 99% of it away as the world’s greatest philanthropist focusing on holistic ministry, poverty, justice, and micro-enterprise.

    For recreation I would pursue my interests in sailing until the requisite expertise allowed me to crew the winning yacht in the around the world Volvo Ocean Race. I would also visit every national park in the U.S., and alpine ski to a level that would make Bode Miller gasp.

    The rest of the time I’d read books sitting on nothing but leather in front of fireplaces (when cold) and hammocks on breezy porches (when warm).

    S0 there.

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