Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

"Before I Had a Life"

My insomnia has been out of control lately.  I’m sure it’s a sign that I should be doing something (everything) differently, but in the meantime I cope with late night reading, TV and hulu. Which brings me to last night and the fact that I was watching Sex and the City.  It’s never been one of my favorite shows – shocking, I know.  But I could just never relate to those characters or their lives.

Anyway, I ended up watching it last night and an episode I really like came on. Carrie’s beautiful new Manolo’s (very expensive shoes) were taken from her friend’s baby shower.  Her friend was at first unconcerned and then realized the polite thing to do would be to offer to pay for them.  When she heard how much they cost, she balked.  Carrie pointed out to her (the friend) that she, too, used to spend that much on shoes and her response was, “that was before I had a life”.

Because getting married and having kids is having a life.  And anything before that is NOT a life.

Anyway, it all worked out in the end.  It was Sidenote:  I’ve spent thousands of dollars over the years flying to weddings, buying gifts, going to showers, etc.  Perhaps I should marry myself and register for a bunch of booty at Williams Sonoma?

I just thought it was bizarre that I saw that last night as just yesterday I’d read a couple of great and relevant posts on a similar theme.  The first was in by lauriewrites, No Kids: What Am I Missing?.  I’d retweeted it, but decided not to comment/jump into the fray.  It’s a fabulous post and I strongly encourage everyone to read it, whether you have kids or consider yourself childfree, childless, or accidentally childless.  I’d label myself childless and cool with it, in case anyone cares.

Similarly fabulous, IMO, is Doree Shafrir’s piece in titled When the Mommy Wars Wore Shoulder Pads on the release of Thirtysomething on DVD.  Towards the end, she writes, “Feminism is, I think, also about empathy, about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and acknowledging that what is best for one woman isn’t necessarily the choice that every woman should make.”  I couldn’t agree with her more.  And it saddens me that so many of us (real women, not the ones on TV) seem preoccupied with tearing each other down.  Perhaps as a way to make us feel better about the choices and sacrifices we’ve made?

I feel I have to add something here about how much I love and respect all of my friends who are moms.  The stay at home moms and the ones who chose to go back to work after a short leave.  I do.  This isn’t lip service.  And I think they all know that.

I’d also be lying to you, my readers and my friends, and myself if I didn’t admit that sometimes the moms in my life have made me feel like my life was less valuable than theirs.  That everything that is important to me could easily be put into their “before I had a life” box.  And that I have wanted to smack a few of them upon hearing things like, “you can’t possibly understand how much more meaningful my life is now”.

Once again, I’m not sure I have a point.  Just that I do, actually, have a life now. It’s the life I choose to have.   And I feel that it deserves respect (most days).

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11 to “"Before I Had a Life"”

  1. drumdance says:

    Interesting that moms say “before I had a life.” Most dads I know say “back when I had a life.”

  2. lanthanomai says:

    It is particularly irritating that as a woman, by women, you can be classified (at least mentally) into two categories regarding marriage;
    ‘doomed/if successful spinster who clearly feels something is missing due to completely inability to settle down/get married’
    or ‘mother with children and husband and therefore fufilled, yet sometimes longs for life as a single girl’

    So, clearly I’m being slightly melodramatic and exaggerating those two stereotypes/ making a sweeping generalisation -my bitterness stems from many dinners I’ve had to sit through with my ‘smug married’ friends, discussing my dating/relationship history. I still love them. Fortunately.:)

    But it is interesting that its never so clear on both sides of the fence on this particular argument.
    I think I’m going to ask a friend of mine what she thought of a comment like that when it was addressed to her (as a singleton) before she married, and what she thinks of it now. hm.

  3. bobmatnyc says:

    Great post Simone. I’m always struck by the balance and empathy you show.

  4. Liverpoolgirl says:

    Hey Simone – I couldn’t agree more…..keep doing these interesting posts. xxxxxxx

  5. lostplum says:

    I was just watching that episode, cause like you I’ve never really liked the show, but am now trying to get threw every episode! I sit sometimes and wonder what my life would be like if i had picked the “life” so many of my friends had, but you know what we all have our own “life” and our own makes everyone else mean something too. As much as I sometimes wonder the what ifs, everyone wonders the what ifs, no matter how ‘happy’ one seems, or how ‘great’ their life is…… (great post)

  6. Kelly Saves says:

    Love your post. Another thought I always wondered why is it when the dad watches their kid(s) they call it babysitting?

  7. @icounsel4food says:

    as someone who’s counseled several married couples, I can say that someone who thinks life starts with marriage just squandered their single years… maybe that’s why I’ll never truly be out of work. lol

  8. Onely says:

    Glad to see you got some benefit from your insomia! Acupuncture helped me with mine, FWIW.


  9. Simone Grant says:

    LOL. That IS interesting. I guess you could get all serious and call it an observation on the way men and women’s lives and roles are viewed in society.
    It would be interesting to know your friend’s answer. Honestly, I don’t talk about this stuff with my married friends. I pretty much avoid the subject. Maybe I shouldn’t?
    Thank you darling. I’m striving for empathy and balance, but realize that the best I can do some days is not be bitchy.
    Thanks darling. It’s good to know that others feel the same way. Feels less alone.
    Yes, everyone wonders the what ifs. Even the people who seemingly have “it all”. Funny that.
    -Kelly Saves
    Welcome to the blog and thank you. And OMG I never really think of that, but yes why is it babysitting when men watch their own kids?
    I am sure you will never run out of clients. NEVER.
    Really, acupuncture for insomnia? I’ve tried it for other things but never insomnia. Hmmm.

  10. darkheath says:

    Hiya Simone.. sorry I haven’t been around much, but felt I should comment on this one. Personally, I applaud your (& other’s) decision to stay childless. I know this sounds horribly crass but there are way too many humans on the planet as it is.

    This is an interesting quote from the movie/play “Prelude to a Kiss” that Meg Ryan’s character says about 28 minutes in:

    “I think kids are great, I just don’t think it’s fair to raise them in the world the way it is now.”

    Now I know that may be overly cynical, but her character lightens up a bit by the end. Anyway, if you’ve never seen Prelude to a Kiss, it’s a great movie and you’ll get an idea of what shaped my views of romance when I was younger.

    Great post, Simone.

  11. Simone Grant says:

    :-) You’re forgiven.
    I’m not anti-kid. I adore kids, actually. Though I do have some doubts about the future of this world.