This week I wanted to share a little list of things that once might have made me feel guilty but I've since found a new perspective on. When all of your friends are married with children, it's going to sound funny but you can sometimes start acting like you are married with children. I'm sure you are all wondering what I mean by that statement. Let me explain, it isn't so much that you have an imaginary husband and kids making demands and expecting things from you. What I mean is that you start modeling your lifestyle to match theirs. We tend to emulate those closest to us. This isn't a bad thing, per se, but at the same time your life shouldn't always look like theirs. You are in a different stage than they are, and that is ok. You can still be a little bit selfish and you don't have to feel guilty about it.
1// Do not feel guilty about sleeping in on your days off.
Listen, I love a good sleep. On my days off, the number one thing on my list of things I want to do is to sleep in. Will this change eventually, I don't know, for now I still value it like gold. When I first moved to Florida and started my experience of living with a family, I have to say I felt a bit guilty about sleeping in. It wasn't anything my friends did, it was just something I felt. Like I was being unproductive or that I could be helping them. The thing is, those two things are true in some ways... but I have since recognized that as long as I get what I need to done they will manage fine without me. I have the luxury of not having other people dependent on me in the morning, this will not always be the case. But for now, it is and I am going to enjoy it for all its worth.
2// Do not feel guilty that your budget is different than theirs.
When you are responsible for you and only you, your budget is going to be a little bit freer than say someone who has a husband or someone who has kids. Your spending habits will be different because you've set your budget to a party of one's lifestyle, there is no one else sharing your income. On the same note, because some of your friends may be living on two incomes they may be able to do things and go places that your pocket book can't spring for. There is no shame in that, if anything use it as motivation to start saving more.
3// Do not feel guilty about taking a break.
When you are on your own, and use to being alone. It is easy to get over stimulated when you are surrounded by all the noise that little ones tend to make. I think most parents feel this way as well at times, the only difference between you and them is that it is now their normal. It isn't your normal, you don't have to feel bad about wanting down time. After you have kids down time becomes a rarity and not something you can really expect, but as a single you can expect it.
4// Do not feel guilty about wanting girl time.
This is a hard one because it is easy to come off as a jerk, as if you don't like your friends husband and can't stand their kids. This obviously isn't the case, but anytime you are trying not to include certain people it can come off negative. When it comes to wanting girl time it's best to seek out your fellow single girls, if you don't have that option things get a little more complicated. The thing is, most of your married friends want to include their spouses because their spouses are their best friends. They love them and want them to be included. This is a natural thing. It is understandable. At the same time it isn't always ideal for you. There is only so much fun to be had when you are always the 3rd or 5th wheel. Sometimes you just want one on one time with your girlfriends. No husband or kid distractions. This is one of the situations where you will probably have to plan an outing in advance, so they can have their spouses make plans and get a sitter lined up for their kids. The important thing to note here is that it is ok to ask your friends for this kind of hangout every once in awhile, you don't have to feel guilty about it.
5// Do not feel guilty about saying NO.
Your married friends want alone time with each other, they may come to you and ask you to watch their kids. If you like babysitting then by all means offer your services on the regular, but on the flip side if it's not your cup-o-tea, they have other options out there they can utilize. You shouldn't feel obligated. Most of your friends with kids have other friends with kids, they can do the kid trade-off for a night-off and if that isn't an option there are always teenagers eager to make babysitting money. There is no reason to feel guilt, it is ok to say no sometimes. On that note, when it comes to family type outings such as kids movies, playground dates, the zoo, etc, if you don't think it's something you'd enjoy, just be honest. Most of the time your friends are inviting you with no expectations, they just want you to feel included. It is better that they invite you to everything, than they not invite you to anything.
Whenever I talk to other singles that are surrounded by friends that are married or have growing families, I hear a lot pertaining to the above. I think the important thing is to keep the dialogue open. Just like with any other relationship, communication is everything. You love your married friends, they love you. That is a truth that you can rest in. The sticky part is learning how to be what the other person needs. Those needs change depending on what chapter of life you are in, what you need from a friend as a single is often times different than what your girlfriend who is no longer single may need from you. As a single you are still looking for companionship, those few individuals to go through life with, share your ordinary every day experiences with. When you are married you have that companion in your spouse, the role of your girlfriends shift. I encourage you to make time for your friends, plan a coffee date and be honest about what you need from them and return ask what they need from you.
(I just want to make a small note, that I recognize the above list is a tad on the selfish side. I'm not saying that you should always say no or that you should never offer to help your friends... what I am saying is that it's ok to live your life as a single even though you are surrounded by families.)