17 February 2011

Waving as the Ships Go By

This is a touchy (and kind of silly) subject for me, so I usually avoid it, but can't help but to blog-whine a bit today, so sorry, ladies.

This happened once before, about two years ago, when the BF and I received wedding invitations nearly non-stop because almost every couple we knew decided it was time to get hitched that spring, summer and fall.

And now it is happening again. Our brownstone besties, a young couple a few homes down, recently gave birth to a baby boy. Our neighbors on the left  is expecting their first baby in three more months. And now our techno-loving neighbors on the right have just converted one of their extra bedrooms into a nursery. This is aside from five of our bestie couple friends from other cities already having had babies. And for good measure, throw in Rachel Zoe expecting, Natalie Portman expecting, and Posh Spice expecting her sixth/eighth/fourth kid.

Did I miss a memo somewhere?

I don't want to get all Charlotte York-MacDougal-Goldenblatt on everyone now, but does the marriage - and now baby - flood imply that I am missing my socially-acceptable wedded-bliss-then-baby train? As the sole offspring left in each of our respective families who are not yet married and child'd, the BF and I are both bearing the burden of the standard-but-getting-increasingly-relentless family inquiries whenever we go home.

Is it a strange thing that we - BF and I - live our lives the way that works for us - which in our case means living together but not yet married nor planning nor engaged. Am I feeling pressured to want something or do something by society - or does society have a point and there's a reason why almost everyone my age seems to be getting married and having kids now? I guess I always figured there'd be some sort of sign or directional beacon to point me in the right when/where path for my next life adventures - and that light would also show me what that next chapter would be - so I can't help but to wonder a bit if the signs are all around me right now and I just can't see them? Am I just fearful of change and maturity and the natural progression of life?

Lady Angst is done - What do you gals think? Do you think there's a "right" time to get married, settle down, have kids?

☂   ☂   ☂   ☂

And this is late - and that's about right for me, isn't it, haha - but here's what I wore on Monday (my jailbird Valentine's):




Jacket: J. Crew marled thandie (worn here before - similar here or here)
Top: J. Crew perfect striped (worn here before - similar here or tank here)
Skirt: J. Crew ikat floral bungalow (worn here before - similar here in a respectable length)
Tights: Anthropologie Eloise (they're actually purple, but it's hard to tell - similar here)
Boots: Type Z (worn here before - similar here or here)
Necklace: White Owl via Etsy (similar stone-y here or not sim but fab here)
Shoe Clip worn as Brooch: Lilywinkel via Etsy

49 comments:

  1. I love your look here - great combination of patterns.

    I can empathize with your position. I think as long as you are happy with your situation you shouldn't worry too much about what society (and by that I mean your family, particularly your parents!) expects of you. Sometimes I think it can be hard to know if something is what you REALLY want or what you THINK you should want, kwim?

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  2. Ahh Lisa - I know how you feel! I feel the same way sometimes, but girl, nobody is in a race here. It's your life, nobody else's! If it's working for you and you are happy then you don't need to change a thing right now. And if you want to join the wedded bliss baby train, it'll happen when it's meant to happen, sooner or later. :) You're so right - there is no tiny "time frame" - society just sometimes tricks us into thinking that there is! It's just what works for you.

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  3. Actually the normal is changing for society. Women are getting married later and are having children later or not having children at all. People that get married sometimes end up unhappy because it was a step they didn't want to take. Congrats on finding what works for you. Stick to it because in the end it is you who has to be happy about where you are in life and how you are living it.

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  4. I get the feeling of "passive peer pressure" (and not-so-passive familial pressure), but you're doing the right thing!! (This coming from a newlywed, no less!) Societal norms are changing everyday, and while you may live in a neighborhood that houses a certain ethnography or a certain social subculture, I think it is just as prevalent today, for young, working women to postpone marriage (or not want marriage at all.)

    Personally, I'd rather be a happy newlywed at age 50 than a resentful wife at age 26. If you and bf are in a more-or-less-happy relationship as it stands right now, you've already got 50% of America's married couples beat- the 50% that will be getting divorced in the near future, according to statistics!

    Childbearing is a trickier subject, since biologically, there's a ticking clock that gives you only so many years to ensure the healthiest baby possible, physically and mentally. However, the definition of motherhood has changed quite a bit since grandma's generation too. Motherhood can mean fostering or adopting children in dire need of a good, loving home- and I truly believe this can be just as fulfilling as popping one out yourself.

    Or if you're fairly certain you'll want your own biological offspring, just not right now, then you can go the increasingly popular route of having your eggs cryogenically preserved. An anon commenter on my blog (who is also a mother) recently said something quite bright: it is far preferable to regret not having kids than to regret having them. The world has enough unloved children as it is- why risk bringing in another one, if it's not what your heart truly desires, 100%?

    Sorry for the super-long comment, but this is a matter quite close to my own heart, so here's my 2(5)c.

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  5. I've been feeling very Charlotte York McDougle Goldenblatt recently, and not just because I watch SATC every night at 8 on E! It's a little different from your rant, bc instead of being satisfied, I'm going through the personal challenges of getting what I want while watching everyone around me get it with relative ease... I try not to compare myself to others, but its hard when 3 babies were born in the last 3 months and another 5 or so are on the way... not to mention the baby boom in hollywood.... it makes watching E! news unbearable at times....

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  6. I love your outfit! though I am fixated on the jacket...I keep checking j. crew for popbacks in my size but no luck. :( It looks terrific on you though and I love how you styled it.

    As for the the marriage thing...I don't plan on getting married myself (not that I won't give in to parental pressure eventually) but if it's not right for you and being pressured into marriage probably won't do your relationship any good. I say do what works for you and don't let the flurry of baby news get to you. :)

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  7. You wouldn't be doing anybody any favors by getting married and having children before you were ready or before you decided you wanted it! If the time's not right (or even if the time is never right for you) that's your prerogative! I think you're to be admired for knowing what you do and don't want!

    http://www.stylish3.com/marylane

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  8. I think it's worth, at the very least, considering why that's bothering you.

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  9. I love your jailbird Valentine outfit. that being said, hmmm? I so understand, I felt that way a few years ago myslef. However, currently most of my besties and my sibling are now in divorce court! So, do whats right for you and dont feel pressured to follow ANY trends!
    besos,lynn

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  10. i totally relate to this. that jump is really wierd- you're in your fun, carefree 20's... then all of a sudden you watch people around you as they take these big life steps, and you think you should do the same.

    i also feel a ton of societal pressure to be married/ have kids, even though that's never what i really wanted. especially since i'm now hitting a "certain age", where i "should" be thinking about these things, lest i miss the boat on having bio-children.

    i think in reality, you have plenty of time to figure all that stuff out. if you're happy with the relationship you have, that's a total blessing. who cares if the rest of the world doesn't understand, or thinks you should conform to an expression of love that THEY feel is most appropriate for you. it's kind of ridiculous when you think about it ;)

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  11. Okay first, I have to tell you that I love this outfit. It's one of my favorites! That skirt is gorgeous, the pattern mixing is fabulous, the jacket is a perfect topper and you look amazing.

    Second...please, please, please don't second guess your choices based upon the choices of other people. You need to ask yourself if you're happy and comfortable where you are and with your life. If the answer is yes, then don't allow anyone else to make you question! They're doing what is right for them (or what they *think* is right for them) and you need to do what is right for YOU.

    Society has screwed up too many standards. Make your own. And know that you have so much respect from people for doing that! :)

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  12. I, too, feel the pressure. I'm only 25!!! But everyone asks when we are getting engaged. I'm like, f off, people.

    Stick with what you're doing, bc it's obviously working! :)

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  13. Ugh, I totally get that feeling.

    I'm pretty young - only 23 - but my boyfriend and I have been together for 3.5 years and we get SO much pressure from family/friends about getting married/engaged. We know it's the direction we're going, but we're happy with where we are right now - that just doesn't seem like enough for some people.

    It doesn't help that every time I get on Facebook it seems like someone else I know has gotten engaged, though!

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  14. Love you your style and this outfit looks great on you!!

    http://mylyfe-mystory.blogspot.com

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  15. Love your outfit!

    I have 5 friends who gave birth in the last 3 months and one more is due March 1! Needless to say, I too am feeling the pressure to have a baby, and I haven't even been married for one year yet! But I am over 30, so biologically I don't have much time left to decide.

    I don't think there is a "right time" to get married, have babies, etc. It's all up to how you feel about your maturity, readiness, partner. The problem with deciding the right time for you is that the societal pressures are sooo heavy, especially for a woman, that they complicate your ability to decide whether you are feeling your own biological clock or society's.

    As mentioned above, I was late to marriage (over 30) and will probably be late to parenthood as well. But there's nothing wrong with that!! You just have to keep going and recognize that you, unlike so many others, have your priorities in the right place. And hey, sometimes things just happen and you don't get to decide the timing!!

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  16. My friend who is a first grade teacher once told me that teaching kids is like another form of birth control, LOL she never wants kids! I can see why though since kids are a great blessing and a huge curse. (Whoops did I say the latter out loud?!) You will know when exactly is the time for you. If you are happy than who cares what your parents think? =0D Both of you parents are just really wanting more grandchildren haha.
    Your outfit is so sweet! Mixing stripes and florals is romantic.
    So tell your parents to go adopt a puppy if they are hounding you guys! Puppies are kind of like babies in a way. =0P

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  17. adorable outfit!!

    Just be true to yourself. Journal about everything, read it over in a few days and try to figure out why it's a touchy subject for you, and why it bothers you.

    I turned down a lot of fantastic opportunities to get married right out of college and move across the country to a place I had never even visited. It was right for me. Incessant pestering from family/friends does get fatiguing, but at the end of the day you have to do what is in YOUR heart. My older sister put off marriage until she as 40, had kids at 42 and 44...it was right for her.

    To each his own.

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  18. I love your skirt, very cute for Valentines day. I think there in no time that is right for everyone, but that doesn't stop the "should I be doing that twinge" everytime someone else close to you does it. My boyfriend and I have been dating 5 years and don't even live together while most of our friends, dating less time, are getting married. We do whats right for us, and so far, this seems right!

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  19. What a fun combination of prints!

    I agree, you should never feel pressured into doing something just because others are doing it. All that matters is what's right for you.

    Sometimes I felt pressured by friends and family to have more children than my husband and I decided to have. So many people we know make it look easy and then we would question ourselves. Why couldn't we handle it? At the same time, we've had so many moments when we've been overwhelmed by what we already have and realized we made the right decision - for US.

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  20. I LOVE this outfit...It's a fabulous nod to v-day without being over the top.

    As for the social pressure, I can totally sympathize. I think Tara makes a good point re: biological barriers to having children. However, as she and others have mentioned, it's more important to go at your own pace and take each milestone as you feel ready than to rush things to please others.

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  21. As long as you are happy, keep doing what you're doing. Many people marry because it's what is expected of them and end up miserable. I know several people who are married, divorced, and remarried by 30. Uhh, that's crazy. I had so many married friends tell me things are "different" once you get married. I felt like they were trying to make their relationships seem more important than mine because they could never articulate what was "different" about it.

    Pretty outfit... love what your doing with the shoe clips! :)

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  22. You look great!! =) Love the stripes with that skirt

    I know how you feel... a lot of my friends are getting engaged and having babies... and my boyfriend & I just broke up. I've been feeling a little down about it but I know my time will come! I think you'll know when the time is right, and will have no hesitation taking the next step! And don't let society dictate when the right time is.

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  23. You look so cute! Love the stripes and floral together!

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  24. lisa, i love how you styled this jacket. i have this too and for some reason feel like i have a hard time figuring out what to wear it with. maybe i'm trying too hard. ha!

    as far as the baby boom - you do what's best for you and the BF regardless of other people's opinions. i'm divorced and have pretty much been a commitment-phobe ever since. i can't tell you how sick i get of hearing "i can't believe you're not married yet." um, maybe it's bc i don't want to be.

    you look great! ~ susan

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  25. I'm not so experienced in the field, but I think you guys should always do what both of you think is right for your relationship. If you're not both ready, you won't enjoy the journey as much, and that could be way more harmful to you guys than feeling like you missed the train.

    Personal motto in tough situations like this: Keep Calm and Carry On. :)

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  26. CUTE outfit! I love the color of your skirt and the boots are fabulous!

    xo
    Danielle

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  27. Wow love your outfit!
    Now to serious matters – as many of the others have said there is right time to do anything in life. While I am a “planner” I’m also a big believer of “when it’s meant to be it will” and outside factors shouldn’t pressure you into making a decision one way or another. It’s normal to feel left out. I know I do! We will likely be the only childless couple amongst our group of friends. It can be a bit isolating – I’m not gonna lie – there are certain things I just don’t have in common with friends anymore and I obviously can’t relate to them in certain aspects. But still, for me these are NOT reasons to make a life changing decision and jumping into having kids.
    If you guys chose to never get married nor have kids would you be upset? You guys are happy right now aren’t you? Then just because those around you are following the so called “normal” path of life doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy if you choose not to. Everyone, every couple, ever life situation is completely different. What’s important is to recognize that you guys ARE different and it doesn’t make you worth any less because you don’t feel the same as others right now about marriage and children.

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  28. love love your outfit... i would never think to pair stripes and florals together but you seriously pull it off so effortlessly.. also i LOVE the lace detail necklace.. that is so chic!!

    ps. i don't think you should do anything you don't want to do!!!! that's kinda how i live my life.. i'm actually on the opposite end of the spectrum.. i got married kinda on the early side.. so early that my parents thought it was too young (25.. i'm 27 now.. but it was the right choice for me :) and when i first got married i had complete strangers constantly ask me how old i am when they see my wedding ring and make comments about how young i am.. yada yada.. haha. so i think screw everyone else and do what you want!!!

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  29. I'm loving your floral and stripes!

    I've had the same feeling with friends getting married and now having children. And once you're married, people pretty much assume you should be having children soon. I get asked fairly often. All I can say is that people are different. We know that people have different personalities, and react to different situations differently. Why should marriage and having children be any different? The time that works for some people to marry and have children may not be the best for others. Don't stress about it. Just take joy in your friends' celebrations.

    my two (maybe ten?) cents.

    Lorispeak

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  30. Marriage and parenthood cannot be forced. It seems to me that in the 21st century, there is no such thing as the right age for marriage or the right timing. I really liked Tara's advice about childbearing and her quote of the anonymous poster - it is far preferable to regret not having kids than to regret having them. I was very ambivalent about kids until I had my very own. And some days they still drive me to insanity, but they keep me sane as well. But everyone is different and when making big life decisions, you need to follow your heart and your head and not allow society or culture or the media to sway you. Oh in other news, Chelsea Clinton's marriage is falling apart, and she only JUST got married. And it's reported that her man now feels he wasn't ready. It's sad and I think they were pressured into it.

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  31. First, I love the little red flower on your jacket! Little details like that make my day.

    Second, M and I have been together for seven years, living together for four years. We get the marriage and children question often from family, friends, and even strangers. I understand that some of them just want us to make it "official", but others can be very nosy! Their ideas of courtship, marriage, and parenthood are just opposite of ours. If two people love each other and respect each other, give them props! And I am giving big props to you. :o)

    xo

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  32. I'm in a similar situation. All my good girlfriends are married (some younger, some older), but all my guy friends? Either single or have no plans on tying the knot any time soon. My bf and I are at a point where we're happy with our lives, living together but no serious talks of marriage or babies.

    I do get the occasional question from my parents asking when am I finally getting married because so-and-so's kids already gave birth to X kids! I tell them there's no rush and when the time is right, they'll be the first to know :) Coming from an Asian household, I find it funny how we're not "allowed" to date in high school, but then the minute you graduate from college, it's like, when're you getting married?! And after that, when're you having kids?! 4 years of college isn't always enough time to date, get serious, and be ready for marriage! Well, not for everyone anyway.

    I'm rambling, but do what you and your bf feel is right. When the time comes, you'll know to take the next step.

    PS - I love the red splashes of color in your outfit!

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  33. I like that you brought this topic up- I'll admit that I was never interested in marriage but slowly over time I started to desire the security and safety of marriage (however, to this day I still think that's delusional). The ball dropped for me when I was at a funeral of a close relative to my boyfriend (now husband) and as words were being said graveside, only family was mentioned (I was not) even though he and I had been together 5+ years while others who had been around much less were mentioned (because they were a marital spouse). It really hurt me and I realized it was because I wanted to feel and be a recognized part of his family and eventually build a family of my own. I wanted to know that at the end of our days we had a recognized commitment to each other and the world. Even in the form of a dumb piece of paper, it does mean something and I do feel a bit different being married. Not better, just different.

    So, now that I've made this all about me.. ha! I don't think you need to sweat it, marriage means differnt things to different people. I know that I want to have kids and I'm 31. Some days I feel pressure and others I feel like I have all the time in the world. Most of my gal pals have 2 kids by now and I'm the "childless friend" I think whatever you decide and when it will be the right choice. I know it seems like everyone around you is married/with kids, and are possibly judging you but it's likely because they see your life and how happy and solid your relationship is without marriage. For some people, that's not possible, but for other (like yourself) it is. Societal norms are not always normal for everyone. besides, If you had kids it would be a lot more difficult to jet off to Dubai :)

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  34. Okay, first of all I don't think you need me to tell you that this outfit is off the hook! Totally the fa-schizle!! Next, I don't think society's expectations should dictate anyone's life ;) You're happy and in love, what a beautiful life!

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  35. I totally sympathize, and I've enjoyed reading all these comments! I'm quite comfortable with the idea of not necessarily getting married- though I think it could be fun to have a party with friends at some point to celebrate a milestone or something. The thing I have the most problem with is the lack of appropriate terminology- it feels kinda silly to still be referring to my 'boyfriend' after 18 years! and society certainly values married relationships more!

    But then we've never really had a need to get married- the thing I'm proudest of is that my dad was able to marry his gay partner and their relationship is fully and legally recognized by the government and their emplyers- now that is awesome. Go Canada!

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  36. And your outfit is gorgeous and stunningly romantic!

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  37. I have to agree with most of the respondents here. Please don't feel that you need to get married (and have children) just because everyone around you is doing it. If you and your BF are happy and comfortable with the situation you are currently in then that's all that matters. It all depends on what you both want. For my hubby and I, we both wanted to do it traditionally - get married, move in then have kids later down the track. This is the case of when one size does NOT fit all!

    There is no right time to settle down and have kids, although for females who DO want to have biological children at some point, they need to think about when they want to start. Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, we have a biological clock that can't be paused. It's a tough one really.

    At the end of the day, i'd rather be in a happy loving relationship than a loveless marriage.

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  38. I don't think there's a "right" time to get married, nor is there a "right" time to have kids. It's all so dependent upon each couple's unique circumstances. I know it's not easy to see your good friends moving into another phase of life without feeling a few buttons being pushed. Yes, your friends Dick and Jane are doing something that feels right for them...doesn't mean it's right for you. However, I think situations such as this only help in opening the door to conversations between you and your man. A "state of the union" for couples, so to speak. Just my 2 cents;)
    More importantly, I love your "jailbird" ensemble. You're a pattern-mixing pro.

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  39. I think that whenever feels right for you and your bf is the right time. Don't let other people's choices influence your own. I think living at your own pace is the best way to live.

    I love your outfit, on a lighter note! It;s just so cuuuute. Great pattern mixing!
    xo, Ashley

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  40. I probably won't offer anything more than most of what the other commentors have already said, but as a newlywed, I can tell you that I did not make my decision to marry because of what others were doing. I've always known that I wanted to marry someone some day, and when I met someone that I knew I could see myself with until I was 88, then that was it for me. No second guessing, because that would be a waste of time. When the time is right for you, you'll know it. And I can't tell you what that feeling is like, you just know. The most important thing is whether you and your bf are on the same page. I think when problems arise is when people want something more than their partner. But if you are both happy with one another and your life, then who's to say it should be any different? :)

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  41. I think it's different for everyone and as hard as it is to actually do, you shouldn't feel the pressure from others because they aren't you!! You both are happy so set those stresses on the back burner and enjoy your lives (that don't involve getting into massive wedding debt or having to change diapers, until you possibly opt to do that someday...)

    It's funny because I'm facing these pressures NOW, at 21?!! It's insane that so many people I know, who are still babies! are married with babies. I find it insane, but w/e.

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  42. society is kinda tough like that... as long as you're content with ur life, there's no point in rushing.

    PS. love the outfit!

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  43. So tough! I just bought a house with my BF (of 6.5 years, mind you) and I have heard every comment from, "I can't believe you BOUGHT a house with your BOYFRIEND" to "he better propose to you on your doorstep the first day you stay there!" I'm not in a huge rush--after all, I'm only 24 and though I wouldn't be the first of my friends to get hitched, the pressure is still in the air...

    Good luck, Lisa! And BTW, you look freakin' fabulous today. I love that skirt!

    Melanie@Unravelled Threads
    Follow @UnraveldThreads on twitter!

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  44. Hi Lisa, I'm a bit late on this, but I just had to comment. You are such my soul sister on this subject matter. I'm going through the exact same thing right now. This is something I struggle with all the time. I'm so confused as to why I want to get married. LG says you don't have to be married to be a family and together for life. I totally agree with him. But sometimes the social pressure makes me think otherwise. So I constantly remind myself that I am happy with the way things are right now and should just go with the flow of life. Everything will work out the way it's supposed to, even if it's a little later than everyone else.

    And as always you're outfit is fab. There isn't one thing about it I don't love :)

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  45. i can understand how you feel. we've been together for 8.5 years and living together for almost 3, so i'm way ready for the engagement and wedding.

    not so much on kids - i'd like to focus on us being us.

    there's no race to the finish - just do what is right by you and bf and enjoy. :)

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  46. A little late to the party on this one...but I just wanted to add that you're not alone! As someone who's trying to finish a Ph.D., it feels like I collect graduate degrees like everyone else has "life events". Granted, I did get engaged a few months back, but I'm apparently missing the "bride gene" (as Carrie said on SATC, lol). People ask me all the time about what colors I've picked, my dress, heck, just the date...and I haven't done one thing yet besides say "yes" to the guy (and after 4 years of dating, too)! It makes me feel somewhat awkward, but then I just step back and remember that I prioritized my education, and that means being behind by others' standards in the other "life events". It's helpful to try and remember that as I get the baby shower invites from the same people who sent me engagement/shower/wedding invites 2 years ago...:)

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  47. That is such a beautiful n fun outfit. I love that skirt and everything about how you styled it.

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  48. I'm a sucker for floral + stripes. Sooooo, I'm in love with this outfit.
    Sorry you're feeling pressure to have your relationship reach milestones you aren't ready for or wanting. Expectations can be a real bear.

    Leaving the House in THIS?!?!

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  49. I'm a new follower, but I have to comment on this because I feel for you! I agree with everyone else on here--don't let other people's decisions make you question the decisions you've made for yourself: you are your own person and it's YOUR life, not anyone else's. I've recently gotten over this little hurdle myself as all our married friends had babies at what seemed like exactly the same time exactly one-two years after they tied the knot (hubby and I are going on 5 years and no kids yet).
    When I only began thinking about kids after everyone else was having them, I realized that that was the wrong reason to even think about starting a family. You have to do what's right for you, and if you're happy right now, then you are exactly where you need to be in life right now:)
    Sorry for the long rant, but this hit close to home:) I love your sense of style, too, btw!

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