The Stages of a Woman

FYI, this post has been a long time coming! It may not be the most popular subject, but I think it’s one that each of us, as women, need to take note of. (Yes, I’m aiming this mainly towards women…so my apologies to any men who may be reading this…honestly, guys, I don’t think you need to worry about this one much. But feel free to read on!)

It starts when we’re babies. When a female child is born, everyone goes all a flutter with pinks and purples, ribbons and boas, fluffy bows and patent leather shoes…it’s a girl, and we’re gonna make sure EVERYONE knows it!!!

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That’s all well and good – I have no doubt that when I have a child I’ll be maxed out on the accessory side, one way or another. I get it. It’s fun, it’s cute, and we want the best for our little ones. Nothing wrong with that, right?

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As the girl grows, she fluctuates through many stages: the Princess, the Tomboy, the Artist, the Brat…I could go on. Eventually, she gets through High School and we all hope she has some idea of what she wants to do with her life. That’s when it really begins…and I’m convinced she has no idea what’s coming.

Somewhere in her early 20’s the girl is still trying to find herself. Perhaps she’s out on her own now. She’s trying to find a balance between being responsible enough to pay her bills, and having enough “her” time so she doesn’t go over the edge of this crazy thing we call life. If she has a job, she’s either on the bottom of the totem pole, trying to work her way up, or she’s wondering why she got that college degree when she wasn’t going to be able to find work in that field, anyway. Maybe she’s in a relationship. Maybe she’s not.

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And it starts.

“So, are you ever gonna get married, or are you planning on staying single for the rest of your life?” (Yes, this is a real question a married woman asked me when I was about 24 and single.)

So she gets married.

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“Congratulations on your wedding, I’m so happy for you! Now, when do you plan on having kids? You don’t want to wait too long, you know…that biological clock is gonna run out eventually!” (Another real statement, coming to me from a mother of 5…THREE WEEKS AFTER MY WEDDING. One of my other favorites was, “Oh, you’re not busy. There’s no way you’re busy until you have kids. Then you’ll understand what busy really is.”)

So, she has a baby. (No, I’m NOT pregnant.)

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“What a beautiful baby! So when do you plan on having the next one?” (This is a line more than one of my friends have shared with me that they have received…the most appalling one being while this new mom was still in the hospital. Yes, it was a real question – the person was not at all joking.)

So, she has four babies in 5 years.

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“My goodness, are you trying to compete with the Duggars?” (This is a reference to TLC’s cable show about Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, parents of 19 children…and yet another real statement a dear friend of mine has endured more than once.)

So, she stops having babies and tries her best to focus on raising them right.

“You know, honey, when I was raising MY kids, I did things quite a bit differently than you are. Here, I’ll make you a little list of do’s and don’ts. Things will start running much more smoothly for you when you do things the way I did.” (Another true statement from a woman whose totally healthy kids were grown to a stressed mother trying to raise two mentally disabled children.)

Do you follow my drift? No matter what a woman does, there is always a chorus of other women behind her, telling her she should do it differently! And in this crazy world we live in, we need to support each other, not criticize the life choices our sisters make!

In my life I have been blessed to know so many amazing, inspiring women; I am incredibly thankful for these examples that have been placed in my life, and I am thrilled at the prospect of those I have yet to meet who will impact me in the future! However, I have also encountered women who have struck me down with their harsh words, cruel actions and quick judgements. Those ladies have also made an indelible impact on me.

But let me tell YOU something…

You may be reading this as a single woman, desperately desiring to be married, and wondering when it’s ever going to happen for you! YOU MATTER!

Perhaps you’re a single mom, trying so hard to do what’s best for your children, and feeling so discouraged at the end of the day! YOU ARE NEEDED!

For you married women who long for a baby, and it hasn’t happened yet, for whatever reason, YOU ARE SPECIAL!

If you’re reading this as a single woman who has chosen to be single, YOU ARE AMAZING!

You may be reading this as a woman who has one, or two or three or four or more children, and it’s all you can do to get dinner on the table and make sure the kids and the husband are happy at the end of the day! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

Perhaps you’re a woman who has chosen schooling or career or adventure over creating and caring for a family, YOU ARE INCREDIBLE!

For you who are in the midst of raising older children, and you feel like every day is nothing but a fight, YOU CAN DO IT!

If you’re reading this as a woman who is trying to balance life, work, family, and so many other things, YOU ARE WONDERFUL!

And finally, if you are a woman who has done it all, and now is enjoying some well-deserved rest…CHEER THE REST OF US ON!

My heart is this: women, let’s stop the criticizing. Enough of the judgement. Just because someone isn’t doing it the way you did leaves no room for tearing them down. We need support from one another. We crave it. And there’s no time like the present to give it.

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(Originally published at http://theroadtodomestication.blogspot.com/2011/08/stages-of-woman.html?m=1)

148 thoughts on “The Stages of a Woman

  1. I wish we lived in a world where other women didn’t judge each other and we were just left to be who we wanted to be.

  2. I don’t remember being ask any of those questions, but then that was a very long time ago.
    I think though, that no matter who we are, where we live, what we do… there is always someone out there who wants to judge us.

  3. I have 6 children and I always heard things like. “Do you know what causes that?” And “Are they all yours?” And my personal favorite, “Did you mean to have that many?” Seriously? ☺

  4. What a beautiful list. Maybe I have rose colored glasses on (I hope not) but it seems women are getting better about supporting each other and hurrah for it.

  5. The question “when are you having the next one” while holding my infant always had me amazed. I just hope I don’t say some of these crazy things or lay unnecessary expectations on my daughter.

  6. This was great- just what women need to hear. It seems some women go out of there way due to their own insecurities to make other women feel bad. I wish more women would think like you :)

    Oh, and I get the Duggar comment all the time………I hate it!

  7. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful! As a 38-year-old single woman who is constantly reminded of that ticking biological clock by other women, I thank you!!!!

  8. This post is so spot on Kristen – I’ve been married for 18 years now & we chose to focus on career & travel before having children. I don’t fit in to any of these categories because my story goes beyond the typical scenario. I didn’t have that biological clock until about a year ago. Some may think I’m too old now to have children, but at 42, my husband and I are actually considering it. We are more stable, have substantial savings, we’re fulfilled in our careers & well traveled now. I got badgered my entire life about when I will become a mother and it used to really get to me. Now I’ll be blessed beyond belief if it even happens at all.

  9. Oh do I ever agree with you! I have managed to remain single and happy-most of my true friends have never commented-my Mom is another story-I don’t think she will ever forgive me that she could not give me a big beautiful wedding! It would be great if we all just supported each other no matter how we decided to live our lives. What’s that old saying-Oh Yeah If you don’t have something nice to say—don’t say it.

  10. it pains me every time I see how women can be women’s worst enemy instead of filing ranks and breaking the glass ceiling! Unfortunately I see this everywhere, not just in the business world. Its such a roller coaster of a life, only we could understand each other. So thank you for your post and for celebrating womanhood!

    • Yes, I see it in the business world and in my personal world, as well. It makes me sad. One day it might be different!

  11. TBH.. these questions have never bothered me and having adult sons.. they get some of these questions also… Most are fun conversational starters from older people. I had someone ask me when I was going to try for a girl and my reply, ‘Too late, but I think I got stuck w 3 girls cause God was teaching me a lesson!’. He laughed.. I laughed and we parted ways.

    • That’s a good point, Lois! Time flies – we should spend it building women up, not tearing them down!

  12. My son turned 3 yesterday and all weekend we were asked about the next one. We don’t know if there will be a next one. At on point, people weren’t even asking us. They were just telling us that we NEEDED another one.

    Sigh.

  13. Why are women so hard on other women? I remember being asked many of those questions. It took me 4 years to get pregnant with my first child and I don’t think other women knew how much my heart hurt every time I was asked when I was having a baby.

    This is such a great and needed post! We need to take the pressure off of each other and just let it be.

  14. I knew exactly what I wanted when I was younger and I have been lucky enough to achieve most of it. Nobody told me I had to get married or have kids, actually it was always quite the opposite with everyone saying I would regret both. It is crazy that others think they have the right to try to influence us in our decisions – especially when we never asked for their opinions!

    • That’s it, Jennifer! I know people who love us always want the best for us, and that influences some of it. But some that you’re right, we never asked for opinions!

  15. Thanjs for this. I’m 35 and single. Every time I start dating someone I get “don’t lose this one”. Seriously?! I would love to be married but I’m not going to settle just to say I’m married.

  16. So true – why do women have to put down the choices of other women? When I was of childbearing age there was still another question for the new mother – are you going to stay home? or are you going to return to work? Neither choice was right – ever. Working women put down “stay at home” women, and vice versa.

  17. Well said! As a childfree-by-choice woman I’ve had some unwanted questions, advice, and judgment thrown my way by people who think they know me better than I know myself. I wish every one of them would read this post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. :)

  18. Awesome post. You are so right, Kristen. Life is an individual experience that only you personal can live. You may chose to share it with others, but no one knows what is better for you than yourself. Listen to your heart, be secure in yourself, love who you are, and do what is best for you. Sometimes we try to do to much for others and forget to take care of ourselves… But, you can’t really take good care of others if you aren’t taking good care of you first. Excellent and thought provoking! :)

    Here’s to you, sister!
    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai

  19. My daughter has just gotten married and everyone keeps asking when she’s having children. This post is very timely! I think we should definitely focus on building other people up instead of asking invasive questions and telling them what they “should” be doing with their life.

  20. I love this. I am 32 years old, not yet married and not absolutely sure I want children either. I spent quite a bit of time in my 20’s trying to dismiss the topic of marriage and children when it came up. Eventually, I got so pissed with trying to defend myself, I wrote a blog post on it and shared it on Facebook. Since then, no one has dared brought the subject up again. Thank God!

    • Well, I didn’t include you in my generic scenarios, Rena, but I still think you’re amazing!!!

  21. I love this post. I too, have had many of those comments about, getting a boyfriend, getting married, having children, etc……And even told how to raise my kids. Some people surely could be out of bounds with some stuff.

    • That’s a good point, Amber! Surely we all have better things to do than tearing each other down!

  22. I only have sons but I try and not ask them any of these type of questions regarding getting married or having kids. Yes, men get asked similar questions. I also have a niece who is in her 30s and not married and she gets tired of the judgement.. I don’t judge when it comes to people’s personal choices.

    • I didn’t even think of men being asked these kinds of questions, too, but I guess they do! Thanks for pointing that out, Pam!

  23. This is such a wonderful post!! You have hit several nails square on the head.
    Love one another, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Loving includes not making people feel bad about doing things differently. (not including sins, just personal choices).
    Let’s celebrate each other, sisters!

  24. I never understood how women can be how they are. I mean, if you walked right up to a stranger & gave her a compliment, would she say “thank you”, or would she just give you that look. There’s no reason why we have to be better than anyone, we’re all just trying to get by in life.

  25. Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Let the church say, “AMEN!”! You nailed this right on the head Sister and as I type this with tears in my eyes, let me say thank you. Thank you for reminding me that I matter, I’m special, I’m beautiful, and I am cared for more than I know. That will help me get through another day with my four children, a traveling husband, two dogs, and a business I’m trying to get off the ground, oh yeah, and blogging… Can’t forget about the blog. 😉 lol

  26. I just ADORE your post and I’m going to share it with everyone!
    I agree that, as sisters, we must lift each other rather than tear each other out. Everyone is living a different journey or like you said, a different stage, and we all need support, positive guidance, and encouragement or motivation. I love how you eloquently illustrated the pains that we go through feeling we are not enough or not worthy and then get confirmation from the women we most love and admire :(

  27. Great post ,Kristen !! Much needed one. I hate it when people ask, when are you planning to have a baby ? I think when they don’t have anything good to speak with me they ask this question.

    • That’s a good point, Sahana! I never thought of that – if that’s all they can think of to say, then they must not have enough to speak to you about LOL

  28. I don’t know how I missed this post! There are 8 years between my 2 children, both girls. I used to have a neighbor who was always asking me when we were going to have another one. We would have had our 2 children closer together if God had intended that.
    Women can be more harsh to one another than men are. I don’t know why that is. We just need to continue to always ask God to give us Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding.

    • You are so right about the harsh factor, Shirley! I don’t understand it, either! But I’m truly thankful for His understanding!

  29. The post is all too true on how society views women and what we are supposed to do. Focus on God and He will guide is in everything we do.

  30. Thanks for writing about this. It’s so true (unfortunately!). My husband and I got married a few years ago and on the day of our wedding people were asking when we were going to have kids and how many we wanted. We do NOT in fact want children. When we politely tell people this, they are completely rude and all in our business about how something must be wrong if we don’t want children. One woman said something to me along the lines of “Women are supposed to have children. Does your husband agree with you? Are you sure?” Like I was somehow letting my husband down by not continuing his line. How rude.

    • I have gotten some of the same types of comments, Kyla! We should be encouraging each other as women, not tearing one another down!

  31. I love this article. Women struggle with trying to be the perfect female who has it all…and we get criticism from other women as well about the accomplishments we do make. I am a young married female and my husband and I have decided we don’t want children. This has brought a lot of negative comments our way. People act like not having children somehow makes you less of a woman. It does hurt sometimes and I dream of having a baby, but with physical and financial problems, we just can’t do it. Thank you again for this article, it made my day!

  32. I really enjoyed reading your Stages of a Woman! I’m the one who has been thru it all and is now enjoying (helping raise) my grandchildren! God have me only 1 daughter (who was a handful in herself!)! He chose not to give me anymore children (I believe if he had blessed me with another, I would have been in the looney bin!). I NEVER judge people nor tell them to do things the way I did them. If my daughter asks me for my opinion, I will give it to her. Other than that, I enjoy my grandchildren and abide (most of the time) by THEIR mother’s wishes! I am a definite believer that each woman is different. Some will choose not to get married and live with someone for the rest of their lives. Others, may choose to get married and have no kids. We are all different in our choices and that’s how it should be “our choices”! Thanks for the great read!!! Michele :)

  33. I have three daughters, and my oldest and youngest have always felt they had to be in a relationship, even if it wasn’t the best relationship. Luckily daughter #2 has an independent streak and figured she would live her life and when the right man came along, then she’d be in a relationship. It actually worked out for her, because she now has the nicest boyfriend and they are a great match. I wish more people wouldn’t feel that they HAVE to be in a relationship to be complete.

    • That is such a great point, Linda! I’ve seen it play out over and over again! I hate the heartbreak it entails!

  34. wow what a wonderful post. So much of it is right on. There are so many well meaning other women who think they know what is right and what is wrong. Thank you for sharing your ideas

  35. Women are each other worst critics. I’m glad I had 4 boys. My sister in laws ad mother in law will never understand why I don’t work. They didn’t think raising 4 sons was work. If a woman wants a career, have a career. If a woman wants to stay home yes even after they are all raised let her stay home. It is none of anyone’s business. Unless we are asking you to pay our bills it is none of your business if one does not work-which we don’t. Women seem to operate by jealousy.

    • You are so right, Rosanne! (And having worked my way through college by nannying for triplet boys, I still agree that boys are easier LOL)

  36. WOW, I can’t BELIEVE some of these questions!! And for those who commented saying that people asked them when they would try for the other gender of child….do they not REALIZE that you do not CHOOSE the sex of your baby?! My GOODNESS!!
    I’m 24, and I’ve been dating my boyfriend for five years. Not engaged yet, but everyone knows we will get there at some point. It is a question of WHEN, not IF. But everyone else around us seems to be getting engaged, married, or having a baby, and for awhile I was feeling like I was getting left in the dust. This post made me feel better though :) We need to do things at our own pace and follow God’s plan, not everyone else’s. God bless! :)

    • Natalie, I’m so glad the post made you feel better :) That’s what I wanted when you wrote it! Celebrate YOU! Follow God’s plan for YOUR life, not anyone else’s! You got this!

  37. This is a great post. I love the idea of cheering on women. How many times are we catty and judgmental to other women and their lifestyle choices. Life is hard. We could all be better to each other.

  38. I love the stage of life I am in right now. I do feel that we as women should support each other more. No be so competitive with each other. Just truly and genuinely care for one another.

  39. You want a child, have one. Or two or 5. But do it because you want it and not because someone else says you should do it. Because, in reality, you shouldn’t unless you want.

    You got a good points going on here. I wish my girls become self-relying as they grow up and have the strenght to say to the nosy-ones to watch their own business!

  40. I’ve seen and heard this bizarre way women behave. I had 4 kids in 5 years too. Luckily, I guess, I never had friends, been close to any female family members and never let what anyone says completely influence how I live.

    Great article, by the way!

  41. Great post! I’m cheering everyone on because I’ve gone through all of these. However, I find myself almost back to square one because we find ourselves in the position of raising our grandson. So, we have an almost 12 year old to love and he brings us so much joy!

  42. I am a 63 year old bachelor who never experienced your passage through life…but I have a lady friend of over 32 years who has forced domestication upon me.

  43. I’ve come to realize along this journey that comments you’ll face you cannot alter/adjust/minimize….the reward and peace comes with letting it not change who you are. An analogy that I heard once – in essence we are like boats on stillwater – turmoil all around – the key don’t let the waters get inside and stir up the battles. Here’s an ovation for all woman all stages and surviving through all of it.

    Eva Mitton-Urban

  44. What a great article-so spot on! I will never forget when my husband and I got married and blended our families, how many times we were asked when we were going to have a child together.

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