Saturday, December 8, 2012

Professor PhD vs. Being single

Oh! We are in for a treat! Professor PhD, Awkward Mom's ridiculously smart ally, has written a post:

Professor PhD here. I met Awkward Mom when we were both awkward technical theatre students at Creighton. My parents weren't exactly thrilled I wanted to major in theatre and encouraged me to double major in Communication Studies... One undergraduate honors paper, 7 years of graduate school and a 200-page dissertation and here I am a PhD without a school to professor at... but this post isn't about the aggravation of job hunting in your thirties. You see during all those years of school I dated occasionally but never really "dated" anybody. I am single. I have been single. There has not yet been a possible Mr. Right in my life. I am perfectly okay with this. And, while I am open to marriage and family, I am also okay with the idea of getting a great job and simply helping hundreds of young adults find their voice as they enter the wider world. Other people, however, see this as problem that needs fixing.

People like my older sister who is very concerned that I find a job so I can finally "settle down and find someone and start a family, because she "knows having kids is so important to me." (It's important to her.) Or my mother, who every time I cut my hair short, or even talk about cutting it short, reminds me that "men love long hair" and "wouldn't it be a shame if some guy was getting up the courage to ask me out and by cutting my hair I turned him off." (Apparently, it happened to her in college.) Or my younger sister who is worried that I will give up entirely because the guy I met at her wedding wanted a commitment after 2 dates and I wasn't feeling it after 2 dates. (For the record I was willing to give it some more time, I just wasn't willing to "be seriously committed.") Or all the relatives who were so concerned about how I was doing with my younger sister getting married before me. Interestingly, none of the people in my life want to set me up with anyone, they just have suggestions about what I should be doing to "get myself out there," and little sympathy for any rejection of these unsolicited suggestions.
My lack of desire for a domestic nest also seems to baffle people because I am "so domestic." 

I love to sew. I have made complete wardrobes for 4 18inch American Girl type dolls to be sold at the school fundraising auction for my Church. I make PJ's for all 5 of my nieces and nephews for Christmas every year. I have made clothing for myself and for others. I made costumes for Super P. This year I even made Advent Calendars for my nieces and nephews.



I also love to cook and bake. I made my first chocolate soufflĂ© at age 7 (that's a whole other post) and since then have yet to meet a recipe I was afraid to try. Being single, I often have leftovers which I would bring to share at work, especially baked goods. (Mostly because if I have the whole batch of cookies sitting on my counter I will eat the whole batch.)  


It's true that I hate cleaning, especially the putting away step (seriously, I would consider marrying a man who enjoyed folding the laundry and putting it back in the drawers.) but most people are spared that characteristic. They just see a young woman who loves to cook and sew, the perfect skills for a homemaker. I had a co-worker go so far as to tell me how lucky my future husband was going to be and say if he weren't gay he'd consider marrying me just to be so well taken care of.  (Just what every girl wants to hear).

This infuriates me. I hate the idea the idea that good cooking skills and crafting are necessarily related to motherhood and homemaking. I feel like it both cheapens my hobbies and talents and insults stay-at-home moms.
It cheapens my cooking and crafting by suggesting they are really only valuable in so far as they will help me catch a man and raise children (and post things on Pintrest to make other moms feel inferior.) It also is insulting to stay-at-home moms whose talents lie in the cuddling, vanquishing dragons, and other less Pinnable realms.
These people don't get that I spend a year making the doll for my Church, not because it takes a year, but because I make it one outfit at a time when I'm feeling crafty, or really want to avoid grading a pile of essays. And, despite the fact I can and have made Beef Burgundy, I'm just as likely to microwave a Hot Pocket for dinner because I don't feel like cooking. And, as a single gal, I get away with it. I don't relish the idea of making gourmet meals every night, and if I were married and had kids I probably wouldn't. I do these hobbies when I am in the mood to do them and put them away when I am not in the mood. I love that I can put them away, and I do, sometimes for months at a time.
I am an intelligent, independent, and talented young woman. I am also awkward, at times lazy, and prone to intense self-doubt on occasion. And I am single. That is something that doesn't need fixing. My ability to bake a cake from scratch makes me no more qualified to be a wife or mother than it makes me qualified to be a nutritionist.
Right now, I am happy with just me and my 20 lb bundle of white fur (also known as my American Eskimo dog 'Milkdud'.)  I am happy for all my friends and family who have started families of their own. Please be happy for me even if I never chose that path.

Professor PhD, we are totally happy for you, whatever path you chose. Of course, we like the path that makes you friends with Awkward Mom, and we would like a closer path so that we can enjoy the side effects of that friendship more; i.e. souffles and other yummies. And of course, Super P. wants to hang out so he can get some more fashions. I wouldn't let him though, he is likely to steal the dolls.


  1. It's amazing the diversity and joie de vivre one finds in each person one talks to or listens to. It doesn't matter what path they have taken - it's all in how it is traveled.

  2. Well said, and so perceptive. That is true about crafty/domestic = good mom today. I was often told, "OHhhh....the man who marries you will be so lucky!" But people didn't say this after a good conversation on history or current events with me, or after looking at my collages. They would say this after tasting the brownies or cookies that I made to share.

    The road doesn't always lead where others would like (ahem, parents, advisors, professors), but it's YOUR road to travel, and that's what counts.

    1. It is such an awesome post! I am so lucky that she took the time out to write it and thank you for taking the time to reply! :)