Friday 22 March 2013


I was asked the other day if I ever got any opinions from friends, family or otherwise when I was an un unwed mother (that phrase is just rife with connotations isn’t it?). It sounds so Lifetime Channel doesn't it? Unwed mother, unwed mother, ahhhhh! And of course I thought it would make a great blog discussion topic (thanks MG). Because, like it or not, no matter how progressive we think we are now as a society, there is a definite stigma attached to those who choose to have kids out of wedlock. 

For me personally, I’ve always considered my family very open-minded, liberal individuals (okay my parents may have peppering’s of conservatism in there, but I chalk that up to a generational thing). And despite occasionally asking me if I thought my partner and I would ever marry (we were together six years before we did), I don’t think anyone really gave a toss either way. Actually, I just heard my mother clear her throat from 5000 miles away. She’s Catholic and even though she has a much more progressive view of the world than let’s say the Pope, I think deep down somewhere she thought I was living in sin…or at least in disfavor. And of course she’s a mother and all mothers like things sewn up with a neat little bow, makes the world neater and puts their parental minds at ease. I’m sure by the time the King is twelve I’ll be asking what his intentions are in regards to dating.

Over the last six years, my partner (now husband) and I were both mutually content with our arrangement and when we had doubts or leanings towards getting married it was never  - funny enough - at the same time as one another. I think in some small way we prided ourselves on doing things a bit untraditionally. ‘Yeah man, we’re rebels, look at us, we had a kid out of wedlock. He’s such a cute little bastard, like on Game of Thrones. Woo hoo….Sh*t is it 9pm already, we have to get to bed!’ (Keith Richards we’re not). And when the King did arrive, we were both fine with continuing to stay unmarried and do things the unmarried way, like say, double barrelling his surname; okay, that’s not entirely true. My partner was keen on his surname and I was keen on mine, so we agreed out of exhaustion that a double barrel surname would end the argument quickly. I made the strong case of course that I wanted my family line to carry on as much as his and damn it, there are far too many girls in my family so it all rests on the King’s shoulders!

The truth of it is, a small part of people out there (okay, maybe not so small) believe that until you have a ring on your finger, your situation isn’t fully sewn up…or down, or locked into place…or whatever metaphor you want to throw out there. If you’re married it somehow suggests to all those skeptics out there that you’re in it for the long haul; you’ve committed, you’ve eaten fruitcake together (they serve that over here at weddings, despite how many times I try to tell the English that Yanks regard fruitcake as something you give your enemies) and you’re taking this relationship seriously. The irony of course is that most of those people forget that the global divorce rate is absurdly high and marriage isn’t as binding as it used to be. I always figured that if my partner and I weren’t married, it meant even more because we were choosing to stick around without a document mandating us to.

Then again, in our seventh year, we changed our minds and got hitched. For whatever our reasons (which shall remain private, some mystery is in order), we decided it was time to do it. Or time to have a party and eat fruitcake. And of course, on that blessed day, my adoring husband looked at me across the aisle, with love in his eyes and said…‘can we change the King’s surname now?’

Not a chance sweetie, not a chance. Ah marriage, it’s all about compromise.

Happy Friday. :-)

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