You Are Not Defined By Your Mothering Status
“You’ll regret it someday.”
“Don’t you feel like you’re missing something?”
“Oh, you really don’t want children?”
These are statements I’ve heard numerous times over the years, and they are phrases that remind me of a harsh truth: I am an abnormal thirty-one-year-old, at least by social standards.
Looking at me, though, you might not know it.
I’m married to the love of my life, a man I met at the age of twelve. I’m a teacher and an author with a small house in our quaint hometown. We don’t have a white picket fence, but we have a chain-link fence that reins in our mastiff, Henry. I love shopping, coffee, and time with my few friends I keep close.
Our life isn’t the thing of flashy romantic movies. We go grocery shopping on weekends, and we are always drowning under piles of laundry and dishes. Date night usually means Netflix and pizza in sweatpants.
In short, my life is nothing extraordinary.I am your average, brown-haired woman who hasn’t quite mastered walking in heels or winged eyeliner.
I’m average in every way, except one: married and thirty-one, I don’t have children, and I don’t know if I ever want to.
I’ve never had what I call the mothering gene. While many other females my age crave the feeling of a newborn in their arms, oohing and awing over our friends’ babies, I am the woman, uncomfortable and awkward, standing in the corner praying no one passes the child to me. I don’t get any excitement when I walk past infant clothes in the mall, and the thought of being responsible for a child slightly repulses me if I’m being honest.
My husband and I have found a sense of joy, of purpose, and fulfillment without children. We are happy. We feel at peace. We don’t feel like we’re missing anything.
But it seems like society is quick to judge us, to define us, and to berate us for our choice.
Over the years, there’s a sense of guilt that has been pushed on us for our life choice. From strangers’ nosy questions about our childfree life to acquaintances accusing us of being selfish, we have both taken heat for not producing offspring. I have even had students’ parents question my abilities to teach because of my lack of children.
On a bigger scale, numerous blogs, articles, and speakers seem to tout the notion that a childfree life is less somehow, and then it will be filled with regret, sorrow, and unfulling days.
When I’ve written articles about being childfree and the bias that is present against women in my situation, I often faced backlash. I’ve been accused of attacking motherhood and of inventing a bias that some claim doesn’t exist.
Through it all, I’ve learned that despite critics’ words, there is clearly a subdivision between the haves and the have nots when it comes to motherhood--and I think that is the greatest disservice we can do in terms of female empowerment.
The bottom line is this: I am not defined by my mothering status, nor are you.
Our choices when it comes to motherhood certainly impact who we become and our journey. However, it is not the only defining factor in our lives as women. Our society has thankfully moved beyond the years where a woman’s worth is only measured by her ability to reproduce. Some of us are mothers, and some of us are not. But beyond that, we are so many other things. We are leaders, friends, bosses, dreamers, inventors, nurturers, motivators, and artists. We are all made up of a multitude of specialties, skills, attitudes, dreams, and personalities.
To define us by one aspect of our lives isn’t fair to any of us. As women, we are so much more than one choice, one life path, and one status.
Thus, I say this:
To those who are mothers--I respect the hell out of you and your journey.
To those who are not mothers--I respect the hell out of you and your journey.
Your choices as a woman, your life’s journey to your own version of fulfillment, and the status of your family do not define your value in society.
Find your own way, find your own joy, and don’t let anyone tell you the path you chose is less, children or not.
Lindsay Detwiler is an author with Avon Books/HarperCollins UK and a high school English teacher. She has thirteen romances released with Hot Tree Publishing, including Inked Hearts. Her novel, The Widow Next Door, released in November of 2018 and remained at #1 in Horror on the Amazon charts for weeks. Learn more by visiting her Facebook.
It's easy to fall into a funk this time of year.
The holidays are gone, and it seems like there's just an endless stretch of boredom and, where I live, cold. I've been struggling with the search for joy, as I've been calling it thanks to Marie Kondo. I've been struggling to find meaning in monotonous days.
However, last week before school, a dear friend of mine shared an article on Facebook that changed my whole perspective. It's a beautiful story about how small acts of kindness really can change everything.
The story is about Ruby Kate, a 5th grader in Arkansas who started asking residents at the nursing home where her mother works what wishes they have. She was amazed to find that they really only wanted the smallest things--a fresh strawberry because they hadn't had one in years, a Pepsi, a candy bar. Ruby started a GoFundMe to raise money to meet their needs, and it's raised $30,000 so far.
The article made me tear up because it's beautiful on so many levels. It reminds you that it doesn't always take a huge gesture to change the world for someone.
Take a look at the article and then check out Ruby's Facebook page. Then, head to the comments and tell me about small acts of kindness you've witnessed that have made a huge difference....or tell me about how you've found joy bringing joy to others.
Let's spread some positive vibes around this Monday morning.
I am so honored that Wild Hearts has been named one of the 12 Sensational Contemporary Romance Books by EZvid Wiki. Click here to check out the list and find some more great information on romance!
The 5 Revolutionary Lessons Tidying Up Taught Me About Joy
If you've been wondering why everyone is using the verb "tidying" instead of cleaning these days, then you haven't heard of Marie Kondo.
The best-selling author and tidying expert Marie Kondo has her own method to finding joy in tidying, known as the KonMarie method. A recently released Netflix special, though, has made her a household name and has everyone placing items in bins, carefully folding clothes, and donating more items than ever.
But is there truth behind her message that tidying can bring joy? I was skeptical. As a total shopaholic, makeup addict, and collector of shoes, I had my doubts that the show would change anything in my attitude. In fact, I almost turned it off after the first episode.
However, I kept watching....and I got hooked. I started small, tackling my closet. But here's the thing....I found that her system works. As hippie-trippie as it sort of sounds (hold each item and asks if it sparks joy), it really does refocus your efforts.
I've made it through my closet (which was an immense task). My husband and I are finishing the kitchen tomorrow. Here are the five tips I've learned from her system that have really helped me spark joy.
1. Less really is more.
I'm the girl who buys two of a shirt that I don't really love just because it's cheap. I'm the girl whose closet has ten pairs of the same kind of black pants just in case something would happen. I'm the girl with more shoes than I could wear in a year.
I like to consider myself a fashionista or a clothing enthusiast. But, if we're being honest, yes, I suppose I'm a pack-rat, a bit of a hoarder, whatever you want to call it.
Marie Kondo emphasizes the ideas of minimalism in her show. Her idea is that if you have less stuff, you appreciate it more. This seemed like garbage to me at first, if I'm being honest. I loved having a full closet. And what was it hurting... out of sight, out of mind, right?
This week, though, I've tediously worked myself up to getting rid of four garbage bags full of clothes and shoes. Four. Heaping bags. For the first time ever, I have empty spaces in my closet. I have enough room to move clothing on the rack and examine it. I can see all of my shoes.
And you know what? She's right. She's so right. Because now, I can actually see what I have. I can walk into my closet and just grab items, toss them on, and go wherever I'm going without wondering if my outfit is good. Because everything in my closet is stuff I love.
P.S: I was super skeptical about the folding bit. But now, I love it! My leggings fit in a smaller space, as do my tank tops. And I can see everything and reach everything without having to undo stacks of clothing.
2. When you only keep items that 'spark joy,' life is simpler.
What the heck does it mean to spark joy? This was the question I wondered when I started following the KonMari method. It sounded like super hippie stuff to me.
But then on the one episode, she had someone pick out their favorite shirt. She asked them to think about how they felt when they saw that shirt, when they wore it. That was sparking joy.
Really, it's just a different way of looking at clothes, books, or anything else you're sorting. Do you really love it? Does it make you happy or bring purpose to your life? If not, chuck it.
I've been using this tactic now when shopping, too. I stop and really think about whether or not I love the item. If I'm just buying it because it is cheap and I might use it someday, I now pass. I now seek to fill my home with items that have meaning, something I've never truly thought about in the past.
Sparking joy is just a way of saying you need to be more mindful. So many of us seek to buy stuff just for the sake of having it. But Marie points out that you need to fill your space with items that make you happy, have a purpose, and point you in the direction of the future you're seeking.
Now, everything in my closet is something I love. It's so much easier to piece together outfits or to get dressed. There are no more "maybe I'll wear this someday" items cluttering my space.
3. A tidy home really does lead to less stress and more time.
Our house used to be clutter central. Finding the peanut butter was a ten-minute task. Morning routines were filled with tons of curse words and lost time. I was always rushing out the door last second because I could never find anything.
Now, though, I've seen a big difference in my stress level....and I've only tackled two spaces so far. The pantry is no longer anxiety fuel, and neither is my closet.
Less clutter really just helps you breathe easier. Seriously.
4. Assigning everything a home is key.
Marie Kondo highlights the importance of every item having a specific home. That means even your whisk has a specific spot in a specific drawer. This helps assure that when you open a drawer or closet, you can see everything you have.
We have started assigning spaces to everything. Is it tedious? Yes. But we've also found it helps us know exactly what we have and where it is. And it also helps us appreciate everything we have. When you treat all of your belongings with reverence, there's just a newfound happiness that emerges.
5. Small spaces can still be tidy if you organize it correctly.
I used to think we didn't have the space to be tidy. But Marie Kondo approaches small spaces with the same principles. She really showed me that you don't have to have a big space to be organized and to have the life you want.
I love that her show works with what you have. She's worked with full houses and apartment-size areas. Her show really sparks joy because it's all about appreciating what you have, big or small, and making it work for your life.
Have you watched 'Tidying Up' or ascribed to Marie Kondo's principles? Let me know in the comments what you've thought of her process, or tell us your own success story. And if you think this article will help your friends and family, feel free to hit the icons below to share!
My mastiff Henry is my absolute best friend. No joke. I'm obsessed with him.
If you've known the love of a dog, you know there's just nothing like seeing that tail wagging when you get home from a long day or the feel of that paw on your shoulder when life's falling apart. The love of the dog is like no other.... and that's why I wanted to capture that emotion in a romance.
The Trail to You, releasing March 16th with Hot Tree Publishing, came from my desire to make Henry a major component of the plot. He always appears in every single one of my novels (even my thriller/horror), but I wanted a book that celebrated the power of the bond between humans and dogs. And thus, a book in which the protagonists come together because of the love of a dog was born.
I'm not going to lie... The Trail to You is my favorite romance I've written, probably because of the story it tells of a fictionalized Henry. This one is light at times but also heavy...it's got plenty of laughs, and plenty of tears, just like real life.
I've included an excerpt from the first page below. Even though this one doesn't come out until March, there are some pre-order links ready now. The Amazon links are coming soon.
Until then, take a peek at the cover which just revealed. Hit comment and let me know all about your furry friend. I'd love to feature some of you in upcoming newsletters....and, if I pick you to feature, you'll earn a FREE ebook ARC of this upcoming book.
☆ New Release & Giveaway ☆
'Promised Hearts' by Lindsay Detwiler is LIVE and on sale for #99c!
Promising forever isn’t always easy, even when you’ve found Mr. Right.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2C1PlPZ
All other links: books2read.com/promised-hearts
How could we be anything but forever to each other when our lives are so irresolutely melded together?
Two years ago, Avery Johannas swore she wouldn’t give her heart to another man again—and then Jesse Pearce changed her mind. Now, with wedding bells getting ready to ring, Avery’s relying on her friends to get her through all the hectic wedding planning. However, she’ll have to let go of the past in order to say “I do” one more time and take the risk again.
Avery and Jesse’s relationship isn’t the only one changing. Reed’s role as wedding planner makes Lysander realize all he is missing. With wedding fever in the ocean air, will the two be ready to take the next big step as well—or will Lysander be left craving the promise of forever?
As the couples from Midsummer Nights get ready for Avery’s big day, they’ll pull together in a memorable way—and the surprise twist up their sleeves is sure to make fans of the Lines in the Sand series swoon.
#PromisedHearts_Release #LindsayDetwiler #HTPubs
Tour Organizer: https://www.facebook.com/hottreepromotions
Whether it's a high school romance or simply an excuse to get away from the kids, dating is one of the most important things you can do to nurture a relationship. Dating ultimately lays the foundation for a long, healthy, and compassion-filled marriage. How? By compelling you to set aside time for your significant other, listen to what it is they have to say, communicate about everything going on in your lives, and best of all: do something fun together.
Unfortunately, dating is low on the priority list for many couples. It’s hard enough to find an extra hour or two you can spend with your significant other. When you’re raising children, saving up for a house, or paying off student loans (or all of the above), you might even wonder if dating is worth it at all. But dating doesn’t have to be rocket science. It also doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a few proactive measures and ideas, you’ll find yourself rekindling that passion that first incited your relationship.
Make Date Night a Priority
This might not apply to a couple who met only recently, but for the married folk out there, try to make date night a regular part of your schedule. This might mean different things for different couples, as everyone’s schedule is unique. For some, this might mean a formal outing once a month. For others, this might mean spending some quality time alone together a few times a week. Either way, your significant other will be flattered you’re taking time out of your day to do something fun together and show them they matter.
Perhaps you and your significant other have become big-time foodies, movie junkies, or local bowling champions. Whatever the case, try to come up with a plan of what is you’ll be doing on date night, and how frequently you’ll be doing it. By factoring date night into your budget ahead of time, you’ll always be prepared financially. One great way to come up with money for date night is automating your savings. Mobile banking apps like Chime can save a portion of your paycheck without you ever needing to transfer money around. Once you’ve accounted for your finances, you can consider what date ideas best suit your budget.
Try Some Cheap Date Ideas
The Top 7 Truths You Need to Know About Marriage
Tomorrow, my husband and I will celebrate seven years of marriage.
In many ways, I know it is quite a feat because let's face it: Those people who say that marriage is hard, well, they're right. It is hard. So damn hard.
Don't get me wrong. It's also beautiful. Having a best friend, a partner, a cheerleader to walk through life with is a magical thing. I'm truly thankful that I got to marry the man I did and that he is the best partner I could ask for.
Still, marriage isn't always a dance down the aisle or a romantic stroll on a perfect-temperature day. It's exhausting. It's boring sometimes. It's aggravating. And the struggles go well beyond dirty socks on the floor or who is taking out the trash. Life is hard. Love is hard. Staying committed is hard sometimes.
Over the years, we've learned a lot about life as we've grown up together. We've learned about mortgage rates and taxes. We've learned about taking care of furnaces and that water heaters are freaking expensive.
And most of all, we've learned that marriage isn't always what it seems like in the movies.
Here are seven things we've learned in the past seven years of marriage.
1. Chores can ruin a relationship.
When we first got married, we thought money would be the external force to come between us. So many women's magazines, experts, and married couple warn about how money fights can get fierce.
For us, though, we learned very quickly that there was another danger lurking: chores. With us both working full-time jobs, dividing and conquering the mundane drudgery of adult life threatened to overpower our connection so many times. We argued, fought, cried, and swore over what we both deemed an unfair splitting of the household duties. We were in uncharted territory, having both lived at home before moving in together. We didn't have a system or a plan.
It took a few years for us to come up with a system we were both happy with. I think for couples getting ready to move in together or get married, my best advice is: Talk now about how you will divide regular chores. Don't assume you will both merrily do your part without having to discuss it because this can lead to resentment and really wicked fights.
2. Celebrate the small gestures.
Movies, books, and even social media can make us feel like romance is about the big gestures. Diamonds, roses, romantic getaways--these things are all wonderful.
But they also cost a lot of money and especially early on in our marriage, that just wasn't a luxury we could afford.
I've learned in seven years of marriage, though, that romance isn't always about Instagram-worthy gestures. Sometimes it's about the really small gestures. My husband stopping to get me some Starbucks after work as a surprise, and remembering exactly how I like my iced coffee. A simple dinner in the air fryer and some time across from each other at our dinner table after a long, hard week. A random kiss in the middle of a cut scene in his video game, or pausing my Netflix show just to tell him I love him. These are the real romantic moments of married life. And these are the moments that are free but also mean so much.
3. Everyone is annoying to live with if you give them long enough.
I don't care who you are--you have annoying habits. And so does your spouse.
Chad and I are super close, and we knew each other for a long time before we got married. Still, living with someone, you really to get to know each other, good and bad.
I think all married couples go through stages of annoyance. There are things I wish I could change about my husband, and vice versa. Not big things, just little annoying habits. But I've come to learn that marriage isn't about loving the other person for the good things. It's about loving them for the bad things, too. It's about accepting each other for who you are and realizing that neither of you are perfect.
4. It can't always be 50/50.
Chad and I try to run our marriage on the 50/50 principle. However, we've come to realize that the 50/50 model doesn't always work because life isn't always fair. There are times when he's struggling, and I need to give more. There are times when I'm struggling, and he needs to give more.
Marriage is sometimes about picking up the slack for your partner so the team can keep moving forward. It's about doing dishes for him when he's working a ton of overtime, and it's about helping with the laundry for me when I'm having a stressful week.
5. You have to find the energy to spend time to together.
One of the biggest struggles of married life (and adult life) is being tired. Truly.
Working, taking care of a household, and managing our various roles is tiring. It's easy to slack on spending time with each other, on putting in effort to make sure our connection stays strong.
We've learned over the years, though, that you have to push through. When he was working an odd shift last year, that meant getting less sleep so we could see each other. It means that when we come home and are so tired, we just want to go our separate ways and rest, we put in the effort to find energy to hang out.
Marriage is work. Building a connection is work. You have to be able to put in the time.
6. Support each others' hobbies.
Maintaining separate identities is important in a marriage. Chad and I don't share any mutual hobbies, but we've learned that's okay. Having time to work on our own hobbies is healthy and has helped us stay happy together. Most of all, we've learned that supporting each other in our separate endeavors has helped us appreciate who we are together.
Married life doesn't have to be about doing everything together. We've found happiness as a couple by appreciating our differences and supporting each other's interests.
7. Laughter really does improve a relationship.
I've written this in so many articles because it's the biggest truth I've come to learn. The key to a happy, successful marriage, in my opinion, is being able to laugh together. It's about not taking marriage too seriously or taking each other too seriously. It's about being able to joke, to laugh, to play, to be goofy together. It's about cracking a smile when life starts to get hard. It's about making each other truly laugh when life makes you want to cry.
Having someone beside you who can make you smile through even the hardest times is when connections are strengthened.
I want to know what you've learned from marriage. Tell me in the comments below!
Saying Thank You: What To Give
It’s cliche to say, but your wedding day is one of the best days of your life. For it to truly come together and be everything you’ve ever dreamed of, you enlist the help of your friends and family. To be completely frank, being asked to be part of a wedding comes with a lot of pressure. There is no such thing as perfect, but you’re enlisting people you love to help you come as close as possible. How can you possibly say thank you to those who basically achieved the impossible? It’s a tricky task. But worry not, there are some unique ideas out there.
It depends on the people in your party, but there are a plethora of ideas floating around the internet! However, there’s no need to scour the web to find the most unique options.
Here are 3 simple gift ideas to give your most sincere thanks:
1. A Heartfelt Letter
When is the last time you’ve received a handwritten note? Sometimes the most sincere thanks comes from the heart. Look into purchasing nice stationary that matches the theme of your wedding. Using thick paper will ensure that your letter can stand the test of time, and hopefully prevent the note from ripping and your words from fading. A note is sometimes a gift that keeps on giving. Words can be saved and read repeatedly. The best reason? Words are priceless and mean more than any material gift!
2. Stylish Shades
There’s nothing wrong with giving material items as a thank you either. However, they should be practical so your people can get use out of them for days, weeks, months, and even years to come! Sunglasses are one example of a practical gift. While they of course can be used on the day of your wedding, they can be used well beyond too! Don’t waste your money on the cheap plastic glasses either. Your thank you should come in the form of quality sunglasses that aren’t plastered with your wedding hashtag. Having the ability to buy sunglasses in bulk takes the hassle out of gift giving, and you can get a pair for everyone in one purchase!
3. A Soothing Scent
We all know wedding planning can be a stressful time. Give the gift of relaxation with their favorite scent of candle! Better yet, write a custom message to be printed on the label. It’s a unique way to express your thanks and encourage your friends and family to enjoy some quiet time. If you really want to make it a truly relaxing gift, make it a basket! Fill it with bath bombs, epsom salts and a few face masks. A little can go a long way, and after your girls have spent so much of their time focusing on you, return the favor and encourage them to have some well deserved “me time.”
What are some of your ideas for gifts? Whether they’re from personal experience or this post just sparked some inspiration, I’d love to hear what you have in mind!
An Important Message For Women This Weekend
Lately, I've been finding myself fantasizing...and not about men with sexy abs or the hot dates of romance.
My fantasies these days go something like this: I'm in bed, sleeping the day away, not worrying about hair, makeup, or putting on work-appropriate shoes. I saunter to the couch eventually, stuff my face with bad foods without worrying if it goes to my hips. I watch endless hours of Netflix, ignore the pile of dishes and the bills and all of the adult stuff and just spend the day with Henry and my cats.
I know, I know....a wild fantasy.
In all seriousness, though, September always feels like a rough month for me. I'm back to school and trying to just get used to the routine. September usually finds me worn out, burn out, and just craving sleep.
Sometimes I think life is just really hard, and we all fall into the trap of needing to be so many different things. There is always so much to do, to worry about, and to feel insufficient at. Hair, makeup, housekeeping, bills, careers, friends, relationships, marriages, parenting, and everything else we're a part of---wow, it's exhausting.
And wow, it can all leave us feeling inadequate.
But this week, I'm here to remind you this: You're doing okay. I'm proud of you. And, most importantly, you're more than enough.
I think as women especially, we need to remember to boost each other up. Life is hard. Adulting is hard. Exhaustion is real.
But if we can all remind each other once in a while that what we're doing is worthwhile and that strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between, we are enough....well, I think we might just all make it through together.
How has your month been? And how do you beat the exhaustion that sometimes sets in with the craziness of life? What keeps you energized? I'd love to know your tips and tricks. Hit reply and let me know what works for you.
Have a great weekend! I hope you get to rejuvenate a bit.
Author Lindsay Detwiler
*As an Amazon Affiliate, I get a small fee for any books purchased through the links below.