I Was Drunk And Unmarried When I Had Her, But I Want My Daughter To Do It Differently
My book, Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-be – the first in a trilogy of my mommy memoirs – came out when my daughter was just six months old. I went on a media tour and almost every interviewer asked me, “What do you think your daughter will think of this book when she grows up?” I answered, jokingly, “I’ll just hide it high up on the shelf.” Because my daughter was only six months old and all she pretty much do was drool, the thought of her reading my book one day seemed as far into the future as a James Cameron epic.
I suppose the interviewers asked this question because I openly admitted that I was drunk when she was conceived. Now, don’t get me wrong, I see nothing wrong in conceiving while drunk, if you are of age (I was 29) and in love (I was and I was also engaged at the time). And, please, how many of you mothers out there were drunk when you conceived? Exactly. (In a way, it helped me grow up. I’ve never gotten drunk like that since!)
Recently, on this site, I read that a couple’s education has proven to be a lot more influential on a child’s development than a marriage certificate. Well, phew. My daughter’s father has probably five diplomas, including one from the London School of Economics. I went to university, too. Together, we are smart. But we never got married.
This was never a problem because I never really pushed for marriage. When I watch shows featuring bridezillas trying on gowns and worrying about budgets, I just want to gag. I couldn’t ever picture myself walking down an aisle either, all those people staring at me. I would probably have a panic attack. I’m also not organized enough to get a guest list together and I’m pretty damn lazy. Thus, we never got married. My daughter’s father never pushed for it, either, since we both knew that our parents would want to be very involved and we were not really into that, either.
But now I wonder if those people who interviewed me so long ago were maybe onto something.
No, I’m still not embarrassed about how my daughter was conceived, but the problem is that my daughter, now aged seven, is really, really into marriage. Almost every night, as we cuddle in bed, we talk about what her wedding is going to be like (I blame this on Prince William and Kate).
My daughter has it all planned out. She’s going to wear a red dress, I’m going to be a flower girl, she’s going to have red balloons everywhere and the cake is going to be vanilla. (She has also planned out what is happening after her wedding, which is that she’s going to have two children – my daughter, her babies, her husband and me are all going to live together. Ahem.)
It seems that only now my daughter is catching on to the fact that her mommy and daddy were never technically married. I know this because she asked my mother on the phone the other day if she was married before she had all her babies.
Now, it’s hard enough to explain to a seven-year-old why she can’t stay up past 8:30 p.m. So how does one explain why mommy and daddy never got married, while also telling her that I hope she finds the perfect man (or woman) to get married to?
It’s not that I don’t think marriage is important. I love going to weddings. I love hearing speeches. I love the idea of showing your love to each other to people you care about. But I don’t think it’s necessary to be married before you have a child. Obviously.
I know I’m only days away from my daughter asking me flat out why mommy and daddy never got married. I wish I had a better answer than, “We were just too lazy to plan anything before you came along. And then after you came along, we were also too lazy.”
It’s hard to explain to a seven-year-old, who still believes in the tooth fairy, that you can still be in a relationship and have children without having a wedding. I mean, I don’t want to rain on her parade – because my daughter’s wedding plans sound like a lot of fun!
Plus, I do think I will get married one day. I’m old enough now not to bow down to pressure from my family (“We have to invite your great aunt or there will be a family war for years!”) and I’m old enough to know exactly how I’d like to do it (as cliché as it may sound, I do want the barefoot-on-the-beach-during-sunset wedding). I’m also more comfortable with the idea of going through and planning a wedding. What can I say? Motherhood makes you more organized.
I suppose the best thing to tell my daughter is that while marriage isn’t necessary, it sure would be nice to find the one you would love to get married to. And maybe I’ll add, “And just think how lucky you are! How many kids get to be at their own mommy’s wedding?”