My Kids Don't Need Me to Get Hitched

Unmarried Moms Are Everywhere.

Everywhere. Whether single, divorced, or committed but unwed, almost half of childbearing moms in the United States don't have rings on their fingers.

Yet, we still encourage dreams of flashy rings, white weddings, and happily-ever-afters, yet the family dynamic has changed for almost half of us. Still, unmarried women find themselves ostracized, mocked and stereotyped. From having a "baby daddy," to an "unstable home," the words chucked at unwed mothers are often demeaning, and wrong. And while each type of unmarried mother faces challenges, like single parenting or navigating divorces, unmarried moms in committed relationships face a different type of challenge.

Our relationship isn't enough. Our lifestyle isn't enough. While single parents are "doing the best they can," and divorced parents are "making it work," people only think to ask one question of unmarried, but committed, parents, "When are you getting married?"

Stop asking me! My happy is not your happy.

I'm not getting married because I got "knocked up," as so many love to say.

A Ring On Your Finger Does Not Make You A Better Parent

Spoiler alert: Our sex-ed teachers had it wrong -- you don't need a ring on your finger to make a happy, healthy baby. Our daughter was brought into this world with a little bit of planning, and a whole lot of love.

My daughter is a smart, sweet, boundary-testing control freak -- like every other toddler I know. My marital status plays no role in her life. We are committed to her, and our relationship, in all the ways that really matter.

What matters to our child is that we continue to provide a stable household, boundaries, freedom, respect, opportunity, and love. What matters is we raise a kind and compassionate daughter.

Not a ring on mom's finger.

Let's Be Clear: Unmarried Does Not Mean Uncommitted

Unmarried doesn't mean uncommitted, and the two are not "wed" to each other. Families today look very different than families of generations past.

An unmarried mom, I'm committed to my relationship, and my family -- unless 11 years, and a child, is still just dating?

We're not anti-marriage, anti-religion, or anti-commitment. What we are is self-employed (there's just not many tax benefits to tying the knot) and not particularly religious.

I want my daughter to dream of her prince (or princess) arriving on a white horse to sweep her off her feet, but I also want her to know she can slay that damn dragon herself.

"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage..." I'm calling quits on this nursery rhyme. It's time for a rewrite.