Why Don't Single, Childless Women Get To Celebrate Themselves?

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group of friends with hands in the air

By Allison Arnone

The mail comes. It’s a pretty envelope adorned with fancy calligraphy on the front with my name and address; obviously another invitation for something. I get a lot of those these days.

Engagement parties. Showers (bridal AND baby!). Bachelorette parties. Weddings. Christenings. First birthday parties. 

When your friends get married and have children, those invitations never stop arriving. I started getting them in my mid-20s and now, at 33, I’m still getting them.

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Now, if I consider you a friend or if I call you family, I take that very seriously. You mean the world to me, and therefore anything good that happens to you makes me extremely happy.

I’ve been there to celebrate so many amazing moments in my friends’ lives and have been so thrilled to be a part of these special days. I’ve spent a lot of time, money (God, so much money), and effort to travel for these events; to go to a baby shower in another state and then come back that same day, to schlep to Miami for a bachelorette party, to buy that $400 bridesmaid dress I’ll only wear once.

And I mean it when I say that I’m happy to. I really am.

But every time I attend another one of these events, write another check, or buy another gift, I’m reminded of how often I find myself celebrating someone or something else. I’m constantly watching beautiful brides or glowing mothers-to-be accept love and attention and I’m elated to see them at their absolute happiest. 

But what happens if you’re single (unmarried) and childless? When do you get to celebrate you? I won’t lie; it often feels like you lose out on that privilege. 

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There’s an episode of Sex and the City (I’m a believer that all life scenarios can be referenced by this amazing show) called ‘A Woman’s Right to Shoes.’ In it, Carrie attends a baby shower for a friend named Kyra and is instructed to leave her fabulous Manolo Blahniks at the door. T

hey end up getting stolen and when Carrie approaches Kyra about it, she’s met with a condescending and judgmental reaction about her life as a single woman and her decision to spend that much money on designer footwear ($485, to be exact). As a result, instead of paying the full amount for the stolen shoes, Kyra offers half. 

Carrie, embarrassed and infuriated by the exchange, vents to her gal pal Charlotte afterward:

“I did a little mental addition. Over the years, I have bought Kyra an engagement gift, a wedding gift, and then there was the trip to Maine for the wedding and three baby gifts. In total, I have spent over $23,000 dollars celebrating her choices. And she is shaming me for spending a lousy 485 bucks on myself?”

Charlotte explains that those were gifts, and if Carrie ever got married or had a baby, she’d get them too.

…But what if you DON’T ever do those things? 

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I remember watching this episode in college and thinking Carrie was a brat; cringing during these scenes — especially the one at the end when she “registers” for the Manolos and asks the married friend who once judged her to buy them for her (and she does). Ha!

But now? As a woman in her early 30s living that same life, I get it. As Carrie laments in the episode, “If you are single, after graduation, there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you.” That statement often feels alarmingly true and no, it doesn’t feel great.

I have amazing people in my life — friends, family, and coworkers — and I never doubt their unwavering support for me. And whenever I’ve had any kind of accomplishment — for example, my writing getting published somewhere or a promotion at my job — I definitely feel the celebratory love.  

So I guess those are the moments we single and childfree ladies need to focus on. We may not have the shower the wedding or the adorable birthday party for our kid(s). But that doesn’t mean we’re not worthy of being celebrated. 

There are plenty of triumphs and achievements to be proud of; even if they don’t involve getting money, gifts, or parties. 

But hey, if anyone wants to buy me a pair of Manolos just because? I’ll gladly accept.

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Allison Arnone is a freelance writer and blogger, and a contributor to the Huffington Post.