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Unmarried with Children -- So What?!

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Nicole Richie and Joel Madden waited until baby number two came along to make things official.  It got our office wondering: Is there still a stigma on people who have kids unmarried?

couple with child

Momlogic's Talitha: Just the other day while filling out paperwork at a prospective daycare, the admissions office gave us a 'less than pleasant' look when we gave them two separate last names for my daughter and I. Smirking, they asked "when are you planning to get married?" Even though we have every intention of getting married, it is none of their business, and should certainly not be an issue when determining whether our baby gets into the program. This lady clearly had an issue with the fact that we weren't married. Many others do too. Every time I speak with my mother she laughingly asks me "So, do you have a date yet?" It's so annoying.

The fact is, does it really matter? If there are two parents that love their kids, they love each other and they're happy, who cares if they are married or not, especially considering the rate of divorce in this country. I'd even go as far to say that maybe it's better the parents DON'T get married! If my boyfriend, or girlfriend, or fiance, or whoever happens to be the parent of my child and I are happy, if we love our baby unconditionally and we are good parents, what is a piece of paper going to do but complicate things? I am not knocking those who are married and, in fact, I'm sure at some point my guy and I will tie the knot too, but what's the big deal if people decide not to marry?

When the daycare lady asked us if we were planning on getting married I told her we are already married, the three of us. And that is what we are. We are a family, we are committed, we are one.

We didn't want to go to that daycare anyway...

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14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Michelle February 16, 2010, 5:44 PM

That was a dumb and inappropriate comment made by the daycare lady. It was dumb ebcause there are many women these days who decide to keep their own last name after marrying. Its inappropriate becuase its none of their business whether you are married or not.

Stephanie February 16, 2010, 7:05 PM

That day care lady was rude. It’s none of her business if/when you’re ever getting married and it’s not relevant. I’m glad you’re not giving her your money!

Anonymous February 17, 2010, 5:02 AM

In the northeast there is definitely stigma to not being married but having kids together. Right or wrong, it is the way it is. Personally, I just do not understand people who say “OH we’ll have a baby together but we’re not ready for marriage, not ready for that type of commitment”. These people CLEARLY have no idea of the commitment it takes to raise a child then. I’m serious - a person can make a child with someone but not want to commit to marrying them? There is ZERO logic to that. It’s pretty sad.

T February 17, 2010, 7:15 AM

Anonymous—My daughter is three, and I’ve been with her dad for 5 years. We will get married eventually, but right now I’m not ready. I think its stupid to get married just BECAUSE you have a kid. People I know who have done that are miserable. And I don’t think it makes us any less of a family, or any different, except for the fact that we seem to fight a lot less than married couples. But people like you and the daycare lady put a stigma on for no reason.

Amaryllis February 17, 2010, 9:18 AM

In this day and age two different last names doesn’t mean you’re NOT married. I was married for 27 years before being widowed 6 years ago. It was unusual that I kept my maiden name, but hardly a blip on the radar screen in this day and age.

Clearly, it’s none of anyone’s business whether the parents of a child are married or not, but I wonder why this was even a question. Two different last names are common even in married couples.

naila February 17, 2010, 11:04 AM

couldn’t agree more…amazing what people feel they have the right to say to you because you are not married with a child..

lisa February 17, 2010, 11:23 AM

people in europe are together a lot longer and are unmarried with kids. We are so narrowminded in this countryto think it would help. HHA it’s laughable. Hey let’s get married we are havng a baby—yeah, that will last. Not.

Anonymous February 17, 2010, 11:28 AM

I’m not married and have a child with my significant other and we couldn’t be happier. To me a contract between me, him, and the state does nothing for me. I don’t need it to be committed or to love him or to stay together. Also, personally I think it keeps us more attracted to each other than if we were married. There is the attraction that ‘we aren’t forced to work it out becauase were married’ instead it’s more we work it out because we care about each other.

Lissa February 17, 2010, 1:07 PM

I had two children and was not married. I was 18 and didn’t know anything. Now married, I realize how important of a role two parents plays in a childs life. And it is not fair to your son/daughter to not have a dad because of poor judgment. I am not married to the father of my 2 children. If I could change anything, I would have waited until I was in a sound and married relationship. Because the only one that paid the price where my children.

terri February 18, 2010, 8:10 AM

It was unfair for the lady to make a judgement on the fact that you are not married. But the comment about marriage complicating things… I don’t agree. Marriage is a commitment to one another before God. It is special, sacred and should not be looked at as a burden. It’s what you make it. So instead of having an attack on marriage as a whole, I think if you decide it’s not best to be married at the point where children have entered the picture, just say that.

Anonymous February 18, 2010, 10:21 AM

I think it’s completely idiotic to say “We’re committed to our children but not ready to ‘complicate’ things by committing to one another/it’s just a piece of paper”. I feel bad for the kids because these parents obviously have a foggy at best notion of what committment and marriage truly mean. If you cannot committ to a marriage what on earth makes you think you can even possibly fathom committing to a child?

Kristyn March 4, 2010, 6:16 PM

Oh I could go on forever about this topic forever…Let me say first, I am an unmarried mother of 2 children. I met their father back in 2001, and moved 800 miles away in 2005 to be with him. We planned on having a family someday and after 4 years of waiting to be together, we did just that. Fast forward to 2010, & we’re happy, and just as (if not more than some) committed to one another, not just for our kids, but our family as a whole. We are engaged, and have been for a few years and plan to get married on our terms, when we feel it’s time, and we can get everyone together from 2 states. We’re in no rush and I feel no less of a woman for not legally being his wife. In fact I see all too often people my age (I am 26, he is 31) getting married simply because they accidentally got pregnant, or because of pressure from others that feel they “should be married if they have a child with someone”. Well that is not the way to go in my opinion. How some people can get married at the drop of a hat to people they’ve only known a year or two, just because they got pregnant or because they let people’s unwanted judgments get the best of them, is beyond me. Do it for yourself, and because you truly love that person. No one else is in that relationship but you so don’t worry about what others think. I do NOT believe married couple can raise children any better than unmarried couples. It all depends on the person and/ or couple, not marital status. I am happy being an unmarried mom for now and wouldn’t feel any less happy if I stay engaged forever. As long as our children are loved and we’re in this together, that is all I am concerned about. Not people’s judgmental opinions and religious reasons. It’s worse for children to have 2 unhappy married parents, than two unmarried parents that are happy & in a stable relationship. And this is my opinion on this subject :-)

Suzanne June 9, 2010, 3:34 AM

I am blissfully unmarried to the father of my children. We love each other and are committed to each other and were lucky enough to be able to have children together. I have seen women get married just because they want to be a princess for a day. And sometimes they make it with their partner and sometimes they don’t. Commitment is not in a piece of paper, but commitment is in what you do for your family every day. I am not against marriage, I know that this matters to many women, and I am happy for them, but do not doubt how committed someone is just because they never put on a white dress. You have no right to judge me or people like me. What hurts me most is that one of you implied that unmarried women cannot be good mothers. How dare you say that? At least my children won’t grow up with a narrow-minded mother.

Ellie February 15, 2011, 12:13 PM

I’ve been with the father of my children for 7 years, and we have a 3 year old as well as a newborn and just bought our first home last year. I am more in love and happier than I’ve ever been before in my life. Would a peice of paper change anything? Nope. Marriage doesn’t mean ANYTHING! It is simply a peice of paper.

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