As with many things I have learned since adulthood, there are truly very many things about the big events of a woman’s life no one tells her until she’s face to face with the situation. Here are a few things you might want to keep in mind if you will be tying the knot soon.

1. You will be TIRED. Between all the last minute details to get done and trying to relax,  you won’t  have enough time to scratch your rear. By the time my wedding got to the reception, I was so hungry and tired that I might have opted to go home if it wasn’t my wedding!

2. Everything is more expensive at the mention of the word ‘wedding’. Now we got lucky and my wedding was a gifted free fairytale event, but when I was engaged and shopping around, I found it fascinating that if I didn’t mention wedding I’d get one price, and when I did to the same company, I was looking at JMD$50, 000 – $100, 000 more! How?? And why??

3. In Jamaica, a ‘traditional’ wedding cake is a fruit cake. To my horror, choices like vanilla or red velvet carried a hefty price tag as the wedding cake already does.  It’s also tradition to freeze a piece of your cake for consumption on your first anniversary. I still don’t know how I feel about that!

4. Heels are NOT practical for the entire shindig. Get you a pair of cute flats! It’s at least half a day of standing and walking. I love my heels as much as the next girl, but people really should offer a heads up on this!

5. That wedding dress is HEAVY! When you are choosing the dress you will hardly notice this, focusing on that beautiful texture and to die for fit and flair. That’s because you will only wear it for a few minutes each time before the actual day. When you start to clock in at 4 or 5 hours, you will notice!

6. The great wedding night is overrated and may or may not to occur. Did I mention how TIRED you will be?? You will likely need to be very committed and focused to get it done! I didn’t realize this until I was alone with my husband for the first time and thinking about the all sorts of hot he looked in his suit!

7.  You will not see everyone who came to support you and celebrate with you. Between all the other monumental happenings around you, it’s unlikely you will have the opportunity to give everyone your attention.

8. Cocktail hour is NOT for you. Between simply having someone shove a glass of champagne in my hand and being redirected for photos before I could grab an hors d’oeuvre, and people trying to congratulate me, I pretty much chugged. Yes, I chugged!

9.Your face will hurt from all the smiling. Of course you are naturally happy and in a good mood, but you will have a camera shoved in your face from every direction at all times for hours on end and since you do want to look like you feel when looking back, you smile. And your face goes numb by the end of it all.

10. It will be over much too quickly. While it goes on, you will feel the length of the event. However, on your wedding night or the next day, you will realize just how much you did for one day, and how swiftly it all became a memory! I would get married every year if I could. It was an exciting time!

Sounds like quite the oxymoron, does it not? Perhaps, but it describes the woman who doesn’t want to be boxed in. (At least in my head that’s what it describes). The woman who doesn’t want to spend her life in the traditional role of being barefoot and pregnant. The woman who doesn’t wanted to be weighted by blind feminism requiring the discarding of anything that includes the role of being a domestic, nurturing woman. The woman who wants to be married, have a career and no children. The woman who wants to be a married stay at home mother. The woman who wants to be a single mother with a career. The woman who wants the career only. Whatever happened to the freedom women have fought so hard for? The freedom to do one or the other, all of it or none at all? Why are women still bring plastered with labels in 2016?

“I am deathly afraid of putting off certain aspects of my life. I understand that the nowadays women are expected to do it all, get married, have children, work extensively ridiculous hours to have a meaningful career. BUT I will not simply have my child an turn him/her over to nannys/grandparents to raise while I chase my career. If you are ambitious, at what point is it okay to take a break to seek the rewards of family life? You can’t when your career has just started because you have something to prove, you can’t a little later because you are up for a promotion, by the time you know it you’re up for another, then u can’t break because you want buy house, further your studies, etc.

For this reason, I think young mothers may be the luckier bunch. I mean, whatever you do it will be rough, but often, if you care for a career and not just a “job” it may be difficult to acquire. It is often said we can’t have it all but, I don’t plan on making that my truth. I am a mix of the traditional and modern woman, so none is more important than the other for me, sorry.”

The above demonstrates feelings I had posted on my Facebook page exactly two years ago less than 6 weeks shy of my twenty-fifth birthday. I feel exactly the same way now. When is the right time to start a family for the woman who wants to do things with her life outside of having a family but wants having a family just as much? I think now. I think never. There will always be one more achievement that can be had first. One more goal that would make life perfect  before starting a family. So where does it leave you when you fear  having one aspect exactly the way you want it you must sacrifice at least some part of the other. You must get to a place where you are okay to jump in. Get pregnant. Get enrolled in school. Get a career  started in the field you want. Go someplace you haven’t been for your next vacation. Chase your all. There will be unexpected bumps and distractions. That is what life’s journey offers as a given. But if you want it, chase it.

In my opinion, you can have it all, whatever “all” means to you. I want to do business. I want to own a few businesses. I want to have a child/children. I want to be emotionally, physically and mentally present for my children.  I want to travel with my family. I want to have a graduate degree by the time I am 30. I want to be a mother by the time I am 30. I want to be married before I have children. This is my all.

For some women, all doesn’t include children. For some women, a career isn’t included in their all. For some women, simply travelling is their all. For some women, stability isn’t a part of their all at all. Who is anyone else to perpetuate an idealistic version of what a woman’s all should be?

Food for thought.