While I draw much inspiration from my fellow fabulous Single women, there is much we can learn from our married female friends (and vice versa).  For those of us that have never been married, we probably have this idea of what married should be and will be like for us. That is often mostly based on what we saw from our parents, which can be good or bad, regardless if your parents’ marriage was/is good or bad.  However we shape that idea, it is often a fanciful version of what marriage will truly be like.

So I love getting a dose of reality from married women, especially those who have been in it for a long time. Even if they have a  good marriage,  they are way past the honeymoon and have been through enough stuff to lay down some good, no holds barred wisdom.

I was delighted to hear from one such woman at a recent ladies luncheon in New York City. Jennifer Jones Austin was one of a few women who stood up to address the audience about the importance of the arts. Austin is quite the woman. She is co-chairing the transition team for the city’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio. In addition, she is  the CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, overseeing agencies that aid the less fortunate. Personally, she is a married mother of two and a cancer survivor.

Jones Austin captivated the room when she spoke about the arts, but it was her closing advice that spoke to me, because she touched on what S&LF is all about… Be True to You.  Love You.  Nurture You. Know You. It is the key to happiness for Single and married women alike. Here is the advice Jones Austin shared, which she says she got from her mother:

“Watching my mother excel in her chosen career, I also learned the importance of pursuing your passion and holding steadfast to your dreams, not the dreams that others have for you, but YOUR dreams.

There were three messages Mom repeated over and over, messages that I thought were just about relationships but which I have come to realize inform every aspect of my life.

In the words of Natalie Jones:
1) Get your degrees before you get married.  
Translation: Commit to your goals and dreams, and prepare yourself to achieve them so that life-altering events like falling in love won’t preempt them;
2) Have as many children as you want because at the end of the day, they’re yours to raise.
Translation: Don’t take on more than you choose to, or allow someone to put on you what you don’t aspire to because if you do, you won’t be able to live as you desire;
And 3) Keep yourself looking good because you never know.
I’ll let you interpret that one.