My mother tells me the story of her friend, who was so proud of her daughter.
“Tess was so proud that her daughter graduated magna cum laude in a prestigious school in the Philippines,” she said. “She never had a problem with the kid. She always had good grades, and didn’t get into trouble. To top it off, she was very bright and never had any problems in school!”
“And then what happened?” I asked.
“When the daughter graduated, she was dead set in getting a scholarship to study abroad. The mother thought she could work in ADB (Asian Development Bank) or something international institution.”
“Well, five years later, I saw the mother again,” my mom said. “I asked her what happened to the daughter she was most proud of.”
“What did she say?”
“She said, ‘Aiya, woe is me. My daughter got married to her college sweetheart and had three kids, one after another,'” my mom related. “‘So despite my dreams of having her have a good career, she is now a stay-at-home mom, taking care of her three kids and taking care of the home while the man pursues her dreams.'”
No, it’s not easy being a girl.
Ever since we were young, women were taught to be docile.
To be submissive.
To follow the rules.
While men were allowed to run around, take risks, and make mistakes, women were encouraged to stay behind the sidelines, to keep quiet, and to sacrifice for the better good of everyone. This Youtube video embodies the ridiculousness of the girls stereotype as if we were truly the lesser sex.
But the pressure is there.
It is real.
From a young age, most women are taught that they need a man to feel complete.
“How many women dream of getting married as their ultimate goal in life?” my husband says. “Everyone!”
“I never dreamed of getting married…” I protested.
“Well you’re different,” hubby replies.
It is true though.
In my Bible group sessions with single ladies before, the topics were common. We wished to get along with our colleagues, felt pressure in following our parents, and hoped to find a man and get married. All the time, it seemed that we relinquished control to somebody else, be it to our colleagues, our parents or a guy.
When will there come a point that we can independently live our lives simply for us?
My half-brother married his college sweetheart a little bit after college.
Soon after that, she gave up her job and followed him to Taiwan and then to New York, as he climbed up the corporate ladder, becoming one of the more powerful officers in his bank.
He didn’t want children, and because she loved him, she gave up that dream.
He also didn’t want her to work, and because she believed he can count on him, she gave up her career and became a full-fledged housewife.
“For years, I used to drive him to New York every morning for work,” she tearfully told me. “Then in the evening, I will pick him up and we’ll go home together in our house in New Jersey.”
“You did that everyday?!” I exclaimed.
“Yes, I gave up my life for him. I gave up kids for him. I gave up my dreams for him.”
I looked at her pitifully.
After decades of loyal devotion, my half-brother was assigned back to the Philippines to head their call centers in Manila. He didn’t bring home his wife. Instead, he left her there.
I know for a fact he’s also been having an affair.
It is common knowledge.
And my half-brother doesn’t care.
“After being unemployed for the last 20+ years, how the hell am I going to find a way to be independent of him?” my half sister-in-law asked. “What else can I do? Who will hire me?”
I looked at her sadly.
Not only did she lost her career and her life, she also lost her confidence and self-esteem.
Even though she knew her husband was screwing her behind her back, she couldn’t do anything.
She couldn’t leave him.
She had no money for divorce, and she had no money to turn to.
It’s sad, and all that is left is a pity party.
That is why, I always urge women to still have something left for herself.
My mother, despite her submissiveness, ensured my father was thoroughly dependent on her. She did all his books, managed his business, but smartly made him feel he called all the shots.
In my own marriage, I am lucky that my husband never called me to stop working. In fact, he preferred it.
“In Picket Fences, there was a story of a sheriff and a town doctor,” my husband related. “The town doctor, who is female, had an affair with her medical colleague because their marriage became boring. She didn’t find him exciting any more. Reason being, she couldn’t share with him her latest medical findings, and she lost respect for him.”
Guys are funny.
When you’re married, they want you to dress conservatively and stop wearing makeup.
When they are already the breadwinner, they want you to stop working and focus on them and the kids.
But if you do it long enough, they start losing respect for you.
Their eyes start to wonder as you talk about the stressful moments of home, of the time you had to tutor your children or when you have starting having problems with the maid.
All the while you’re talking about your daily stresses, their minds wander. Either they’re twiddling on their phone, or they’re thinking about work.
You are not their equal.
Instead, over time, you’ve become their maid.
And yes, they start believing that they’re better than you.
That is the beginning of the end.
So ladies, before you give up your job, think carefully what else are you giving up.
Motherhood is noble, and to be a housewife is an amazing sacrifice.
Just make sure it doesn’t bite you in the butt.
Have a good evening everyone!