Sunday, March 12, 2006

Make Money Or Babies?

During our weekly lunch last week, we started talking about our careers, our college degrees and what we have ended up doing. One of the ladies in our lunch group said she wished someone would have also adviced her on what preparations to take IF she simply gets married straight out of college and not persue a career. We all looked at each other and thought crap, what do we do now with our degrees?

Before I get further into this discussion, I need to reiterate the fact that my lunch group and I are all in a unique situation. We all moved to HK because our hubbies found jobs here. Due to their better earning power then us, we had to give up our jobs. After moving here, a few of us discovered we missed the cut off date which would have allowed us to get a job without a work permit. And to add on the pain, unless you find a job in the end as an English teacher, you need to speak Cantonese to land any other job.

So there we were that afternoon, saying how our degrees made us over qualified in getting part-time jobs. Had we known we wouldn't be using our degrees anyways, most of us would have chosen a different degree like art. We grew up with the whole women empowerment thing. We were told in this day and age, there is nothing a man can do that us women can't. So off we went to college, then to graduate school. Or off we went to get a fulltime job in hopes of climbing that corporate ladder and someday become one of those lady CEO's.

But here's what I'm also thinking. When we were pushed to embrace the corporate world, to discover our "full" potential and to think like a man, were the men introduced into the womans' world as well? If there is nothing a man can do that a woman can't, how about is there anything a woman can do that a man can't?

The easy answer would be childbirth of course, but I want to be realistic. Childbirth aside, what is so degrading about being a fulltime mom or housewife that men are never encouraged to persue? If a husband has to accept the fact that his wife would like to work and not have to watch the kids fulltime or even have kids, should the wife also be able to accept the fact that her husband may not want to work fulltime and watch the kids instead?

And so as I complicate this issue all the more, I want to know what is being done to guide tomorrow's young ladies as they start picking colleges and think of what they want to do now that they're growing up? We've got the career counselors, the job fairs, the women's lib, etc. So how about those that might end up like us?

I actually know some friends of mine look down upon me because I'm a mere housewife and mom. A working mom actually told me she couldn't see herself doing such a low IQ job fulltime. We've been so brainwashed today that its deeply embedded in our mindset that success means a career. Being a fulltime housewife/mom does not count. Ok, I know I'm going to sound like such a hypocrite, but sometimes I do feel moms in Manila should go out and do something. They have the maids, drivers, assistants, family members in close proximity, etc. to totally justify getting off their ass and get a job or start a business.

So for those who will be living in a world similar to mine, it would be nice if they will be given some sort of "warning" in which to prepare for. It would be great if in addition to all those career oriented talks, someone would also give one to say it does not mean you're a failure if you choose to get married, have kids and be a fulltime homemaker. (ever watched Mona Lisa Smile?) And instead of holding sewing or cooking classes, how about seminars that guide you to make the most out of your time at home? What course in college would come in handy if you wanted to start a home business while watching the kids? What personality enhancements would you need the day you meet Super Business woman who thinks you're a looser? What course would you like to take knowing you might simply work part-time after getting married? Aren't all these legitamate issues?

So anyways, I think there are alot of questions here that need answering or debating on. At this moment I'm just glad I have the choice on whether I would like to work or stay home. If you had asked me this question a few years ago, it would have been a resounding "I want to work of course". But as I've grown up even more these past few years, I'm happy with the choices I've made and am proud to be a Super Mom instead.

1 comment:

ragamuffin girl said...

Make Money AND Babies! :)
That said, I'm proud to be a mom, frustrated I can't work, scared I'll enjoy this semi tai-tai life, relieved hubby can provide, resentful of missed opportunities, bitter over failed businesses, hopeful about future ones, happy to have free time to cook, shop, gripe, write blogs and meet up with The Thursday Group.
Being a housewife is tough work. Aside from bouncing back and forth among the plethora of emotions mentioned above, I also have to decide what to do during the week/months/year. Sleep? Eat? Shop? Lunch with friends? Gym? Play with Joaquin? Email? Surf? Read? Watch? Decisions, decisions!