On Love.

Yes. Love.

You know, that feeling? I am about to get personal and it’s all Betsy‘s fault. Ok. Fine. It’s not really her fault, she just Tweeted a piece by Tara Hunt and suddenly I felt compelled (empowered?) to write something too. Since that sudden burst of motivation, I’ve been staring at a blank page for about three days.

You see, I am more nerdy than girlie — check out my tag cloud: Star Wars, LEGO, awesome, LOL, FAIL, and Social Networking…? Uhhhh ok. Fine. That is another excuse. Thing is, I am a scatterbrain — or more accurately, a nutjob. (don’t worry, I am ok with my nutjob self.) I am even more all over the place when it comes to this emotional stuff. My thoughts are rarely in order to properly articulate my feelings — emotions, sap, whatever — so I rarely feel comfortable enough to write about it. But Ms. Hunt shared many personal thoughts I too, thought hey, what the hell. So after three days to muster the courage and another three to organize my thoughts, I decided to finally document my two cents on love.


[Sidenote: this is not just about love / relationships in general. I am talking about love, as in marriage, children, family.]

A little background, from the article:

According to research by the Boston Consulting Group, the majority of married household responsibilities fall on the shoulders of working women (and a larger percentage for those with kids.)

[...]

And a special issue of TIME Magazine on the State of the American Woman in October of 2009 uncovered research that showed that even though 40% of women are the primary breadwinner in the household, they are also the primary caregivers in the household.

Thus Ms. Hunt believes the ultimate sacrifice has to be made to choose love for greatness…and I agree.

Maybe it is my culture, upbringing, personal experiences or a combination of the three, I agree a woman needs to make the ultimate sacrifice and choose between work or love. And by love, I mean marriage and family.

Take my mother who attempted all. She was a horrible wife, mother, housewife and a mediocre or below average business woman. I feel terrible saying these things (she died a few years back) but even she acknowledged how she tried to be too many things at once and failed. Miserably. Too bad I found out how she really felt after reading her journals after her death. Quick background: my mother married my father for all of the wrong reasons ($$$ and stature) and had my brother and I. She never admitted it, but I think she bore children because that is the normal thing that comes after marriage — kids. Anyway, she was miserable most of her adult life — making everyone around her even more miserable.

Don’t get me wrong, my mother was a phenomenal individual. Extremely sharp, creative but methodical, and organized. I — along with many — admired her. She was a born entrepreneur. After my father and she (finally) divorced, she left my brother and I with our dad, went off to do her own thing and succeeded career wise. She was so successful she retired early. After she attained what she thought was success, she spent the days up until her death regretting almost all of the choices she made. Then beat herself up every day for not being a better mother. Then she got ill and with her illness, she learned what happiness meant to her. (The latter I am not going to share, but she wrote it in her journal.) Then, she died.

(don’t be sad btw)

Now my aunt — my mom’s older sister — lived a conventional life. She got married, had kids, and is a housewife. She is the best cook ever (the reason my palate is so refined) and the rock of her family. She has always been like my second mom — themom I wish I had. She taught me how to sew, how to cook, how to clean… Granted, I am horrible at sewing and I hate cleaning (especially toilets) but I am grateful to have someone properly teach me. It all sounds old fashioned, but these are skills no one else but my aunt could’ve taught me, or more like I’d be willing to learn from.

My uncle (my aunt’s husband) found his niche in fashion in Tokyo. He does a lot of business with Europe, has columns in major men’s fashion magazines — I am so proud to be related to him — and attributes all of his success to my aunt. Mind you, they’ve had their ups and downs, but through it all, he is so grateful to my aunt and shouts on top of his lungs she is the reason him and their family are where they are today.

So I have seen both sides — extreme cases, perhaps — but both sides. A woman who tried to be great at everything and a woman who was great at one thing. As my friends are all getting married and having kids, they too, tell me it is love or greatness. So along with Ms. Hunt and the many women amongst history like Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale, Susan B. Anthony, Jackie O., and the greats of our current times such as Oprah and even Hilary Clinton who is married but held back until recently, I too, agree it is love or greatness.

Greatness means my actions, words, and decisions impacts myself as well as many many others. There is so much responsibility in being…great. And until I attain a certain milestone career wise, I choose to hold off on becoming the greatest wife and mother, which in my humble opinion, may be the hardest job in the world. So when my peers, friends, and family ask why am I still single? I shrug my shoulders since all of this I wrote out is way too much effort to explain.

Unless someone can prove me differently.

[edit: Betsy joined the discussion and her post is a MUST read. Go. Now. Click.]

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10 comments

  1. Ady

    Thanks for sharing. but why Love? Those are two different things (the other being marriage), not necessarily related (chronologically). Anyway, I’m too young and inexperienced to comment on these matters. All the best!

  2. Rob Diana

    Mona,

    My wife had given up her initial career aspirations when we had kids. Thankfully, she realized she was trying to attain what others thought was a good career for her. We both found that we are happier doing what we want to do for our career/housing/family, and we realized we were both trying to live up to someone else’s definition of success and happiness. Live the way you want to live, and find success and happiness where you think it is.

    You “still” being single is humorous as well. You are still in your 20s right? My brother-in-law just got married at 35. His wife is 37. Both could have gotten married to the wrong person in their late 20s. In this age, old traditions just do not apply.

    • Mona Nomura

      Rob, thank you so much for sharing your story. I, too, am eternally grateful to my mother and my aunt for teaching me lessons I didn’t have to learn on my own… Good for you and your wife for realizing things before they were too late. :)

      Actually, I am in my 30s!! I just had a birthday! haha

  3. Tara 'missrogue' Hunt

    Thanks for weighing in and for such a well thought-out and personal recollection of the issue. Being a single mom, I know my son suffers when I focus on growing my career and my crazy quest to change the world. When I focus on my son, I lose out on opportunities. I know few men that have the same conundrums (although the number is growing today with more fathers taking a bigger role).

    Your story is exactly what I’m trying to illustrate…and trying not to end up like your mom and regretting my choices. That remains to be seen. :?

    • Mona Nomura

      One of the biggest challenges and a personal issue I’ve had to overcome, is separating personal from career. While at work, I can be many roles and wear many hats, mother, wife, and a career woman are three such huge roles, realistically, I am not sure I can balance them all at the expectation I hold for myself.

      Thank you for words and for your comment, as well as opening the door for discussion. I would’ve never written this out had it not been for your piece. :) Good luck to you and you should be proud being self aware. Many people (like my mother) do not know themselves which could be the greatest hinderance to this thing called success.

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  6. Dan

    Probably the most important thing I have read this week. Thanks for sharing mona – this entry I appreciate. It sounds a lot like my family.

  7. S!ick

    I hope all learn from the “mistakes” of others (including me).

    So far, I have three failed marriages:

    The first I entered because it seemed like a good idea. She was in the Air Force and would make a career out of it, I was the house-husband…and throughout my life my mother would make “jokes” about kicking me out when I became 18, so this situation seemed like a good business decision.

    The second marriage was because I was in love with her, and for years knew it wouldn’t work…but felt the need to prove it to the both of us. I did…we lasted only a year.

    My career, and personal activities, were more important to me than the third marriage. I learned the hard way that, when you marry, the marriage must come before all. (That marriage was the one that, if any were going to work, SHOULD have. My bad…)

    I don’t remember ever wanting kids…I tolerated their mothers having them. (My being a “hit and run” may have something to do with this…I’ve never met my father.)

    I’m an entertainer and performer first, so…until I am willing to be a husband/father over that…I, and some others of my professional peers, have found that we may never be good candidates for marriage.

    (ramble /off)

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