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.]