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Monday, August 01, 2011

Should you go forth and multiply? Methinks only if you're ready.

I take a break from all the bag promoting (shop here!) to talk about a serious matter: marriage and babies.

On my mommy blog, I wrote a post about the new power I feel now as a mother, and it's resonated with a lot of women, both mothers and single ladies. But I got a bit alarmed when I started getting emails from girls saying that because of my blog post, they've decided to get married and/or have babies because they feel so powerless and empty.

Kids, don't do it. I love being married and I love being a mom but it's not a joke taking care of people. It's a job that needs all the love you can give, every day of your life for as long as you live (thanks, Sound of Music!). If you're empty and aimless now, what can you possibly give to other people, especially children who need to be nurtured and guided 24/7?

Go out, have fun, make friends, make love (just don't get sick or pregnant!), try different jobs, live for yourself! Find the meaning of life, your purpose. Find God. Find yourself. Your teens and twenties are designed to be wild and free and kinda weird. Live it. Live for yourself because sooner than you think, your life will be about others and you don't want to feel like you missed out.

I think there's nothing wrong with being selfish. Especially when you're young and have no responsibilities. I think selfishness is a good thing for young people. It allows you to find yourself, to do what you want, to live the way you want and pursue happiness without feeling the burden of guilt and responsibility.

Imagine, for example, wanting to be a musician and being very talented, too, but your parents tell you to be a computer programmer so that you'll have job security and help the family out financially. (This thinking should stop. I am never going to ask my child to help us out. Parents, stop treating your kids like money-making machines. Be responsible for your own future!) So you give up your dreams, your purpose, your life so that you can help other people. It's very noble but it sounds like a path to despair.

My mother wanted me to work for Meralco, where she worked all her life. Meralco has (or had?) great benefits for their employees--a really amazing compensation package. Naturally, when I decided at 8 years old that I wanted to be a writer, she became upset. My father wanted me to be a statistician and work in an insurance company. Again, job security. Writing as a career was just preposterous and they both did their best to discourage me. I fought back. I obeyed them for most everything except my career choice (and my boyfriend choice, although for the latter, maybe I really oughta have taken their advice!).

Anyway, I once overheard my mother talking to her friend. "What's your daughter taking in college?" Mama shrugged, "Creative Writing. I don't know what it is and what will happen to her. But it's okay, I guess, since she's a girl and she'll just marry someone and be a housewife. I'm very disappointed really."

I confronted Mama about that and she insisted that if I cared about the family, I'd take up something more reasonable. I still didn't. I cared about my family, sure, but I also cared about me! My parents said writing will never be financially rewarding, that I'll starve. I didn't care. I decided that if I'm going to have a hard life, I might as well do something I love. I was young and selfish. This is what I want and no one is going to stop me. Years later, I turned out to be the one who helped (and is still helping) the family financially. I've made a career of surpassing low expectations.

What I'm saying, dear young ladies, is if you're empty and confused now, a man or a baby won't make you feel better. As Princess Diana said, "People think that at the end of the day, a man is the only answer. Actually, a fulfilling job is better for me." True! Find your purpose and do it well--whether it's a job or promoting a good cause or cooking or whatever. You need to have a life before you have marriage and kids. Don't commit to anything as serious as marriage and children unless you're ready to give up yourself. And love demands complete surrender. I still have a hard time doing that actually!

Now go and push away all thoughts of weddings and babies from your heads. Fill your hearts instead with love and friendship and fun! Have a good life!

19 comments:

  1. You're right about your posts resonating with a lot of people. I can relate to a lot of things you said. Thank you for the wonderful post!

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  2. So true! I remember wishing I would be married by 24. Soooo glad that didn't happen. Instead I spent my twenties proving to myself that I could be successful and financially independent in my own right. Now that I'm a SAHM, I can say I don't have any regrets. And if the day comes when I need to step up and support our family, I know I could.

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  3. Hihi, I also want to be able to give all my love to a loving family but for now it's all about me and making myself the best version of me. Love this post (as always!), F! And welcome back! Can't wait for your Bali stories!

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  4. thank you for this very inspiring post, this sure would be a lot of help making women out there realize the importance of being ready when they really decide to settle down and have kids and to really just enjoy their young lives without pressuring themselves too much

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  5. amen frances! amen! if there is one thing that i'm forever grateful for is that my mom kept on reminding me to live my life and not settle down just yet. when i was growing up i was so frustrated with her for telling me to wait until i get into a relationship. she kept on upping the years. first, it was after highschool, then college, then when i'm working. i just now realized that she was saying this so that i can live my life and discover myself before getting married and settling down. now that i have a family of my own, i can see where she was coming from.

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  6. Climb every mountain...thanks for quoting from the Sound of Music, one of my favorite movies of all time :)
    I have to say, I do wish I could've done some things differently, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that I have a lot of regrets in life. Am I contradicting myself? Maybe :)
    I guess it's true what the Desiderata says... that the universe is unfolding as it should.
    I'm glad I visited your blog. A lot of interesting reads here. I will be here often, you can count on that :)

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  7. i can relate...i am a bs stat grad who works in an insurance company...however, instead of being an actuary, i made a detour working for the ad industry ... instead of being a number cruncher i honed my creative side in marketing financial services ... if i had gone to the path of an actuary or an IT professional, i would be earning oodles more money but i know i wouldnt be as happy or contented with what i am doing...

    i married at 29, old enough to fully enjoy my youth, my resources and my time while also providing substantial support to my parents and siblings...since i feel happy i can also impart happiness to my son and not project my frustrated dreams on him

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  8. Very well said, Ms. Frances, Incidentally, I'm having the same issues right now. I quit being in an 8-5 corporate job almost four months ago and am now a freelance writer, something I've been dreaming of doing since I was in third grade. My mom (a government employee for the last 20+ years) tells me again (and again!) to pursue a career with the government, for its so-called "stability". Gets on my nerves sometimes. And after one year of being married, everyone's been more excited than us to see our babies. I wrote about it in my blog too (http://eaturbanana.blogspot.com/2011/07/10-not-so-right-but-not-entirely-wrong.html)

    More power to you and your family. God bless you. =)

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  9. Pooh, I love this post, Miss Frances! I'm so jealous! You got to do Creative Writing in college! (I mean, I love being a doctor, but I still wonder what would have happened to me if I ended up doing that. Oh, but I loved this post... Thank you. Very well said.

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  10. Great post Frances. I wasn't as brave as you. I followed what my parents wanted me to take back in college. However, as soon as I gave them my diploma that was the end of it. I still pursued the work I wanted to take. So even if I am a licensed PT, I am now working and have taken masters in finance. So I guess I am halfway there. I promised myself I will let my son be. I will welcome with open arms his crazy ideas someday. I completely agree with everything you said in the post. =)

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  11. Getting married and having kids/adoption are the biggest decision a woman will have in her lifetime; so don't rush ladies because FYI: There's no turning back!

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  12. OH. SO. TRUE! Nicely written, Frances! <3

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  13. I agree. I didn't plan my pregnancy and would've done things differently, if given the chance. Read my blogpost: http://wonderwomanrises.blogspot.com/2011/08/truth-about-unplanned-motherhood.html

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  14. I hear ya when you said that people should totally stop treating their kids as money machines. It is a selfish and twisted way of putting unwanted pressure on a child. It is counter-productive, and it makes no guarantee that the child will actually support the entire family when the day comes. I was raised hearing things like "get a good job, tapos ikaw naman magpaaral sa mga kapatid mo para makapahinga na papa mo." in an obligatory tone like i had no choice. It felt like i was being conned by my very own mother. But I've no more ill feelings. :)

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  15. Thanks for sharing Frances. very well said!:)

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  16. Well said. As I say to my single friends, it's the best time to know yourself so you can be prepared for whatever life brings you.

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  17. WOW. So many reactions and stories. Thanks for sharing your own experiences and thoughts!

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  18. Thumbs up for this Frances. I was 18 when I had my first child. With my boyfriend forcing me to have the kid aborted, keeping her is the biggest decision I had. And I was 18. I gave up my dreams of becoming a graphic artist and just took a course my parents wanted to give my child a better future, because it ends up that me and her father doesnt really love each other. It wasn't easy and there are times I would look back and ask my what ifs. But I manage to go on with my life. A couple of months after I graduated, I got pregnant again by my boyfriend (now husband)then after learning how to love my culinary journey, I was forced to be a housewife. I'm only 23. I havent had the chance to earn money for myself but my kids need me more. But I guess motherhood made me a better person, maybe because it was for me. Marriage isnt always about love and happiness no? It's really hard. So i hope kids or single women would embrace their freedom at the moment. :)

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