Friday, August 03, 2012

Have it all. Want it all.

I want a cape too.

When God created women, he was probably channeling the sick, twisted sense of humour deep down inside. He's thinking, "Let's see, I'll make them far more superior than men but they'll be too subservient to realise it. Also, let's give her the ability to bear children - we'll need complicated plumbing for this. Ah yes, make her more emotional too so men will always use this as ammo. I'll give her breasts: they'll think this a burden but the smarter ones will know how to use them to their advantage."

"Oh and just for fun, let's make her bleed five days a month and not die. This'll REALLY freak the men out."
Good God.

What a hand to be dealt with. On top of that, we're expected to 'have it all'. From the minute that first pigtail is spun, our future is carved: filial daughter, education, poise, relationships, career, marriage, children, caretaker. What does it even mean to have it all anyway? For a woman in her 30s, coming from a middle to high income bracket with tertiary-level education,  the expectation is pretty obvious - married, preferably financially independent, with a child or two (or three) on your hip. Oh and the whole time, keeping your figure in shape because God forbid you 'let go' after you get married.

First of all, give me a break. Although I'm married, I take offence that this day in age marriage is still an expectation in society. And it's so much harder on women. It's ok for a 35-year old man with male pattern baldness and erectile dysfunction to be single because a)he has a career to focus on, b)he doesn't have to bear children, c)he has other priorities, d)he has to take care of his elderly parents. Bla bla BLAH. But a 30 year old woman with no boyfriend in sight? Alert the UN, we have a crisis on our hands.

Not all of us can be Gwen Stefani: talented, gorgeous, married to a hot rocker, beautiful kids, makes millions and can wear red lipstick even at the gym. But I bet even she would never believe that she has it all (She named her kid Zuma. I think she sorta failed there).So why do we put all this pressure on ourselves? Especially when I feel like I can never win: I got married but I was already 31. I had a good job but it wasn't good enough so I left to start my own business. And now that I work independently from home, some people say it's a waste I'm not 'out there' climbing a corporate ladder. Financially, things have never been better and it makes me want to travel more (because I can afford it) but I should be thinking about having kids. So I waited a while to enjoy myself and now that I want kids, I can't get knocked up as easily as I thought I would (side-note: And here I was, trying NOT to get knocked up throughout my 20s. The irony). It never ends.
I speak to so many women out there in different situations.Stay-at-home mothers who long to have a conversation that doesn't involve purple dinosaurs or an annoying Spanish girl who thinks she's an explorer. And then I know mothers who have full-time jobs who feel guilty for leaving their kids at home 9 hours a day with nannies.Mothers who get to work from home AND spend time with their babies but feel like they have zero social lives. DINKs (double income, no kids) who grit their teeth and smile whenever someone goes, "What, no children? how lonely you must be!" (Dear Moron, they have each other so they're not lonely. Go take a long walk off a plank). Couples who feel they had kids too early and sacrificed their youth. Couples who had kids too late and wish they had them sooner. 

And women like me who are finally ready to have children but are learning to accept that sometimes life takes a detour.

Maybe the question isn't can we have it all. Do we WANT it all? Come to think of it, it would be really tiring and stressful to have perfection in complete balance 24/7. Women need to stop apologizing for wanting (or not wanting) things. Expectations should not be equated with aspirations.

Having it all would be too easy. And I think God made women far too awesome to rest on 'easy'.