There’s this quote I’ve seen “Some days I’m extremely focused on my career development and future goals. Other days I just want to quit & become a housewife”. Who can relate? Well, I did!
When I was young, my mother would always tell me to study and strive hard for my own future. She did not pressure me about my grades even if I was laid back before, but she would always tell me that what I sow is what I will reap. Growing up, I was determined to excel in things I do, not in competition with anybody else but with myself, having in mind that whatever I do, it will come back to me. Especially with Pisay and UP’s competitive and strive-to-survive environment, I got self motivated and driven to achieve my goals. I’ve been conscious to do well and consistently work my way up.
With God’s grace, I have graduated with flying colors, got in a management trainee job right after graduation and passed the Chem. Engr. licensure exam (which I haven’t professionally used). I’ve started to love being in the corporate world – widening my network, my knowledge and real-world experiences. I have been used to having jam-packed schedules, with unending deliverables to do, and of course having that monthly wage as compensation for the job done. For 7 years of being a yuppie, I got used to being financially independent and had the mindset of being on track in my career development and goals. Though there were days that I get really exhausted that I wanted to quit, I never have thought of being a housewife soon especially not before turning 30, and never have I thought it was possible.
However, we could not really map every thing out. December 2015, my husband, Mel (who was my boyfriend since high school), got his work petition for a work project (which we didn’t know the exact duration) in the US. By January 2016, he had to leave already. I was allowed to go with him as a dependent visa holder but that would mean I would have to give up my career. We decided that we try ‘long distance relationship’ first. In our 13 years together, this had been the longest time and farthest distance that we had been apart. The first nights were tough because there was just that ‘empty’ feeling, seeing no things of him in our room. It’s true what the cliché says ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’. I terribly missed him, even the things he does that annoy me. Being in an LDR with different time zones made it more challenging; though we constantly chatted and had video calls, it just seemed not enough. It’s like we’re missing on each other’s daily life. We knew that this situation shouldn’t be long. He didn’t force me to any decision but of course he wanted us to be together. I was a bit frustrated with the idea of me giving up my career, but there’s no such thing as ‘easy’ sacrifice. I just kept in my mind that money can be earned but not time, and Mel said that we don’t need a lot, we actually need just enough and what’s important is that we’re together. So after pondering, I have finally decided to resign from the job I love, leave the Philippines and go there (that was 2 months after he left).
So I went, and for the first time, I got no plans and mindset ahead. I just knew I’m going to be a housewife.
When I got here, part of me was a bit excited because after such long time, this was the first time that I have no work – no morning rush to the office, no meetings, no targets, no problems, conflicts and never-ending deliverables. I had been a couch potato. I enjoyed Netflix, Hulu, HBO, fast speed internet, and slept whenever I wanted to. It was also a time of amazement and adjustment living in a ‘first world’ country.
A month passed, I got a bit bored. With nothing much to do, a lot of thoughts occupied my mind. Many women want to be housewives, but there are few housewives I know that are vocal about it and they said it’s also not that easy. Now, I see that, specially being one in a foreign land. I don’t have my family and closest friends here, or basically the life I got used to, and I expect that going back won’t be easy. Sometimes, I’d worry how my career will be when I get back, specially that I do not have job here.
And then I missed working. There were times I think about my education and career, and wondered if I did the right thing. In the office I don’t get bored, I always have something to do, and there are surprises along the way, whereas my typical routine as a housewife is to do most household chores, do random stuff to keep me busy and then wait for my hubby to come home. Not much of a stress but not much of an excitement too. It’s not that easy specially that I am not fond of household chores. I don’t really like cooking, washing the dishes, doing laundry and grocery. I missed work mails, meals with coworkers, presentations, meetings, travelling for work, staying in a nice hotel and eating meals paid up for me. And then I thought of those career women already up the corporate ladder, how much more they have sacrificed and I wondered if they have ever regretted leaving their jobs. On the other side, I thought, at least they have already accomplished much before leaving the corporate world; but in the end, it’s really a case-to-case basis. I didn’t want to think of it much anymore, and just let it be. There was a time that I would vent out my depression to my husband, and blame him for what I had to give up. I would bring up a fight and sometimes cried myself to sleep, especially at times that my PMS hormones are up. :p Good thing that my husband knows how to balance me, calm me down and make me feel better. He took good care of me. 😉
Third month, I was quite being in the zone already, learning to fully embrace the moment instead of worrying about the future. I’m thankful to have supportive family & friends back in the Philippines whom I can always talk to. Then I have gained Filipino friends here and housewives who are helpful and are making things more fun. We usually have random get-togethers, watch tv show and movies, swim, go to parks, bike, walk or jog around, have picnic, go to Ikea, go to outlet shops and malls, have poker nights. With other misis, we have potluck, spend afternoons in the park or shops, and have lots of story sharing while our husbands are at work. It’s already seldom that I get bored. I also keep myself busy with managing our finances, online or window-shopping, blogging, lettering, reading, doing boards in pinterest, and doing research and itinerary for travel bucket list and ironically, I have lessened browsing and posting to social media. I am also starting to not hate household chores. I’m getting used to it. Good thing that my husband shares some and there’s division of labor. We were able to adjust and find the dynamics – Mel as the man of the house, the fixed earner and I as a supportive housewife, the ‘money-ger’ and variable earner.
When missing my job, I just think of this as a chance for me to learn new things and explore more of my interests that I wasn’t able to spend time with when I was in corporate job, like photography, painting, calligraphy and writing down my thoughts and stories and sharing it through this blog. When worrying strikes, I just keep in mind that jobs are always available out there but time is something we cannot bring back. I think there’s more chance that I’d get another job than I’d have a chance to spend more time and start my own family. Sure we all need money, but success isn’t about having tons of it. It’s about achieving something. It’s more of being “value-adding”, of being significant. It’s also about how you spend your time and build relationships; it’s about finding inner peace and feeling secured. It’s true what they say that it’s different when you’re married already, you seriously share life goals and you got to put your family in priority. They say, most of the time, we regret more the chances we didn’t take, so I’m glad I’ve decided to set aside my career in the meantime and support my husband. Now, I continue to strive how to make significance in this chapter of my life.
There’s always a greener grass somewhere but we shouldn’t forget to look at our own ground and do the needed work. There will always be time when we’ll feel down but we should be thankful of how far we’ve gone. We should make the most out of where we are now, instead of lingering on what ifs. We all have our own pace, our own journeys and battles, and there are a million of opportunities for each of us. No one’s life is perfect. Once we are able to embrace where we are, we’ll be able to appreciate more, move forward and realize that our ground is pretty awesome. No matter where we are, life is just so good because God is good! 🙂