I promise to compromise

When I ended my career last November, it was after the culmination of many months of soul-searching, ‘research’, and seemingly endless noisy ‘discussions’ with the Hubby.

I dare say that it was the bravest, scariest thing I’ve ever had to do, despite people, including my mom, telling me that it would be great. That being there for my kids will be the best thing I’ll ever do for them. That some people “want also dun have”.

Those who TRULY know me, know that I can be quite the traditionalist. On the outside, I am fun-loving, crazy, apparently not quite over with my childhood, looking at what I’ve chosen to focus on in my career. Which is why the fact that I can be quite old-fashioned can be surprising to even those who spend a lot of time with me, be it at work or at home.

I believe couples should be prepared to raise their own kids at least HALF of the time when they choose to have them. I believe in filial piety and sopan-santun. I believe that women should respect their husbands if they want to be respected. It’s a crazy enough world out there without having to discard all your principles for seemingly more 21st-century ones. You have to hold on like crazy to some of the simplest things taught to us back in the day, while be open-minded enough to embrace new ones acquired through personal experience or even academic instruction.

Turning housewife wasn’t the only change I had to adapt to. At the same time, here we were, carting our whole family to a completely new country in a matter of months (I’d quit my job in November 05, and we moved to Seattle Jan ’06). New ‘job’, new surroundings, new financial situation (as in for the first time in my life, I am without a cent of income) – sometimes I wonder if I’m just plain crazy to have been excited about this. Did I really think it over? Haven’t I already thought it over, all those months when Lokes was going for his insane amount of interviews, all those months worrying if Raeven was becoming more and more unmanageable because I was becoming less and less a stay-at-home mom than I was a magazine editor?

Is this too much?

The one thing that truly affects me now is that for some stupid reason, I feel that my voice in the family is now smaller because I don’t bring home some of the bacon anymore. I know, I know. I shouldn’t feel this way since I am doing all the crappy housework, dealing with noisy kids who just won’t nap or eat, but you know what? I kinda like it. Just like I used to enjoy my job at GameAxis, I also love what I’m doing now. So if you look at it, I am doing what I love already. I get to stay at home, read or surf or play games, which is something I will eventually get to do more of when I find a way to efficiently manage the kids, or when both of them go to school. Compare this to poor Lokes, who has to be stuck at the office all day, working. He loves his job too, make no mistake, but c’mon. You and I know that he can’t just decide to stick his duties to someone else for the day and hang out at the mall or play video games.

So when it comes down to roles, which is more important? The breadwinner, or the person who eventually makes the stew and make sure there are clean plates that go with the bread? And the most important question of all: Why does it even matter?

Because it does, when it comes down to making decisions like who needs more alone time, or who gets to spend more money on his or her hobbies. Because when you cross off all the important-ness of each other’s contributions, what is left over is what you use as currency to demand breaks for yourself, in your supposedly chosen lives as parents and partners.

Right now, most of us simply wing it. Go with the flow. Do what’s natural. Cross the bridge when we come to it.

Which is why most of us often end up in silent resentment – or noisy settlements.

Solution? Talk. Better solution? Listen. Because I believe that if I really want to make it work, I will find a way to make it work, and it won’t feel as though I’ve given up something.

Or just plain given up.

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3 Comments »

  1. eddyhan said

    Woah Jenn. You sound like a Loke-sponsored pro-gamer now. Jelesnye aku.

  2. frosty said

    Jenn:

    It is like this ..

    In Malaysia: U r a job and mummy trinket … (Balance tree)
    In US: U have respec to full-time mummy trinket (Resto tree)

    Note: Dont want to talk about feral spec.

  3. Adrian said

    In all honesty I really appreciate what a modern woman goes through, I was raised by a full time mum until things started to unravel in the family and she returned to part-time mum/full time career lady. It wasn’t easy for her and neither was it easy for me or my sis in the begining. But as we got over things my mum explained alot to me (some time even pouring her heart out). So with what little wisdom I have let me impart them to you.

    You are now in a foreign land with different beliefs, beliefs which you hold dear. There are things which are out of date and feels like it should be discarded for more mordern beliefs. STOP! I too am a bit of a traditionalist (this is coming from a complete techno geek) I still believe in getting back to my family for important occasions like CNY eve dinner, Christmas, winter’s solstice (koh tung), paren’ts 60th b’day etc.

    Despite all my chanting of “single and loving it”, I to wish to settle down someday with a wife I can respect for what she does as she respects for what I do while holding on to IMPORTANT traditions and imparting that knowledge to our kids (all God willing of course).

    I’ve tasted the freedom of the west (trust me it’s very tempting with all their hype of free sex, freedom of speech, etc. etc.) but I believe it’s best tempered with our eastern teachings of learning to hold your tounge (when it needs to be held), respecting people of authority (elders, parents, esteemed leaders).

    While the west has brain washed us with the equality of the sexes, yet western women complain when men treat them as equals (ie, expecting them to pay for dinner every now and then, not holding the door open). Remember it was also the west who forced upon the notion that women folk should work to be equals. I say bull-crap women are equal to men even if they are stay home mothers, for there is no job greater than to raise a child to become respectful and successful in the eyes of the world.

    To paraphrase some authors/poets. A child is God’s gift to every parent, and there is no greater pride to be held than to become God’s assistant in raising the child.

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