I know it doesn’t seem like it, considering how girly I am now, but there was a period of my childhood where I hated being a girl.
I hated how “being a girl” came with so many restrictions. I even refused to acknowledge the fact that I was a girl (even as a kid I was weird) but that didn’t mean that I thought I was a boy either.
My favourite colour was BLUE and I didn’t want to have anything to do with pink because it was girly. Gradually as I phased through my tweens my favourite colour it turned to PURPLE because it seemed like a neutral colour and in my teens BOLD, STRIKING PINK and now as I’m maturing (just by the increasing number) it’s now a subtle combination of Striking Pink hidden with Brown.
It’s interesting to me how my favourite colours change as I change. It was during my teenage years that I wanted everything I owned to be striking pink. That was the time I finally accepted that I was made a girl and those were the times I declared myself a feminist. When I decided that if a man could do it why couldn’t I? I went through thoughts about wanting to be the Best Woman This, the Best Woman that because I believe I was a woman and I could do anything a man can.
And then I started hating the fact again that I was a woman. All other girls had the thought of marriage etc. That was when my hatred for men sparked. I thought, “Why do I have to marry?!” “What if I wanted my child without a husband!” (as in IVF). Which is obviously a wrong mindset because I’m supposed to be a good Muslim, but take note these were during my teenager times and she wasn’t a good Muslim. #rebelliousyears
I hated the fact that all the other girls were so girly meant that I had to be girly too. I felt that I was a girl but I didn’t need to be girly yet I’m not a boy either to be a tomboy. I hated the fact that I had to allow a man into my life to ensure my generation goes on (science duh Silly Fifi).
No idea why I chose to wrap myself with these confusing thoughts.
After a while (still in secondary school thoughts) I realised that the problem is with society. My ambition about wanting to be The Best Woman This and The Best Woman That felt outdated and irrelevant because women have proven to be able to do anything a man could. The problem that lies with this is that these women also want to be a mother. They want to nurse a baby in their arms while climbing up the ladder.
Achievable, but slow and difficult. For faster results “achieve my dreams” you toss the baby aside (to a daycare) and having the child rocking in the arms of a stranger affects his upbringing which will affect his life. That’s the problem with society: they lack genuine motherly love, care attention and touch; and I knew that that’s what I was going to change.
I wanted to be a full-time mother, raising, feeding and educating her own kids. To me there was nothing more honourable and noble than being a full-time mother.
At 14 or 15 or 16 – I don’t remember, there was a qt in my Higher Malay class but I don’t remember if he was there or not; the teacher asked what we wanted to be when we grow up. With this new revelation at hand, I proudly announced that I was going to be a housewife. To which this educated and career-minded woman replied “Be a bit more ambitious.”
Seeing how self-absorbed and full of myself I can be sometimes, that didn’t bring me down because to me I knew my purpose. I just felt that she didn’t understand. To me I am Salamahafifi, I want to be a housewife and that is my ambition!
Fast forward to today I realised that many girls my age actually want to get married and be stay-home moms. But what holds them back is: Fear and Guilt
1) Fear of having not enough money to feed the little mouths
2) Guilt to parents for having worked hard to send them to school yet they end up in the kitchen.
My parents are neither safe nor conventional so I’m never told about how if I don’t work I’m going to starve or how the world has changed: women should start working too. They’re not traditional either. We are just people with faith, but that’s another story.
Many girls want to be housewives and dream about building their own little empires but they can’t because of these two factors! That’s so sad!
You know me I will always try to find solutions to problems.
Let’s say your social standing is just like you and me, normal lame people (I’m not talking about the poor ok, and not sorry if you don’t categorise yourself as normal lame).
A husband’s salary is usually enough to support the whole family.
But you, the wife and mother, feel the need to work to support because “it’s not enough”.
Why is it not enough:
Because you’re not living up to your own affordability.
New 3D curved tv on credit.
Prada on credit.
LV on credit.
Luxury car on credit.
I understand it can be a bit frustrating with many show-offs on Instagram but their LV and whatever expensive names handbags are also probably on credit too. I’m not a hater but it’s possible their perfect lives are only on posing and hidden with filter.
Unfollow them. Unhealthy. It’s another story if you can afford it of course.
“But it’s my life, I choose to lead my life like this.”
Mothers, I know it’s your life but it’s also your child’s too. A child showered with real love will not feel hungry for replacement love eg. latest video games. A mother’s touch in every stage of a child is important. So is her presence and availability to a child. Compromise that for work to afford your expensive living and you will affect your whole child’s life.
Personally, my mother has never worked. We’re never given expensive toys to replace her attention because we got the real thing. As a result you don’t see me going crazy over tangible objects (my skincare obsession is for health ok) like the iPhone. We don’t need an iPhone when we got our mom whenever we needed her. We don’t need latest games because we’re happy playing by ourselves knowing our mother is there.
You can afford being a full-time mother, don’t worry.
A few months ago a family friend we haven’t met for a while was so happy to see us and excitedly asked me: “Have you started working?” We know her, and it will seal the deal and in her eyes I would have been seen as a successful person if I said yes. My mom said no, because that’s the truth.
The glitter in her eyes stopped sparkling and she said “Oh.”
My mom told me about this and asked me “What’s wrong with you not working?”
Hmm good question mom.
Does my worth to people go down low when I say I’m not working? I may not be employed to a certain organisation that ties my butt down to a chair for eight hours, but of course I’m working.
I can cook without having to Instagram every single dish that I make.
I know how to hold a mop without first posting a picture of me with it.
I have the eye to notice a spot uncleaned.
I know how to bathe cats.
I was the one who handled the family inheritance matters even when I’m not a lawyer.
I am trusted to make solo trips to a foreign country even when I’m supposed to be uneducated.
I am street smart.
I am able to love fully, because I know.
I am kind and nice sometimes too.
But of course, all these don’t matter because I’m not bringing $5000 home.
That’s screwed up. That’s not recognising and appreciating a human being. People are just recognising what they do in the sidelines. To society there’s no worth in somebody who doesn’t bring home money. All that matters are grades and money. It doesn’t matter if you’re kind, lovely, thoughtful…etc.
Screwed up thinking.
A good life is important.
A good life can be led even without the materialistic goodness.
A good life starts at home.
If you’re a parent, please remember that and respect and support your daughter’s decision to be a stay-home mom. Nothing is more noble than raising, educating and feeding her own children. She is ensuring goodness by instilling values that can only be taught from home into your generation.
Another thing is with guys. Guys chase after girls who seem passionate about their “work” and who are “ambitious” while girls like me who seem to do nothing are “boring”.
You don’t know that when you’re working you look forward to coming home to me because you know I’ll be there happy and fresh, not “still in the office” or “tired.”
You don’t know that when you’re working you will never be out of underwear or socks, and all your clothes would have been ironed crisp because it’s my job.
You don’t know that our kids are happy because I am always there for them, not because you can afford to buy them the latest gadgets.
Please don’t tell me about the case with single parents. Irrelevant to my content.
Back to me accepting my feminity. I remember that I used to have an obsession with climbing.
When I was 5 I climbed the grills to see what’s up.
When I was 8 I tied a skipping rope from my bedroom window and went down to try to climb it.
When I was 9 and back in Singapore I thought I could climb the HDB walls because Spiderman could.
When I was 12 I went rock climbing and loved it.
A woman’s body started taking over me. And it starts being inappropriate for a Muslimah to do any of these.
Just kidding, a Muslimah if properly attired can do whatever she wants.
The day before yesterday I imagined myself as Altair from Assassin’s Creed and climbed onto a wall to join Pippi who was birdwatching.
My climb is not a competitive, corporate ladder climb.
I can climb anything I want wherever I want at any pace I want.
Because I am a human being.