You hear parents saying all different things about their kids and I was not sure what any of them meant when I was younger. You hear some moms say they are the best part of me or the best thing I’ve ever “done”, etc. Motherhood is very interesting and very deep. I did not grow up thinking I WANTED to be a mom. I just became one because I thought it was just something you were supposed to do as a woman.
In Korea, most females were students, then wives, then moms – at least the ones I saw. It is much different in 2021 of course. I grew up in the late 60s. There were also prostitutes and a few business women but I was not exposed to either – I just heard about them. In the US women had far more choices but I was again not exposed to that in my childhood. The women I saw were wives, mothers, teachers, bank tellers (who were also mothers) and whatever tv threw my way.
Hence, I grew up thinking the natural order of things for females were: go to elementary school so you can go to middle school so you can go to high school so you can go to college then get married and have kids. The career for a female was shoved in there somewhere and I really did not have a clear picture of how I was supposed to accomplish that. I was a super nerd in school and I do believe I could have been a geneticist (which is what my Biology teacher said I should pursue), or a research scientist (my AP history teacher thought I should be ANYTHING but a teacher because I had more “potential”, or so many things.
In my heart of hearts I wanted to be an artist. I loved sketching and drawing and it made me the happiest to be doing that. I enjoyed writing as well. But neither would bring a decent paycheck in so my Daddy talked to me about realities and gently steered me away from becoming a starving artist. He meant well and I truly think he was trying to help me. He was right but I think I could have figured something out.
Coming for a poor family, a full scholarship (back then $20,000) was a gift and an honor no matter what it was for. I had no lifelong dream of being a teacher but that was a very honorable occupation in Korea and my Mother was thrilled at the idea of it. I had no idea how much they made and my history teacher tried his hardest to tell me that while he was honored to teach it was a low paying, low respected job in the US. But I had no other paths to take and no money so I went for it.
I did not date much and had one boyfriend during my last year of high school. I dated rarely in college and when I had my first serious relationship, I assumed I would marry him. Only when thoughts of children came into view did I realize the match was not a good one. So I moved on from him AND teaching and focused on finding a second career. I floated around and had several jobs but my degree was limiting. I leaned toward becoming a librarian and would have been happy with that career.
So I meet my future husband and loved how alike we were but how independent we were at the same time. I loved doing “nothing” with him and we had great chemistry. We are happily married but I think if I had known that I did not HAVE to get married, I probably would not have. That is not due to HIM – he is fabulous – it is me – I think I could have been content being solo. I love my husband and my children and regret nothing but I want my girls to know they have CHOICES. So we make sure they know they can choose a career, motherhood, marriage or all three. I want to make sure they are consciously making a decision and not just “going with the flow”.
Parenting is a challenge. I hope I’m doing the right things and if not I hope I am not causing them any harm. They are my best creations. I am SO PROUD of them and so humbled by how amazing they are. I have had some very sad events in my life but giving birth to them and helping them become independent humans is not one of them.