I was attending an art exhibit at the University of the Philippines, my beloved Alma Mater, when I bumped into a U.P. Fine Arts alumna. We introduced ourselves and then she asked me what I was doing. At that time, I had just resigned from my job at the University after a good 10 years and opted to stay home with my two young kids. It was also about this time when I finished my masteral studies except for the comprehensive exams I needed to pass in order to graduate.
Upon hearing this, she smugly remarked, “You should go back to work. I’m a feminist.”
I was taken aback by her statement. I just met her and now she was telling me what to do? The gall! I simply walked away.
As I thought about it, I didn’t see how my decision to stay at home should offend a professing feminist. What did she mean? Was I betraying the cause of women by leaving the workforce?
I wanted to stay home to bring up my boys into responsible men. I wanted to equip them with skills so they can fend for themselves and not equate Mom or wife with maidservant. I wanted them to develop values that will guide them through adulthood, values such as love, faith, respect, integrity, and hard work, and help make this world a better place for everyone—women included. And especially women.
Imagine if I, with God’s help, am able to instill these values in my boys—all four of them now—how many girls or ladies in their sphere of influence will enjoy the benefits?
I stayed home fulltime for about 8 years while my kids were growing up and I have no regrets. I’d still do it if I did not need an income. My brain did not rot during all those years. I did not throw away my education. In fact, those were the years I developed other interests and skills that better equipped me for my present job.
By staying home and being a hands-on Mom, I may have done more service to your cause, my feminist sisters, than if I had carried a feminist placard and marched in feminist rallies.