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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Working Woman's Dilemma -- What Should I Choose -- Home or Career?

The picture above would give you a gist of how uber busy I was in 2012 as a career woman. I went to work at 4 am for my daily radio program -- 'Bom Dia'; had a daily TV morning show soon after that at 5am -- 'Good Morning Kuya'; went straight to my co-hosting chores with a crimefighter TV Host on Mondays and Wednesdays; had tapings throughout the week for my documentary program, 'Istorya'; and I ended the day with my daily TV evening newscast, 'Ito Ang Balita' at 7 pm. That was when I was not busy with other things like events hostings and baking or other "money-making" ventures. 

Ito Ang Balita newscast with my co-anchors - 2012
2012, as I have shared in my previous post, "Wind Beneath My Wings" was my banner year, so to speak. I did in one year, all that I have ever wanted to do in my more-than-a-decade broadcasting career.
Screenshot  of my daily business newscast
 at PTV,the government network,
'Money Matters' - 2009

Previous to that, I was also gainfully employed with the government network as a newscaster and TV host, for on-and-off more than a decade. (I usually took time off when I was pregnant or have just given birth.) I was a career woman; a working girl... and for the most part, I enjoyed it and reveled in it. Talents and skills were gifts of God after all, and I made sure that I did my 110% best in whatever job that was thrown my way! My employers and co-workers praised me for my "commendable work ethic" and ability to "shine" in any project given me. That stroked my ego sooooo much! I felt so validated!
Pondahan ni Kuya Daniel (Good Morning Kuya) - 2012

Poor Reece. Mommy usually had no energy
to tutor her and so she got cranky and snapped
at her before. :(
However, I always felt guilty too for being away from home most of the time. :( I felt very satisfied, being able to fulfill that creative, workaholic part of me, but I knew that my children were getting the short end of the stick by not having Mommy home to be with them, as often as they'd want her to be. Mommy was so busy pursuing her dreams to stay put. :(

When I was home, drained of all my energy by the end of the day, I got short-tempered with my children when they could not understand a simple school assignment. I had no patience or strength to wait for them to "get" it. I snapped at them often while my eyelids drooped from exhaustion. I felt it "justifiable" to get irked at them because I was working for them anyway. All  my hard work was for them, right?

But of course, God knew better. It was more for me, myself and I, than it was for them. Money-wise, YES, but the "fame", the "adulation", the "prestige"... NO. It was all for me and my insatiable desire to "matter."
Winning the Anak TV award - Dec 2012

   1 Samuel 16:7 part
"The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Being "just" a mother and a wife  were not enough. I needed to be busy to fill up a void in my soul. I needed to be deemed "worthy", and work did that for me. I desired the world's accolades. My husband's and children's praises did not count.  :(

I was deceived. I believed in the lie that:


This was one of the lies that Nancy Leigh De Moss in her book, "Lies Women Believe and The Truth That Sets Them Free" pointed out. (Dong bought me this book early in our marriage as a gift.) 

Allow me to share with you her convicting insights on this particular and "powerful" lie which many modern women blindly believe:

Half a century ago, a handful of determined women set out to achieve a philosophical and cultural revolution. Convinced that women needed to throw off the shackles of male oppression, they wrote books, published articles, taught college courses, marched in the streets, lobbied Congress, and in myriad ways succeeded in capturing the minds and hearts of millions of women.

They redefined what it means to be a woman and tossed out widely held views of a woman's priorities and mission in life. Concepts such as virtue, chastity, discretion, domesticity, submission and modesty were largely eliminated from the vocabulary, and replaced with choice, divorce, infidelity and unisex lifestyles. The daughters and granddaughters of that generation have never known any other way of thinking.
One of the most devastating objectives  and effects of this "new" view of womanhood has been to demean marriage and motherhood and to move women -- both physically and emotionally -- out of their homes and into the workforce. 

Statistics indicate that the gender gap has narrowed dramatically in matters of hiring practices, pay scales, and educational opportunities -- results that activists have worked long and hard to achieve. But what about the unintended consequences of this newfound freedom? Whoever expected we would have to live with such things as... 
  • pressure placed on women by their peers to  "do more" than be "just a wife and mother";
  • the status of a "homemaker" being devalued to something less than that of a serf;
  • millions of children coming home from school to empty houses or being relegated to after-school child care programs; (or in the case of the Philippines, being left to be "brought up" by live-in yayas or nannies);
  • mothers giving their best energy and time to persons other than their husbands and children, leaving those women perpetually exhausted and edgy;
  • families that seldom sit down and have a meal together;
  • emotional and physical affairs being fanned by married women spending more quaity time with men at work that they do with their own husbands;
  • women who don't have time or energy to cultivate a close relationship with their children and who end up permanently estranged from their grown children;
  • inadequately supervised children becoming exposed to and lured into pornography, alcohol, drugs, sex and violence.

Our longtime nanny, Ate Sepa, with our second child Andre
in one of her visits - 2007

I was brought up by extremely hardworking parents who were outside the home most of the time. In effect, I got very attached to our nanny, Ate Sepa (pronounced Ah-teh, a term of respect for an older lady), who served and stayed with our family for 16 years. She only left when she got married and had one child at age 41. (We consider her now as a part of our family and she is welcome to visit us anytime. She really is a rare find! :)

Mama was the TV director for the longest-running children's show
on TV, Pen Pen de Sarapen. I was one of the hosts and
voice over announcers. - 1991

This kind of "marriage peg" that I witnessed growing up made me believe that it was "normal" and "natural" for both our parents to always be out and for us to always be left with our nanny. They were also too busy with their careers, they had not much time for each other!

Especially vivid in my impressionable mind was my Mama's passion for her TV career. She would leave us for long stretches of time to attend conferences abroad; she would come home very late from tapings and not lift a finger to do housework or attend to my father because she was almost always already very tired. The most "fun" she had was when she was in her workplace. She was the "life of the party" and so it was not surprising that she was sorely missed when she passed away due to cancer at the young age of 43 by her officemates, whom she considered her "family". Her candle burned out too soon. :( 

'Pilipinas Ngayon Na' was a weekly public service program
 of mine for the government network in 2006.

Mama was my "peg" in terms of what I wanted to happen with my career. Whereas she worked behind the scenes as a TV director/producer, I wanted to work on-camera as a TV host and newscaster. I was willing to spend long hours in pursuing my dream of becoming established in my field, like she had done in hers. My only contention was I would not permit out-of-town shoots, out-of-the-country coverages, or work that would take me away from my children for long periods of time. I was traumatized by Mama's excessive traveling. I did not want my children to suffer the same "fate". :(

In an events hosting for Philips - 2008

Early in our marriage, I was a happy and contented housewife and homemaker following my "demonic possession". But the desire to achieve and make something out of myself beckoned. Later on, opportunities arose that allowed me to do just that. I was fulfilled with all my shows. I loved being in the limelight. I had great fun maximizing my potentials... but they were still not enough.    :(

There would be days when I felt that life had no meaning.
There would be moments when I felt that my work did not matter to anybody.
There would be times when I still felt worthless even when I was so busy.
Our happy and lovely kids :)

Dare I say it, there were even times when I would consider my children a bit of an obstacle  to pursuing my career. :( But I loved my kids and considered them to be blessings, but when one was prideful and self-centered, one is unable to go beyond the self. Anything or anyone that prevented one from making the self "happy" and "fulfilled" were considered "burdens" or "hindrances." I never wished them to be non-existent for I cherished motherhood greatly, but I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I wanted to be a wife and mother with a kick-ass career.

In pursuing "having it all" (and having experienced it somewhat in 2012), I was left to say to myself: "So this is how it feels to "have it all"... It still feels empty. It seems to be just vanity. It's not all that it was cut out to be... Surely, there is more to life than just this?!"
Singing at the Big Dome in 2012

In determining our priorities as Christian women, we must first ask: Why did God make women? What is His Purpose and Mission for our lives? The Word of God provides women of every generation and culture with the Truth about our created purpose and primary role and calling. When we embrace the Truth and establish our priorities and schedules around it, we experience true liberation.

In Genesis 2:18 we find the first and clearest statement of why God created the woman:

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

There you have it -- God created the woman to be a helper to the man -- to complete him, to be suited to his needs. Her life was to be centered on his, not his on hers. She was made from the man, made for the man, and given as God's gift to the man. Her relationship with her husband was the first and primary sphere in which she was to move and serve.  Her husband was responsible to work to provide for their material needs.  She was to be his helper and companion in reflecting the image of God, taking dominion over the earth and reproducing a godly seed.  

Together they were to populate the earth with future generations of men and women who would love God and seek to fulfill His purposes in the world.  The woman was uniquely designed and equipped -- physiologically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually -- by her Creator to be a bearer and nurturer of life. In a multitude of ways, she was endowed with the ability to add life, beauty, richness, fullness, grace and joy to the family unit. 

There is no greater measure of her worth or success as a woman than the extent to which she serves as the heart of the home.

The Scripture is clear that a married woman's life and ministry are to be centered in her home. This is not to suggest that it is necessarily wrong for a wife and mother to have a job outside her home -- unless that job in any way competes with or diminishes her effectiveness in fulfilling her primary calling at home. Further, it is important for women to evaluate their reason(s) for working outside their home and to identify the deception behind those reasons. 

When the Lord convicted me of my sins in September 1, 2013, I was tired of pursuing my selfish career pursuits. I have experienced it "all" (in a small scale) and I was over and done with it. I was ready to listen to what God wanted me to do, not what I wanted to do.

When I evaluated my reasons for working, I realized that they were all from deceptions by the evil one:

  • If I didn't work, my children would go hungry because Dong could not provide for them the way I could!
  • If I didn't work, people would forget about me and in this (broadcasting) industry, you were only as good as your last project or show!
  • If I didn't work, people would view me as a "failure" since I would "just" be a wife and mother. That's not exactly worth boasting about. It's so easy to be "just" a wife and mother but difficult to be "somebody" in the field of journalism!
  • If I didn't work, I would be doing God a disservice because He showered me with so many talents and capabilities. Surely, He did not give me those to just "waste" them at home!
  • etc. etc.

D-Day for 4th baby,
At hospital elevator :)
April 17, 2013
When I realized how prideful all my reasons for working were, I stopped and asked the Lord to search my heart further. By then, I had just given birth to our 4th child, and being a firm believer of "everything happens for a reason", I said to myself, "Surely, this did not happen for nothing. Four children! Four human beings, needy of my love and affection. I couldn't give this new baby my time and myself if I would still continue with my demanding career." By then too, I was tired of leading our marriage and of always being fearful of the future. I was ready to hand over the reins....

That was the time when I let go and let God and submitted to Him, then to my husband Dong. :)

With one of my edible creations for Veronica's
Kitchen, our home bakeshop. :)
As an update,  I have some broadcasting voice-over sidelines, and am busy with my home-based bakeshop, Veronica's Kitchen, but those are just my "sidelines". I am helping augment the family's income like the Proverbs 31 woman, while not losing sight of my real role in our home -- that of my husband's partner and our children's nurturer.

I am not twiddling my thumbs or just lying down all day doing "nothing" though... I am still busy  but in a fulfilled, joyful, peaceful, just-right kind of way. :)

Isabelle Veronica :) - Feb 20 , 2014
  • What I am "busy" with is being my husband's supporter and helper while he works towards achieving his plans for the family. 
  • What I am busy with is being our children, and being Therese and Andre's "driver" to and from school as well as their tutor in all their lessons. 
  • What I am busy with is attending to and disciplining our third child Reuben (whom I nearly neglected from being too busy before!) who is in his Terrible Three's phase, so that he does not grow up spoiled. 
  • What I am busy with is breastfeeding our little one, 10 months old Isabelle, so she will be healthy and strong.  
  • What I am busy with is cleaning our house, cooking our meals and making sure my husband and children come home to a neat and homey abode. (We have let go of one helper -- we used to have two -- in order for us to save on expenses and for me to be a full-time housewife and hands-on mother to our kids.)
I am the "boss" in this kitchen! ;)

I am "busier" now and more fulfilled than ever. Far more joyful than when I was a stylized career woman, simply because I know my priorities now and have been released of all my spiritual bondages when I fully gave up my life to God nearly six months ago. :) When God opened up my spiritual eyes, I saw my "true" sinful self and repented for my mountains of sin. I also died to myself that time (and I still crucify this sinful flesh each and every day since then). God showed His Mercy on me and gave me a new "me". The old was gone, the new has come! :) Praise be to God!!!

                           2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

It's a joy to be unknown and still feel
that I matter.:)

Not to say that I won't go back to working ever again, but simply knowing my true calling and my real role in the family, I could now choose jobs that do not go against my (God-ordained) priorities. I could also now choose jobs that would not steal much of my time from my family. I used to choose "blindly" because of my bottomless desire to "matter" or to be deemed as "somebody", even when it was at the expense of my growing family. :(

I am now content being obscure! :) Who would have thought the day would come that I would actually say that?! Not me! :P

Always "made up" - 2012 

But, if the Lord so wills that I be back in the "limelight" again for His Greater Glory, I will follow Him. He can do with me as He pleases. But for now, if the Lord allows, I just want to be away from everything that has to do with going on-camera or putting on makeup. :) I get enough of my creative juices flowing by blogging. (God designed me to be creative -- whether by appearing before the public or through writing. Writing gives me fulfillment while at the same time, allows me to reach out to others because of my ministry towards fellow wives.:) But if the Lord "orders" me to stop writing for this blog, I will drop it instantly.  It's all about Him and His Will... even if it makes me "happy."

In ending, to the question: "The Working Woman's Dilemma -- What Should I Choose -- Home or Career?", my answer is:

By virtue of marriage and motherhood, a woman's place really is in the home. But, this does not mean that all women should simply quit their jobs and stay home. God does use women in the workplace for His Work too! We as women must be able to use our God-given talents for His Glory both at home and at the office.  

However, when caught between a rock and a hard place, I think we should always choose home over career. 

Our "yellow" and bright family :) - Feb 22, 2014

A great career may leave a great impression to those who had a chance of working with you. You might even be able to contribute greatly to the advancement of a company or an industry... 

BUT a peaceful and joyful home leaves a lasting legacy to one's children... which they would pass on and on and on to future generations. Here's a verse my sister shared with me which is a great testimony on why motherhood is so important:

2 Timothy 1:5 
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 

   Our beautiful eldest, Therese, said:
"Mommy I don't 
want you to work. I love you!"
If one is given the chance to become a wife and mother, grab the opportunity to leave a lasting mark in the children's impressionable minds. :) There is no greater joy than seeing them grow up to be godly children. :) 

Our eldest child Therese asked me one day if I will go back to working. I asked her "Why Lovey? Why are you asking?" She said something that broke my heart. "Because Mommy, I love you. I want you to be with me all the time. Before, you would always go home so late!" I assured her, "I will be with you a lot these days, baby. Mommy will just follow what Daddy wants to happen but I will still be busy baking!" :)

I know some of the wives reading this blog post may not have the "luxury" to just stay at home and be with their husbands and kids, for practical reasons. But, I pray that even if you are a working wife or a working mom right now, may you not lose sight of your true calling in the home, that is, as helper to your husband and as nurturer to your children. 

Work must never get in the way of those. Take it from a former workaholic who had her priorities so wrong and who had gotten them so mixed up. :( It was horrible and caused much restlessness. :(

It pays to set our priorities straight and to allow God to set them for us! :) It just makes everything beautiful, orderly and peaceful. :)

Home is really where the heart is and where it should always rightfully be. :)
Aren't fun moments like these priceless? :)

May we all be richly blessed! :)

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