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Let's hear it for the single, childless women: We get tired too

[It's International Women's Month. Let's talk about issues and concerns that women face. This week, it's single ladies wanting to feeling tired in peace.]


Art: Jannielyn Ann Bigtas
Art: Jannielyn Ann Bigtas

There is a scene in the movie "Bridget Jones’ Baby" where Bridget wanted to celebrate her birthday and her friends started sending their regrets with baby emojis to illustrate that they were mothers and had to stay home. She ended up alone but danced it off, anyway.

This happens to me sometimes. At this stage in my life, I am attending more baby showers and baptisms than weddings and I couldn’t be happier for them. Really.

I am 36, single and surrounded by great wives and mothers. This is not a testament as to how equally empowering single life is (although it is), nor is it an article about how women should take their time with marriage and/or having children (although we should).

We have enough of that and I am proud that most women are enlightened enough to know how relationships and motherhood work (if they are interested in a relationship or children at all) and what they hold important. I am not here to talk about what has been said before and what I am clearly no expert on. 

I am here, however, to talk about a specific kind of guilt that comes with talking about sleepless nights and long days with said great wives and mothers. Let me illustrate.

I have a great job and after a long day, I need to unwind.

Unwinding these days sometimes involves social media. On ultra long and stressful days, when I am ready to rant and explain how dog tired I am, I come across posts about my friends having trouble putting their kids to sleep, posts about how hard it is to juggle work and childcare and how excruciating it is to express milk and just … motherhood in general.  And suddenly, I feel guilty.

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It is most certainly not their fault, for when I suddenly feel small for wanting to complain about anything at all. What are my problems compared to these mothers who haven’t slept since giving birth? I worry about not making any mistakes at work whereas mothers worry about their babies’ utter survival. What do you say to that? I shut up and log out.

But to date, I have gotten more quips like “Wait till you have children!” or “You don’t know how lucky you are right now” than I know what to do with.

Once, somebody even asked why I wanted to negotiate my salary and said, “You don’t even have a family.”

I’ll never forget how insulting that simple statement was because, first of all, did I sprout off Zeus’ head? I have a family. I have parents. I have a brother. My brother has his own family but that’s beside the point.

I am not exempted from working towards higher wages just because I have no children, just like I am not exempted from feeling tired. We’re not here to play “Who Slept the Least” and it sure would be nice if I could rant without being shamed for it, intentionally or no.

This may sound like I’m being oversensitive and I am certainly not denying that our lives are worlds apart but these remarks truly feel like a rebuff and a silencing.

Before I get slimed, here is a disclaimer: I only speak for myself. I am very much aware that there are different situations for single people — there are those supporting families, sending their brothers/sisters to school. I am not here to talk about them.

This is also not about me resenting mothers because you couldn’t be further from the truth. I salute them. I salute my mother who, until now, takes it upon herself to save me from bad haircuts.

My own sister-in-law has four children and I don’t know how she does it. Dealing with four different ages and personalities surely takes a toll on her but does she look it? Not one bit. So yes, moms, I enjoy reading all your stories and looking at most of your pictures (I don’t really care much for your babies’ toilet-training progress). I am taking cues because I do want to be a mother someday.

For now, though, don’t worry. I know how lucky I am that I can sleep through the night. I know that my concerns are nothing compared to what mothers go through. My money woes are nothing compared to those who have children because I am saving up for things other than tuition.

Let’s get along, shall we? I will always respect and admire the sacrifices mothers make for their children but please, let me talk about my day without feeling one-upped. I will empathize and listen to your difficult times but please try not to belittle mine.

We all have difficult times. We all need listening ears and helping hands so let us be there for each other. I will learn a lot from you and be a good tita to your children at the same time. Maybe there are things I could teach you too and if not, well, let this singleton be your steadfast supporter and friend. As long as I’m not too tired. — LA, GMA News