Monday, August 08, 2011

My advice for young women

I’ve been thinking about what advice I would now give to my younger self, and what I would say to my nieces (if they were interested enough to listen to me) or to my own daughters. This is what I would say.#

* Don’t remove your body hair. Once you start you embark on a lifelong contract. I’d be very interested to see if the body hair I started removing as a teenager (underarm, and legs below the knees) would be soft and fair and fine, like my mother’s, if I never shaved. I suspect so. I’ll never know.

* See a colour and style consultant. It’s an investment that will save you a lot of money, and you’ll always look great.

* Don’t worry about what the guys are doing or whether or not they like you. Just do your own thing. Work on becoming good at whatever it is you are interested in. I spent too much time helping males with what they were interested in, at the expense of building on my own abilities. If a person you are interested in is interested in you he/she will let you know. Don’t go chasing after people. It’s undignified. People will accept what you offer (food, entertainment, sex), but if you keep offering, you’ll never know if they are really interested. Give people a chance to come to you. If they are interested, they’ll make the effort.

* Don’t waste your money when you’re young. When I was young some people spent all their money on drugs and alcohol. Some bought an investment property. Guess which ones are better off today.

* If you want to be a mother, just have one child. Two tops. We need women in the workplace. We need women to have more power and influence in society. Stay in the workforce. Earn your own money. Money buys you options. If you have more than two children you’ll be working to pay for childcare. The more children you have the more people are bringing germs into the home. The more people to keep an eye on and deal with all the people around them. The more children you have the more running around you do. The more children you have the greater the chances that someone won’t like the dinner you’ve cooked. With one or two children you can travel. You can bunk down at friend’s places. You are more likely to agree on things. Of course, if you thrive on living in constantly noisy chaos, and love combing every member of the household for nits on a regular basis, then go for it.

* Be careful who you breed with. You’ll be dealing with the person for the rest of your life, through thick and thin. The audition process should run longer than The Glee Project. Like The Glee Project you are looking for someone with shared values.Someone who is easy to work with. Someone who is stable, resourceful and has a positive attitude to life.

* If you don’t have kids, being able to cook is optional. If you have kids, it’s compulsory.

* If you want to have kids find a compatible job (ie, working at a school), or a partner who is able to earn good money working part time. If you can’t both job share, live near family members who are ready, willing and able to help. If not, then find or start a community of like-minded people, so there is always someone around. You need a network. My dream is to live with people who all work four days a week, so there is always someone to do the school runs and to pick up a sick kid from school. Share resources, share child care and household jobs, be a sounding board, support each other. Share some common space, but have our own spaces too. Communal parenting. Lovely. (Because it isn’t natural for one adult to be alone with children all day.)

* Taking care of yourself means getting enough sleep, eating fruit and vegetables, drinking water, keeping physically active, washing yourself, and either wearing sunscreen or staying out of the sun. Physically, that’s it. But you need to also look after your emotional health and finances.

* There are still some men in the world who believe women are lesser beings than men. Male friends of mine have told me that men just give lip service to female equality, but they don’t believe it. Behave in such a way that proves we deserve the rights our mothers fought for. Women are capable and responsible. We don’t want our rights taken away from us.

# Written the week I've had one child on antibiotics, one with a sore but not fractured arm, and the other came into my bed and vomited. If I was employed full time last week, I wouldn't be employed at all this week.


Melissa said...

I fail in so many ways :)

Motherhugger said...

This is about my regrets. This is what I would advise young women so they don't make the mistakes I made. Live and learn. A bit late for me (in some aspects), but others can learn. It isn't about pass and fail. Few people's lives turn out how they expect they will. I never cared much about money beyond living week to week, but there are consequences for that. I left one job after two years (I had a two year limit for jobs) telling the boss I'd rather live on rice for the rest of my life than stay. I never saw myself as someone who would have a mortgage. We make our choices.

What would you advise young women?

Melissa said...

Follow your bliss :)

I honestly can't imagine living my life so sensibly, even though I see the practical sense in your suggestions and agree with them! You need a certain temperament to be so pragmatic, especially in your 20's and early 30's.

Motherhugger said...

Yes. In my 20s I thought those sensible people were very boring.

So much for living an 'authentic' life! Where does it get you?? We need more bohemians winning the lottery, then sharing.

Melita said...

This advice is SUPERB. I will be using it with my daughters. Thank you.

Melita said...

Your advice is SUPERB. I will use this with my daughters. Thank you.

Melita said...

I didn't mean to say this twice, but it works for emphasis!