Thursday, 24 July 2008

I’m a home-based consultant

After reading Milena Thomas post “I’m Staying Home From Now On. Will you Still Respect Me Tomorrow?”, I am tempted to write about my own stay-at-home experience.

I have “stayed at home” for almost 4 months now since I left my last company. I feel I really deserve this break since I have been working non-stop for almost 9 years except for some small vacations each year, which are usually shorter than 5 days. I am grateful to Jeffrey for making this experience possible for me.

You might imagine me lazing around. I hate to break your imagination but I have to tell you I am not. It is just like Dogbert’s saying: “I’m not unemployed, I’m a consultant.” So you see, I am training myself to be a consultant!

Why? First of all, being a consultant requires one to be organized and have great time management skills. It requires me to plan my day and do the things I need to do for the day. Here, I am practicing these skills to perfection each day. Practice does make perfect and after four months, I think I have graduated. So, I will be moving on to the next level. ( I will talk about this in later post)

Of course, I have gone through problems and overcome them.

Sometimes, I feel good because I have all the times in the world to do things and that is usually in the morning. At night, I feel that “time really flies” and I usually do not finish what I set to do for the day. Sometimes, I do not even wake up until afternoon due to my “late” nights (I really mean wee hours in the morning). I really like staying up late.

Sometimes I can be very relaxed. Other times, I can be quite agitated because I am afraid I will turn into a lazy bum and enjoy being that.

Staying-at-home is not hard and it is not easy either. In fact, I find it to be harder than working because it requires much more discipline and “keeping to the flow”. I can be washing the bathroom, cooking, blogging, reading books, doing laundry, reading online news, going to gym - all in one day and keeping the flow going. It is most probably not in one day because I have all “the motivation” to take things very slowly.

I know I should focus on fewer activities than that, but I am adamant that even though I am not working, that does not mean I cannot learn new things, keep up-to-date to what is happening, and improving my knowledge.

In Chinese saying, there are "big woman" and “small woman”. “Big woman” is someone capable, strong, and independent. She is the type that can either put guys off because she is too smart and powerful or she can get a lot of respect for being assertive and successful in the place prevalently dominated by male. And "small woman" is someone who whines and feeds the ego of guys, with guys taking care of her and being pampered. “Small woman” also stay at the “castle”, taking care of it and the family while the man fight the outside world. The man, who "bring home the bacon" also expected to be cared tenderly by the “small woman”. That is where the “small woman” cooks the bacon, feed the man and show tender-loving care.

I used to focus my energy so much in being a big woman, until I totally feel out of the planet when doing housework, cooking and so on. I even have problem keeping my desk tidy. Jeffrey gave me a sound advice – if you want to be a great big woman, you need to be a damn good small woman first. I am true-blue about this. If I hold a prominent position in a company and managing a large team of people, what pride do I have if I cannot even take care of my children, my husband and our home? Yes, I can hire maid, but I cannot be fully dependant on her.

So, I aspire to be both - small and big woman.

I think I am getting near it. I am much better at cooking and keeping the house in order now. And I am still reading and learning new skills every day.


Cheow said...

For me, woman is woman, and one must do whatever to live out her desires.

The justification of "big woman or small woman" is irrelevant.

Milena said...

Cheow, I disagree. I think that for a woman, framing herself as "big woman" vs. "small woman" are useful and different ways to look at life. I don't think it's any different than playing pretend to find out what you like better. If you try on "big woman" and find "small woman" fits you better, that's a useful tool.

Susan - I love the concept. I too want to be a great wife, and a great business woman.

Susan said...

Thank you, Milena. :) . I know from your post that we will share the same opinion on this.

Cheow, you right in same ways...

I am not saying being only a small woman will make one not happy. Same goes for being a big woman only. But as a woman, we should strive to achieve both to really become a successful woman. That is a challenge for a woman. Man can strive for the same thing too – who says man cannot help with the housework? What I think the most important thing here is to be able to share the load and responsibilities as well as backup each other.

But I am most certain most men want a wife that can play 2 roles - big and small woman. Let me put it in perspective of a man.

Small woman - You get home after a tiring and difficult day at work (Maybe you get f**ked by your boss or customers). You get home – into a haven, where everything is clean and in order, your wife smiles at you and serve you dinner. She asks you about your work and offers to massage you later seeing that you are so tired.

You feel you really want to take good care of your wife and that you will work hard to bring her comfort. Once in a while, you buy things for her to make her happy. You also compliment her always on her looks and ability. When she is in doubt and unconfident, you give her advice and assure her she will be fine. You also assure her, you will always be there for her.
Sometimes she nags, but you deal with it somehow because you know woman always nag.

Big woman – Not only, you and your wife share love, but you also share knowledge and experience. You have a woman who understands what you are facing out there each day because she faces that before. She listens and understands when you tell her your work. She understands how difficult it is sometimes and she supports you. Sometimes, she also offers you another perspective on how she looks that the things. She even helps take care of the finance (and maybe your other business) and because she is smart, she does not get cheated easily by people so you do not really have to worry about her. When you bring her out to meet your business associates, colleagues or bosses, she can communicate to them well in all matters including business matters.

PG said...

In my opinion, to have a blissful relationship, both parties should master the skill of knowing when is the right time to play "big" or "small" woman or man.

Susan, your articles really motivate me to be a better person in my life. Girl, keep up the good work! I am waiting to buy your first book.

autumnmusic said...

As mentioned by PG: "Susan, your articles really motivate me to be a better person in my life. Girl, keep up the good work! I am waiting to buy your first book."

Same here ah, coz the old you sometimes reminds me of myself, ahaha ;)

I'm still pretty much the same, I still laze around and daydream, kakaka. Don't know when I'll really change, or maybe I won't change at all *gasp* *kakakaka*

I'm pretty much more of a "big woman" character when it comes to my bf, although I don't exhibit that in my work :P But lately I've learnt to control my ego and I find that I've become happier =D I'd love to become "small woman" too, but not much motivation now, ehehehe...

Susan said...

@pg and @autumnmusic,

Thanks to both of you. Let us all strive to be the "better" woman of today's world!

Veron said...


Personally, I think that it is a bit unfair to call the description that you have given, as small woman,and the other version is big woman.

I think end of the day, whether the woman is 'small' or 'big' it does not really matter. Most important is that what is the role that the woman want to play in her man's life.

Every man wishes to have a certain characteristics instilled in his woman, in order to be his ideal woman. Again, every man's ideal woman maybe different from another. Thats what it means by - Beauty lies on the eye of beholder'

Thus, I think if a woman playing the role of 'small'woman that you have described and that is the ideal type of woman that her man has always wanted in his life, in the Man's eye, she is his 'BIGGEST woman' of see where I am trying to get at?

At end of the day, it goes back to what is your man looking for in his woman?to provide just the emotional,supportive,understanding role or to help,assist in business?

In conclusion, most important is as woman, we are able to provide value in our Man's life..but sad to say that most of the time, what our man want from us,may not be what we actually are or willing to do.

Taking from my own experience that my ex wishes his woman to be housewife and I am exactly the opposite. But loves is one thing that can test how far you are willing to do crazy things that you always said - I will NEVER do say Never... :)

Have a good weekend

Veron said...


Just a two liner to share for your weekend..

To the world, We may be just another person.
But, to one person, We may mean the world, to the person

Therefore, as a woman, we will truly be a successful woman, when we mean the world,to our Man or in lay man's term - We mean the world in our Man's eye..

Have a smashing weekend :)

Susan said...


While I want to concur with you, but I think I need to do a little bit of clarification here.

The term "small woman" is nothing negative, so is "big woman". It is just a figurative term. To put it simply, it may means small woman need to rely on the man, while big woman can be independant.

I do not have problems with woman being just a small woman to a man - cooking meals ,staying at home, looking after the children. In fact, I salute them for being able to do that and still keep sanity intact.

However,on the other hand, I am saying sometimes, a big woman, having successful career outside, needs also learn how to be a small woman sometimes. At least emotionally dependant and take care of the man - not all the time, but maybe most of the time or just sometimes, depends what your man want (like what you said every man wants different things)

In fact, "small" and "big" role apply to the man also. Who say man cannot help out in the house and who say man cannot show his emotional side and being lovey-dovey to his woman? The man may only show this lovey-dovey side when he is alone with his woman while looking macho on the outside.

I guess, there are different facade of us that we need to activate when we are in different environment and with different people. It is not wrong to do that, in fact, it is necessary.

Let's say, in one day, you shout at your subordinate for making mistakes and almost want to fire him/her, but when you come home and discover your spouse make mistake, maybe something similar (just pretend it is something similar ), you might want to just spank him/her a little on the butt jokingly, hug him/her and say "I still love you".

Of course, there are different severity of the mistakes that cause different reactions and even punishments, but that is different things altogether.

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