In every reunion or occasion that involves a family get-together, a single woman will probably always get asked, “kailan ka mag-aasawa?” (when will you get married?). It has become the unintentional greeting titas, titos and parents welcome women with. But it is quite ironic, because if one takes a timehop back to their teenage days, room filled with Leonardo Di Caprio and Prince William posters and the latest Britney single on full blast, just about every respectable adult would tell a young lady, “Wag ka muna mag-bboyfriend” (don’t commit yourself to a boyfriend yet). Somewhere between puberty striking and womanhood creeping in an adjusting woman, the notion of no boyfriend at all has fallen into a pressure of husband requirements.

But we ask, why can’t women have both career and love? As early as the time women were allowed to participate in the labor-force, many women have chosen to pursue a successful career. And whether many admit it or not, the non-traditional route has given women the stink eye. It was the social-norm that even Carrie Bradshaw tried to fight for and Robin Scherbatsky was trying to explain. Why is it, that a woman must be pressured into marriage, into nurturing a family, but is never asked, “How is your career going, hija?”

Sure, women in this day and age are gaining a more liberal choice, but the stigma still sticks. Numerous women continue to struggle choosing to pursue their career, when some parents decide to hover over them reminding them that having children at an older age is difficult. And while these are all done out of love, who is everyone else to decide or question a woman’s choice? If a woman chooses to be a domesticated wife and a nurturing mother, by all means she should be given the free-will to do so. But if a woman wants to be a mom and an ambitious career-woman, why does it stir up negative feedback? While time will inevitably by negotiated between family and career, should self-growth really be put in the back seat?

The answer to the question is, woman can have both career and love. The society has developed so much from the time when women can and must only be housewives, today women can choose to settle down when they please, women can prioritize being a family-oriented figure and women can choose to put career before delving into marriage. The problem doesn’t really depend on whether women can or can’t (because they can), it falls under the question of why it is that women get the stink eye when juggling both their job and raising their children. Why should women be the ones to give up their job when they enter a family, even when it is sometimes more inconvenient? Why is there a lack of trust that a career-woman, who is also a mother, can learn to balance her life and job to be the best person she can be for everyone else?

It all boils down to supporting any woman, because sadly sometimes the greatest critics of women are not necessarily men, but women themselves. Maybe it’s time to start breaking the stigma and promoting women’s choices without the side-eye. Because we all know we’re already tough enough on our individual selves.