Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Losing myself

So today I went to the mall to buy a prepaid SIM card for me, and also get new glasses for me, and shop for me. It was an errand FOR ME. But I get there and I saw this jar of M&Ms chocolate spread and of course I bought it because I got so excited to see my kids try it. And I also got milk tea because my kids love milk tea (never mind that my backpack was suddenly 2 kilos). And then I got new shirts for my husband because wala lang. And then I checked out bedsheets because my sons said they love hotel sheets.

And then I saw I had a few minutes left before I had to go home! So I rushed to Smart and to the first optical shop I saw (Ideal Vision) and I was still able to do what I needed to do and I thought, whew, at least I was able to do what I needed to do for me!

Then as I was riding the taxi back home, laden with packages, I realized I always think about wanting some time for myself but when I have it, I'm thinking of them. When I'm working on my computer, I also open tabs looking at hotels we can staycation at. I look at their photos on my phone when I'm stuck in traffic. I think about my husband when love songs play on the radio. They're always on my mind even though I really don't want to think about them sometimes. And I realized I don't know how to live for just myself anymore and that's a lot scary because the kids will leave one day and I really don't want to become a widow... 

But you know those times you absolutely loathe your husband and kids because they drive you insane and you imagine what life would be like if you'd chosen to stay single? Do you see yourself traveling the world and wearing killer outfits and pursuing your hobby like, I dunno, rowing maybe or collecting fine art, and you're definitely slimmer and with no flabby tummy stretched by multiple pregnancies? I know you imagine that, too. I think all wives and mommies do. 

Well, if I had stayed single, I think I'd be happy anyway, happily living for myself. But this life for others, it feels awful sometimes but it's also really sneakily wonderful underneath all this exhaustion and running around and losing oneself. 

I promised I'd never lose myself when I become a wife, when I become a mother. But I see now I'm not losing me. I'm becoming me. And this me is not just for me. And that's exactly what I'm supposed to be.

Friday, August 10, 2018

My 2019 media kit is ready! Plus, a bit on being depressed

I'm finally done making my blog's media kit for 2019! I usually make a media kit around August, then email them to agencies and brands at around September to October. I get polite, noncommittal replies throughout November. Nothing in December. But by January, I get proposals na.

So, bloggers, make a media kit now!

This media kit is actually two separate pages. I just put them side by side so it will be blurry. Para hindi niyo masyadong mabasa hehe. Send me an email if you want to get a clear copy (and collaborate!). Also, I should have new photos taken. I'm still using the ones that Louie Arcilla took in 2016. If you want to create a media kit, too, use Canva. There's a lot of beautiful templates available there. 

What do you think of my 2019 media kit? It's simpler than my 2017 one. Yes, I skipped a year. I didn't make one for 2018. Too exhausted from 2017 being a not-so-good year (physically, mentally, and as a mother). In fact, I remember praying, "Lord, I just want to rest this year. One whole year that I can sleep and just focus on my kids. I'm so tired." And to make sure I have less work, hindi talaga ako nag-send ng proposals last year. 

Yet God had other plans. He sent me Nido 3+, BabyLove diapers, National Book Store, Gold Seas Tuna Chunks, Fern-C, Kinder Joy, Downy, Olay, Manulife, and Mr Muscle. Most of these brands were interested to work with me not because I pitched to them but because friends recommended me to them. So thank God for friends! Imagine if I got my way and I didn't have any work at all this year. Di tunganga kami sa gutom, right. While I wasn't allowed to rest from co-providing for my family, what God did instead was heal me. I feel healthier this year. My anxiety also dissipated. I have a better attitude this year. 

So maybe yun lang pala talaga problema ko. I had a bad attitude last year because I had a hard time coping with being a mother to my school kids, being 40 and with no career prospects, no achievements, declining health, diminishing looks, aging, fattening, uglification of me and my life. Dear heavens, yes, when I'm depressed, I just really focus on the negative! 

But I'm better this year! I started exercising and eating better this summer. Did me a lot of good! But I stopped as soon as school started because I'm just so TIRED again. I sleep a lot instead. Doctors say if you have to choose between sleep and exercise, always choose sleep. Maybe if I get a kasambahay to do the chores, then I can use that time to exercise. But I can't afford a kasambahay now actually. Tuition is killing us huhu So I need to work more so I can afford a kasambahay!

And that's why I made a media kit! I'll be pitching to my favorite brands soon. Just figuring out what I can do for them. I always want to work WITH brands, not FOR them. While I always collaborate with brands I already use (because dapat may integrity tayo, mamas), not all the brands I use want to work with me. The reasons I hear are I'm not big enough as an influencer and/or not young or sexy enough hehehe. Ganyan talaga. So I need to either start lying about my age or start exercising and start posting bikini shots on Instagram! No joke. Even mommies in bikinis posing on the beach or by the pool will attract tons of followers. So if ever I start posting bikini shots, alam na (#forthegram).

One thing that always convinces brands is my fantastic writing skills. Naks! "Fantastic" is an adjective that only I came up with to describe my writing skills haha. Modesty aside, I do write better than most influencers out there and brands grudgingly agree. They want to at least get one blogger who can be coherent about their product. Hindi yung "This is so yummy! #blessed #sponsored" lang. So if you're not sexy, pretty or young, you can still get brands to work with you by being TALENTED.

Now, go, dear mama blogger. Make a media kit for 2019. List down the brands you want to work with. Find out who their digital manager is (use Linkedin). Think of ways you can work together (you will cook a recipe for Gold Seas Tuna every month, you will share your crafting projects on IG and say everything came from National Book Store, etc). Send a proposal. Make sure that your proposal is short, clear and grammatically correct. Then pray and wait.

Good luck!    

Saturday, August 04, 2018

My kids' favorite yummy reward is Kinder Joy

My mama readers ask me now and then if my kids have chores and if I reward them for doing their chores. Here's the answer: My kids have chores. Since they're still young, their chore list isn't long, just the usual (make your bed, pack away your toys, help set and clear the table, put away your shoes).

For chores, they don't get rewards. For doing homework, no rewards, either. We believe that kids shouldn't be rewarded for things they have to do. But for things they don't have to do but do anyway (like shine shoes that aren't theirs, wash the car), yes, we reward them with either money or treats.

When summer came, however, I relaxed my rule on no rewards for lessons because they shouldn't be studying anything during their holidays! Still, I bought a few math books (multiplication and division for Vito, addition and subtraction for Iñigo, numbers and shapes for Piero) and assigned 30 minutes for review per day. Of course, not one child wanted to study, but because I offered treats for every session they completed, they happily did their lessons!

The treats? I gave them their favorite Kinder Joy eggs!

I like Kinder Joy because it combines an edible product made with high quality ingredients on one side and exciting toys on the other. Yes! Two-in-one treat! And the third aspect I love about it is that the toy is a surprise so the kids are always excited to open a Kinder Joy egg and discover what's inside.

Two wafer balls in a bed of cream!

We started buying Kinder Joy more often last year, when our littlest boy turned 3. Since the toys are tiny, we waited till Piero was old enough to know he's not supposed to eat the toy. Now all my kids are thrilled that Mama gets them Kinder Joy.

There are over 90 toys to discover so it's a fun project for the entire family every time the boys open one. (In our case, we open three eggs in one go!) Yep, Mama and Papa participate because the toys inside have to be built. The kids love putting together the toy, and we help them with the instructions and sometimes we show them how the toy works. Now that our eldest is 7, he helps his little brothers, too, so that makes me extra proud. The toys really make them think, be creative, and play together.

And let's not forget the other half of the egg—the snack! Kinder Joy has two crispy wafer balls nestled in two creams: milky cream and cocoa cream. I actually have eaten Kinder Joy and can attest that it's delicious. Kids are happy with anything sweet but I'm super maarte and to be honest with you, very few candy, chocolates, desserts and pastries pass my taste test. So my kids hate it when I say “no” to requests for sweet stuff simply because their Mama says, "Not that. Hindi masarap 'yan." You can bet they're beyond delighted that Kinder Joy passed my test!

In my family, we like Kinder Joy mostly because opening the egg delivers a yummy snack (in a controlled portion, too!), a toy that stimulates their mind, and moments of fun family bonding. Great mom find!

I really like this snack!

Kinder Joy is available at all leading supermarkets all over the Philippines so it shouldn't be difficult to find. Just buy a few eggs and give your kid one every time he does a chore or finishes a task. Your child will love the chocolate and the toy inside! So head to the nearest leading supermarket now and get your kids some #worldofkj fun! #kinderjoyphilippines

*This post is brought to you by Kinder Joy.