Friday, April 20, 2018

Considering a career change around your kids? Here are questions to ask first!

All mothers are busy. We can all agree on that, right? But when the kids are already spending all day in school, or you're lucky enough to have responsible household staff, and you feel that you now have time to do what you've always wanted but still have time for family, what do you do?

Many mamas feel they are missing professional challenges in their life. Now that you have a little bit of time on your hands and your long-suppressed ambitions are getting rowdy in your heart, then it might be a good idea to look through your career progression options. Whether you would like more flexibility or better time management, there is a perfect job out there for you. Before you make your final decision, however, you will need to check whether you can complete the transition and get what you want out of your new career. Here are the questions to ask yourself:

Do you have support?
Looking for a new job or asking for more work responsibilities is not just a professional decision. You have to make sure your family is behind you 100%. That means they really will be there for you when you come home late or need to meet deadlines. Supportive means they won't complain about the hours you spend studying or training. Supporting you means no emotional blackmail and making you feel guilty. It's hard enough to be a working mama so you're going to need your family's cooperation if you believe it's time to pursue your dreams.

Do you really have the time to pursue this?
One of the things mothers struggle with is time. You don’t want to spend more time away from home than necessary. If you are working full time at the moment, you might not be able to commit to training and development. If your training or further schooling is far from home, you might feel bad at the long commute, especially if you live in the traffic hell that is Manila. Before you decide which career option to go for, it is important that you check the time it will involve and if you're okay with committing to it. I'm not being discouraging, okay? I'm just being pragmatic. Best to know if you can do it than jump in and then find that you wasted your family's money and efforts because you didn't have the time to do it.

Being a consultant editor for BABY magazine was perfect! I brought the kids along to photo shoots, for example.

Can you build on your existing qualifications?
One of the best ways of speeding up your career progression or transition is to look for a new course that takes into consideration your previous qualifications. As an example, if you would like to upgrade your diploma online RN to BSN you will get credits for your previous course and get your degree faster studying at your own pace.

How flexible are your choices?
When raising kids, you will have some important responsibilities that you cannot neglect. Ideally, you would like to spend the weekends with your family, eat dinner with the kids, and be able to attend parents’ meetings and football matches. If your chosen career is not likely to give you this flexibility, you might need to look further. If, however, you will be able to work from home for a couple of days a week, you can work around your family life. That's my life now! It takes a lot of discipline, working from home, since there's a bed, a TV, and books to distract you! But I do enjoy working from home.
There's a lot of cute guys in my work place. Here's the littlest one!

Have you considered starting a business?

If you're tired of your office hours or the commute or if you're a housewife who now wants to work but doesn't want to go back to the stiff corporate environment, then you might consider starting your own business and being your own boss. Like I did! While at the beginning you’ll need to put in the extra hours and work hard, in the end you will get more freedom and money to spare. Consider your options and build on your strengths and opportunities to create a long term plan that works for you. From blogging to becoming an affiliate, virtual assistant, or online accountant, there are several options to choose from, depending on your qualifications, interest, and skills. 

I turned my blog into a business: I get sponsorships, partnerships, brand ambassadorships, and launched workshops.

Us working mamas often struggle with work-life balance. If you feel like it is time for a career change, consider your current and future commitments, and what your new job will help you to achieve. This way, you can not only improve your career, but also live a more balanced life.

*This post has paid links.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The day after our wedding

Look at what Vince found last week! Photos from the morning after our wedding!

He's showing off his wedding ring. Hindi nakita haha
My eye bags are so wow.

These were 11 years ago. I took them with my Blackberry. We were so exhausted and exhilarated. Just so giddy and happy and tired. My eye bags are huge! I swear I look younger now than I did 11 years ago haha Thank you, eye cream!

Oh, such a happy day my wedding was. But, as someone once said in a speech at another wedding a long time ago, your wedding day is not the happiest day in your life. And it's true. The next day was. And most days after that. When the children are born... Oh my dear heaven, nothing beats that day and I'm so glad I had three of those blessed days.

Sure, marriage isn't all happiness. One time, Vince and I had a massive fight and I said I wasn't happy anymore and he seethed back, "So what? I didn't marry you to make you happy. I married you till death do us part!" And I was taken aback and realized that if every couple married for happiness, then what do you do when you're not happy anymore? And in life, there is only one guarantee—it's going to be hard, sometimes so hard you can't see through the darkness and despair. That's why you vow to stick together for better and for worse. Your husband is the hand you hold as you struggle out of the muck. And we went through a lot of shit a few years ago, and we came out of it still together and stronger than ever.

I can see Vince reading that last sentence and rolling his eyes in mirth. Vince likes to tease me whenever I blog about difficulties in our marriage. He goes, "Grabe, parang maghihiwalay na tayo! Grabe ang drama!" Kainis!!! In my mind, these are real struggles. But in his mind, I guess, as long as we're together, they're nothing to be worried about. He's so stable, so secure, so sure. I love this man.

Happy anniversary, Vince! Eleven years married, 19 in love. Next year is 20 years yo! You're such a lucky guy. And I'll always be the luckiest girl.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Frances Finds: BabyLove Premium Gold Pants Diaper

Hi mamas! I just discovered the joy of shopping for diapers online!!! And I found a new diaper brand and we love it, too—BabyLove Premium Gold Pants.

But first, the back story: Ever since I've blogged about products I love, it's become stressful to do the grocery. Why??? Let me tell you this one time I wanted canned corn kernels and my usual brand had run out so I grabbed another brand instead. No biggie, right? Wouldn't you know that a blog reader just happened to pass by and remark, "Ay, diba Jolly ka?" GUYS. Stress! It's not just when there's no stock. There have been many times I wanted to try out a new product I saw on the supermarket shelf or on another mommy blogger's IG feed and I couldn't!

So I was telling the girls at work that the supermarket near the office didn't have my toddler's diaper size and I had to go to a much farther grocery store to get our usual diaper brand because I can't buy another brand in case there just happens to be some blog reader passing by to question my brand loyalty. They laughed at my ridiculousness, decided they'll never become a blogger, and said, "That's so crazy. Why don't you buy diapers from Lazada or Shopee then? They're much cheaper, there are more brands available, and they're delivered straight to your house!" Straight to my house...! Why did I never think of that?! I never realized you can buy diapers online!

So I went to Lazada and Shopee and sure enough there were diapers upon diapers upon diapers! Good thing there were official stores so it was easy to find authentic products. I was about to put our usual brand in my cart when I remembered that I am now safe to check out other brands. Oh yes! So I clicked on this diaper and that diaper and then discovered BabyLove.

Okay, here are my 5 reasons for choosing BabyLove:

1. As I was clicking away, Piero, my toddler looked over my shoulder and liked the baby on the packaging. "That one, Mama!" So I clicked on it and read the description and figured it was worth a try.

2. I did some research because of course we mommies always research on the products we use on our kids. I found out that BabyLove is a Thai brand. Now, Thailand is the last country I visited so I felt a connection. So I guess that's also why I had more interest in this diaper than the others online!

3. Mommy blogger friend, Denise of Royal Domesticity, uses it on her new baby girl. In fact, she was the one who told me about BabyLove so since I like checking out what my friends use, I said yes to this brand! Denise blogged about BabyLove here: #MyBabyMyWay should be the official hashtag of your motherhood.

4. Okay, I wanted to try a high-end diaper. Yes. Because Piero has extra sensitive skin (compared to his older brothers, he has allergic reactions to more things). My research told me that BabyLove has all the qualities I look for in a diaper: absorbs fast and well, no leaking, keeps skin dry, and made of really soft material. I was so happy that when the diapers arrived, they looked and felt and even smelled so posh!

5. I also discovered on Instagram that BabyLove is supporting mothers' choices in raising their babies through their #MyBabyMyWay campaign. We may have different ways but our choices are always dictated by love. I like that. I support that. There's just too many mommy wars out there when we should just all be supporting each other. Motherhood is hard enough already. Let's just believe that the mother who raises her kids differently than we do made the best choices given their situation. 

So I got the BabyLove Premium Gold Pants because we're trying to toilet-train Piero. The pants arrived fast and we just started using them last week and so far so good, we love the "dia-pants"—that's what Piero calls them haha. We actually still have a dozen pieces of our old diaper brand but Piero doesn't want to use them anymore! That's how much he loves his new BabyLove Premium Gold Pants!

I'll do a proper review next time since this post is getting long haha. Anyway, just sharing some good news: If you want to try BabyLove, get good deals (up to 30%-50% off, mamas!) on this great find on Shopee's Baby Fair Event on April 19-24.  Shop here!

Check out the Facebook page of BabyLove Philippines for more info!