Friday, August 19, 2016

Ask Frances: I'm a working mom. Should I quit my job?

"Ask Frances" is a monthly blog series where I will answer questions from my readers. The chosen question will receive a prize. This month's prize is a Kipling Art S tote bag.

It is soooo nice! Thanks, Kipling, for sending me this really nice bag when you opened your new Megamall store a few weeks ago. I think it makes for an excellent diaper bag, mom bag, overnighter, or carry-on luggage. It's so versatile and handy, stain-resistant, and when you unzip certain zippers, it becomes bigger! This is what it looks like:

And here are some photos I grabbed from the Kipling website:

Isn't it such a nice bag? I wanted to keep it but I already have lots of totes so I've never used this. It's best to just give it to another mommy!

Our question this month is...

I'm happily married with 4 kids aged 16, 6, 5 and 2. I recently just got back into the corporate world after being a full-time mom for 7 months. I'd been working 13 years before my stint as a full-time mom. And because of the financial difficulty, I decided to go back to work. Thing is, I work nights. We don't have a helper. And while so far, I've survived with 3-4 hours of sleep, I'm starting to think about whether it's the right decision. The income is a huge factor especially given the fact that we have 4 kids to put through school and feed. But without a helper, I am doing two full-time jobs. It's hard to look for a trustworthy helper. I've had experience where one left my then-3-year-old daughter at home all by herself and stole from us so it's become a phobia. The house is almost always messy now because I just don't have the energy to clean as I used to. 

Do I keep the job and just struggle some more? Or is it not worth the health risk and the messy house? What would you do?


I'm going to answer the "What would you do?" question. What would I do? I'd keep the job. If my family has a "financial difficulty," then I need to work. In fact, I do work now. How about the messy house? Well, if I had a husband I'm happily married to and four kids—one being a teenager—I'm going to enlist everyone to help. Yes, even the toddler can help!

D.M.A., I can answer your question in all confidence because that's my life. Since I was a child to now that I'm a mom, household help was a great help but not necessary.

My mother was a working woman but even her salary couldn't pay for household help, so my parents decreed that as soon as one of us (that would be the eldest) hit our teens, no more maids. I've been cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry for as far back as I can remember. I learned how to cook rice in a palayok (no joke) and wash my own clothes when I was 7. My father did the cooking and the childcare while my mother did the earning and the cleaning. Everything else they didn't do, my three siblings and I did.

Now that I have my own family, we also have our own chores. For example, my 6-year-old Vito helps with setting the table, loading the washing machine, and shining shoes. My 4-year-old Iñigo helps cook our meals, from prepping to washing dishes. My 2-year-old Piero packs away toys and can be counted on to fetch things. My husband cleans the house, I cook, and we both take turns taking care of the kids so we can work.

I'm saying all this to assure you that it's possible and that it's good for everyone to help around the house. It is especially important for us to impress on our kids that they need to contribute to keeping the house in order. I like to tease my kids, "If you can't pay rent, you have to do your chores!"

Iñigo making chicken in balsamic vinegar. Yum!
Your family needs the money so you're not being a bad mom by working. Your family needs you to work! What you need to do is get everyone to help around the house. That's their duty for living under your roof. If they don't keep it clean, they shouldn't live there! Joke! But you also know I'm kinda serious, right? Hugs! As a fellow mom, I know how hard it is to work and care for a family at the same time and keep the house clean, too! When the house is messy, why does no one blame the daddy and the kids??? It's always the mom's fault and that is unfair because she's not the only one living there. So make everyone help you!

A family needs to be a team. You work together. You help each other. You succeed together. It's not just for your own good; it's for the kids' own good as well. Chores teach kids responsibility, team work, accountability and independence! So make them do their chores and then email me your address so I can send you your prize from Kipling!

Kipling stores can be found nationwide. Follow their Facebook page for promos, sale announcements, and a complete list of their branches.

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If you have a question for me, send an email to with "Ask Frances" on the subject.


  1. I agree with you 100%. I grow up not learning anything about chores. True! My mum is a SAHM and so she does everything. But when our youngest (with cerebral palsy) was born, ayun na ang kalbaryo nya. None of us could cook, wash dishes or do laundry. At least I was the eldest and so I stepped up and helped in a little way. But my siblings? Diosmio! Until now, ang sarap kutusan. Masama sya kasi they would grow up really, really tamad. I always tell my sibs, our parents won't be there all your life. They are growing old. And if you don't fix your life now and move, mamamatay kayo sa gutom at baho and I swear I will let them. But at the end of the day, I can't help but blame my mum also kasi nga di naman kami ni train. And so I vowed never to do that. My 2 year old fix her stuff too. After playing, ligpit sya. If ayaw nya and ako ang nagligpit ng toys, I will keep it. And she won't be able to play for 2days. So far, its working. :)

  2. Agree! And you have a 16-year-old na so very capable na yan sa mga gawaing bahay! Ako din noon, kasi my mom is very sickly, and nung around high school ako, 4 times na sya na operahan (5 na kasi ngayon), so hindi talaga sya pwede ng heavy chores like laundry and pagbubuhat, so I did it all pati cooking, cleaning, dishes when I was around 8 years old. Naasahan na din ako nyan to look after my younger sisters and cousins. Share the load mommy, para di ka din mawindang. Wag mo akuin lahat. Another option that you can think about is baka pwede mo din iexplore mag work from home? Maraming opportunities na ganun at this time and age na competetive din naman ang pay. ��

  3. This is so true. We were trained when we were young because my mom is an OFW and my dad can't do all the chores because of his vices. I learned to cook at such a young age asking neighbors and relatives for the recipes. I learned to how to do laundry even if our comforter was bigger than me. I was the eldest so I also take good care of my younger brother. Giving responsibilities to kids are not a sin. I grew up to be an independent one. And yes having a family is a teamwork. So now having a family myself, I was content that eventhough I am the one working, my partner helps me with all the chores at home. Minsan nga mas naaawa pa ko sa kanya kung gaano sya kapagod sa bahay. We don't have any househelp. Hangga't kaya, kakayanin. Kasi totoo mas mahal pa ang kumuha ng yaya at hearing those horror stories wag na lang. Atleast, panatag ako na papa pa rin nila ang nag aalaga sa kanila. Pag dumating na sila sa right age na pwede ng iwanan at utusan ayun pwede na kameng magtulungan for the finances. My salary is almost enough for us. I also think of staying at home and work pero sa pangangailangan din ng family ko, I need to sacrifice, bawi-bawi na lang kapag weekend. :)

  4. along with training your family to be responsible for their own chores, its all about planning and organisation. there are lots of hacks and tricks to make house chores easy. For example, when it comes to cooking, have some meal plans so that when you are grocery shopping, you are efficient. also, you can cook ahead, say once a week, then the rest of your week will be a breeze. When it comes to cleaning, encourage your family to maintain cleanliness at home - be tidy, always wipe spills, flush the toilet properly, sweep everyday, etc. And when you see some dirt or mess, spot clean straight away, instead of waiting for your "cleaning day". that way, you are only cleaning around 15- 20 mins a day and there will be no "cleaning day" anymore where u spend the whole day of hours and hours of cleaning. For laundry, be on top of it, do it regularly and dont let it pile up, encourage your kids (ang hubby) to put their used clothes properly in hampers, sorted by colours etc to make life easier.

    if you really want some household help as well, you can also hire those that come in just once a week to help you wash clothes or iron or clean your house. they are cheaper because they are not stay ins.

  5. Agree! Both of my parents are working when I was still in school. we had household help but they also taught us the household chores. Up to this day my favorite task is cleaning the house! Good exercise for you as well tehehe!


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