Saturday, July 20, 2019

What's the price of perfection?

I woke up today yelling this: "Holy shit!"

Sounds like a bad day but it wasn't haha I just forgot to set my alarm clock last night because it's a Saturday today and I always sleep in on weekends. But today was a busy day! One of my boys had a math competition at 8am (I woke up at 7 hence the panic!), then we had to pick up tons of toys from my sister-in-law who moved to Canada, then I had a parent-teacher conference at 11, and all of that on top of the neverending chores!

Just a typical day in my chaotic life! Now before you all go, "Oh, how cute. She's trying to be authentic," haha that's not the point of my kwento today. I was just thinking while I was doing the laundry that kahit na parang sobrang nakakapagod ng life ko, for me and for my husband, it is so perfect.

Well, sana mas marami kaming pera! And sana we had a cleaner house. And sana I can sleep 8 hours every night. And sana someone else cooked and cleaned. And sana Vince and I had more time for sex hahaha But seriously, hindi man the dictionary definition of perfection, it's really a wonderful life as is. And I want to declare that here because I complain a lot about my life. Vince even said last year that if people were to judge what I keep posting on Facebook, parang hindi ako masaya because I keep saying, "I'M SO TIRED!!!"

Well, I'm tired talaga but it's a good tired, you know? Yung kahit puyat ako, alam ko naman masarap ang baon ng mga anak ko. Yung kahit hindi ako nakalaan ng oras for self-care, alam ko naman na ready ang mga anak ko sa mga tests nila. Yung kahit I wanted sana to nap, okay lang kasi malinis at mabango ang labada ko. Gets???

And I know I could have all the stuff I mentioned and also get to nap and spend time for myself if I have a kasambahay but we decided na ayaw na namin ng mga issues na dala ng may ibang tao sa bahay. It's okay. Our exhaustion is the price we pay for having precious privacy and letting our kids learn how to be independent. Some people don't want that price and that's okay, too.

Which made me think about what we have to do to have the life we want. Yes, yun talaga ang point ng post na ito and sorry sa mahabang intro haha.

Mommying in the time of Instagram. If it looks too good to be true, just remember: It took a lot to make it look that good!

Yesterday, I was chatting with a mommy and she was upset because a relative told her she has to be more hands-on with her baby. I replied that her cousin is just reacting to all her posts on Facebook: She's at the gym, out shopping, lunching with friends, on a late dinner date with her husband. Parang wala nga naman siyang anak! And the mommy replied that she was going through really bad post-partum depression (don't worry, she agreed that I can share this). So she was just following her doctors' orders—get a lot of exercise, get out of the house, don't be alone with the baby, be around people. And to us who are just looking on, we don't see the whole situation. We see maybe na wow ang saya naman ng nanay na ito, nasa gym at mall palagi! But we don't see the deep reasons why she has to do all those "shallow" things. She wasn't saying the real reason because no one understands PPD anyway and she'll just get flack if she shares her situation.

So parang baliktad kami. On social media, I'm always like, "I'm so tired!" but I'm actually really happy. And siya naman, she seems like, "My life is so carefree!" when in truth, she's going through a very serious problem. And we ended our chat with her saying, "I'd rather people think I'm this shallow person than put myself and my baby in harm's way by ignoring my depression."

So that's the price she's willing to pay.

We all imagine someone else is living a better life than we are. Oh wow, she's so sexy. Oh wow, she doesn't look losyang. Oh wow, she has so many businesses. Oh wow, her kids are in so many enrichment classes. What we don't see is the hours she has to spend at the gym and the calories she counts. We don't see the hours and money she spends at the salon and the spa. We don't see the stress of managing businesses and people. We don't see that she has no time for herself anymore because she's the one shuttling her kids to this class and that sport and that activity.

The perfect life we imagine varies. I don't envy gorgeous and sexy mommies because I know what it takes for them to look that amazing and I'm just not willing to spend my time at the gym and deprive myself of rice! I don't envy mommies who travel a lot either because my family and I love chilling at home lang. Kakapagod umalis ng bahay potek. Gagastos ka pa! Stay home and read na lang. We've traveled farther than anyone who's jumped on a plane! We've gone inside the earth, the bottom of the sea, to space, and other worlds and dimensions!

You know whose lives look so amazing to me? Moms who have businesses kasi yun talaga ang gusto ko. I have my own writing business naman and it's thriving, but I'm aware I can earn more if I devote more time to it. But ayaw talaga namin ng kasambahay so eto ako, biding my time. I also want to start more businesses but yun nga, walang time pa talaga so when I see other mompreneurs, I get envious—but also inspired! But because I have many mompreneur friends, even though they look so amazing on social media, they tell me it's kind of hellish also.

So there. May perfect life ba? Wala. But we pursue what we want and sacrifices are made. Are we willing to give up so much to have the life we want? Of course! Are we willing to give up so much to have the life others have? Not so much. So when we see perfect lives, let's remember they have to go through a lot of shit to get there. Me, I seem to have this penchant of just showing the bad parts of my life but it's pretty perfect to me. I think I mentioned somewhere here before that I have this secret fear that if the Universe sniffs out how wonderful my life is, baka may bawiin kasi life has to be unfair.

Well, life is unfair. Even the amazing lives we see come with a price. All of us are willing to pay it as long as we get the perfect dream life. Our own version of perfect, of course, so when we see what others are doing to look great or do what they do or go where they go, let's just appreciate what we see kasi marami silang pinagdaanan or sinakripisyo para makuha yan (kahit ba hindi natin type yung ginawa nila or yung buhay nila haha). Ika nga ng isang napaka-wise na Pinoy saying, "Walang basagan ng trip!"

What we see online isn't the whole story. And while I would really really REALLY want everyone to just talk about how hard life is so that we can all fully appreciate what it takes for dreams to come true, I also know that many of us aren't comfortable with the ugly, the raw, the pain. So when people show their curated life, let's not say it's fake. Let's just be happy that what they show the world is their version of perfect!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Pink and orange finds at Zalora

In case you didn't know, Zalora is on sale right now and I advise you to avoid it at all costs as you are bound to buy something. I did! I bought a rainbow-striped dress from Mango and a green floral granny dress from I don't know what brand. So fun! Go shop now haha

My kids saw what I bought and my youngest asked, "Mama, why do you never wear your favorite colors?" And I said, "My favorite colors are too bright." And he said, "If you really like pink and orange, you should wear them all the time so you can be happy all the time!"

So I told him that the real reason I don't wear pink and orange together is because I'm going to look like I work at Pancake House. Actually, I love everything Pancake House so maybe working there AND getting to wear pink and orange isn't a bad idea!

Apply kaya ako...

Since my kid wanted me to shop for something pink and orange anyway, I obliged him and we found these at Zalora:

Mango Printed Shift Dress in Stripe Print. From P2,695 to P1,995.
My favorite colors and my favorite print—stripes! I also love the retro vibe.

Mango Printed Shift Dress in Floral Print. From P2,695 to P1,995.
I love the flower print. Pink is a sweet color but the graphic print doesn't make the dress look saccharine.

Mango Contrast Bicolor Dress. From P3,995 to P1,995.
I love wrap dresses and the fact that the black ribbon grounds the brightness of this dress.

Wallis Swirl Print Dress, P5,999.
Very pretty but costs too much.

Dorothy Perkins Wrap Dress, P2,995.
I like this but it would be better with longer sleeves and a longer hem. It will look more Diane Von Furstenberg, less tiangge. Diba?

My son's favorite is the two-tone Mango dress but I dunno. Parang pang-payat super lang ang ganyang design. Medyo may tiyan kasi ako so baka magmukha akong buntis haha

This color combo really makes me happy! But these 5 are the only ones I found on Zalora. I guess it's not a very popular color pairing. Where else can I find pink and orange clothes?

*photos grabbed from Pancake House and Zalora.

Monday, July 08, 2019

7 things to do before having your wisdom teeth removed

Halloooo everybody! My husband has a dental appointment this week and this post is for him. Because I love him. And also for you in case you're putting off your dental surgery!

Anyway, I can write about this because I have had soooo many teeth removed. I have huge teeth but a small jaw. That means my teeth were all crowded and pushed out of my mouth. So for my teeth to be straightened out, I have had quite a lot of teeth pulled out. Here's my advice before you have a tooth extraction and/or your wisdom tooth surgery.

What to do before having your wisdom teeth removed:

1. Set the appointment in the evening. This is so you'll just go straight home after your surgery and weep into your pillow. Hahaha! No, no. It's not that bad! I didn't feel any pain at all actually. What I did feel was a wooziness from the anaesthesia, plus a general discomfort of having my teeth pulled out, and the slightly yucky knowledge that I'm swallowing blood.

2. Clear your schedule. Don't even think of doing anything the day after your surgery. While wisdom tooth extraction is just minor surgery, the fact is you still had surgery. I had planned on attending a friend's nail sparty the day after my extraction (I mean, I'd just be sitting down and gossiping, right?). But as I got ready to go, I realized two things: I can't get ready because my movements made my wound ooze blood, and I can't talk and eat so what's the point of socializing???

3. Do your major cleaning. This is for the moms (and dads like my husband) who love cleaning the house. Since you'll be stuck at home a day or two after surgery, you might want to clean up your house first. Don't attempt to do chores just because you're home. Exerting will just raise your blood pressure and make your wound bleed. So keep house before surgery, then relax after. Besides, you won't have any energy to do anything anyway because you'll be hungry.

4. Prepare your special food. Yogurt, apple sauce, soup mixes, soft scrambled eggs, and a lot of ice cream. No hot anything either so no hot coffee, hot tea or hot soup. No sodas and no alcohol either. That's really the worst of this whole experience—going on a baby food diet. I got so hungry!!! I don't have much of an appetite because of my bloody mouth but my stomach is still looking for food anyway. It really drove me crazy.

Oh, and cook your food for the next day. That's because when you move too much, your wound will ooze out blood. So cook it now so you won't have to cook the day after the extraction. Since you can't eat anything hot, you might as well cook food good enough for a week. No need to reheat! Just take out from the ref and thaw, then try hard not to miss the steaming hot goodness of freshly cooked food.

5. Buy your meds and alcohol-free mouthwash. Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics, painkillers and an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash. Buy all those before the procedure. I went to the pharmacy after mine and because my mouth was half-dead from the anaesthesia, my mouth was drooling bloody saliva without me feeling it and my unfeeling tongue said, "I wannu buy theeth pleeth."

6. Put a towel over your pillows. Because you will drool blood (guaranteed!) and you don't want to mess up your sheets.

7. Eat a big meal before going to the dentist. Because you will not want to eat for hours and hours after. And you'll have to eat baby food for a while.

You can also pray hehe. Joke! Wisdom tooth removal is painless. I promise!

That's it. Vince, you'll be fine! I love you! Mwah!

Friday, July 05, 2019

I think I can blog again

2008 at my first ever bloggers conference at Singapore with Erica Paredes and Alodia Gosiengfiao. At this moment, I never even considered that my life would be changed by blogging forever. It changed my career trajectory, it saved me and my family when our magazine careers died, and it gave me so many friends (and haters!). Blogging has given me so much, and taken so much, but now I feel I can take it back again. 

Remember blogging before 2010? Before Facebook, which everyone with a blog and website now needs to promote, we bloggers relied on word-of-mouth and Google. I'd get maybe 300 views a day and I was happy. People who came upon my blog were usually people who were just like me—weird and too honest—and the kindred spirit made me feel not so alone in this world.

Facebook changed all that. Plus all the exposure I got as a mommy blogger back in 2012. I started racking up to 60,000 page views a month. While the audience was much bigger, they were also not my people and I got a lot of negativity in the comments. It was strange because I was getting a lot of love from brands, hence the blog became a business; but I was also getting a lot of hate from strangers. I kept blogging because the money made it possible for me to stay home with my kids—that was the most important thing. But my heart was heavy and my mind not so healthy. And though the income was welcome, I also realized I couldn't be as honest anymore because brands like chirpy, I'm-so-blessed, oh-so-positive mommies. They didn't like brutally honest mommies who struggled with despair, exhaustion, and the fact that marriage and motherhood can be so damn hard.

Looking back, I don't feel any anger or resentment towards the brands that helped me or the people who hated me. It's a business so you have to respect the arrangement. It's a public platform so you gotta deal with people who don't like you. That's all. I think I have a healthy attitude now because brands have shifted their attention to Instagram and bloggers like me don't matter anymore.

And what a relief hahaha

Yes! I feel relief! I don't have to check my stats anymore! I don't have to blog when I'm lazy and tired just to keep the audience engaged! I don't have to entertain. I can just live my life again and share what I want again and I can say bad words and bad feelings and basically be... authentic.

Yes, that much-abused word. I like to think I remained true throughout my blogging career. What changed would be if before I would say what I think and feel—and I can be mayabang or mega nega or depressed—I had refrained from doing that. Actually, I still did write a lot of blog posts that were far from happy-happy-joy-joy. Motherhood was really a bitch to me. I love being a mom but it's fucking hard and maybe because I didn't want to be a mom, I had a harder time with it. But I couldn't really say that, you know? It's not... advertiser-friendly.

So I just focused on the positive even though I was going through post-partum depression and my marriage was going through hell. Hindi ko naman tinago yun. Diba I still wrote about those years? But I wrote about them when I was out of them na, so that may positive spin pa rin. You know, "I went through shit but I came out of it victorious and here are 5 lessons I learned and this was brought to you by Brand A." Hehe still brutally honest but also kinda full of bullshit haha

Joking aside, I tried to be authentic and honest all the time. I hope you agree.

But I'm also past that, that feeling that I need to write for you. When I blog thinking about the sponsor and the reader, I fail me. I. Fail. Me. And when I'm unhappy, I can't make anyone else happy, right?

I am so grateful to my sponsors and to my readers but it started getting scary when readers got angry at me for killing off Topaz Mommy ("Yan na nga lang binabasa ko, kukunin mo pa!"), for not posting about my kids anymore ("Madamot ka!"), for not blogging when they wanted me to ("Mommy, wag kang tamad."). I went through a few years wondering if I should do what my readers want—sing and dance, offer my kids as entertainment, share the most intimate parts of my life as a pastime. And I decided, as I watched vloggers do stunts to rack up views, and bloggers renovate their houses to be Instagram worthy, and influencers get into debt just to have a social media moment, I decided I'm going to just be me. And if people think that me is boring, then so be it.

And as if to make me feel better about my decision, the strangest thing happened. I got into the PR business and learned—now that I'm on agency-side—that brands don't like blogs anymore anyway. They prefer Instagram and you have to have at least 10K followers to be even considered. I only have 8K followers. And then readers also prefer Facebook and Instagram now. They don't like clicking links or even visiting #linkinbio. There are no readers anymore. People don't like to read, and they don't like blogs that have loooooong posts like this. So I guess my blogging as a business is dying haha

I say this with a truly relieved heart. Sure, I was sad. But I can claim my blog again. I can say shit and fuck again. I can even maybe not blog anymore. And that's okay. It's okay! My blog can be what it was like way back before 2010 when I just rambled about my dumb thoughts and silly observations of life and the universe, when I just shared my eBay finds, when I talked about movies I watched without trying to list down 5 lessons learned so I can be "inspirational" and it's such a relief!

I know you understand because only my Loyal Readers are around to read this anyway. You who have stuck around for years and years, through my many incarnations, and my many many confused, angry, depressed posts. That's why I feel like I was ready to write this post because I know you'll understand that I may have pulled back, I may have shown you peeks instead of the whole show, I may have done what I could to make brands and my readers happy, but ultimately you understand that I need my blog to be my own space. And you're the kind of reader who respects that.

That's why I love you and I'm so grateful for you all. You guys inspire me to still keep blogging! Even though I've wanted to quit so many times! So many other readers told me to do this, do that. But my Loyal Readers just stayed and read and encouraged and even criticized, but always I felt your open mind and welcoming hearts. Thank you.

I think I can blog again, the way I used to. And I hope that's okay with you, too.

*photo by Ashley Gosiengfiao

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Meet my new Cath Kidston London Icons appliqué wallet!

I finally have a new wallet! And I love it! Mamas, meet my Cath Kidston London Icons appliqué wallet. I lost my old wallet back in April and I searched long, far and wide for a new one to replace it. Finally, I was browsing Zalora and saw Cath Kidston was sold there (I didn't know!). I took some screenshots of the wallets I liked, posted them on my Instagram Stories and asked my followers to vote. I said I'd get the wallet that got the most votes. And London Icons won!

I'm doing a little reveal here for you because I promised my followers, the ones who voted, that I'll do a blog post on it. And here it is! I wanted this one because of 3 things:

1. I love everything that has polka dots.
2. It has icons of my most favorite city in the world, London—where I spent my honeymoon!
3. The icons are appliquéd, which adds texture and quirkiness to an otherwise normal wallet.

It won by one vote, by the way. But when the other wallet was winning, I knew I wanted this one to win. Nope, it wasn't a tie and, nope, I didn't vote for the London Icons to be the tie-breaker!

It's a long wallet, though, which I was hoping to avoid because the wallet I had lost was big and I think it fell out of my bag when I fished for my asthma medicine while I was walking home. Also big wallets take up so much space in my bag! But I've been using this for a couple of weeks now and I love it! Let's look inside!

It has many many pocketses! There's a zip compartment for coins and beside it a simple compartment for bills. The long wallet is not long enough for the peso bills, though. It's built for the British pound, so I just fold my bills.

Aside from the generous slots for my cards, there are also 2 secret compartments lying flat against the sides. I haven't figured out what to put there yet.

So there you have it! A peek at my new wallet that you all helped me get! Thank you! And thank you also to my dearest Loyal Readers who actually sent me DMs saying they prayed over my wallet—that it will never get lost and that it will always be full of money. Guys, I love you. Thank you so much for loving me!

You can buy your own Cath Kidston London Icons wallet from Zalora or you can check out the other wallets at the Cath Kidston flagship store at Bonifacio High Street at BGC, Taguig.

Monday, July 01, 2019

My loves and my lives, slipping through my fingers

June is over and what a whirlwind it was. The kids started school. As I am now a veteran mommy of schoolkids, gone are the days of panic and stress. Okay, I was still stressed and slept maybe 3 hours every night (3 schoolkids means 3 sets of uniforms, books, school supplies, and baon and more loads of laundry!) and that's not good. But at least I'm no longer on the edge of panic and anxiety. I'm a lot relaxed now and that's good.

Vito is now Grade 3
Iñigo is Grade 2.
Piero is Kinder.

But as I watch the not-so-little ones chatter away happily at breakfast and come home noisily in the afternoon, I realize they have their own lives now. Own days, own friends, own music, little worlds I don't belong in anymore, and when once I felt suffocated by their sheer need to be in my space 24/7, now they are creating pockets of their life away from me and their Papa. And that's good. That is always good.

My heart breaks a little each day anyway, knowing they're not really mine, that no matter how tightly I hug them close, I don't possess them. They are their very own and I'm only here to raise them—not for me—but for someone else. That's motherhood for you, and that's okay.

Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while

The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when she's gone, there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can't deny
What happened to those wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why, I just don't know
Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Schoolbag in hand she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile