Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motherhood. Show all posts

Monday, August 21, 2017

Piero is 3!

Piero is 3 years and 6 weeks old today. Yes, this is a birthday post 6 weeks delayed! A big part of the reason for the delay is Piero himself. In the last 6 weeks, his development has been huge—he's suddenly talking clearly, he's drawing real drawings (not scribbles), he's agreed to take baths without screaming bloody murder, he finally agreed to get a haircut (so we booked that salon appointment ASAP), he's asking TONS of questions and he won't let you go unless you answer them. It's been a fascinating few weeks, everyone!

We're so grateful that the Terrible Twos are over!!!

Today, I'll share with you a few photos from his little birthday. As usual, we had to have the cake early in the morning. We've given up dressing up the boys for the pictures—dressing up really early in the day just for pictures puts them in a bad mood so we're all in sleepwear with unwashed faces and unbrushed hair here. My mother would've been so disappointed haha She was very particular about keeping up appearances!

If there's one thing motherhood has taught me, however, it's you need to pick your battles. And much as it would be lovely to be like one of those stylish Instagram mommies with their stylish Instagram kids, my kids would rather be sloppily happy. So be it!

Piero's obsessed with Spider-Man now so he wanted a Spider-Man cake. We got one from Goldilocks. And he loved it!

He leaned in close to blow out his birthday candle...

And got cake all over himself!!! Sticky icing everywhere! Cake destroyed! Brothers amused! But I saw Piero start to get upset that his Spider-Man pajama top had frosting so I whisked him away and changed his shirt (thank goodness we have LOTS of Spider-Man shirts!), washed him up, tried to get as much icing off his hair as I could, and then we went back and blew out that candle again!

And had some cake. Hooray!

Disaster averted! Birthday party rescued!

Now for the gifts!

Piero got gifts from his brothers and his Mama and Papa and he was super happy. But he was even happier when we all piled into the car and went to Kidzoona!

We have soooo many photos of the birthday boy and his brothers enjoying Kidzoona! They were so happy! But little boys need to rest their excited little bodies so we all went back home for Piero's favorite - ube ice cream!

Dear Piero, you're such a character. Always bossy, always loud, always filling up the room with your personality, always insisting that you must have your way in a house where everyone is bigger than you. You never let anything make you feel small and you never give up or give in. While you're just like your parents, we have a sneaky suspicion you're going to be so much more than Papa and Mama will ever be simply because you insist on being gigantic in every way.

I pray that you'll always be stubborn and assertive. I'll just need to ask God that He show me and your Papa how to teach you to be a very good and righteous man so that you can use that stubbornness and aggression to fight for the weak, the small, and the downtrodden. I see big things coming your way, little boy. And you will take them on like the giant that you are! I can't wait to see this happen, my dearest Piero! Happy birthday, Mr. P! We LOVE you!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What exactly is a supermom?

I've been called supermom by a lot of people and I always ask, "Why do you say that? You don't live in my house!" I laugh. The person I'm talking to laughs and I sometimes get these answers:

"You cook!"
"You have no yaya!"
"You work and you're hands on!"
"You don't look like a mom!"

So, moms, if you want to be a supermom, you can't look like a mom. Whatever that means.

So, moms, if you want to be a supermom, you have to have a career AND be the sole caregiver of your kids.

So, moms, if you want to be a supermom, fire your yaya right now. Pati yung katulong at driver!

So, moms, if you want to be a supermom, you have to do all the cooking yourself.

I'm not ungrateful for having my efforts as a mother praised. Thank you. But you don't see my struggles, my laziness, my impatience, my temper, my self-pity. You don't see me when I'm crying because I got caught up in work and lost track of the time and suddenly it's lunch time and I'm running around the kitchen feeling like an absolute failure. You don't see me when I'm yelling at the kids because they just won't stop fighting and hurting each other. You don't see me in my ratty shorts and shirts with breastmilk stains and wondering when I can take a shower.

But who wants to see that? Even I don't want to see myself that way. It's just not... super. It's all sorts of sad and frustrating and exhausting.

This photo is from a previous oh-so adowable post

And yet today, I will agree that I am a supermom. Today, I woke up after just a few hours of interrupted sleep to make breakfast for my kids. I did two loads of laundry (whites and uniforms first, colored clothes next). I washed the dishes and cooked lunch. I breastfed the baby and put him down for a nap. I set the table, ate lunch with my family, then helped Vito with his homework. Then after a little rest, I slapped on foundation and kilay, threw on an old shirt and comfy mommy jeans so that my family can troop to the mall and have a snack. Oh, and get food for a school picnic and buy a steamer, too, because I absolutely hate ironing.

It's Sunday. God calls it rest day. But no mother rests on a Sunday. Every supermom I know gets up every single day and gets through the day. Whether she has a job or not. Whether she has household help or not. Whether she's married or single. We take care of everything. We're supermoms. Every mom who works hard to make her family happy and healthy—though there will be times she will fail!—is a supermom.

And if you're a mom and you don't think you're super just because you don't look the part, or because you don't cook, or because you have a career, or because you need a village to help raise your kids, think again. Your love for your babies is your superpower.

Now isn't that super?

Friday, October 14, 2016

What my kids do while they wait for me to dress up

Now that my boys are a wee bit bigger, I can now spend more than 5 minutes in my bathroom. I can shower now, I can brush my teeth now, I can apply my moisturizer and eye cream and makeup, I can blow dry my hair. I can now feel gorgeous again!!! I mean, joking aside, the last 6 years have taken a toll on my skin and hair and teeth. The pregnancies. The sleeplessness. The missed meals, the wolfed-down meals. The rushed pooping (yep, it's hard to poop when little hands are banging on the bathroom door). The rushed, sometimes missed, brushing of teeth. The skincare regimen... what skincare regimen???

But now my kids are older and that means they leave me alone for a bit now. That means I now spend about 30 to 45 minutes in the bathroom. And it is a glorious 30 to 45 minutes, my friends!

I always assumed that in that span of time, my kids play or watch TV. I found out recently that they and their Papa are up to something else.

First, Vince dresses them up in much better outfits than if I did it. My sons always look like they rolled out of bed when I dress them up!

Then, all cute and handsome, the boys do a photo shoot for their Papa.
And they laugh and joke and play and laugh and sing and dance and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Then the boys start getting a wee bit impatient and start looking for me. 

"Where's Mama? What is taking her so long? Why is it taking such a looooong time?"

I know this because I dress up with the bedroom door ajar and my kids talk really loud and I can hear them chattering away.

And Vince says he doesn't know what's taking me so long but then he also says that Mama must be really pretty by now and the boys all agree that Mama is pretty, even when I haven't showered or even when I'm without makeup or even when I'm dressed in my ratty rags.

And I go all melty inside. Until Iñigo says he thinks I'm prettier with lipstick on.

So I quickly swipe on a lipstick and then hurry out of the bedroom and the boys all go, "Finally!" And they look at me and then they say, "Mama, you're pretty."

And my head knows I've had other days in a distant glamorous past when I've been waaaaay prettier than I look now as a harried mom of three, but my heart feels more beautiful now than I've ever felt before because three little boys and their daddy love me love me love me no matter what.

I love being a mommy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why we shouldn't ignore our children

This is the Still Face Experiment.

It shows that when we don't react and interact with our children, it upsets them and hinders them from learning. Their emotional, mental and psychological development is severely compromised.

And that's why I now feel bad that I'm a work-at-home mom!

Working at home is really hard because I need to focus on the tasks. Like, really focus. Anyone who works knows that! After all, writing and editing articles, replying to emails, talking to people on the phone, doing accounting—these things can't be done while distracted. And while there's that adage that truthfully says, "Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work," it was said at a time when mothers didn't work and weren't expected to work (the quote is attributed to writer C.S. Lewis). Things are much different now.

Oh! I'm making excuses for my behavior.

Many moms tell me how lucky I am to spend time with my kids and work at the same time. I always agree (and I really do!), but I also feel guilty because I may be with my kids but I'm not really with them when I work. And lately, I've been getting irritated a lot at my sons when they demand my attention. "Look at what I draw, Mama! Look at what I eat, Mama! Look at the funny guy in TV, Mama! Look at me, Mama!"

And I snap, "Yes, yes! Stop bothering me. I'm working!"

I feel horrible.

Do any of you work-at-home moms do the same thing? How do you deal with this? I've tried not working when the kids are awake, so I work really late at night. But it's my health that suffers. I seriously don't know what to do. Except maybe go work in an office, like I used to. Back then, when I did that, I worked when I had to work, then left the work at the office so I can really pour my attention on my kids. But the traffic scares me.

I don't ever want to ignore my kids. Ever. I've seen the hurt in their eyes and I always justify it with "We need the money so I have to work." But my kids need me now so what now? If only love can buy the things we need!

Lord, thank You for providing for our needs by giving us work. Please never let me forget that my work is for You, my kids and myself. Please always remind me to put You and my family before work. And bless my children for their forgiving hearts. May I deserve their love by becoming a better mommy to them! Amen.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

NEW SERIES! Topaz Talks to 100% Whole Moms Cheska, Rica, and Marilen

Hi everyone! I'm starting a new series yet again. This time, I want to share with you conversations I've had with the people I've just met, have known for a while but I've always been curious about, and my own beloved friends. They'll all be working moms. This is for me really, because I've been looking for mentors, inspiration and community. So I'm going to look for working moms who inspire me and have a little chat with them... and share those chats with you through Topaz Talks!

For our very first Topaz Talks, I'm sharing with you a snippet of the lives of the 100% Whole Moms Cheska Garcia-Kramer, Marilen Faustino-Montenegro and Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio. They invited me and other moms to a little afternoon of fellowship a few weeks ago and it was hosted by Moleskine journals. We had a fun afternoon of sharing each other's stories as moms.

After sharing our stories and eating really good food at Vask Tapas Room, the celebrity moms that form the trio that is 100% Whole Mom then launched into what 100% Whole Mom is all about—caring for a mother's home, beauty and heart through workshops. Marilen, an interior stylist, shared tips on tabletop decor with H&M Home and flower arrangement with Fiora Manila. Cheska, popular endorser with her family, the social media phenomenon #TeamKramer, gave tips on mommy beauty with help from Inglot and Brow Haus. Then Rica, a devoted pastor's wife, reminded us all about being intentional about our mothering, which could be helped a lot through journaling (on Moleskines preferably!).

Rica's question to moms was, "How are you today?" This is a question no one asks us moms really. Us moms, we're just supposed to be super, to be on top of everything, to never drop the ball because if we do, the whole family will suffer. This kind of pressure is insane! But do we stop to ask ourselves, "How am I today? Am I okay? Am I happy? Am I grateful?" Do we stop to ask other moms this? No one does really.

Oh, but wait. I was asked that by my friend, Jing Lejano of Urban Mom, once at an event. I had stopped to chat with her, me all chipper and bubbly. Then she asked, "Kumusta ka na? Yung totoo?" And I just broke down. Like, then and there. What a mess! I was okay, okay? But the surprise of the question, of someone actually caring enough to ask how I really am, was so overwhelming, I cried.

Rica exhorted us moms to ask ourselves that every day, to listen to ourselves and to our own needs. Write it down! Reflect on what you wrote. Set goals. Take action. Take care of our own needs and dreams. That's how we take care of ourselves, and when we do that, we can truly care for others.

So of course, for Topaz Talks, I talked to Cheka, Carla and Len about journaling. Listen in!
What do you use your Moleskine journals for? 
Marilen: I use my journal to talk to God. Pour out my heart, write what I learn from my Bible reading. Sometimes I've written to people that hurt me, then I throw it away! Haha!
Rica: Everything. I am a person full of thoughts. I might actually speak more to paper than to people. So I jot down everything in a single notebook—from essays in progress, to cinematic lines, quotes from favorite authors or people, to grocery and packing checklists. Hahaha!  
Cheska: Writing my poetry, favorite sayings, verses, my doodles... Just basically my thoughts. 

How does writing down your thoughts, prayers, dreams, goals (or whatever you use your journals for!) help you as a mother? 
Marilen: When I go to the journal, it allows me to really slow down and reflect. It organizes my thoughts and priorities. I create steps to my goals in a journal or planner also. When I am "fixed" inside as an individual, I can be a better mom and wife.  
Rica: It helps me discern patterns of seasons and my life in general. I believe God has written my days already and it's just a matter of finding out which path He has set out for me. I think that when I write down thoughts, prayers and dreams, a certain pattern or message kind of emerges and it partly helps me get to the revelation of God to me about my life.  
Cheska: I grew up where my mother encouraged us always to write our thoughts and to write poetry. It was a form of release for me during the time my parents were separated. I never really wrote "diary style" but wrote poetry instead. So that carried over to this day—now I write my journey, love, sayings, goals that I am going through. Poems for my kids that maybe later on when they can understand better, they will know how much I love the three of them. Always been my way of release and another way to express myself. Sometimes we have a hard time telling people what we feel and it's easier when we write it instead. 

With the advent of blogs, apps and smart phones, why do you still use pen and paper? 
Marilen: I really still prefer paper because I am a visual person. I delight in writing. In creating different strokes with different colors. I retain more when I see it.   
Rica: Retention is still better when there remains to be something physical and tangible, I guess. I also cannot completely give myself over to the virtual way of things. It's hard to feel fully when you have nothing but an image and no materiality or spirituality. 
Cheska: I never really got the hang of technology... I always have my husband to tell me! Till this very day, I write it first and then start typing everything when done writing my thoughts. A lot of work but I'm really most comfortable with a pen and paper. A pen and journal at that!

Thanks for the little chat, Whole Moms!

To sign up for 100% Whole Mom workshops, join the community on Facebook.

I wanted to focus on journaling because that's something I can't seem to do well. Mostly because I noticed I become really negative when I write and it's only myself that's the audience. When I blog, of course I'm always honest but I rein in the negativity that overwhelms me sometimes because I have to think of my readers. People think I'm a sunny person but I'm actually quite the pessimist. I'm very critical of myself—that's why on this blog you'll see me write stuff like, "I'm gorgeous! I'm amazing! I'm a supermom!" mostly because I need to tell myself that or else I'll drown in my personal drama.

So, like Cheka, I don't journal in a "Dear Diary" way. But, like Marilen, I've found that when I write my prayers instead, that helps me a lot. Prayers take my focus from criticizing me to how God sees me—and God sees me so lovingly. Prayers make me write down my weaknesses, sins, and problems but I can't stop there because then I offer them to God for Him to make them right. Prayers turn my negativity to positivity because when I see myself, my life and my sorrows in God's light, then they are diminished and they disappear. So prayer journaling works!

I won't share my prayer journals, though! Instead, I'll share with you my new project: the bullet journal! I'm using the Chapters journal from Moleskine. I'll do a separate post on that soon... and maybe we can do a bullet journaling workshop together! BuJo is super fun!

*workshop photos by Sheila Catilo

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A big thanks to all who help moms!

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications.

I've been away from this blog for soooo long! The elections took nearly all my attention, stole away my time, and drained me emotionally. In fact, I almost forgot it was Mother's Day last Sunday. That was how consumed I was with the whole thing! But my husband and my kids surprised me with a sweet card decorated with handmade flowers, and added rabbits to the mix!
I don't want to pack it away. The kids made those flowers themselves.
The rabbits are wall hooks. Because I leave my clothes draped on chairs everywhere 

I'm a lucky girl. I know I keep saying that. Someone told me baka ma-jinx. Ako naman, my belief is if you're not acknowledging your blessings, they'll be taken away. So araw-araw talaga, I look at my husband, my kids, my life and say, "Thank You, God! I don't know what I did to deserve them because You know I don't deserve them, and yet You gave me them. Thank you!"

As a mother, I especially want to honor my husband for being my total partner in parenting. What do I mean by "total"? Well, society has clear-cut definitions of what fathers and mothers should do. Fathers provide and discipline. They should never help with childcare. Mothers take care of the kids and the home. They should never have a career.

In our home, however, Vince and I share all responsibilities. There's no shirking of responsibilities just because gender dictates so. He loves the nurturing part—giving our sons baths, feeding them, and teaching them how to read. I like to do those, too! But many times, I'm spent and Vince always swoops in, always ready with a cuddle and a kiss for me and the boys. Some people think that's a mother's job. If that's how they see it, then thank you, Vince, for not shying away from mothering our boys!

I have friends who are single mothers and they are grateful for the family who swooped in and stood as fathers for their kids. Some even stood as mothers for those times when my single mother friends had to be away to be providers. I have friends who are lucky enough to have found yayas who love their kids. Those are the best kind of yayas because they will care for your kids with their very lives.

Motherhood may be a tough job but I'm glad we have help. Thanks so much to everyone who helps us moms with the mothering. Whether it's our husbands, partners, best friends, mothers and mothers-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law, brothers and brothers-in-law, neighbors and yayas, God bless the people who share the burden of raising our little ones. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Reader question #1: Name one thing you wish you knew before you became a parent.

That's from Leah of The Bright Spot. I asked the fans of my blogs' Facebook page to ask me anything at all. Leah was the first to ask and here's my answer.

I wish I had known that I would love my kids the way I love them now. I was an unhappy pregnant woman because I was profoundly afraid I would regret having my child. Many moms assured me that motherhood is the best thing ever. At the same time, just as many moms warned me that I'll never sleep again, that I'll become ugly, that motherhood is the hardest job in the world. So... mixed messages, you know?

My Mama, bless her heart, always said that she had just one regret in life: that she married and had children. She loved us but she also always seemed to be looking beyond us, at that other life, the could've been, the greener grass. My sister-in-law left her three kids and ran off with another man. Some of my friends thought of their kids as inconveniences. I was surrounded by mothers who didn't like being mothers. And I was deathly afraid that I'd be like that.

The fear robbed me of the joy of pregnancy. Nine months of misery. It was sad.

Oh, but if I had known that my heart would burst every single day with love for my boys, if I had known that motherhood would come naturally to me, if I had known I would enjoy it so much, I would've enjoyed my pregnancy better, I would've been more gracious to well wishers, I would've embraced my new life sooner, I would've been happier.  

That's it.

Oh, and I wish I knew the sex was going to be better after kids. I was scared my marriage would suffer after I became a mom because everyone warned me I'd never enjoy sex again but, hey hey hey, motherhood made me sexier. My body is not as nice now, yes, but after I've seen what my body can do after two pregnancies and two vaginal births, I feel so much more alive and sensual and powerful and confident. I am woman! And I enjoy everything about being a woman more than ever. So, moms who don't enjoy sex, I don't know what happened to you and I don't know why you poisoned my mind about that.

So, Leah, even though you asked me to name just one thing, let's add one last thing: I wish I'd known to shut out all those people who said so many bad things about motherhood!