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.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

At the Mommy Meet Up by Pampers Pants and Gymboree

This post is brought to you by Pampers Baby-Dry Pants.

Last Sunday, my second son Iñigo and I trooped over to Glorietta 5 to check out the Mommy Meet Up event thrown by the new Pampers Baby-Dry Pants and Gymboree. At 4, Iñigo has long stopped wearing diapers but he tagged along anyway, as proxy to his baby brother Piero, who was napping that rainy afternoon and so stayed home, snug in bed.

What Iñigo and I saw:
  • A mom-and-dad-and-baby-packed event! 
  • A cute play area plus fun activities for kids by Gymboree, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary. Happy anniversary, Gymboree!
  • Pampers Ambassadors Andi Manzano and her baby girl Olivia demonstrating the powers of the new Pampers Baby-Dry Pants.
  • Gymboree moms Andi, author Teresa Dumadag, and actress Say Alonzo talking about motherhood.
  • Snacks like sorbetes, pop corn and fries for everyone!

And here's what we learned about the new Pampers Pants:
  1. When baby becomes a toddler, changing his diaper can become an Olympic event! I've been chasing after naked toddlers since 2011! That's the secret to my slim physique haha. 
  2. After catching your toddler to put on his diaper, the struggle to strap him in is again a Herculean challenge! All you want to do is put his diaper on while all he wanst to do is play! Now playtime is vital to baby’s development so let's keep the diaper interruption as brief as possible!
  3. This wasn't talked about at the event but I'm adding it: Pants help our kids signify their readiness to potty train. How? If they can start pulling down their pants! That's one of the markers that a child is aware of the need to go to the toilet. So put him in pants! 
Even though the event was to launch Pampers Pants to the public, Piero's actually already been using the Pants for a weeks now. I'm writing a review for so watch for that review there. Meanwhile, here's a step-by-step guide on how to use the new diaper:
  • Step 1: STRETCH IT! It features an all-round stretchy waistband and flexible leg cuffs that ensures a snug and comfy fit so baby can move around without fear of spills! The Magic Gel absorbs liquid 30x its weight while the Soft Touch-Dry Layer and breathable back sheet keep baby's skin free from irritation.
  • Step 2: PUT IT ON FAST! Just put one leg at a time and pull up. Pants!
  • Step 3: TEAR OFF QUICK! Just tear off at the sides and throw away.
If you have a toddler in the house, #MoveUpToPampersPants! Yes, it's a hashtag. I'm guessing it's for when you want to show off your little one's tushy in pants on your social feeds. Like this pic, for example:
Piero and his Papa lounging. My bunso is a big boy now. Time to #MoveUpToPampersPants!

Pampers Baby-Dry Pants is available at your favorite supermarkets, grocery shops and drugstores at these prices: 
Pampers Baby Dry Pants Medium (20’s): 204 PHP SRP
Pampers Baby Dry Pants Large (18’s): 214 PHP SRP
Pampers Baby Dry Pants XLarge (16’s): 214 PHP SRP
Pampers Baby Dry Pants Large (14’s): 214 PHP SRP

Monday, August 15, 2016

Unboxing our new favorite treat: the TWG Tea mooncake

The weekend was full of sweet things. It was my eldest boy's birthday, and my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law also celebrated theirs. So we had a lot of glorious sweets to indulge in! But we started the weekend sinking our forks into TWG Tea mooncakes.

Okay, just so you know, my husband and I love tea. I like coffee more than tea actually but my husband can't stand coffee. He likes a beer but I don't drink alcohol. So the only drink we agree on is tea. And Coke haha. One of my favorite dates with Vince is sharing a pot of tea over smoked salmon sandwiches at TWG. The warm light, the dark wood, the white linens, the muted clink of forks on porcelain, and the fragrant aroma of teas... Vince and I must go on a TWG date soon. However, since that hasn't been possible in a while, we had a TWG breakfast at home instead! Let's unbox:
I love that orange box!
Pretty and mysterious.
Gorgeous really!
Okay, somebody got impatient!
Oh, that sweet glaze! 
That vivid green! 
We got two cakes: the Constellation from the Traditional Collection and the Jade from the Moonskin Collection. 
I love the crunchy melon seeds embedded all over the soft sweet brown filling, which surrounds the salted egg heart! 
It's soooo soft!
And so chocolatey!

Since it's the Mid-Autumn Festival (that's exactly today, August 15), we got to try the special TWG Tea mooncakes. TWG Tea has two new collections of four special mooncakes each—eight exquisite mooncakes for you and your family to enjoy.

Here's how TWG Tea describes each mooncake:
TWG Tea Traditional Mooncakes 
Constellation This iconic signature of the mid-autumn festival holds within a golden crust a smooth and elegant Singapore Breakfast Tea infused brown lotus filling, a scattering of roasted melon seeds and an embedded salted egg yolk heart. A timeless favourite.  
Jewel Encased in a rich chocolate brown crust, this exclusive TWG Tea mooncake boasts a luxurious dark chocolate orb surrounded by a white lotus paste scattered with decadent Amarena cherry chunks and infused with Paris-Singapore Tea.  
Ruby Wrapped in a perfectly baked bold red crust, this surprising TWG Tea mooncake features lemon zest and dried mango chunks in an Ivory Palace Tea infused brown lotus paste contrasted by a unique kaffir lime and almond paste heart.  
Midnight Wrapped in a sumptuous baked crust as dark as the night, this exclusive TWG Tea mooncake showcases an aromatic almond paste centre with crunchy blackcurrants cradled by a white lotus paste infused with Blue Lotus Tea and scattered with dried cranberries. 
TWG Tea Snowskin Mooncakes  
Flame Emanating the warm glow of a lantern, a brilliant orange snowskin mooncake embellished with a precious gold leaf, conceals a Festive Night Tea infused citrus mousseline that cradles a lavish heart of cherry ganache.  
Jade Decked in a skin of creamy celadon, this grand mooncake features a lustrous Sencha infused mousse ornamented with chocolate crumble pieces encasing a milk chocolate ganache centre.  
Pure An ethereal satin white snowskin mooncake encases a smooth dark chocolate mousse inflected with the fruity and flowery notes of 1837 White Tea, revealing a heart of tangy blackcurrant marmalade and white chocolate.  
Illumination Concealed in a black snowskin, this exquisite mooncake reveals a brilliant composition of a light, nutty praline infused with 1837 Black Tea and an oriental burst of glowing orange marmalade in a white chocolate heart.
My little Piero loved the Jade mooncake. He destroyed it with satisfaction!

TWG Tea says it's best to enjoy their special mooncakes with their Festive Night Tea, a green tea blended with cherry blossom, red fruits and rose petals. Must definitely visit a TWG Tea salon this week!

A set of four Mooncakes retails at P1,840 for Traditional and P2,140 for Snowskin. Individual mooncake gift boxes retail at P475 for Traditional and P550 for Snowskin. Prices may vary in Cebu. Available at all TWG Tea Salons & Boutiques in the Philippines.