I always get asked about how I “do it all.” The truth is, I don’t. And I feel like I don’t have it altogether more often than people think I do! (Like this week, when my Vito turns 5 and I prepare for his birthday party at the end of the week. I’ve gotten some help, thankfully.)
“Mom guilt” hits me often. It hits every mom I know—whether they’re stay-at-home-moms, WAHMs, working moms, or any kind of mom. As naturally sensitive, intuitive human beings, we can’t help but feel it sometimes.
I know it all too well!
As a mom who works from home, running her own freelance operation, I am always working. Often, my work crosses into personal time, even through I try very hard to keep the two separate. As a mother who has decided to work at home, it’s not always possible.
So I try to make things work. The first move I ever made was to keep Mondays work-free, our day for family errands and chores. It’s when we do the groceries, have a lunch date (even if it’s just in the food center of the mall), and I don’t schedule any meetings or really important work things. I’ve also made it a point to not schedule out-of-the-house meetings on a weekly basis.
But some weeks, I find myself forgetting this, and I schedule meetings, appointments and attend events, sometimes on my work-free days. During these weeks, I can feel Vito hinting at me, “Mommy, don’t go to meeting.”
Ouch. Great, kid! You really know how to “guilt” a mother!
(Seriously, though? Who can resist this face?)
While I certainly struggle with mommy guilt, there is something that has recently helped me feel a little less guilty.
On weeks when meetings are like traffic jams (ergo, “bumper-to-bumper”), I usually compromise. Last week for instance, I brought Vito along to a meeting with a blog coaching client. I don’t usually bring him to meetings with me, because I feel he might get bored or might be a distraction for me and my client. Also, sometimes I think exposing him to my world of work isn’t something he should be dealing with — I mean, he should be playing or something, right?
This time, I thought we could have lunch as a family, while I met shortly with Patty to finalize a couple of things for her blog launch. The meeting place was near our home, making it convenient for Vito to come along. He watched me and Patty work on her blog, while he and his dad ate lunch and got ready to head off for his monthly haircut. He showed her his drawings, and was his usual friendly self, to Patty’s delight, hehe. Vito left halfway through my meeting, and I wrapped things up and met them at the mall afterwards.
Later that afternoon, when we were home, he happened upon some work I was doing on my laptop and saw a photo of me and Patty on her Instagram (incidentally the only social network he’s been “exposed” to).
“Hey, mommy, that’s you!”
“Yup, that’s me. I’m helping Tita Patty have a new website, so she can be happy.”
“So that’s why you have meetings?”
I thought for a while. “Yes, that’s why Mom has to go to meetings. Not all the time, right? But sometimes.”
“Yes, it’s OK, Mommy.”
It was then that I realized: I can be proud about my work in front of my child. I can tell him how I help people with their happy projects, in the form of websites and blogs.
I am a proud working mom.
I am proud that I can do work that I love, earn from it wholeheartedly, and let my son see that I am grateful for the privilege of work.
So if you’re a working parent like me — even if you work at home, like me — remember that working doesn’t have to have a negative connotation to your kids. Sometimes we might feel “guilty” if we’re working on our laptops, at meetings with clients, or away from our kids when we’d rather be with them at home. During the times we can involve them in our work, we should represent our work as something they can find exciting. Wouldn’t it be great to impart to our children that we are chasing our dreams, following our bliss by accomplishing our goals, and that we have a life outside being a mom or dad?
Let us redeem our work in our kids’ eyers. Let’s let our jobs and our businesses be a positive testimony to our children about what is possible in the world — for ourselves, and eventually, for them, too.
I’ve just entered the second trimester, and while I’m still feeling a bit of the “ickies”/”baby woozies” from time to time, I’m feeling much better than I’ve been in weeks.
Last Sunday (family day at my mom’s side), I had expressed a craving for cherry pie and apple pie. Why? I have no idea. I just wanted both pies. And so, my mom, being the awesome mom that she is when any of her daughters are pregnant (because all three of us — my sis-in-laws and I — are pregnant right now), decided she’d make both pies for Sunday merienda.
Yay! (That’s the apple pie pictured above. You’ll see the cherry pie later on.)
I wouldn’t recommend indulging in a whole pie to satisfy a craving, though. (For transparency, I had a slice of each pie, then stopped!)
Cravings during pregnancy are usually connected with our need for certain nutrients, at least according to some researches. A friend of mine said I was probably needing Vitamin C this whole first trimester, since I was craving things like sinigang (a tamarind-based Filipino stew of meat and veg), calamansi juice (Philippine lime juice) and things like that.
While my pregnancy cravings may have started, there are other things on my mind, aside from Korean barbecue and a big juicy steak.
I crave for several things right now.
1. I crave simplicity.
As I’ve mentioned before, I can be a “busy-holic” at times. We’ve taken up this busy-holic tendency on Make it Blissful before, and we all agree that it’s got to have its limits. I have to say that since I wrote the first busy-holic article this April, I’ve improved. I’ve taken on less work, but I’ve still managed to meet my income targets through better-managed, high-yielding projects. I’m hoping this continues, because now I have more time to focus on this pregnancy: nap times, doctor’s appointments, etc.
But more than the simplicity of schedule, I crave for simplicity in all things.
Less stuff. More gratitude for the things we’ve already been blessed with.
Less going out, just for the sake of going out. More time for meaningful travels and trips with my family.
Less surfing and mindless social media. More time for making memories, especially with Vito, before he becomes a big brother.
I crave all these. I remind myself everyday to check if I’m purposefully working on this craving, to satisfy it properly.
2. I crave for a peaceful pregnancy.
My first pregnancy felt like it just whizzed by, and suddenly, I was about to give birth. That was five years ago, and a lot in me has changed. First, I’m 15 pounds heavier than my 1st pregnancy start weight. (I’m tipping the scale this week at 147 lbs. Yeah, I’ve no issues about the weight number.) Secondly, I feel like I’m not as fit as I was during the first pregnancy. I feel like I’m more drowsy than ever! I’m also on antibiotics now, to clear out an infection that might be harmful, if not dealt with early enough.
Right now, I’m praying that all goes well, that I’ll be able to keep to my supposedly-daily exercise of 20 minutes a day (so that I don’t lose the momentum I already have), that I’ll be able to keep more food down (and healthier food, at that! I’ve been craving some of the weirdest and sometimes unhealthiest things. Sigh). I’m also praying that I’ll be spiritually prepared for the birth.
3. … and purposeful time with Vito, before he becomes a big brother.
My soon-to-be-eldest son is at the foremost of my thoughts these days. Each day, he talks to the baby inside me, telling it — at this point, he calls it a “she” — that he loves her, and that he’s praying for her. I swear, the hormones must be kicking in for me, because every time I realize Vito is going to be a big brother, my heart jumps a bit, and I say to myself something like, “This is happening. You can’t stop it, you have to make him ready for this.”
Honestly, it’s not easy. Vito’s in his last stretch of the developmental years, and I want so bad to make sure I am the best mom-teacher for him at this time. Am I doing enough? Does he know how much I love him? Will he learn how to love his new brother or sister? Will I be able to teach him how to be a good sibling — I seemed horrible to mine, haha!
Cravings come and go — like my craving for those pies — but these deep cravings linger with me each day. I wish it was as easy to satisfy them as indulging in some pie! But I guess I’ll have to just feel my way throughout these next few months. I’m aware that a lot of things are going to change, and that I’m just at the beginning. This pregnancy is not just going to test my appetite and tolerance for food. It’s going to challenge me to find ways to fill in the deeper longings I have in my heart.
To the moms out there: Did you have these deep inner “cravings” when you were pregnant? How’d you deal with them?
By Louise Fandino of Mommy Practicality
I receive a number of messages from fellow working moms telling me that most of the time they feel guilty about being away from home for most of the days in a week, that how they wish they could take care of their kids themselves. To make them feel better, it’s easy to say not to feel that way because honestly, I get guilt pinches once in a while too. But when that happens, I carefully think things over and find the real reason why I do what I do and that reason is – it’s for my children’s future.
While it’s true that the best caretaking of the children only comes from the mother, how blessed are those who get to work or stay at home to be able to do that, not all moms get that privilege. Working moms I see and talk to everyday wish they could spend more time with their growing children, I included. They feel that they lack quality time and that they’re not giving what’s best for their family and that they are not doing enough and will never be able to because they are away from home. They all share the same feeling of GUILT.
If you’re feeling that way too, as a working mom myself for 12 years, I want to tell you this – Mommy, don’t worry, you’re doing fine.
It took me notable amounts of life experiences and wisdom before I could say that. It’s not that I already perfected a working mom lifestyle because we all know there is no such thing as perfect. It’s not that I am exaggeratedly career-oriented nor had become a little heartless. I can say that now because I learned to accept that motherhood and parenting is unique to each family unit, just as how God created each one of us.
If there is one thing that’s similar between all mothers in the world, it’s the immeasurable love that we have for our children. That alone should negate the feeling of guilt and here’s the good news, there are more reasons why you should not be feeling it:
- NO MOTHER IS PERFECT. As there is nothing perfect in this world, so is for a mother. Every mother has different situations in dealing with their children like teaching values, preference of schooling, lifestyle orientation and many more. There’s no point in comparing yourself from another because each motherhood experience is incomparable.
- YOU WANT TO PROVIDE THEM A GOOD FUTURE. We all have choices, true. But for now maybe, the choice that works for your family is the choice that you made, which is to have a career outside home. Whatever choice we make as mothers, it all boils down to this one reason – to be able to provide them a good future.
- EVERY MOM NEEDS SELF-LOVE – Loving oneself doesn’t mean you’re being selfish. If you’re working out of home it partly means you’re also pursuing a dream or a professional ambition and there is nothing wrong about that. If you fill your tank with self-love, you have tons of love to give to everyone in the family. More love, more happiness!
If those aren’t enough, here are some ways you could try doing if you want to be MORE present for them even when you’re busy earning a living for their future:
- TIME MANAGEMENT – The reason why journals and calendars are made is for moms like us to make use of it for proper scheduling of life events, work priorities and plotting our leaves. As working moms, we are entitled to vacation leaves, let’s make use of it. Come to work and leave on time, do what you can do for the day and if rendering overtime could be avoided, come home soon. Don’t forget to consistently call home every now and then to check on your kids.
- KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES AND LEARN TO SAY NO. – If there are work or outside work activities that are not value-adding to your job and would take away time for the family especially for the kids, you could always skip it. What you’ll miss in those events you will gain a hundredfold at home.
- PLAN AN AWESOME WEEKEND/VACATION/TRIP – This is what “Work hard. Play hard, “means to us working moms. It doesn’t necessarily mean you always have to go out. You could plan an awesome lunch or dinner or do some arts and crafts activities during the weekend with the kids or if budget permits, have a memorable weekend getaway. Every weekend becomes special and memorable to the children.
- BE REALLY PRESENT – When you’re home, having dinner, playing with the kids, doing activities with them make sure you are REALLY PRESENT by disconnecting from work and by putting your gadgets away. When they tell you something, LISTEN and be really interested in what they are sharing. When you’re together with the kids after work, shower them with your hugs and kisses. Remember to always keep your promises. In the most important days of their lives, be PRESENT.
It’s easier said than done, but it can be done. Motherhood, just like marriage, is a continuous work in progress. This holds true to any mothering situation one could be: work-out-of-home, work-at-home or stay-at-home moms. So relax, take a deep breath, don’t stress too much nor pressure yourself in trying to be a superwo-MOM, because there isn’t one. Stop comparing yourself to other moms who rock it in homemaking or to those who have the pleasure to home-school their kids, because you are a rockstar mom yourself in your own momma stage.
You know why? It’s because there can only be one superstar mother for your children and that is YOU!
So dear Mommy, don’t worry, you’re doing fine.
Have you ever felt like you weren’t doing “enough” to be a “good mom”? How have you dealt with this issue? Can we help? Let’s talk about this in the comments.
By Toni Tiu of Wifely Steps
It’s harder when you know what you’re missing.
My transition from work-at-home-mom to full-time corporate mom was expectedly difficult. There was the pain of leaving the little one in the morning while he was still asleep. There was the ache of coming home to a sleeping child. Those were realities I knew would hit me hard once I started full-time work again. Those were givens that were leaving me uninspired.
What I didn’t expect to miss so much were these 3 little things I didn’t pay much attention to. Mommies everywhere, cherish these little moments that are big on meaning:
Watching your child wake up to the morning. It’s a joy watching your child sleep peacefully, but it’s a bigger joy when you witness how he sees the day for the first time. The blinking of his eyes as he adjusts to the sunlight streaming into the room, the smile that spreads across his face when he sees you for the first time – those moments fill my heart! On weekend mornings, I cherish these so much.
Sitting together during mealtimes. Connecting over a shared meal is truly precious. You not only closely monitor what he’s eating, but you can tell stories and teach good manners. When I come home from work, my son is usually wrapping up dinnertime. There are no shared meals during weekdays. This was one of the toughest things I had to get used to.
Afternoon naptime. That’s the time of the day when you and your child need a little breather from the morning’s activities, and it’s additional cuddle time in bed. I miss this short respite. You’re both resting and relaxing together, and you wake up rejuvenated together.
The transition from WAHM to full-time corporate can be difficult, especially when I know what my child is doing at that exact hour, that exact afternoon. You can choose tough transitions to make moving forward in life more difficult, but you can also choose to see them positively. Look at them as moments of bliss to make the little time you spend with your child more precious. See these not as pressure points, but inspiration points. Waking up together on weekends become even more joyful. Mealtimes together are more treasured. Naptimes together become even sweeter.
There’s no need to be lost in transition. Find the blissful transformation in each transition, and you’ll live a life inspired.
Remember my video from a couple of months ago, about Vito’s and my “signature” moments? We shared about “our colorful moments” for the Signatures of Love – Johnson’s Baby campaign:
My son’s approaching the four year-old mark, but in many ways, he’s still my baby. He’s growing up fast, and with his growth comes many changes, both for him and me as his mom. He may not clearly understand why I find joy in our simple moments together, but what I do know is that when we are together — especially when we paint and draw daily — he understands that it’s our very own special “thing” together, yes, our signature of love.
Sigh. Honestly, since the time we made that video, Vito’s drawings have improved by leaps and bounds. He’s now drawing planets! Can you imagine? Here’s his interpretation of the Solar System:
Looking at this drawing, I realize that it’s so important that I capture every moment of his very young life. I’m fortunate that I can work from home and witness his growth, both physically and in other aspects, such as in learning. Sigh! The speed of his growth makes me wish I could hit “pause” on life, just for a bit, so that he’d stay my baby, for just a little bit longer.
Well… At least I have this lovely video of our signature of love to remind me always about our wonderful, artful times together.
Speaking of videos: Remember the time I asked you to share a video of your very own special of saying “I love you” to your little ones? Guess what? Around 200 other moms shared their videos, too, each showcasing their own signatures of love. And now, Johnson’s Baby is excited to show you a compilation of Signatures of Love from all over the Philippines.
It’s super cute. If you’re like me, you’ll get that gigil feeling all over.
Signature of Love Official Video, Johnson’s Baby: http://bit.ly/SignatureOfLoveMTV
Watching the compilation of videos made me wish, again, that I could hit “pause” and savor more of Vito’s young and fleeting days. OK, it also made me wish that Baby #2 would get on and make his/her way into my world real soon — I can just imagine how wonderful those teeny babies smell, especially when their moms nuzzle them closely!
Again, here’s that link:
I’m very pleased that Johnson’s Baby has created such a meaningful campaign, especially for us moms. Thanks to social media, it’s second nature for us to update our statuses and post photos of our days. Still, there’s nothing like a captured memory in a video, is there? Maybe it’s time we got down to making more memories to capture, as they happen.
Sigh. Childhood is such a gift.
We should do all we can to savor, to capture the memories we make with our kids.
Just like that memorable baby powder scent, we can make those moments last through time. We can let those signatures of love make a permanent imprint on our hearts, we just have to make the effort to do so.
How did you feel while watching these cute moments between these moms and their babies? Did it make you think about capturing your own memories— your own “signature of love”— with your baby? Share your insights over at the Johnson’s Baby Facebook Page: http://bit.ly/JohnsonsBabySOL