A couple of Mondays ago, I gave at talk Pioneer Life’s monthly kapihan. The theme last September was on Smart Parenting and Grand Parenting. As you guys probably have noticed, Pioneer and Blue Cow are sponsors of Manilamommy.com. If you see that shiny 2nd banner at the top of the page, yep that’s them and their wonderful comic book Private Iris. To know more about Private Iris, you could vist my post here.
So, Pioneer Life asked me to talk about being a working mom. My talk was purely anecdotal and I shared how I make time for my family. I didn’t pretend to be an expert, my audience were mostly grandmas and long-time parents but what I hoped for is that they could relate to the misadventures me and BDW have so far gone through as new parents and that I won’t look like an idiot while doing so haha 😛
I named my talk, “All Moms are Working Moms” — I read this title online and I forgot who coined it but that title pretty much summed up a mom’s life doesn’t it?? My point being that whether you’re a SAHM, a WAHM or a full-time working mom like me, motherhood (or parenthood in general) is full time work!!
Here are the five tips I shared:
1) Make the Hours Count – How?
- Leave work at work –
Learning how to set boundaries is a skill that must be practiced along with learning to say NO nicely but with conviction. When I had to take leaves to look after my son, I naturally felt guilty. Women in general are predisposed to be team players and to be nice. Add to that our Pinoy culture for always saying YES, taking a personal leave can really leave some to feel guilty. I’m fortunate enough that my bosses are both involved family men and they understand the dynamics of family life. However, I do make it a point that I work way in advance of my deadlines so that when I have to take sudden leaves, it would not mess up anyone’s workload.
- When at Home, Be Home –
In a typical workday, BDW and I usually get home at around 7 and DW sleeps at around 9 or 9:30. These 2 hours are spent cuddling and reading a book (but sometimes we do more cuddling). In the morning, the hour we spend dressing up is also spent playing with our kid who’s awake by 6 or 6:30 a.m. Brushing my hair while brushing his is one of his favorite games. We sing the alphabet, count 1-20 or a nursery rhyme while we’re rushing through our morning rituals. We make sure DW is still involved and that we squeeze the life out of the few hours we have with him before we rush to work.
2) Set a routine for weekends or any day that you are free to be with your child
Weekends are sacred for our family. The weekend begins by going to Kindermusik where David attends classes. Sometimes we go to the mall, sometimes we just go home but the whole day is spent just being with DW. Even if we do have a nanny with us, it’s me and BDW who are with DW all the time.
Whenever I’m home , I also make sure I either give DW his bath or feed him or read to him before he sleeps. Those three things are key for me. Bath time has always been the most fun. When David was younger, drying him off, putting on his nappy cream, his lotions and diapers became bonding moments for me and him.
3) Make Time for You and Your Hubby
Date Nights are a must. When you find yourselves covered in milk powder and poop, it’s nice to set aside “a grown-up day (or night)” even for just a few hours to be with your significant other. BDW and I have usually gone on dinners in areas near our house so that we won’t have to be away from David for long periods of time. It’s a good way to reconnect and to just be together. (See Manilamommy, Manila Daddy Time for restos BDW and I have tried and recommend 🙂 )
at hotel new otani, tokyo in a rare vacation 🙂
4) Make Time for Yourself
Whenever I can, I take “a mental health day” I learned this from an older friend who’s always so busy at work. For my own mental health day, I usually go on a staycation, which is a vacation spent at home! When the going gets tough, the tough stays at home and does nothing! My mom finds it a waste of a VL but for me, home is refuge and spending the day not thinking about work is a perfect way to recharge and ready oneself for the battles of the office 🙂
4) Simplify, See the Bigger Picture
It would be so nice to be in a room where everything is in its place. Right now our room is a study in strewn cars, foam blocks and missing socks. Where there are kids there will be mess. It’s no use picking up after them although our little boy, thanks to Kindermusik knows how to “pack away” stuff. We have a big box in our room that stores all of DW’s toys. It’s overflowing so we’ve used the cover to place his favorite toys and (some) at the moment. His books are on two cabinets so DW knows where to go when he wants to read a book. His shoe cabinet is tied with a cloth because as soon as he opens it, he’d want to try on all his shoes and leave them everywhere. The clean-up is on an as-you-go-basis because if you spend time picking up stuff after your kid you lose the time and the opportunity to actually play and bond with him. So I choose mess anytime.
A beautiful mess 🙂 (taken when DW was 6 months, see him in the middle?)
How about you? What tips do you live by that have proven to be absolutely indispensable?? I hope you could share!! Thank you!!