What “Not to Say When Speaking to a Working Mom”

Clock strikes midnight and just as half of the world is ZZZzzzing their way to sleep, the working moms may still be awake on their beds, completing a mental ‘to-do-list’ for the following morning. If you are a working mom, I am sure you work at getting everything move like clockwork. When in a room with working moms, you definitely do not want to get dagger looks from them should you find yourself mistakenly saying these things. Read up.

“You’re Working, Why?”I am not so sure if this question was meant to be answered when asked. I mean, what can be an appropriate answer for it, anyway? The truth that you have to work because you gotta work. From Sarah Jessica Parker’s movie: I Don’t Know How she Does it, she was caught saying: “Without work, I am not me but without you (talking to the husband) and the kids, I am nothing.” So believe us when we say, we know our priorities, we definitely do not work to feed an ego that needs to be promoted every year, we also do not keep lavish lifestyles to maintain with our double-income pays, but we do it with family and kids in mind. Just as the rest of the stay-at-home moms do when they plan the menu. The work we do should also be no different from the same value you get as a work-at-home mom. No mom type is better than the other, we all get better at making any season work for us, for our marriage and for our kids. So next time you meet a working mom who juggles work, parenting, family, house care, travel, ministry, me-time, don’t ask why because with God’s grace, it can be done.

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“Don’t take Shortcuts” – there’s 24 hours for everyone but working moms tend to take multi-tasking to the highest level. In cases when there’s just cooking, homework and doing the groceries to juggle, we need to add show up to work on time, do that report, arrange kids’ dental appointment while at work, call up the husband while in transit from work, wash up and get ready for couple time at night. Shortcuts are among working moms’ best buddies. Allow us to use instant kitchen mixes, mincer, automatic juicers, buy ready-to-wear kids’ costumes, speed-read and write and watch while attempting to have weekend afternoon naps (if that’s ever possible).

“You are not coming? But you have to be there!” – If all working moms will say ‘yes’ to everything on the calendar, we will have to be at least three places in one time. If you find a working mom declining a party or two, or missing to go and celebrate your baby’s first haircut, or skipping the late night meet up, there must be a very good reason for her to do that. You have to remember that weekends are not the best time to socialize and keep in touch for the working moms because these are the only days we get to stay with the kids for a full day. We look forward to staying home or stepping out with the kids on weekends when the rest of the neighbourhood moms plan who to meet this Saturday or what event to attend on Sunday.

I get guided with how God has wired me to move. There is nothing you need to do that you cannot tag your kids along. Life is not paused when you work and have kids. There is no better version of my life than enjoying to witness my kids’ milestones while enjoying the blessing of work. I do not miss anything even in this season. By all means, teach Sunday school with kids in tow. Attend that book club luncheon while kids go to playdate. Date and encourage a friend while kids date ‘Dad’, or while in between bookstore/library visits. Enjoy that newly-opened restaurant with kids, just make sure you have something else to offer on the table (e.g. quick activity book or David’s favourite dino toys). In the same way, my kids also do not regard work as something burdensome. It is not just another means to buy milk. Me having to work teaches them to be independent, to be caring towards mom when I get home, to be conscious about spending, to be aware that Mom’s time at home can always be turned to another ‘fun and quality weekend moment together’.

Feel free to read up Proverbs 31 – Wife of a Noble Character or Chasing Superwoman by Susan DiMickile.

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Changing the World through the Lens of a Working Mom: One Kid at a Time

At the dinner table, my ten-year-old Kyle was telling us about the story of a classmate (born midget), who has always been bullied in school. I did not know what to say. But I was really glad that none of my other kids found the story funny. They automatically showed empathy towards Kyle’s classmate and I uttered a whispered prayer of thanks for blessing me with such compassionate kids. But what does today teach our kids? If left alone to themselves, what will they pick up from TV, from the internet, from school, from today’s music, from whatever’s cool with Generation Z? You may think that as a working mom, you will never be able to affect the world. But you actually can, by starting with your own kids. Please note that the list below include items that are random but relevant to my kids’ age (all under eleven years old).

News Snooze – As parents, we may tend to always tune to the news telecasts in the morning, or right before dinner or late night. But with the young minds watching with you, what do they pick up when protests are happening left and right, when they understand that there had been several Presidents ousted, high-ranking government officials caught in lies.

Life-Teach # 1 – Respect people in authority. God knows what He is doing and is in control of the steering wheel of your journey called life. He must have a very good reason for allowing things to happen. When we go against the people in authority over our lives, it’s similar to telling God that He may possibly have been wrong about assigning who your parents are. Instead of instilling hate, teach the kids to trust God with peace in their hearts. There is no injustice that will ever take you away from what God has in store for you.  For all you know, God will use you to change the hearts of the same people you are complaining about.

Plug and Play – with countless gadgets that allow us to take music anywhere, songs just inevitably ring in our heads and they do the same with your kids. Not all catchy tunes sing positive notes. Just as not everything that feels good is right for you.

Life-Teach # 2 – Develop and instill kids’ habit to listen and understand lyrics of each song they hear. Turn singing moments with kids as teaching moments and create an avenue to break wrong mindsets that sound and seem okay when sang. Whatever happened to the classic Bingo tune and Old McDonald songs? Yep, replaced by the jingles and soundtrack from the show they repeatedly watch on TV.

Net Filter – The internet has been the most brilliant educational tool ever invented but it can also be the most negative influence that our kids can possibly have. With violent games, absurd games (e.g. Dumb Ways to Die), and non-thinking videos on YouTube, the net can be a lair for a buffet of wrong mindsets.

Life-Teach # 3 – Set the values that you would like to have as a family. You can never go wrong with kids easily able to say ‘No’ to war games, or to creating social media accounts, or to watching inappropriate videos online. Because they know what their values are and their family values dictate and build a strong filter system for whatever is not part of them. Remember that if you do not teach them the right thing, the internet will have a say on it, the video game character will have an opinion about it and social media will set another standard of truth for it. Depend heavily on the Bible and have your kids know who God is and what He can do over anything and everything under the sun.

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Big waves are actually formed by thousands of ripples. And this list may seem like a small ripple but when done consistently and accurately, can create big waves, impact and shape the way our kids and how the next generation will look like. Allow one generation to do the wrong thing and you start seeing it on hundred more generations after them. I do not have to work at affecting the world, I only need to be faithful with what God has given me and I create never-ending ripples to my next generation.

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Three Learning Events That Will Help Families This February

There’s no doubt about it — families need all the help they can get to thrive in different aspects of life. This is one of the reasons why learning events that are especially focused on the various needs of families are becoming quite popular these days.

Featured here are three such events, all happening this last week of February — choose one (or more!) event that suits your family’s current needs, dreams and plans, and get ready to expand your knowledge! IMG Wealth Academy’s Practical Money Management and Basic Investment Strategies Seminars

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When/Where: February 24, 2015 (Tuesday), 6.30 p.m. (Quezon City), February 26, 2015 (Thursday), 7.30 p.m. (Cainta, Rizal) plus other dates/times in different venues

The IMG Wealth Academy holds regular financial literacy seminars where people can learn how to manage their money and make it grow through investments — all for FREE!

The seminars are a great way for you to know how to handle your hard-earned income prudently so that you and your family can eventually be financially free. The seminars are held in different areas such as Quezon City, Cainta, Rizal, and Makati City. For specific venues and schedules, please contact the following: Nida Vergara — 0998-5352675 or Mon Santiago — 0916-4279839.

The Learning Basket’s Teacher Yaya Workshop

When: February 28, 2015 (Saturday), 9.00-11.30 a.m.

Where: No. 29, 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City

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Most parents usually have no choice but to leave their children with a nanny or yaya while they go to work or different places. It’s vital, then, that yayas be equipped with the knowledge that they need to take good care of their wards.

This is where parenting advocate Mariel Uyquiengco comes in. Let her teach your yaya the importance of her job, a more positive way of looking at the children under her care, and a more informed way of caring for your children via this hands-on workshop.

The learning fee of P500 per head is inclusive of handouts, snacks, and a certificate. To register your yaya, click here or visit The Learning Basket’s website.

The Breastfeeding Club’s Breastfeeding 202 Class: Sustaining Breastfeeding

When: February 28, 2015 (Saturday), 1.00-3.00 p.m.

Where: No. 29, 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City

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This class on sustaining breastfeeding will be given by Abbie Yabot, a La Leche League Leader, Certified Lactation Counselor, and The Breastfeeding Club’s (TBC) founder.

Abbie has years of experience counseling moms about breastfeeding and holds regular classes aimed at helping parents — especially moms — learn about how to give their children the “best start” in life via breastfeeding.

The registration fee of P800 is inclusive of participation of both husband and wife to the TBC’s three breastfeeding classes, plus snacks and a breastfeeding manual. To reserve your slot, call or text 0917-8110821.

Learning events such as those mentioned above are truly useful, because they are designed to help family members help themselves (yes, your yaya is sort of like a member of the family—your family’s “assistant” of sorts). Your own family will reap the benefits of such events, too, so do make sure to participate them if you can.

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Kids Say What?

According to study, if your kid is 7 years old and above, they should be able to use at least 5000 words from their conversational vocabulary. Keeping this in mind, I’m sure as a mom, you were at one point surprised with what kids say! Read on, these are the ones that came from mine.

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Kyle, 10 years old

  • On the dinner table, was found telling his younger brother Gab, “Life is not all hotdogs and meatloaf”. The funny thing about it is the fact that Kyle regards hotdogs and meatloaf as the best things that have ever landed our dining table. This was right after serving kids with “nilagang baka” (beef stew). If adults will always say the same thing as a blessing, Kyle will always say it with a voice that misses hotdogs and meatloaf terribly. Thanking God that life is not all hotdogs and meatloaf.
  • While working on homework, Kyle to Sofia: “Everybody likes happiness. No one wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.” Then Kyle went delivering his version of encouraging Sofia that beginners’ math in preschool can be challenging but becomes enjoyable in grade school. Found out later that Kyle quoted it from his teacher, too.

Gab, 8 years old

  • Gab when he was 4 years old started wearing what used to be Kuya Kyle’s shirts. On one of these days, I congratulated Gab: “Wow Gab, you can now wear kuya Kyle’s clothes!” Happy that Gab has grown bigger. Gab welcomed it with quite a long silence and I saw from his eyes that he was thinking really, really hard. Then Gab blurted out with a worried voice “Mom, kuya Kyle’s shirts are shrinking?”

Sofia, 6 years old

  • When Sofia the First TV show first came out on Disney channel, Sofia to self: “I really feel like I’m Sofia the First, she is a small princess, loves pink and has curly hair.” Thanking Disney for the Asian-looking, young Disney princess.

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David, 4 years old

  • On one of our weekend afternoon moments, David started asking, “Mom, all of us came from your tummy, right?” To which I said ‘yes’ to. Then out came the quick question: “Then when is the baby from daddy’s tummy going to come out”? (while pointing to Dad’s tummy)

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Four Kids and Having a Blast! Zero-Spend Fun Times Listed!

I often get the ‘surprised look’ every time I answer the question: “So how many kids do you have?” As you see, I have four, all under eleven years old. I got started late. Got married at 25 and started having babies at 27 (don’t start computing my age, please). But in this day and age, family, friends, communities, church and the world around us offer us more than enough options to make parenting four kids a blast!  Of course, it will always be economically efficient if you have less kids but over the years, working moms now have developed a way of making things work. After all, this is all about making ‘working moms’ work well in everything. Our generation of technology sometimes do not leave an option for our kids but to become another non-moving, electronic gadget-dependent kid. Keep your eyes open because I am going to list down some from the tons of ideas you can have in getting maximum quality fun time with your kids without breaking the bank.

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Pinoy Kids Fun Time#1 – Street Games If you are old enough to create your own social network page (FB, Twitter, Disqus and IG), most likely, you are from a generation who has seen and played more than enough street games in your childhood. Have a spare tire no longer in use from your garage? Hang it up a tree and you have instant swing. Have your kids run around the clubhouse in the afternoon instead of giving your dog the usual afternoon walk. Piko, siato, tumbang preso, chinese garter, block 123, agawang panyo and taguan are hits to 2015 kids which are all priceless and ALL of these are not on Google Play or Apple Store.

Shoot away with kids’ endless jumpshots. Photo taken at my mommy friend Brenda’s Jesus Party last December.
Shoot away with kids’ endless jumpshots. Photo taken at my mommy friend Brenda’s Jesus Party last December.

Pinoy Kids Fund Time#2 – Backyard Play Larong pinoy (Philippine games) at the comfort of your own backyard. I know of a family who has set up a mini Enchanted Kingdom at the back of the house and offers Pinoy-games-rides and attractions. Set them up and you never have to go far or pay anything on your next afternoon game time with kids.

David endlessly and tirelessly would ride the mini-DIY zipline
David endlessly and tirelessly would ride the mini-DIY zipline
Hammocks and swings are not just for reading. They are also for engaging with kids about their dreams, their friendships, their interests and for answering their countless “Why” questions.
Hammocks and swings are not just for reading. They are also for engaging with kids about their dreams, their friendships, their interests and for answering their countless “Why” questions.
Never throw away old big cooking pans. You will never know when you will need them. A little rainwater (or even tapwater from a garden hose) and you are ready with a play tub. Under Php50.00 plastic toys are perfect as tub buddies.
Never throw away old big cooking pans. You will never know when you will need them. A little rainwater (or even tapwater from a garden hose) and you are ready with a play tub. Under Php50.00 plastic toys are perfect as tub buddies.
David jumping off from the zipline while clinging to the scooter. David just can’t make up his mind which one to play with first. It’s THAT big a hit!
David jumping off from the zipline while clinging to the scooter. David just can’t make up his mind which one to play with first. It’s THAT big a hit!
Climb up a tree. Teach them how. Pick fruits up in the tree. Talk about the insects you find, have a life-teach moment.
Climb up a tree. Teach them how. Pick fruits up in the tree. Talk about the insects you find, have a life-teach moment.

Pinoy Kids Fun Time#3 – Join a Family Run Fitness has grown so big in the past five years that you can find family run to join anytime. You can even create opportunities for the kids to understand and share the cause for the run. It beats another trip to the mall or to the cinema, unlike the mall and cinema, your kids can get the benefits of exercising while helping support a cause.

Joined Race for Life, supporting Real Life ministry that helps provide scholarship and life coaching to deserving but underprivileged students.
Joined Race for Life, supporting Real Life ministry that helps provide scholarship and life coaching to deserving but underprivileged students.

Pinoy Kids Fun Time#4 – Kids’ Date Days Other than your scheduled date days with your kids, our kids also date several other people who help us train our kids in the way they should go. It is just impossible to go solo or exclusive with parenting four kids and this is what family, friends and ninongs/ninangs (godparents) are for. We have a long list of single men and women who have loving relationships with our kids: aunts, church teachers, wedding godchildren, and other single and fabulous friends. This will also help prepare them for their own kids in the future! Considering the cost of dating kids, make sure that your kids are invited/asked. Don’t force people to date and spend on them! It takes away the fun and love out of it.

Tita spending time with my kids. Took them to a kids’ spa, to the arcade, to the movies, to food trips, to karaoke, to Mind Museum….etc…etc…
Tita spending time with my kids. Took them to a kids’ spa, to the arcade, to the movies, to food trips, to karaoke, to Mind Museum….etc…etc…
Why not teach sportsmanship while in play? Make the bowling alley your next kids’ destination.
Why not teach sportsmanship while in play? Make the bowling alley your next kids’ destination.

Pinoy Kids Fun Time#5 – Sunday Class / Kids’ Church Our Sunday Kids’ Church has done a great deal in helping me parent my kids. There is no shortcut to instilling values but to do it consistently with them. It helps them to be social, while allowing them to have their own relationship with God. Age-appropriate Sunday classes they can attend allows them to find Sunday teachers who use their own language, through play at the Toddlers’ room, crafts/stories and illustrations at the Preschool, Bible and life lessons/memory verse for Junior kids and interaction/guided conversation with the PreTeens. Maintain relationship and check with the teachers and you will never have to pry about what goes on in their hearts and minds when you are not with your kids.

Superhero costume Sunday at Kids Church
Superhero costume Sunday at Kids Church

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Working Mom, What Type are You?

I don’t know if you realize but it was 1985 when the movie Back to the Future was shown. The movie showed what 2015 will look like when Michael J. Fox (played the Marty role) set the dialler to October 21, 2015. Guess what, they got biometrics, plasma flat screen TVs and video calls accurately. However, there was only one working woman on the movie, Linda McFly, sister of Marty McFly. What the movie missed showing about 2015 is the fact that 68% of the entire women population is now part of the workforce, which we now know as working moms. So with millions of working moms around your neighbourhood, workplace, kids’ schools, communities and church, It makes sense to meet all shapes and sizes of working moms. Please note that from the list below, there is no wrong working mom type to be. You may even be a combination of two working mom types or able to relate to one while developing to be another type as you read. We will look at different types of working moms in the hope that readers like you will be able to identify and know what type you are and be able to relate, help and bless other types you meet.

Boss in Stilettos – Bosses in stilettos are typically your working moms who built and run their own businesses or who assumes one of the highest, if not the highest positions in the company. These are the ones who walk into their offices with the best view in the building or the working moms who are decision makers in the workplace. Now the bosses in stilettos cannot be fooled once they’re home. They make careers out of parenting, sometimes going to the extreme of tiring their kids with too many Train-Me-To-Be-the-Best-Adult program plans, all while their kids attend school and social activities such as regular playdates. Bosses in stilettos also have some of the most expensive hobbies, such as shopping when not doing anything, which we will rightfully call as Bosses in stiletto’s reward system. Do not take offense getting a “No” from this type of working mom, calendar is simply jampacked and will not be able to squeeze in things that will never make her achieve her measures of success. She will most likely be found scouting for the best educational tool or booking the next educational/fun trip with the family versus working on a cross-stitched picture to frame. What will help the Bosses in Stilettos are secured husbands, friends who can keep up with her schedule and family who are willing to adjust reunions to her best available time.

Strengths: knows her priorities, no people-pleasing syndrome, full of faith and focused on meeting life goals.

Potential Weakness: if taken to extreme, can be found not spending time with the kids, delegating everything to household helpers or deciding over the husband. blog7pic1

Caped Working Mom – Caped working moms is of different breed, these are the moms who have more things than they should have on their plates. These are the working moms who need to show up at work for 8 hours, help their kids’ homework every night, attend parent-teachers’ conference, while agreeing to host the next cake party for the neighbourhood, while agreeing to be on the organizers’ board of the upcoming high school reunion. Caped working moms are often found too tired with too many things that they end up cancelling or not showing up at all. If you feel like you are unable to meet your committed deadlines or promised dates, take a self-check and see if you are a caped working mom. Caped working moms never leave their cape at home, they are prone to getting more than they can chew at work, too. Remember the time when you said yes to a co-workers’ simple request that you finish off the rest of her gazillion projects on her desk? Yep, as a simple favour, you said yes. After all, you and your cape will be able to do it. Take a realistic double-turn and look at yourself from a day on day perspective. No scorecard to keep up if you will say no to your kids’ teachers’ whim that you lead the next moms-in-costumes social gathering.

Strengths: best person to ask in a sudden cry for help (the hero who saves the day), always spots a need and a way to be of help

Potential Weakness: may tend to decide to work on everything instead of asking for help, yes-person and unable to follow priorities.

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Auto-Play Working Mom – all buttoned up to the neck and has no ‘pause’ button with anything. Can help a little me-time and downtime with other working moms. These are the ones who are bent on taking all offered ‘overtime hours’ and raking in the cash to the family’s treasure box. Most likely to have one or more kids all under 6 years old. Feel free to ask an auto-play working mom to your next moms’ coffee date and hope she welcomes it. Will be blessed to be surrounded by friends who will proactively ask to help in any way they can and remind an auto-play mom that she can have the best of both mom and wife roles by taking the time to smell the flowers. Offer a non-work-related hobby or two or a make-over! Auto play working moms work best with friends who have the heart to live a work-life-balance. Yep, always show up on a date with an auto-play working mom with a flashcard that says: There is social life waiting after work.

Strengths: Most likely to be promoted and bag that competitive pay rate

Potential Weakness: prone to burnout and may find herself without friends or without a social life.

Butterfly Working Mom – butterflies known for their relaxed flutter, beauty and gentle spirit. Butterflies who are best known to add beauty to any place is the type of working mom who adds value to work, family, parenting and marriage. Butterfly working moms know when to stop work, leave work in the office, wear the apron, cook with loving hands, get dirty playing mud with kids on weekends, while setting up a weekly date night with husband. Butterfly working moms are not afraid to wear jeans with a wedge versus the usual crisp white work-clothes she wears on weekdays. Knows what makes her happy and is not afraid to ask help, seek guidance from another mom friend (may be a working mom or a stay-at-home mom). Not afraid to show passion about love for God, and decides according to the values she believes in. This is a working mom who has learned to delegate when she knows she will be unable to do things on her own, and is not apprehensive about taking a step back in controlling things at home. May find happiness in seeing kids learn and try things on their own, commit a mistake or two and do not expect husband or kids to be perfect. Butterfly working moms cannot be found without a group of other women speaking life to her while wearing numerous hats on her head. Sit right next to her and you will find her speaking to you about how beautiful the weather is or how the Philippines, even with the sad news of crime around is still a safe haven for her kids. The butterfly working mom sees herself as valuable and no different from her stay-at-home counterparts. Secure in her identity before God and her season as a working mom, may be open to shifting to become a stay-at-home mom, if God points her to do so.

Zensibilities Day Spa – Anniversary Promo

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On February 15, 2015 marks Zensibilities Day Spa’s first year of operation. Inviting everyone to come by to celebrate their 1ST ANNIVERSARY.

Zensibilities Day Spa will be giving out FREEBIES to the first 10 clients tomorrow, February 15 plus a lot of surprise PROMOS every hour for the whole day. 

Please reserve early before all slots get taken. See you there on Sunday.

For reservation, please call:

9452838
9580758
09058581028
09466393162

or visit https://www.facebook.com/zensibilitiesdayspa/timeline?ref=page_internal

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No More “Hearts’ Day Hurts“ Day

Flower shops/kiosks mushrooming at every corner, chocolates sales all over the place, date movies showing, long list of concert options, even hot air balloon festivals! Valentine’s Day has evolved over time and with the commercial scene getting creative year after year, I’m sure there will be new things to do by Valentine’s Day 2016.

Take a closer look with me. What’s up for Valentine 2015? Then look through them through the thought balloon of a working mom.

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Working Mom to Single Women : Want to Meet Mr. Right? Pray to be Ms. Right!

Valentine’s Day is never exclusive to those who are in relationships. In fact, it should be an opportunity to look at the Godly friendships you have. Do not expect to have a Godly marriage any other way, other than through Godly friendships. So never commit the mistake of skipping maintaining friendships. However, do not go to the other extreme of keeping a potential-husband-scorecard for all of your guy friends. Friendship should provide an avenue of allowing your real self to show and knowing your guy friends without his best-foot-forward-attitude. Flashback to Jerry McGuire’s: “You complete me” moment. Never miss the fact that your being complete does not depend on and will never depend on your future spouse. God is the only one who can prepare your heart and your character to be complete. It is when you are complete with God that you become Ms. Right. And when you have become Ms. Right, then it is perfect time to meet whoever God has reserved to be your Mr. Right. You never know, the friend you have had for several years now may be the Mr. Right God has, waiting for you. So before you plan to orchestrate a mushy moment with your guy best friend at the Martin, Regine, Gary, Lani Ultimate Concert, be your real self who gets confidence from knowing what God is capable of doing with your future marriage.

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Working Mom to Single Moms: Finding Someone who Loves God more than He does Love you

May sound unfair from the world’s view but it is only through loving God that everything else that needs to be fixed, gets fixed by God (not by you). Because if a man loves God, he will automatically be the best provider for your family, he knows that everything belongs to God and he will make a good steward of what he has been given. If a man loves God, he will automatically make a best dad to your kids, because his parenting will be coming from the heart and will never be just an obligation to pick up. If a man loves God, he will automatically be the man of your dreams because he knows that love and respect is what you need and is on a lifelong project of pursuing you. You will never go wrong with a man who loves God above all. So grow your relationship with God, with your children, with your family, with your career(or studies), watch Tangled with your kids and pay attention as Eugene quotes: “She is a Princess worth waiting for”.

Working Mom to Self: Love is a Decision

Frozen’s Princess Anna’s “Love is an Open Door” may just very well be that, a catchy song. Definitely, not all open doors will lead you to love. If it will, then your love story will be reduced to a string of trial and error experience, breakups and heartaches. Tiring Valentine’s day after another. Love is a decision you make with a covenant with God, after all, there is no perfect marriage. And if you develop the habit of quitting at the slightest hint of difficulty in marriage, then you may very well have given up on trusting God for what He can do over your marriage. Do not start the vicious cycle of jumping from one imperfect marriage to the next imperfect marriage, mistakenly searching for a perfect marriage or a perfect spouse who does not exist. The only way to juggle everything going on with family, house, work, finances, parenting, etc. is to know and value which things will last and which won’t. You can always be at a Valentine dinner all throughout the year. A Valentine’s date is not just a moment you can only have on February 14, but only an expression of what you’ve always had in your marriage for a lifetime. Never equate the size of a bouquet of flowers to how much your spouse loves you, or the cost of the dinner date as a test of how far he will go to show you that he loves you. Sure, these are all good things and if you have Valentine dates as staples in your marriage, make sure it doesn’t define the level of love in your marriage but as an expression of celebration of love and a display of the same unconditional love you have received from God.

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Lastly, Valentine’s Day is also a family day. Whether single, married or a single mom, you can always spend a day or a night of love with your family. This is what Pyromusicals are for, a movie night at home, or an entertaining, singing telegram to kids. That’s kissing “Hearts’ Day Hurts” Day goodbye, for good.

Feel free to comment below about what you will do on Valentine’s Day 2015.

Best Time to Travel? With kids!

With 7,107 islands to choose from in the tropical country of the Philippines, it makes sense to get kids started early with traveling. However, most parents get intimidated with taking their brood to transport transfers, car/plane rides or the thought of serving them whatever local food available. So travel we must, took kids to Caramoan Islands, Polillo Island, Baguio tour and recently, took an Ilocos tour with kids and family. Read on as I pick up on where I left off with learning a thing or two on traveling with kids.

Day 1 Pagudpud Pagod & Pudpud? (Tired & Spent?) Nah! Pagudpud’s a Blast!

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Since Quezon City to Ilocos is around 8 to 9 hours travel time (through NLEX to SCTEX to TPLEX), car ride with kids can make or break the trip. Kids Travel Tip#1 Travel Overnight Since the kids were too sleepy to mind, they just slept their way through the ride and spared ourselves from unnecessary stops and from too many “Are we there yet?” questions. Destination is not a problem for Ilocos because they have tons of things you can do and visit once you’re there.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse guides international ships from the north away from the rocky coast of northwestern Luzon. Note that restorations are currently underway to keep it in top condition. Never let your kids take off with all the scaffoldings around.

Cape Bojeador - Ice cream/popsicles are great enders for kids, cones are sold from Php40 to Php100 (more costly than when you would buy them from Manila).
Cape Bojeador – Ice cream/popsicles are great enders for kids, cones are sold from Php40 to Php100 (more costly than when you would buy them from Manila).

 

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation and Bangui Windmills

Kids Travel Tip#2 wear appropriate shoes. A sturdy pair with appropriate sole that should be okay with rocks, pebbly beach, sand, slippery rock formation.

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation & Bangui Windmills – There’s no way kids will endure afternoon sun so visit in the morning. Caps/visors/bandannas are ideal to give you squint-free pictures. See my squinting David above
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation & Bangui Windmills – There’s no way kids will endure afternoon sun so visit in the morning. Caps/visors/bandannas are ideal to give you squint-free pictures. See my squinting David above
Agua Grande Resort – rarely visited due to cold water where river meets the sea. Natural pond is kids-friendly, just make sure they stay away from walking or jumping around large boulders of rocks around it.
Agua Grande Resort – rarely visited due to cold water where river meets the sea,designed with an Infinity-pool-style river to sea ponds. Natural pond is kids-friendly, just make sure they stay away from walking or jumping around large boulders of rocks around it.
Pagudpud Beach – Hannah’s Resort had countless animals, movie characters and dinosaur sculptures around the pristine white sand, thus, it is considered the Boracay of the North.
Pagudpud Beach – Hannah’s Resort had countless animals, movie characters and dinosaur sculptures around the pristine white sand, thus, it is considered the Boracay of the North.
Kabigan Falls – 30 minute trek (both uphill and downhill) with several mini-bridges to cross. Kids may opt to skip the bridge and walk across mini-rivers, adds to their nature adventure experience.
Kabigan Falls – 30 minute trek (both uphill and downhill) with several mini-bridges to cross. Kids may opt to skip the bridge and walk across mini-rivers, adds to their nature adventure experience.
Bantay Abot Cave – going up the cave can be tricky. David seen above with a sad face, kids not allowed to climb the highest rock on the cave.
Bantay Abot Cave – going up the cave can be tricky. David seen above with a sad face, kids not allowed to climb the highest rock on the cave.
Patapat Viaduct where adults can get off the car for a pic. Not encouraging kids to pose for a pic as the long and zigzag road is actually a highway and 4th longest bridge in the Philippines, overlooking Pasaleng Bay.
Patapat Viaduct where adults can get off the car for a pic. Not encouraging kids to pose for a pic as the long and zigzag road is actually a highway and 4th longest bridge in the Philippines, overlooking Pasaleng Bay.

Day 2 Laoag Ranked #1 Destination in Region I

Bacarra Leaning Bell Tower & Museum – Keep an eye on the kids as you go close around the tower, the leaning bell tower comes with falling debris once in a while.

Bacarra Leaning Bell Tower and Museum - The flat areas around it provide a big space for play. Just make sure to keep voices down as it sits right next to St. Andrew Parish.
Bacarra Leaning Bell Tower and Museum – The flat areas around it provide a big space for play. Just make sure to keep voices down as it sits right next to St. Andrew Parish.
Caption: Paoay Church – National Cultural Treasure, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Can be a quick historical stop before heading to Paoay Sand Dunes and Herencia Restaurant.
Paoay Church – National Cultural Treasure, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Can be a quick historical stop before heading to Paoay Sand Dunes and Herencia Restaurant.

Kids Travel Tip#3 Happy Kids with Happy Tummies

Saramsam Restaurant – bagnet, pinakbet and pansit. Kids enjoyed these with rice. Iced tea flavor may be too strong for kids, though. Serve them chilled fruit juice or serve them water/soda (like we did)
Saramsam Restaurant – bagnet, pinakbet and pansit. Kids enjoyed these with rice. Iced tea flavor may be too strong for kids, though. Serve them chilled fruit juice or serve them water/soda (like we did)
Herencia serves specialty pizza. Dinuguan pizza surprisingly was a favorite of the kids, they also tried Pinakbet pizza, Bagnet Pizza and Gamet (Seaweed) Pizza.
Herencia serves specialty pizza. Dinuguan pizza surprisingly was a favorite of the kids, they also tried Pinakbet pizza, Bagnet Pizza and Gamet (Seaweed) Pizza.
Craving for Halo-Halo, tried the one right outside Herencia.
Craving for Halo-Halo, tried the one right outside Herencia.

Day3 Vigan Newest Among 7 Wonder Cities of the World

Kids Travel Tip#4 Take the Calesa Ride Vigan Tour made easy. Rented calesas and went on a convoy of horses while singing Pentatonix tunes with kids. They forgot to mind the heat and a long list of city destinations. Calesa drivers charge per hour but they never remind you about the time. Ride with a mental note to track time. One would think that drivers will remind you and take you back to Calle Crisologo after the agreed hour, but our drivers ended up taking us to all Vigan destinations for almost three hours, instead of the agreed one hour ride, thus, getting charged per hour.

Bantay Bell Tower – have extra set of clothes waiting at the foot of the stairs. Be ready with Spanish war trivia around Diego Silang to discuss with kids. Not up for a climb up the tower? Stay under any of the big trees, enjoy the breeze and let the kids do the climbing and exploring.
Bantay Bell Tower – have extra set of clothes waiting at the foot of the stairs. Be ready with Spanish war trivia around Diego Silang to discuss with kids. Not up for a climb up the tower? Stay under any of the big trees, enjoy the breeze and let the kids do the climbing and exploring.
Pagburnayan Pottery – make sure you don’t go in with another tour group so you can watch the potter’s demonstration minus distraction. The kids can also be picked to try pottery with their own hands.
Pagburnayan Pottery – make sure you don’t go in with another tour group so you can watch and listen to the potter’s demonstration minus distraction. The kids can also be picked to try pottery with their own hands.
Hidden Garden – photo ops galore with kids. Don’t make them try the ginger drinks. Most if not all are too strong for kids to take.
Hidden Garden – photo ops galore with kids. Don’t make them try the ginger drinks. Most if not all are too strong for kids to take.
Irene’s Vigan Empanada – kids fave foodie: Tinubong – it’s like tupig in a foot-long bamboo trunk, empanada – put Calle Crisologo on the map for its original and rich ingredients/taste, Carioca – my kids ate sticks and sticks of carioca. Can pass for butsi or sweet, sticky munchkins on a stick.
Irene’s Vigan Empanada – kids fave foodie: Tinubong – it’s like tupig in a foot-long bamboo trunk, empanada – put Calle Crisologo on the map for its original and rich ingredients/taste, Carioca – my kids ate sticks and sticks of carioca. Can pass for butsi or sweet, sticky munchkins on a stick.
Baluarte – look up the bird show schedule before heading to Baluarte so you won’t miss it (only 2 shows a day). Take the option to sit and pet a Bengal tiger (not taking it for kids) or go into the butterfly farm.
Baluarte – look up the bird show schedule before heading to Baluarte so you won’t miss it (only 2 shows a day). Take the option to sit and pet a Bengal tiger (not taking it for my kids) or go into the butterfly farm.

Kids-friendly Ilocos tour, indeed. Travel bottom line: spend travel time while talking and interacting with the kids. It is so easy to lose the main goal of travel: to create lasting, memorable moments with family, while enjoying God’s gift of nature and creation.

Mommy Bloggers Philippines

Happy, Quiet Nooks and Time Hacks

Working moms, how many of you have found yourselves spending your full day at home and waking up the following day more tired than ever? I’m sure there were times when you tried to remember what made you so tired? Mulling over these questions never pointed me to the right answers. After all, working moms wear different hats and we don’t have a way of knowing which hat we wear at a given time. One thing is certain, though, there may never have been a time when you don’t get to wear one. However, life hacks is all around us, why don’t we try to apply it on the 24 hours we have – time hacks! I have realized mine are always coupled with the happy, quiet nooks that I have grown to have and love at the comfort of my home.

Time Hack #1 First busy hours are first restful hours of the day

Wait…what? First busy hours are first restful hours of the day? Yup! The alarm clock rings as early as 4am or 5am and it is time for working moms to get up, prep breakfast and get kids to school. While everything is cooking (I mean, literally), I pick up on some reading, have my notebook and pen ready and play some Darlene Zschech. God has a way of giving us a fresh supply of strength daily through His Words and encouragement and also has a way of giving us appropriate and timely reminder we will need later part of the day. If God knows you will need encouragement and persistence later, He will tell you that ‘all things work together for good’ and that He is never late or too early in answering your prayers.

I wish I can capture the birds' chirping sound when you sit on our swing set in the morning. Happy mornings create happy days!
I wish I can capture the birds’ chirping sound when you sit on our swing set in the morning. Happy mornings create happy days!

Time Hack #2 Welcome Home Habit

There is nothing better than to put your feet up and have several minutes to yourself as soon as you get back home from work. But my reality (memorable and fun, too!) picture is four pairs of small hands embracing me and a spatter of small kisses all over my face welcomes me, sometimes as soon as I open the gate or as soon as I step into the house, depending on how early our house dog has warned the kids in the house about my presence. I have a variety of things I do that never fail to get me a little ‘me-time’ as I prep to dive into the nightly house chores. Take the options below while putting your feet up and have enough minutes to recharge for dinner.

  • kids playtime shower – put the kids in charge for Bumblebee to take a bath and Barbie to shampoo her hair
  • water the plants – have the kids use pail, hose and yes, water guns too
  • quiet box for each kid – quiet boxes can contain each kid’s favorite toy or favorite activity materials. For my boys, Geronimo Stilton books never fail and for my smaller kids, you can bring out a set of three toys every other day, this way, they can also get to play with the toys they already have
Have a shelf full of old toys? Take out a set of 3 to 5 toys every other day for kids to use. Variety of toys each day is the key and you don't even need to buy any more additional toys.
Have a shelf full of old toys? Take out a set of 3 to 5 toys every other day for kids to use. Variety of toys each day is the key and you don’t even need to buy any more additional toys.

 

Time Hack #3 Down Time is Recharge Time

I don’t think I will ever run out of creativity how to spend post-dinner time with myself or with the hubby. The options are endless. As soon as you tuck the kids to bed, (9pm on a school night for our house rules), this is when you can do recharge as part of your prep-to-bed-time.

  • finish off that bottle of sparkling grape juice while finishing up a book. If with hubby, finish off the bottle over quality life talks (no kids talk, no house talk)
  • watch an episode or two of your favorite TV series (note of caution: make sure this habit will not evolve into staying up all night just because you cannot wait to watch the entire season)
  • take a long bath. Not pressed for time, take out your face masks, your exfoliant, your favorite scented body wash and scrub away!
Countless dreams shared and answered prayers come from any of our terrace talks
Countless dreams shared and answered prayers come from any of our terrace talks

All of us have 24 hours a day but each one of us spend them differently. Spend yours wisely and start creating your happy, quiet nooks at home!

Mommy Bloggers Philippines