Yes, you heard it right. I am a working mother to four kids – all under eleven years old. Managing a brood of three boys and one girl while being on top of growing a career can be quite a juggle but I just have to add another item to the long list I have to do daily…blogging.
Mornings can be a test of patience, especially if it is a school morning. You wake up with a to-do-list that will give the Executive Assistant to Bill Gates a run for her money. Then comes the breakfast table when you need to have a built-in director’s boom voice to command everyone’s attention. Working moms are also quite excellent stylists: to be able to dress up in less than 15 minutes, mindful of the things she needs to show up for at work. The higher you get to the corporate stairs, the better a working mom gets at dressing up in work clothes with less time. Working since I got married year 2003, I have got twelve years of practice and now I have become an expert to squeeze time to change bags, match shoes, accessorize and yes, choose and do a quick hairstyle from Pinterest.
Just when you think you have got it all together, it is time to pack lunch bags. This is where helpful Tip #1 comes in: Prepare school lunch bags the previous night. Ziploc bags and plastic containers are your little helpers to making this happen. Unlike our western mom counterparts, Filipino lunch bags require that our kids have rice for lunch. I highly encourage preparing any dish the previous night and if anything needs to be warmed, make sure you put them in microwave-ready containers, pop them in so it can be lunch bag-ready.
All kids dressed up, all school bags, projects, assignments, signed papers, lunch bags in tact. Tip #2: Take advantage of school buses. For those who think that taking critical time to talk on the way to school is just not applicable to this working mom. That is because my kids’ school is just a 5-minute drive away and it does not make sense to force quality conversation with my 10-year old Kyle about how he spends too much time on Dragon City. However, if driving your kids to school will not disrupt your work hours, by all means, drive your kids to school and make it work (make it to work on time, too).
Working mom finally steps into the office and switches hat but Oooppss…. technically, it is not switching hats but learning to wear several hats: your working self and your mom self. And I haven’t even started with my wife self yet. Tip #3: Work according to your priorities. This is why it is important to clarify your values. There is just no way that you can list your priorities without a clarified set of values. For this working mom, it is God first, husband second, kids third, family, work and then everything else after. It may seem irresponsible to have work on the fifth slot but believe me, I have shuffled these items over the years and this is the only order that works. It makes sense to read God’s Word first before you start your busy day as a chef, driver, stylist, teacher, etc. it also makes sense to show up for a dinner date with husband and impact your marriage, miss a board meeting disguised as after-work socials/cocktails which will not matter in five years (which will not matter as soon as everyone in the office starts the next project).
Tip #4: It is okay to say no. Lastly, as a working mom, it is okay to accept that we are not Darna (Superwoman). There is only so much we can do with 18 hours (less 6 hours of sleep, average sleep hours of a working mom). If we do not decide what our priorities are, the internet will have a say on it, the in-laws will have a say on it, your mom friends will have a say on it, the entire world will have a say on it. Without clarified priorities, I won’t be surprised if you see yourself doing things you should not be doing and squandering time you should be spending with the things that last. Agree with your husband what priorities you will have as a family.