To all Moms Who Work Nights and Used to Work Nights, This is For You!

hellokityWith more and more industries demanding 24/7 operational hours, and with more and more women being added to the workforce year on year, it makes sense to take the time to honor all the moms who get to work at night. Just as when the world is gearing up for bed to sleep, moms who work at night get to prep for transit and for an 8 or 9-hour work shift. I used to work nights myself for a collective number of 6 years and working now during the day for close to five years, I will have to say that I have enough years of experience to write about the joys and dips of working nights. Most moms who work  nights would bend over backwards just to make sure the kids will never have to notice that mom went to work while I was sleeping.  And so the vicious cycle of staying up to as much as 18 to 20 hours a day is sometimes required. Moms who work nights would get home and join breakfast, function auto pilot as if she also had 8-hour-sleep. Engage in conversation around news, how everyone will spend their days and plan for the weekends (where moms don’t get to sleep until Saturday night coming off work Saturday mornings).

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Back when I used to work nights, my day hours would stretch to noon, just in time to ensure all kids have taken a bath and your ever reliable household help angel has prepped everything for lunch. Then it is finally time to sleep. Yes, just as the afternoon sun has kicked in, in all its hotness glory, it is time to sleep. Imagine following this rigor every summer. Thank God for air-conditioning units. Unless you leave your bedroom door open, one or two hours into sleep, you hear little knocks on the door, your toddler or any of your kids wanting to cuddle. This is where you can make things work by encouraging kids to have afternoon naps with you. I just hope that what they want is cuddle and not play time because if so, you can say goodbye to your planned 6 hours sleep and ease your way off bed for a 4-hour sleep instead.

Of course, the same cycle repeats itself because before you know it, evening news is on which signals you to get going and prep for work. So how did I make it work while working nights?

  1. God is my 24/7 God – bigger than any of the things I encounter – Working at nights did not have to change the way I see my season with God. Whether you wake up at 5pm or at 5am, you can go get your Bible, read up on God’s promises and believe Him for His perfect timeline and perfect control over things that may seem overwhelming for you. Learned how not to focus on anything that can be a source of worry, doubt, discouragement or tension just by believing who God is and what He can do over my season. Doing this overtime and you certainly realize that you wake up with a fresh supply of faith, strength and joy day on day (or night on night J). Because there are a lot of things I don’t get to do myself or be on top of while I work at night,  all the more reasons that I clung on to God and have Him take care of the things I cannot control and take care of. I may not be able to keep an eye on my family at night but God can. I may not be present on everything during the day but God is present. This is the biggest assurance I had that allowed me to trust, depend and rely on God heavily.
  2.  Communication Is Also Open at Night – ways to communicate may be different, thus, most moms would find communicating challenging. You can maintain normalcy by making ‘how are you doing’ phone calls to husband anytime. If your husband is like mine, he would also be up on my 4am break just so he can ask if I already had lunch. Otherwise, you can always wait until you get home in time for breakfast. It can get challenging only if husband would have a totally opposite schedule than you do. There was a season when I would work nights and husband would be on mid-shift, making it impossible for us to share a meal for 5 straight days. Other than using the phone real-time, this was when a Logbook came in handy. Husband and I agreed to write down our thoughts when we get home and before we leave home. This sustained us for half a year. We still sometimes get back to reading the logbook whenever we thank God for sustaining us through different seasons of our marriage and family life. Where other couples would take aligned work hours for granted, this season ultimately changed the way we view our time with each other count. We would never have discovered that we can arrange a child’s birthday party via a logbook update (that’s for another writing J).
  3.  Do not be such a Darna – this is where you agree to have all the help you can get from your family and friends. Make your schedule work around what is important, knowing when to prioritize taking time off some nights to be there for kids’ milestones. It is an advantage that most school events are during the day, although the downside to it is having less hours of sleep before another worknight. Never commit the mistake of wearing the grouchy hat when you are home. Better ask help from family and friends when things get too taxing for you (e.g. after recreation activities for kids with extended family, afternoon playdate with friends, or even catch up afternoons with your kids’ ninongs and ninangs). Imagine it from your kids’ limited perspective. You never want to be the mom who is always asleep or the mom who is grouchy when awake.

momCritical to making this work is being honest with your spouse. Develop a transparent relationship with your spouse, do not be afraid to seek help or discuss your options when needed.

I am taking my hats off to ALL moms who work nights, moms whose heart for family is just as big as those who work during the day. To all the moms who stay home, work from home or step out of the house to work, thanking you for all your labor and love for all the kids who make up today’s world. For the stay at home moms whose work is equal to those who work full time, thanks for being the kind of mom you are and for showing us all that mommyhood is both fun and fulfilling. Happy Mothers’ Day to all!momsaffiliate

God’s promises whether you sleep at night or during the day:

 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

“Qik or It Didn’t Happen!”

With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day just around the corner, what better way to send message than through video messaging? It is always inspiring and personal to send a message quickest way. With Skype Qik, mobile video messaging will never be the same.

Remembering how my son and myself would spend time watching Pentatonix music videos one after another, now it is easier for me to bring quick cheer to him anytime of the day via a video message on Skype Qik. Interesting finds of the day does not have to be still images anymore. Now I always have the option to show hubby how my kids funnily put up a tent right outside the house to beat the summer heat.

Relatives from overseas also can now be updated and will never miss a celebration back home with it. Download it on any device and you can connect and invite anyone regardless of the distance. Record away and ground send all you like.

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Skype Qik is a quick video messaging/communication app that allows you to exchange instant and quick video messages for free. It enables you to capture videos that are up to 40 seconds long, and and send them to group of friends. Skype Qik is available on iPhone, Android, and Windows phones. More about Skype Qik here:http://www.skype.com/en/qik/

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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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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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Otter Mom Self and Love Languages

Recently took the Personality Strength Survey with four personality types Lion, Otter, Beaver and Golden Retriever and realized that my primary personality strength is that of an Otter’s. Yep, where a lion mom wants to be direct and confrontational with the type of music their kids listen to, my otter self wins and goes full gear with approaching it with story-telling and motivational type of conversations.

Attended Ardy Abello’s Communications workshop and I find it interesting that I was actually applying my learnings on how I parent. On hindsight, I feel like I have missed out on effectively parenting my kids, just because I missed to discover what my personality strengths are and missed to see how my personality, communication and decision styles affect my kids. So read on, thought of listing some of my learnings. Let us go bust some parenting myths.

Myth#1 – the best and only form of communication is talk                                        

Learned the 87-13 principle. That 87% of the information we receive comes from the eyes and only 13% of the information we receive comes from the ears. This is where critical life modeling comes from. That our kids tend to use the same words we use, respond as how we usually do, relate to dads as how mom does, relate to moms as how dad does. So basically, kids are on default imitation mode on whatever behavior you model as a parent. John Maxwell was quoted saying “I do not practice what I preach, but I preach what I practice.” Now that is communication, one that does not require you to open your lips. This goes to say that your life may be the only Bible that your neighbors will get to hear.

Myth#2 – communicating means having the ability to speak/tell                  

Communicating is not exclusive to speaking, active listening is the most important yet the least practiced part of effective communication. If you find yourself doing something else while listening, most likely you do not have full attention to the act of listening. Say you are on the dinner table and that is the only place where you and the kids get to talk (in between eating, munching and serving). No TV on dinner? With or without the TV on, you are actually competing with the long list of things happening on the dinner table. Moms, you may want to plan for a deliberate family meeting session where you have everyone’s full attention to listen. Night prayer time with kids, I would say, creates a very good avenue to communicate with them. You would be surprised how kids openly talk about their fears, their dreams, their views about everything under the sun, before prayer time.

Myth#3 – this is my communication style. Period.                                                                  

My love language (there are five: words, touch, time, gifts and service) is Words. My husband’s is service. My eldest kid Kyle’s is time. My only girl Sofia’s is touch. Inevitably, what feeds my love tank is words, my love expression is also words. But then no matter how much “I love you’s” I give my husband, his love tank may not be filled until I show it through service. I can talk to my husband all day (words) but if I do not cook for him (service), he will miss to spot that I have just expressed love. In the same way, even if my husband gets up and joins me for breakfast and drives me to the office (service) daily, but if he does not tell me “I love you” before I get off the car, my love tank is not as full as it should be. Imagine our confusion back when we did not know how love language works. Now that we do, we just have to remind ourselves about it and make the effort to meet it for everyone.

There is no rocket science formula to communicating and parenting. Moms can never go wrong with having a genuine concern over what will work for husband and kids, and not just taking home your communication style required of you from the office. If you run business reviews in the office and taking the lead in the boardroom is what‘s needed in the office, it is definitely not the same requirement you have at home. Leave your “working mom self” at the door, you can always pick it up again on your way back to the office.

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