BUILD 2019

 

Happy new year, dear readers! Today is officially 2 out of 365 days as we turn a new leaf over and welcome 2019. For this new year, I’m recommitting myself to writing more in this blog. I’ve been inconsistently writing and I’m honestly sorry for it. I have all the reasons and alibis in the world, but no, I’m not gonna feed you with it. No excuses. 🙂

So allow me to start the new year by making this first official blog post for 2019 as I share my word for the new year. You probably heard and saw a lot of people create their word every start of year. Assigning a word that would best describe how they want to tackle the year in reference to their plans, desires, or faith goals.

Honestly, I haven’t had much desire to create my word for the past years as I find it least of my priorities. But, seeing how other people, especially women I follow online, are benefiting so much from it, I decided to give it a try this 2019. And since I see that by so doing, it can strengthen my faith goals by coming up with one strong word that would summarize my desire for 2019, I figured yeah it might be worth doing this round.

BUILD – that’s my word for this 2019. Last year, my over-arching inspiration for all the endeavors that I took was PURPOSE FILLED. I didn’t explicitly made it my word but that was a topic and a word I kept bringing up in my workshops, blog entries, conversations, social media posts, and a lot more. This year, since we’re literally praying to build our own house, I figured BUILD is just a fitting word. But other than that, I choose BUILD because this year, I want to pursue building:

  1. Meaningful relationships/friendships.
  2. Value-adding learnings especially when it comes to being a MOMpreneur.
  3. Strengths by harnessing the things that I am capable of doing and explore unchartered strengths.
  4. Memories with loved ones.
  5. My personal and our family’s life (in all of its aspects) that is honoring to God and edifying to other people.

Like I said, all these things are aligned to my Faith Goals for 2019. If you haven’t had the chance to set your faith goals for this year, you may click back on the link and download your own copy of the material that I personally crafted to encourage more people to start this very helpful practice that my family and I have been doing for some years now.

I pray that  as I BUILD my life around these visions for 2019, that God would hold my hand throughout this new journey. I know it’s not going to be a smooth ride all the way through, but knowing God’s constant presence in my life is a huge assurance already.

Also, let us all remind ourselves that although we may have set our personal goals, desires, visions, and what have you, God has the best and most beautiful plan for our lives. As the verse says in Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” It’s not at all wrong to plan things out but let us never missed out to surrender our lives back to God and His sovereign and perfect will for all of us.

I pray that you and I will find our greatest motivation for 2019 from God who has so faithfully blessed us with another year to witness His perfect and inscrutable will to unfold in our lives.

May this year be your best year ever! 🙂

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Getting our Toddler Started with Homeschooling

Homeschooling – never in my strangest dreams did I have a hint that I’d give this a try until God changed my heart about homemaking, being a stay at home mother, and really setting my heart to becoming intentional in nurturing my family.

One of the things that my husband really pushed me (and still continues to do until now) is homeschooling, or well at least consider it. I think it’s still early to say that we are officially homeschooling Oona, but since I’m always with her, I figured it might be a good time to test the waters and try it out little by little. And so, when she finally turned two – I thought perhaps this is a perfect time to start engaging Oona in play learning, something that would be similar I think to our future homeschool set up. By this time, I started becoming more intentional in setting up our environment for learning, getting her learning-inducing items, and purposefully injecting learning ideas in our daily scenarios. I agree that it’s not all just about toys and material stuff, learning can still be at its optimal state when we become intentional in doing it – spending quality and undivided time with our children and just enjoying our time with them. No matter the physical set up, facilities and materials utilized, and environment present, learning can still be enjoyed.

I know some people would have some issues and hesitations about homeschooling and I totally respect that. To each his own. Whatever works for you and us, so be it. As for our side of the fence, this is something that’s working for us (as we see Oona progresses) but at anytime we feel as her parents that something else would be more favorable for her, we definitely would not hesitate to embrace a new set up. At the end of the day, I pray that we’ll all be supporters of each other’s preferred learning method.

Okay, so for this blog post, I will be sharing some activities and practice where we are able to intentionally guide Oona into play learning or inject learning into play and day-to-day activities. By no means I am a teacher or a professional for this topic; all of these are anecdotal and part of our experience raising our toddler. I think as a parent, you’d be able to perfectly tell what type of learning activities would best fit your child. So yeah, feel free to read through and gather as much ideas as you can and are relevant to you.

Note that these activities do not happen one after the other throughout the day. I try to squeeze in activities for her if I can but generally, we do not force it on her. Best thing we do is just try to enjoy moments with her and just be present with her.

Activity #1: Daily walking and playing around the neighborhood. This practice helps us introduce to Oona the common things that are around us like plants, houses, airplanes, babies, children, etc.

Activity #2: Name that thing thing during car travels. Oona loves car rides and we make this as an opportunity to play the name-that-thing game. ALWAYS. We introduce to her things that she can see around her like cars, trucks, bikes, animals. This is also a good opportunity for us to show her varied colors like red car, white truck, so on and forth. A back story, one time we were driving and we saw a huge truck with pigs inside, Oona was completely fascinated that she wanted us to keep trailing behind the truck and not lose sight of the pigs. From that point on and whenever we ride cars, she would always shout, “Pigs, where are you?” Really funny for all of us. 🙂

Activity #3: Food preparations and cooking. I don’t know if this comes with gender, but Oona is naturally drawn to cooking. As in, anything about cooking. Perhaps because she sees me do this a lot. A lot of times I would catch her stirring makeshift ingredients together, pour milk over a cup, or eat from the toy plate. Having noticed this, I started allowing her to help me stir while I cook (safety observed of course), or hand her over some real cooking utensils so she can pretend play alongside.

Activity #4: House cleaning I think a lot of you would agree that kids are very curious when it comes to holding brooms, dust pans, feather dusters, and the like. So the best way for us to encourage her to do this even more is to ask her to help me out and involve her in the cleaning. She likes to help out when I do the vacuuming, or when I fix the bed, change sheets – pretty much all the house work that she sees me do, she tries to be involved with it. And that I think is a good opportunity for us to introduce/model/teach her house work.

Activity #5: Grocery shopping We love doing this with her. In fact, we intentionally make it an activity for all of us to do the grocery shopping together. Through this activity, we are able to encourage her to make her own choices (food for example), say what she wants, say what she does not want, and ask for permission for the things that she wants us to buy for her.

Activity #6: Daily dancing, singing, and instrument playing. She must have gotten it from me – her adoration and love for dancing, singing, and playing of musical instruments (she loves to do drum tapping). I remember when she was a baby, I would sing and dance in front of her and to her amusement, she’d give me her loudest giggle. Hahaha I know you’d imagine me looking silly. But, it must be that practice that made her love singing and dancing. On a daily basis, I’d play her favorite songs, rhymes, teach her actions, and get on a dancing and singing session with her. She loves it so much that she’d ask me to do it over and over again. Another opportunity for me to train her to say “Please” or “Thank you.”

Activity #7: Buying things (counting items) – this doesn’t have to be the fancy kind of buying things. For us, this can be our time to buy Taho (Soy Milk), Puto (Rice Cake), or things that we normally buy. Involving her with our simple purchases allows us to introduce counting while we model to her giving thanks to God for all the blessings that we receive.

Activity #8: Daily conversations (introducing terms) – we are totally surprised with how talkative and vocal Oona has been with her feelings. Like when she does not want to watch a certain TV show, she’d say, “Ayaw, Elsa.” And say, “I want Baba Sheep.” This may be because we tried talking to her as if she’s a grown up kid. No baby talking or anything, just plain language that we want her to learn. So when she turned 1.5years old and started blurting out words, we took it as a chance to be intentional and careful (at the same time) with our words. Sometimes, though, we have word slips and lapses here and there, that would make her mimic our exact words. Guilty mom here. Not good, but we try to be as careful as we could with all that we say in front of her.

Activity #9: Talking to friends / other people. Oona isn’t the type of kid who’d barge in in any playgroup and feel at ease with it. She’s more of the shy type of kid at first then loosen up as she gets more comfortable with the people around her. In as much as I want her to learn to feel comfortable with other people immediately, I respect her timings and cues. So for this round, we just bring her along in almost all activities – whether we have friends to meet, meetings to attend (well, I do bring her mostly to my meetings), play dates, and pretty much everything else that we do – we want her to see how it is to deal with other people. Of course, with respect for elders, courteousness and humility in our words.

Activity #10: Engaging with other kids and feeling disappointed (character building). In as much as we want to control her environment and spare her from the harsh reality, there’d be instances when other kids would not treat her the way we want them to. Naturally, as parents, our initial reaction would be to keep her away from those types of kids. Well, honestly, I’ve always been tempted to do that, but at the same time, I also want to see how she’d respond to those instances. We’re blessed to have a kid who won’t retaliate or hit back when she’s aggravated. Although sharing is a struggle for us at this time, I think it comes with a certain degree of challenge in their age. But nevertheless, unless it’s really a need for us to take Oona away from a group of kids or a certain kid, we just let her figure our the environment around her. We want her to be able to experience disappointments, failures, because we can’t spare her from these things as much as we want to.

So far, it’s been fun for all of us to help Oona get a good feel of her environment and learn her way around things. We’re happy that she’s able to learn things and familiarize herself with some concepts at par to her age. But apart from the concepts, we pray that this whole desire for homeschooling would allow us to disciple her, build character, and point her to God even more. That at the end of the day we will be able to teach her the love of God and that she too, in God’s perfect timing, would understand and love God with all her heart.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

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Job Role: Home MOMnager

There’s something about the title MANAGER that as a young girl, I have always dreamed of becoming one when I grow up. So you bet, all my younger life, I have always aimed to land a good job in an office with a laser focus goal of climbing up the corporate ladder and eventually get myself be titled as a MANAGER. Sounds like a really exciting goal for me, yeah.
Fast forward to present, I obviously do not have the corporate title of a Manager now but the work that I do as a stay-at-home Mother pretty much qualifies me to be called a MOMnager.
What does a MOMnager exactly do? How do I typically go through my day as a MOMnager?
But let me warn you first, that this whole MOMnager work isn’t really exactly the fancy and glamorous one you think with that of an Office Manager. This one is more of the ground work, getting-your-hands-dirty kind of work, and sometimes the underpaid kind of manageral work. Hahaha joke!
Cooking 
As a MOMnager, I plan all the meals to be cooked for a week. From breakfast, lunch, snacks, until dinner. And you might ask why do I bother planning it out? Well, because I don’t want to be buying anything we don’t need for the week and spending money for things I won’t be cooking. In short, this practice saves us time going through the grocery aisles or checking out stalls in the wet market and ultimately, helps us keep within our budget.
Planning is one thing, but cooking is entirely different. And yes, I do a lot of cooking too.
Managing Family’s Finances
I don’t do the budget allocation simply because it’s not my strong suit. And that’s perfectly fine. Anyone between you and your husband can decide who’s more fit to do it. My main task is to stick to the budget as strictly as I could in almost all of our household spending – groceries, wet market purchases, utilities consumption, allowances, and many more.
It’s not easy – I tell you guys! You have to have a good eye for details and a strong will to keep within the budget at all cost. Yeah!! Otherwise, you’d always be slipping off your budget.
A little bit of plugging, I’m excited to share that we’re doing a Money MOMnagement workshop on July 28, 2018, that’s a Saturday for all MOMnagers like us who want to be more intentional in how we manage our family’s finances. Click this link for more information about the workshop. Come join, it’s going to be learning-filled I tell you!
Travel and Activity Management
You know how a lot of the planning work instantly goes under our care as Mothers. Yeah? I wonder why that is. Hahaha. But when it comes to traveling, getting on a trip, and planning weekend activities for the family, I do the researching, finding of best deals or vouchers, and other tasks under this scope. As a MOMnager, a lot of researching is part of the job. You have to be in-the-know for good deals, discounted tickets, and fun activities to put into your itinerary.
Education 
Yes, a MOMnager also does the teaching for her little children. In my case, I started Homeschooling (well, a little bit of it only) our 2 year old daughter. And boy, when I say homeschooling, it’s not just about making her watch educational videos. A lot of the work goes into planning which activities to do for the day, which lessons you want to highlight when you play, what manipulatives to introduce, or make-shift toys you want her to innovate and appreciate, or activities you want to do that will be learning-filled for your family. Your creativity as a mom is put to test, I tell you.
Household Organization
Mind you that when I say Household Organization, it’s not only about cleaning the house and making it squeaky clean. As a MOMnager, this part involves you making sure that all fixtures, appliances, and home equipments are in their mint condition and good for use. The repairs and refurbishings are also under your management. You have to have a good and reliable go-to person for your house repairs.
Organization does not only cover the household items, it can also extend as far beyond as repairs for your husband/children’s shoes, bags, or anything that they can’t do but you can spare some time doing for them.
Professional Driver 
Just when you thought your work remains only at home, you realize some of the work requires you to become a dotting driver for the family. Not just any driver but a Professional Driver who can ensure safety for your family. Bring kids to school, run errands outside, drive them to playdates, buy items outside the house and many more.
One thing I realized when I learned how to drive is that it’s really something that Moms should learn to do, if and when they can. Because a lot of the work that we do is difficult in its own already but having the means and the knowledge to drive lifts off some percentage of difficulty and helps us comfortably do our tasks.
With all these roles, you could just imagine how much work a MOMnager does throughout the day. And if you think these kinds of work end in about 8hrs or so as a typical working duration, you’re actually mistaken. Because the work just does not stop. The work is more than this list. In fact, there’s still a lot more to add to this list. And remember I told you that this isn’t the type of fancy and glam Manager kind of work, now you understand why. 🙂
But I guess the whole MOMnager role is made even more meaningful with these questions –
Why do you do what you do? Why did you go for it and let go a corporate work? Why this you have to choose it over opportunities ahead of you? 
 
What is your WHY? 
Your answer to these questions will change the whole perspective. It can soothe a tired spirit, mend a crushed soul, ease the exhausted body, and encourage a disheartened mother. Or can make you regret your choice, to begin with.
So, why do I do what I do? Or why do I choose to live out this season as a stay-at-home Mother? Because two things – 1) I believe that by fulfilling my role as a Homemaker wholeheartedly in my season now, I am able to honor God even though some people would regard this work as mundane; 2) I want my family to know how much intentional I am in serving and loving them by being a Homemaker.
I may have never gotten myself a Managerial title for a corporate career but I’m joyful to share to anyone who asks what I do now – that I’m a MOMnager of our own home. I may never have the chance to be get Managerial title ever in the future, but it’s not important anymore.  Right now, my role as a Home MOMnager is far more greater than any roles I have had in the past and could potentially gotten myself into had I stayed as a working employee.
I may miss the hustle as a working individual but I know exactly that this was and is God’s purpose in my life right now. I don’t have to keep entertaining the If’s and But’s in my mind and in other people’s.
My hope is that all of us, mothers, whether SAHM, WAHM, or however you call it, will find the joy in living out God’s role for our lives right now – that is being a MOMnager to our family while giving God the honor in all that we do. A joyful, peaceful, willing, and God-loving MOMnager that our family would always remember us for.
1 Peter 4:10-11
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
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AweSAHM Finds: Going Natural with Katharos Natural PH

 

If you’ve have been following my blog along and my social media posts, I rarely promote or write about product reviews as I specifically am focused on writing inspirational entries. But just because I don’t do it, does not mean I cannot write about products I am totally raving for.

 

I love organic products and I’m totally all for going natural when it comes to food we eat or products we use for ourselves. A lot of times I DIY on food and products but there are just those that I can’t seem to put the time and effort to make. So for those products that are over and beyond my Mom-DIY capacity, I source them out.

 

There are a few products that I loved at first use, have been an avid user of for the longest time and there are those that I just use one time and never tried again. I’m not too particular with the aesthetics but I’m that very keen when it comes to quality. The after effects are my make or break when it comes to judging and loving a product. You know how a lot of products are coming out these days and says Organic and Natural but you end up experiencing otherwise? It’s scary and I have learned to be vigilant about it by reading through the labels.

 

So when a good friend of mine launched her own line of Pure and Organic products, my heart skipped a beat! And when I say Pure and Organic, I honestly mean it’s definitely true to its promise. Tried and tested! And in experience, there are only two things that make me genuinely love an Organic product.

 

1. When it’s obviously not pretending to be ALL ORGANIC yet you can tell there is a trace of non-natural ingredients in it. For someone who loves organic items, I can actually feel and tell that after a couple of use.
2. When it’s husband and baby approved. Or when they don’t feel or see anything weird after using it.

 

Exactly how KATHAROS Natural Products are to us! I can honestly and confidently write about its efficacy and trust their bold declaration of carrying only organic, pure, and natural products, because I know  and I have tried it so.

 

So let me write about each of their product that I have tried and share how lovely it has helped us and even our one year old baby.

 

1. Soaps – I love all of their soap variants. We use it as a bath soap for adults and for our little girl too. I love it because it does not leave my skin dry that I don’t even need to use a lotion after bath because that’s how nourishing it is for my skin.

 

2. Insect Balm – This one is like our family’s boo-boo balm. Our go-to ouchie balm for insect bites and even for bruises, rashes, and other skin care ouchies that we have. So much for our quick and go-to balm that whenever our baby gets a bite or an ouchy, she immediately tells us, “Balm, Nanay / Balm, Tatay.” Then we sure know she’s referring to that Magic Balm we got from Katharos.

 

3. Eczema Balm – This one we could not stop raving about. It’s really the Bomb among their Balms. It has worked very wonderfully for my husband’s itchy spot in his scalp that’s been an ongoing concern for him. And so I’ve long been in search for products that would help address the irritating itch and none of what I found (apparently even the famous brands) have solved this concern. Then this Eczema Balm from Katharos came – and it just worked A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-L-Y!

 

To really tell and validate that it’s that effective for my husband, I had to ask him several times and in different occasions if it really did soothe the itch. Knowing him, he’s the type who would be quick to tell if a product is not working well for him. But for this one, he consistently gave a big fat YES for all those instances I asked him. He liked it a lot, no wait, he actually love it. So much so that he brings it with him even in the office and religiously remembers to apply it twice a day.

 

So yeah, my final verdict: if you or someone you know is experiencing Ezcema or skin irritations, I’d highly recommend that you  consider Katharos’ Eczema Balm. It’s really the bomb among their balms!

 

4. Lip & Face Night Balm – straight out – I’m not too fond of using skin care products or even practicing a skin care routine, although I think I’d really have to start one as aging is really taking its toll on my skin. So one night, even though I’m not a fan of all these face products and routine, I randomly tried this balm on my face.

 

Of course the result wasn’t too quick to recognize but for me the smell is just okay, nothing too extraordinary, it wasn’t too sticky as I normally experience with other balms, and it does not leave a very awkward feel in your face.

 

The best part for me was the next day result. I felt like my skin was overly stretched like I just washed off a mud pack on my face. I love it a lot and will definitely use it again and again!

 

5. Dreamy Balm & Chesty Balm – these two I don’t quite exactly know what’s the difference but I figured the Chesty Balm works like a vapor rub while the Dreamy Balm works like sleep balm. Or perhaps can work as a massage balm too.

 

Both do not come off minty in its feel or too strong in its smell, which tells me it’s all natural. But personally, I may have liked it better if it leaves a cooling or minty effect on my skin, specially the chesty balm. I still like them both but not enough to replace my current favorite balm. Nonetheless, I’ll still watch out for future versions of these two balms.

 

6. Mist Spray – I loooooove this mist spray but my husband loves it waaaay better than I do. In fact, he practically uses it for a lot of things – in the car, as a linen spray, as a clothes spray, and plainly whenever he wants a relaxing feel.

 

What I like best about their Mist Spray is it does not leave a stinging smell in the nose like other air sprays. I’ve bought a couple of ones before and ended up discarding because the smell is too strong it makes you think of all the harmful chemicals in it.

 

This one though, you’d have to be spraying from time to time as the smell does not last too long. And I love it that way because it really speaks about its naturalness when it comes to the ingredients used.

To top it all of, what I love best about this brand  is that it’s bold in declaring their love for God in the bible verses that they posts, not just in their generic label, but in all their product labels. Different verses for each product. For me, it just speaks volume about the product and its creator.

Thanks for staying through this whole product review. My super final verdict: we absolutely love KATHAROS! You have to get your hands on it and try it for yourself. It’s highly recommendable! 🙂

 

Have fun and may we all find the joy and pleasure in transitioning to more environment-friendly, natural and safer products.

 

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Joyful Mom turns Joyless Mom

Photo: CTTO

Do you have days when you feel like you’re the all joyful kind of wife, respectful to your husband, loving every single moment of serving your family, rejoicing over difficult and some mundane tasks at home and praising God for your season.

How about days when you just snap and quickly transform into a beastly kind of mom who finds wrong in every single thing, even the tiniest, unimaginable and non-sensical issue and let’s everyone in the household know you’re totally in a bad mood by letting out shouts, banging things around the house, and just gives the I’m-not-in-the-mood-for-anything kind of look.

That’s exactly me some days in my life as a stay at home mother. You know when you’re all feeling spent working around the house, exhausted to the core, gone throughout the week without a single alone time, and not able to do your personal work because hey, housework is just waiting for you. I’m totally not proud of it but it happens. I’m not a perfect wife, although I pray to be the best. But some days just get the best of me.

In other words, some days – I operate as a mom, wife, daughter JOYLESSLY. Full of grumbling, complaining, comparing, hating, regretting, and many more. I know I’m not being a godly wife by letting out these awful traits specifically when my daughter hears or sees me doing it. But honestly, there are moments when you just feel it very tasteful and inevitable to do it. Like you want to be the “Rebel Mom” and let everyone know how you are feeling by showing them a glimpse of your heart through your actions and awfully, your words.

There’s really NO justification in all my actions but what I’m saying is that at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I realize –

being a JOYLESS Mom hurts a lot of people and parts in my life. My angry words and actions hurts the people around me, hurts our marriage, my parenting, friendships, and even more, hurts my relationship with God.

And joylessness, if not addressed and acknowledged, is a wound in our hearts as mothers that can grow deeper and deeper throughout time. Yeah, maybe we think it’s just one of those moments that I’m tired, exhausted, and I wanted to just withdraw from everyone else – friends, family members. What we don’t realize in this progressive joylessness is that it robs us off the love for other people, the appreciation of all the blessings that we have, the gratefulness, compassion, many more, and hurts us and the people around us more than we could imagine.

When I gave birth and really stayed home and worked around here, I experienced irritability and anger a lot of times. Like even the tiniest details, I’d snap and make a fuss of it. All of it I attributed to being a tired mom who pretty much works around the house throughout the day. But what I notice is that even when things start to get more manageable for me, I’d still be easily triggered and turn into an angry mom. I was wondering even if this was all related to Post Partum blues. Then I was led to ask God in prayer what was wrong in my heart. Why do I get easily angered, irritable? I feel uneasy that I’ve turned into someone I’m not exactly familiar of myself. I asked my husband about it and he was gracious enough to constantly pray with and for me. No judgements, no anything, just pure love and support from him. Then I started really praying and asking God to continuously heal my heart. To remind me all the time of His faithfulness and grace in my life through His death on the cross because of my sinfulness. And to restore my heart and make it right with Him and everyone else around me, whether they’re my loved ones or not.

Up to this time, it’s still what I ask God for. Because I realize, I honestly cannot do it on my own. Each day is a process I go through.

I have moments when I slip off and feel angry and not be my best self. But in those moments, I can sense God comforting me that He is with me in this whole restoration of my heart. It’s not easy but I submit all to God and ask Him to just take full control.

And when there are moments that it’s just so tasteful to get angry, I’m reminded of this verse in James 1:9 that says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Then I know very well that it was God taking a hold of my heart there.

Acknowledging my tendency to get mad and irritable takes a lot of humility. It didn’t come off really quickly and easily, but I thank God that I was able to finally take a step further. Now that I’ve acknowledged it, it made sense for me to now identify my trigger points. Situations when I easily shift into a different mood – angry and irritable to be specific.

These are when:

1. I’m worrying about something and feeling like I totally do not have control of things. Worrying makes me shy away and withdraw myself a lot that when people try to get into that act my withdrawal, I feel totally bad.

2. I’m tired as in no rest in between work. So I try to space out my work schedule and sleep early so that I don’t feel grumpy the next day.

3. My/our agreed schedule is not followed. Being late is one, but really getting away from a schedule makes me feel uneasy.

4. There’s just too much clutter at home.

5. I’m not able to plan my day / week ahead. It makes me totally uneasy. So I try to list down all that I need to do and say buy for a week so that I don’t feel my thoughts, decisions, and plans cluttered.

6. I lack quiet/prayer time.

7. I’m running on low to NO me-time in several weeks. So in a way, I kind of divert my personal time to going to the grocery alone, running errands alone, or through “pamamalengke.”

You see – organization takes a really high position in my priority. I try to address this by doing whatever I can, but at the end of the day, I realize there are really things, circumstances, that would cause interruption along the way. And that’s something inevitable. I’m praying that God would settle my heart whenever things like it happen.

In a fuller spectrum of things, this part in my life is something that I want to trust God for. I know this is all happening for a good reason – under God’s watch and He won’t allow me to go through this without victory in His name.

Like many other moms, if there is a part in your life that doesn’t feel like right – spiritually, emotionally, relationally – I highly encourage you to go back to God and really pour your heart into prayer. Telling Him what doesn’t seem right for you and asking Him to take fullest control of your heart. It’s never too late, never too early for anything. When you finally see it and recognize it, bring it to God in prayer.

God loves us more than anyone else, and He does not intend destruction for our lives. He’s love as a Father for His children can soothe our weary hearts and crazy situations.

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The “NO LIFE” in the Stay at Home Mom Life

Have you ever had someone tell you that there is no life in being a stay at home mother?

I did and in fact heard a lot of awful stories about stay at home motherhood to the point that I hated being one as a young woman. I dreaded being one and even swore that I would never be like “them.” Oh I feel so shameful remembering how much I looked down at stay at home mothers only to realize that I’d eat my words and be a full pledged SAHM.

Fast forward to present as a stay at home mother, I realized I had it all wrong. I had the wrong perception about moms who stay home. Whether it’s a deliberate decision or the lack of choice perhaps, whatever led them to jumping into it, it’s still is a challenging journey that to me eventually turned out to be an adventure-filled kind of life.

When I started explicitly telling people about our family’s decision that I stay home, I received all sorts of reaction – bad, good, surprised, disappointment, fear of the future, and many others. And it can’t be helped. I think the people around us were just used to seeing me as a work/career driven person that never in a slightest hint that they’d hear me say it straight out – “I’m a stay at home mother now”.

Some would give unsolicited comments like, “sayang ka, magaling ka pa naman at bata pa,” or “bakit naman yan ang napag desisyunan nyo.” Questions here and comments there. A lot of them were thrown out like it was the worst that we have gotten our family into.

And honestly, I felt like it was actually the worst decision. I regretted being one and at some point scrambled myself to searching for a job again and get myself back to my corporate life. But as I always say this, God had it all planned out for me from the start. It was His design for our family that no matter how much I struggled to go against His will, I always ended up going back to this stay at home motherhood kind of life.

3 years and so into being a stay at home wife / mom, I realized I have all the reasons in the world to believe that NO, being a stay at home mother is NOT lifeless. In fact, it’s full of life – the fun and challenging kind of it. When I look back, it’s really in this season in my life that my wings have begun to spread. A time that I actually went out of my comfort zone and stepped into the unknown while I try to find my way around it. Learning, unlearning, and re-learning things here and there. Finding the joy, getting disappointed, failing at a lot of things, and the list just goes on.

It was the kind of adventure I have never had working in the four corners of an office space, clocking in and out every single day.
Not that it was bad. I actually loved it. Only that I found the best adventure as I have now being a stay at home mother.

To share with you some adventures I have gotten myself into for the past three years and so as a stay at home mother and to emphasize that nope, being a SAHM is not that all awful things you hear, I’m sharing some of the things that I have learned, started, created, embraced and learned to love throughout this season.

1. Learned how to drive. I have always been frightened at the thought of making a vehicle run, but this fear had to be conquered.
2. Processed documents at various government offices. A lot of my adulting reality happened while processing documents in different government institutions.
3. Enjoyed going to the grocery and ‘palengke’ on weekdays.  Yes and I actually look forward to this every week. 🙂
4. Embraced simplicity and minimalism most especially in our material possessions.
5. Loved meeting friends and catching up with them on weekdays making my weekends untouchable for Mamacademy events and family affairs. There is absolutely nothing like enjoying less crowded Malls on a weekday.
6. Started a discipleship group for fellow Moms. I absolutely feel thankful for having this kind of group that I find that much needed Mom support.
7. Started a small business. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine myself to be an Entrepreneur. Only in this season of being a SAHM that God has led me to a desire to start it.
8. Learned basic Accounting through the business that I started. And if you know me, you’d know I don’t have the patience with NUMBERS. I’d honestly prefer to skip that but being a SAHM gave me a different perspective about learning new things including ACCOUNTING. Hahaha!
9. Learned how to cook and bake decent meals and not just because I want it as a hobby but because I have to cook everyday of my life at least twice in 24 hours. So, yup, include decent and non-repetitive Meal Planning in the list.
10. Taught a live workshop. It has always been my dream to teach adults. Nothing of that dream ever happened during my past working life until I became a SAHM and finally got the push to do it. Yaaaaas!

And many more.. Perhaps, these may be just trivial adventures for some but I tell you my adventure as a young adult only kicked off when I became a SAHM. Not only because parenting and married life comes with forced maturity with all the roles and responsibilities it brings, but because I knew in my heart that if this is what God has called me to do for a long time then I better make the most out of it – overcoming the whirlwind of emotions that comes with staying home, standing up for my role as a mother and a wife, and battling through the transition of letting go a personal desire of nurturing a career.

Yup, staying home drives me nuts most of the time with all the work that I do to run the whole household affairs plus take care of a very active toddler girl. But hey, it’s not all that. Somewhere in between the mom life, there are moments that makes me think, that yeah, it’s not all the bad stuff. Apart from being able to personally care for my family, there is that tiny silver lining in this season that we are in. That apart from it being one of the most demanding roles we’ve had to date, there is got to be the good side to it. It may be a boring and sucky life to others as it might easily present itself to onlookers, but honestly, if I look through it, it reminds me that God has placed me in this season for a good reason. And He still allows me to enjoy it after all.

It may not be exactly the same adventure as I imagined and planned for my life being a young adult, but it is the kind of adventure that God has intended me to enjoy and make the best of.

If you’re a SAHM like me, I pray to send encouragements your way as you read this, that no matter how your day looks like, it’s still possible to enjoy this season and make this the best adventure ever by God’s grace.
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Budgeting your time as a SAHM / MOM while Pursuing your Passion Project 

Pursuing a passion project alongside motherhood is totally a NO JOKE. I tell this all the time. The world out there pursuing a project, whatever that may be, perhaps a blog, a business, an advocacy and what not, and whether you are a mother or not takes a LOT. Chances are, you’ll feel exhausted juggling things, you’ll be a lot busier, you’ll spend a little bit more time and resources in implementing your project, your attention would be divided more, and so on and forth.

All the start up projects, businesses, blogs and brands that you see now all looking fabulous, kept, organized, awesome. Behind it are founders and prolly their team (you are blessed if you have it and can afford to sustain) working doubly on the leg and ground work. Countless hours of work, energy, and resources exerted. So you might ask yourself, “how in the world will I still be able to squeeze in some extra time for a mom passion project when I’m practically spent throughout the day just for house work?”

And honestly, I asked myself that too countless times when I was just starting Mamacademy PH. I had a lot of doubts, insecurities, fears, and everything else that you could possibly have and think of not to pursue something new for yourself. There were times when it was too challenging for me to stay up late and work on a content, layout, or squeeze in a client phone call in between a house work, meet a client with a baby and tow and even breastfeeding while I’m in a meeting. Haaaay. And the list just goes on.

Buuuuuuut, just before you throw the idea of pursuing your mom passion project out of the window. Wait, until I tell you this. Yes, it’s challenging, exhausting, time dividing and consuming, but it’s still doable and the good news is that, you can manage it along the way. Yup, you’ve read that right – YOU.CAN.DO.IT

In fact, you’ve probably seen that in a lot of mompreneurs, mom bloggers, mom advocates, and passion project doers. They did it, a lot are still at it, so yes, definitely and without a doubt, you too can pursue your own mom passion project.

And I think there’s no better way for me to finish this post than to share with you my 3 QUICK TIPS in pursuing a passion project alongside motherhood. I have always hoped that many more moms would try it out for themselves and really pursue something that they’re personally passionate about while being loving, dedicated, and amazing moms.

Here goes my tips:

1. Know your priorities early on – and I could not stress this any better. Even before you begin a project, with a thought in mind that your idea/project will fly (yes, don’t be such a negative baby hehe), you have to have your priorities straighten out and identified even at the onset.

Know who and what you’re priorities are and your non-negotiables. And unless you have this clear from the very beginning, you are bound to accept just any opportunity that comes knocking on your door. Some priorities may be constant throughout while some may change along the way, but just keep it all laid out every start of something or every year.

For instance – in my case, I’m clear in keeping my Sundays workshop free, why is that so? Because that’s our worship and family day. That may perhaps be just a simple priority for some, but it’s something that we value as a family. You too can identify your priorities with your husband and the rest of your family.

2. Set a goal and a schedule but don’t be pressured to follow it too strictly – and that’s very normal for us moms. We get too stingy with following our schedule, ticking things off our to-do list, and making sure we’re keeping up with our gazillion work right on time.

But the truth of the matter is that we don’t have our time all to ourselves. Our families and our children take up the most of it, well for me specifically. Yes, it’s safe to set a goal or what I call baby goals for your passion project. Whether that’s a weekly, monthly, or quarterly goal, go do it. But don’t be pressured to always keep it strictly. Leave some room for flexibility as you work on your “priorities.”

As one pastor had said it that got me absolutely thinking, we should “schedule our priorities and not prioritize our schedule.” And that’s a huge lesson for me as I pursue my mom passion project.

3. Ask / get help – no matter how you try to accomplish everything all by yourself, you are likely to feel burned-out at the end of the day. We are not mechanical beings, dear mom. We get tired too. And as much as you’d like to believe that you can be everything you want to be, I’m sorry to break it to you, we just can’t do it all.

You can ask help in caring for your baby or working on house chores when you have to work on something, you can hire help so you can delegate the leg work at home, ask help from a friend, relative or someone whom you know can alleviate the work for you whether project or house related. Hire someone you can afford to work on some stuff for your project. And trust me, it’s just going to be a lot better for you. You can focus on the more important things and more high-level tasks for your project or your role as a mom/wife by delegating the work.

And there’s still so many things we can all do as moms to help us budget our time, energy, and resources so we can still pursue our passion while being the best moms and wives for our families. It’s not going to be an easy feat or a quick-fix for us, but slow progress is still better than no progress at all.

God bless you today, moms! <3

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When Being a SAHM is a Gift for your Husband

My husband leaves the house all in order and comes home to a house that’s pretty much figured out by no less than the MOM — me. That’s quite a daily routine for us. He leaves the house, I take care of the ground work at home, and not just any ordinary work, you probably know that fellow SAHM, and comes home in the evening not having to worry about how the day went or if the house work were completely ticked off the to-do list.

What kind of work does my husband entrusts to me daily:

– clean the house
– feed the baby with nutritious and not junky stuff
– cook whole foods for the family
– manage the bills payment
– bring baby to her playdates or classes
– do the weekly grocery and palengke trips
– go to the bank and do errands
– manage and oversee the house repairs
– interview, hire, and manage house helps
– make sure baby has learning time
– take care of the tiny bits of stuff at home (sew clothes, change beddings, etc).

And many more in between. So you imagine, a mom can be a Driver, a household Manager, Finance Manager, HR person, Teacher, Sewer, and everything else while he’s practically away and works. And for the most part, I honor him for all the work he does for the family – providing through his work, making executive decisions for the family, planning out for us, leading us spiritually, discipling us and many more. He has his fair share of the “ground work” too.

One time, out of the blue, I randomly asked him, “does it make you feel more confident and assured that I’m the one staying at home and taking care of our child?” And sure enough, I’ve never heard him say the loudest and most confident YES until I popped the question. And mind you, I did not throw the question to imply anything negatively. I asked because I want to know how he feels about me staying home.

His words were something like – “I can work peacefully and confidently concentrate on it because I know that you are well on top of everything at home.”

And WOW – I felt like I got the best SAHM award of the year. TRUST – big word. Hahaha. But seriously, would you not feel the same if your husband tells you something like that? I kid you not, I was smiling ear to ear as if I received the best recognition ever. Well, it really was for stay at home mom/wife like me.

And that short conversation turned recognition, appreciation, and affirmation made me realize, that yeah, I’m not only staying home for mundane things like house cleaning, cooking, and the rest of the work that we often see as nothing extra ordinary for stay at home mothers like me. Me staying home with our little girl and working on the work at home is giving my husband the peace of mind. And that’s absolutely worth more than anything else for me. The stress that relieved off because they don’t need to worry about who’s holding the baby and if the baby’s being fed right and many other things that they don’t need to think about anymore. These things that we’re doing to help them focus on what they can and have to do as the leader of the family.

This does not mean that working moms do not give their husbands the peace of mind – absolutely not in that context. And I don’t mean to speak of their journey differently and negatively. They have their own share of struggles and challenges as much as we do. So, please, let’s spare of the comparing and judging. We all know how much work each mom does and how much everyone deserves equal recognition, affirmation and appreciation.

Going back – if today, the following week, or the months and years ahead you’ll feel like you’re doing the same mundane house work over and over and you feel like you’ve buried yourself at home not getting yourself out there to work, think again. You’re doing the tremendous work of being a WIFE and MOM. All these things that we’re doing may not translate into immediate results as what we’re used to being measured with back in our corporate careers. But the results, I trust God, are far long enduring.

Nurturing a family, supporting a husband, raising your children intentionally, being a mom and the wife that God designed us to be is never easy but reaps the best harvest at the end of it all. And in the end, when we’ll all give an account to God of how we were as a wife and mother, we’d be able to say, “I served them Lord as if I was serving you face to face.”

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Stay at Home Moms

It’s the season of gift giving and if you’re a stay at home mother like me, you might be wondering how and what you can give your loved ones or perhaps your husband this Christmas.

You know when I started transitioning to being a stay at home wife a couple of years back, holidays like this makes me a bit sad especially knowing that I no longer have the earning capacity to buy gifts to as much people as I want to give or just the thought of always considering your budget in every purchase that you make.

But you know what, if there’s anything that God has been faithfully teaching me in this season as a stay at home mother, it is that it’s not always about material gifts. That holiday or any celebration for that matter could be made extra special by what you have and what you can give. Material or not, it’s your heart for giving that makes it even more special more than what you give.

So for my fellow stay at home mothers, who, around this season, may be feeling a bit low because we’re no longer capable of buying special and pricey gifts out of the Christmas bonuses and salaries we used to have, let me share some ideas for “special” gifts that we can give our loved ones – husbands, children, or just anyone you’re eyeing to give something this holiday.

But wait, let me just remind you, that although this season makes us hugely miss the corporate career we used to have – all the parties, recognitions, awards, bonuses, benefits and all that – it’s okay. It’s normal for us to feel like we’re missing the old life. But remember that what we have now is what God allowed to happen. It may be far from the glamorous corporate life, but that’s alright, what we do is still special. Remember that.

Gifts don’t always have to be with a price and wrapped after, so here are some quick ideas for you, fellow SAHMs. 🙂

1. Time – perhaps you want to give something out of the ordinary this year and instead of forcing a certain gift amount into your family’s budget, why not try doing activities with your loved ones where you can spend quality time with them.

If you have been busy whole year round, now is a perfect time to slow down a bit and enjoy an awesome time perhaps with your husband or your family. How about a hotel staycation? Or a road trip up the South? Or a simple candle light dinner date? Nothing fancy, just pure spending quality time with your loved ones. Or how about setting up a movie marathon at home with matching home cooked meals that you prepared? Why not, right?!

2. Talents – each of us sure has a unique gift – whether it’s cooking, organizing something, baking, preparing DIY stuff – whatever that is, I’m certain you can whip something up and create a specially made present. How about DIY-ing your Christmas presents? Baking may count, Cooking is definitely in the list, Crocheting can be fun too, Calligraphy is very pretty I tell you and many other stuff you can create out of your special gifts. For the recent years that we transitioned to being a single-income family, we started giving out gifts that are mostly DIY-ed. There was a time we baked a Banana Cake, prepared our own Gourmet Sardines, and many more.  And so far, those gifts that we personally took the time and effort to make were the ones that were mostly appreciated. Because the recipients knew how much love was put into every single gift we prepared for them.

And yes – it’s economical, special, and definitely fits the bill!

3. Treasure – if you’re one of the few  stay at home mothers who were blessed with opportunities for a side business/hustle, perhaps you could consider and afford buying some special but practical items to give away. Again, it does not need to be too fancy. For me, you could consider buying practical items. If it’s for your husband then perhaps you could get him something of good use for him for work or his usual activities. If you think he’s in need of a good pair of loafers, then by all means, if it’s within your budget, go get it. Or if you’re looking at giving something for your parents, how about giving them something that would be practical for them, say an Executive Check-up package, or a set of vitamins that they need. You are the best person to know what exactly does this loved one of yours need and would greatly appreciate receiving, so if it’s something you could spare in terms of your budget and would not really hurt the budget so much, then yeah go ahead.

You know how the old adage goes, “it’s the thought that counts?” Now that I’m a stay at home mother and living the adult life, I feel like I started living out this principle. Not for being ‘kuripot’ or extremely frugal, but more of me wanting to be a good steward of our God-given resources. Not just impulsively buying and blindly hoarding stuff. And more so, not just giving gifts for the sake of handing over something. For me, it’s now about how we can all bless other people through the gifts that we share regardless how pricey or inexpensive it is. Are we able to show love through our gift? Are we able to share God’s goodness through our gift? Are we able to genuinely communicate how much we value them through our gift?  These questions may be worth asking ourselves before we buy gifts this season.

Oh and just before the days ahead gets really crazy busy, let me greet you and your loved ones a blessed CHRISTmas! May your celebration of this season be focused on CHRIST as our reason for everything. Please know that it’s a blessing to have someone like you who journeys with me in this SAHM life. Thank you from my heart of hearts.

In AweSAHMness,

Kaye

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God’s Grace (and an Opportunity) to a Stay at Home Mom

I didn’t grow up to be fond of cooking neither hanging out in the kitchen except when I want to eat. Not until I became a wife and even more when I become a stay at home wife (SAHW) then a stay at home mother (SAHM). I think it comes with the season that you’re forced to really embrace every single responsibility that comes with your current role – that including cooking and not just cooking, loving it.

So imagine how much of a surprise it was for everyone at home when they found it I started becoming interested in cooking, learning my way around things, and finally doing it. I would not dare say that I’m a good cook at present and I think between my husband and I, he’s waaaaay above and beyond my cooking skills. But I can honestly say that I’m trying – and with trying I mean – I have my good and bad dishes too. But at least the love for it, even more for cooking whole foods, mainly vegetables and fruits, is already there.

Almost three years ago, in one of my cooking adventures as a stay at home wife and in my desire to develop a food product that I can eventually sell, I got my hands into cooking homemade food specifically Spanish style sardines. Yes, as in SARDINAS.  I got recipes from an online resource, developed some more to my preference, started cooking some for my husband, and then eventually sold some to friends. And it was a hit, by God’s grace. Then my pregnancy came and we had to push everything aside to prioritize this new season in our marriage. We thought, maybe yeah this isn’t really what we want to pursue. After all, it entails cooking – something I wasn’t naturally passionate about to begin with. Or so we thought.

Fast forward to present, still staying at home, but this time as a mother whose desire is to support my family too and help out in our collective income even in the littlest possibly way, I found my courage to finally launch my Gourmet Food  venture(Spanish Style Sardines as a flagship product) and develop it into a more sellable product. It took thousands of encouragements and strong pushes from my husband before I finally said yes to doing this, well again. A thousand worth of prayers to help me brave all the process leading to its launch, and God’s unfathomable grace for it. Today, I’m blessed to share our new, little and humble family venture into Gourmet cooking through our Eats Gourmet PH flagship product that is our Spanish Style Sardines in Pure Olive Oil.

I remember this to be my prayer years back when I started being a stay at home wife – for God to allow me to use my hands for His glory, in whatever form He desire me to do so. His answers are finally unfolding before our eyes, little by little,  and I could not praise God enough for bringing us to it and through it. We may have had to start everything from scratch but we are happy we did and we could not imagine doing every single thing if not for the grace of God. Indeed, God uses the oddest season in our life to bring forth His plans for us. Who would have thought that a simple recipe I found over the internet could help us launch a food venture such as Eats Gourmet PH and start selling out to friends and eventually to some strangers. We are not huge yet, only a small start up family venture, but we’re positive that with God, we could brave the odds and be a product that will be loved by many families and individuals.

It is our desire to bring gourmet products to more and more Filipino families and households at its best quality but with a price I could confidently afford myself while we share the love of God to others through our product. Please help us pray to continue working at our best for this venture with God as our greatest source of wisdom, strength and inspiration for everything.

To view updates about our start up Gourmet Food venture and our flagship product, please follow us on Instagram (eatsgourmetPH) and FB (Eatsgourmet_PH). We’d love you to give our product a try and hear your feedback. 🙂

If you’re a mom or a stay at home mom/wife like me, I hope to leave you with an encouragement that no matter how much we feel like we’re tied at home doing the dirty work of managing our home and taking care of the kids most of the time, God can still use our season for greater things. You may feel that you have given up your career and so many wonderful opportunities ahead of your life for your family and that there’s not much personal growth in what you’re doing now as a mom and a wife at home. Don’t worry, God knows our hearts and we can turn in to Him all our frustrations, our goals, and dreams no matter how much it seem like it’s all what if’s and what could be’s in our heads now. If you’re in the middle of desiring to pursue something other than being a mom or a SAHM, I encourage you to pour it all out to God in prayer – to be honest in everything that you feel and ask Him to lead you to His purpose for your life. That only His purpose and will for your life be your ultimate desire too.

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
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