When Motherhood Gets The Best Of Us

Some days it’s hard being a mom. Some days it’s difficult to explain. But some days, well most days it’s just love. Motherhood is love.

Kuya Seth has learned the joy of playing with our neighbors. Since we moved to a new place, he discovered new friends and they play outside the house (but still inside the compound). He asks for permission before going outside “mama, can I play outside?” and we let him as long as: 1- he has supervision and 2- he doesn’t go outside the gate. Those were our rules, aside from the usual “no fighting”, “no crying”, etc. But the emphasis has been on the “no going out of the gate” part, for “someone might get you”, or “you might get into an accident”. Of course we don’t expect him to do as we say 100%. He is a toddler, after all.

Last week I was watching over Seth when he heard his playmate go outside their house. He was beaming with joy, as always, and asked mama the question, “mama, I hear my playmates! Can I please go outside and play?”. Mama said yes, and put on a pair of shorts and towel for him. I told him I had to change clothes first – he was super excited so I let him go with the 2 golden rules at hand. I was changing my clothes when suddenly the kids playing outside turned silent and I cannot hear them anymore. I ran outside to check (just by our gate), the “big kids” told me he was at the main gate. I ran towards the terrace so I can see him (I have not changed my clothes yet!!!) and shouted, “Seth????? Where are you???”.

He screamed at me and said, “hi mama!!!”. I literally held back my tears (I swear motherhood makes me emotional all the time!) because he was just there, by the gate, waiting for his friends. I asked him, “why are you there????” Seth answered, “I am waiting for Kyla, mom! She went outside. I told her I can’t go outside so I stayed here.”

 

There are days when I feel like I fail at being a good mother. Sometimes I feel like everything is just soooo tiring and I literally break down and cry. 😩😭 I mean being a hands-on-mom while pregnant is just not a good combination. But most days motherhood is love. It gets the best (and worst!) of us but I’d like to believe that moms, we do not lose heart. By God’s grace, we can do this!

Here’s an advance mother’s day greeting to all the mothers out there. Remember: Our labor is never in vain. ❤

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Of course I had to document it so I can be reminded of the “fruit of my labor”. 🙂
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On Days When I Just Lose It.

There are days when I just lose it.

I was from a 24 hour shift the other day (whaddup, nurses!) and I was really, really exhausted. The husband fetched me from work and brought me home, changed his clothes and went straight to church. I intended to attend the afternoon service with Seth because well, I was sooooooo tired.

Seth and I were left at home. I never had any problems with Seth whenever I need to sleep. I would just tell him, “baby, mama needs to sleep okay? Don’t play or talk with mama”. Then he’d say okay and eventually, if it is a good day, he will sleep. But because Seth is in his terrific twos and is doing the exact opposite of what I asked him to do, and because a toddler is so full of surprises, he disregarded what I said and just played and played and played. He did let me sleep but he watched The Lorax (his fave movie now; he’s done with The Diary of A Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter), with the volume too high it could pass as Dolby Digital Surround if we were a movie house. So I slept intermittently, waking up every now and then.

I was already becoming cranky and I was starting to get upset with the hubby. It was 11 o’clock and he wasn’t home yet (church usually ends at 10). I.WANTED.TO.SLEEP.SO.BAD!!! Seth was becoming his usual clingy self, mouthing “mama, mama” when he wanted (and not as needed!). He was following me wherever I went and the once cute clingy man turned into a monster. He was shouting and was just really cranky.

And then he started crying. I forgot how and why his tantrums started (sometimes it’s best to just stop rationalizing things when you’re a mom), but it did start. Usually his tantrums start when he’s already very sleepy. And this wasn’t just an ordinary tantrum. This was one hell of a tantrum. He started throwing things on the floor. This was what rang the bell in my head – ting ting ting ting!!!!! I was already furious.

And then I did it: I spanked Seth – in his cute little butt.

You see, I don’t believe in spanking. I have nothing against those who do. In fact, I have high respect for them. But spanking just isn’t my style. It is, actually, my husband’s. But it isn’t me. Probably because I never experienced being spanked and I turned out okay (thank God!). And also because I am a nurse and I believe in the psychological way of dealing with kids.

So imagine how uneasy it was for me to spank him. It wasn’t a cute spank. It was a painful one- I can tell by the sound. So Seth started to spank me too (the inevitable part when you spank a kid- they end up using violence on you). Then he started throwing his toys at me.

I threw one of his favorite toys: a green bucket (his favorite color) where we keep his shapes (his favorite thing). I threw it so hard that I ended up breaking the bucket. It was made of plastic, and we’ve thrown it a couple of times already. But that particular throw was the mother of all throws. It was too painful to watch, even for me, who did it intentionally.

Then he began to scream and said, “mama, what did you do? You broke it!!!! Say sorry to the bucket, mama!” He was still crying and I can see that he was really hurt. He hugged me and asked, “mama, why’d you throw it? Why’d you break it?”.

And then I started to cry. The once fierce mama broke down, and cried too. I hugged Seth as tight as I could.

“I’m sorry, mama.”

“No, no, don’t say sorry, baby. It wasn’t your fault. It was mama’s fault.”

I have always been a toughie when it comes to Seth. I can take it when he cries or when he throws tantrums. I can ignore him as long as possible until he folds. I am good in that department.

But this time it was different.

I explained to him the reason why I did that, and that he should listen to mama or dada all the time. I couldn’t stop crying and neither could he. It was a funny thing, actually, but at the same time, a very emotional moment for me (I am still moved to tears as I type this!). I hurt the one person who adored me more than anything else in the world. Then he hugged me and said sorry again. I kissed him and asked him where his booboo was, and he pointed his butt, which I blew and kissed. Then he asked me the same, kissed me where he spanked me – my back, my forehead, my face (he spanked me a lot of times!).

It really takes a tough woman to be a mother. It takes a tougher woman to be the mommy of a 2 year old.

Sometimes when we are very tired, motherhood can take a hold in us. We feel tired and overwhelmed at times. There are days when I feel like I really needed a break from all the mommy chores that I do. And there are days that I just need to be quiet and not do anything, just because. And it’s okay. It’s normal. And we should take a break once in a while.

Toddlerhood is a test of patience, for me, most especially. There are days when I think I know what I am doing, and I believe I am doing a good job. And then there are days when I just lose it. There are days when I just want to break down and cry.

I put Seth to sleep (finally! It was already nap time when all our drama ended). I kissed him and whispered another “mama is very sorry”. I promised myself that I would buy Seth a new toy. And then I prayed. I told myself that I would never, ever, let my exhaustion get in the way of disciplining my child. And then I told God that I’m really, really tired. He’s with me in this battle, after all.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

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Our words and actions live in our child forever.

Happy Birthday, Momsie! 

My beautiful mujay is turning 65 in a few hours. Yep, sixty-freaking-five! God has been nothing but faithful to my mommy and I am so blessed because I get to spend another year with her. When my dad died, I made sure that I spend more time with her and that I “won’t be too busy growing up for I might forget that she’s growing old” (or so the famous quote says). Since it is her month, let me share with the world how incredibly awesome my mom is, and let me share these lessons the beautiful Aida Dayrit Latonero has taught me:
 
1. You don’t have to shout to prove your point
. My mom is a Bulaceña (she’s from Plaridel, Bulacan, and it turns out we are related to Marcelo H. Del Pilar :p) and Bulaceñas are known to be very soft spoken, gentle in words. For the longest time that I lived with her I never heard her shout. She never- up to now- raised her voice, even when she’s upset, or in an argument. I, on the other hand, speak so strongly and sometimes (well, most of the the time – if you ask my husband :p) raise my voice to prove my point. Mom taught me that even if I am right, I should never speak so highly and belittle people through my tone of voice. 

One time, we were at a bank and her ATM card was screwed up for some weird reason. She was talking to the bank person in her most polite tone and said, “ma’am, pano po kaya yung..”. Even if the bank was at fault and younger than my mom she was still very respectful and polite. She earned the respect of the lady because she respected her as well. I worked as a customer service representative and boy, do demanding people – those who shout, those who curse- get to me! Mom’s issue was resolved right away because she was very nice- tone of voice and all.


2. Take everything one step at a time.
I am a go-getter. If there’s something that I want, I really work hard to get it. This attitude is not at all bad, but you know, sometimes, because we want to get things done right away we tend to overreact when we don’t get it- or when things didn’t happen the way we want them to happen. 

I am very obsessive compulsive so most of the time when I don’t get things done, I get frustrated. Like uber frustrated. Mom has taught me to take everything easy, and take things one step at a time. 
Now that I’m a wife and a mom too I get to talk more about my problems with her, and she constantly reminds me that we just have to take things slowly, not to be too relaxed but to just worry less and trust that the Lord has everything in control.

As I type this, I sing Psalty’s infamous song: 

“I’m climbing my mountain step by step.. I’m climbing my mountain day by day. I’m climbing my mountain all the way. I’m climbing my mountain- I’m gonna make it! One step at a time, one step at a time (aa-aym!). One step at a time- with Jesus by my side. One step at time.. One step at a time. I’m climbing my mountain- ONE STEP AT A TIME!”


3. Mothers know best. Also, there are things that Science can never explain.
I once wrote about feeling that I would be good at mommyhood because well, I am a nurse. Because I thought I can handle things my way, I sometimes shove mom’s ideas away (like always putting a beanie on the baby’s head especially during night time to avoid getting colds) just because I thought I know better. Mom never pushed me to trust her, trusting her came naturally to me when I realized that she is after all the same person who raised all 4 of us. 

One time, when Seth was only a month old, he had colic. This was because I was exclusively breastfeeding him and apparently he was allergic to something I was eating- dairy products. Boy- do colicky babies cry a lot- and out loud! I was sort of panicking already because I couldn’t make his crying stop. Mom was telling me to use ‘mansanilya‘ because it would make the ‘kabag‘ go away (I know pinay mothers can relate!!!!). I didn’t want to do so, I kept telling her we nurses do not believe in that – just because. She still gave me the thing and told me to just put it on Seth’s tummy to make the crying go away. Days passed, the pm crying would not stop. Hans and I decided to put the ‘mansanilya’ on his tummy and alas! It worked!!!! Hahaha. Hans and I never admitted to using it and we never told mom we did but yeah, we did, and yes mom, you were right all along. 😀 

4. You are your husband’s wife. You represent him. Support him. Love him. Respect him. My mother, being the pastor’s wife that she is, exemplified the idea of submitting to the husband. She is also opinionated like me but she never lets that opinion get be the result of fighting with my dad. I never heard her shout nor speak to my dad in a degrading way. She was very respectful to him and his funny ways :D. She was also very supportive of him and his ministry- it wasn’t very easy being part of the pastor’s family but she handled her calling with so much grace. She was my dad’s partner in everything he does but she still made it a point to give my dad his personal space and touch in handling each members one by one. Because of her I wanted to become a pastor’s wife too- because she made it look so wonderful and so so easy. 🙂
Mom would also always remind me to never let my in laws see or hear my husband and I fight. She would also remind me to always speak gently with my husband because he is well, my husband- the leader of the family. She also reminds me that anything I say or do represent my husband so I should always represent him in a good way. 


5. You’re never too old to dream and live your dream
. I have had my fair share of indecisiveness with my life- not knowing what to do or where to go. But no matter what decision I made she was always there to support me. She was very patient with my pursuit of happiness and success and whenever there are opportunities she would encourage me. She would always tell me to dream big, and make that dream happen.


6. Family is always love.
It is everything. My mom would always remind my siblings and I that family is forever. She would tell us, in her deep, soft voice, “walang ibang magtutulungan kundi kayong magkakapatid.” She never encouraged competition amongst us. Now that I’m older and more vocal I would tell my mom if one sibling has upset me and she would always defend that sibling- not to show that she favored one over the other but to explain why that sibling could have done or said it. 
Now that we’re all older my siblings and I make it a point to meet every Sunday to bond with each other and update one another of what is happening in our lives. The way that she raised us (especially when dad left us) was very inspiring and so humbling. I treasure my family, especially now that I have my own more than anything, and my love for my siblings is definitely something I would want my children to have to. 


7. God is a Father to the fatherless. He loves orphans, widows, the barren and those who are unloved.
My mom would always remind us that even when my dad died God is still there for us. She never questioned God about what happened to her- being barren all so sudden. She relied on God’s comfort and love. 

Whenever people would hurt us, mom would always remind us that God’s heart is with the orphans. God’s heart is with the barren. God sees us through. That reminder keeps me going. I never felt indifferent and yes I miss my dad so so much but relying on God’s love completes me.


8. Vengeance is never ours. It is the Lord’s.
There will always be people who will bring us down. And it’s sad because most of this people are people we trust and love. There were instances wherein people would create issues about mom but she never fought back. She never argued in front of a lot of people – she would fight for what is right but she would never fight-fight (if you know what I mean). There was one time that there was this group of people who tried to bring my mom down. I was deeply hurt, I don’t want to go to church anymore and I just want to fight! But mom reminded me that there is no need to fight- and that I should choose to forgive because the Lord will avenge us in His time. That has always been my motto whenever people would try to bring me down- God will fight for me. He is God of justice and He will never let me get degraded. 


9. God should be first in our lives.
Mom would always remind us to put God in the center of our lives. She would remind us to get involved in the church, use our talents for God’s glory. Sometimes she gets soooo makulit (like super!) but I get her point. I would also want my children to be involved in church just like me and my siblings. 🙂 


10. Take time to have fun. Life is short, enjoy it.
Mom is one of the happiest and funniest people I know. She would make sure to enjoy enjoy whatever it is that she’s doing, just have fun. I enjoy life too but sometimes I’m too uptight! 😀 
Sometimes I tell mom to take things slowly. I mean, she would have meetings here and there, dates with her friends, visitations, et cetera, et cetera. Whenever I tell her to not be so busy she would tell me that she has nothing else to do, this keeps her busy and she’s enjoying life! And that’s something we don’t really do. Life is short. Have fun. Enjoy. ❤

I feel sooooooo sad that I’m not gonna be with her on her special day. This is the first time that I won’t be with her but I know that she is happy and grateful because she knows how loved and blessed she truly is.

I love you, mom! I am so honored to be your daughter. See you in a few months. 🙂 

Mommy Diaries: The Diary of a Tired Mom.

Today I am just extremely tired. 

My little man has been sick since last Sunday. It started with something viral- his cousins were sick with flu (we went to the province last week, stayed there until Monday) then the hubby was sick, too, then him, and then my mother in law. My sister in law has been feeling a little under the weather, too. I am the only one who’s not sick (for now) but my throat’s itching as if there’s an elephant wanting to come out. 

My clingy baby has been even more clingier, wanting me to hug and carry him all the time. Like multiply the clinginess by 10 times. He does not want anyone else to carry him and put him to bed but me. I mean he has always been like this but his ‘mom calls’ are more frequent. His fever subsided but yesterday the fever’s at it again. From no coughing to now coughing like crazy, vomiting (due to the phlegm) and from already dancing to nae nae to just wanting to lie down in bed. We brought him to his pedia again, this time the focus were cough and colds but his blood sample was taken again to rule out dengue. 

I have been a full time mom for a month now (on terminal leave, many thanks to the boss!) and you would think that I get to sleep and rest and eat but no, I only got to eat a lot. I have been doing nonstop folding of clothes- mine, the hubby’s and the baby’s, cooking breakfasts (sometimes lunch and dinner too), preparing the milk and bottles, washing the dishes, cleaning the house. You get the idea. But I do these things with a twist: with my little man beside me or in front of me so the folding takes half day (he throws the ones that have been folded already), cooking means carrrying him as I cook, washing the dishes means I have an audience and sweeping the floor means him getting the broom and sweeping by himself which only makes the dirt go all over the place. 

Not that I am not really complaining. I love that I am the center of his attention. But right now I am just officially tired. 

Being a mom is never an easy job. Like what they always say, “motherhood is a 24/7 job”. IT SURE IS. We get to raise our babies (to some of us, with the help of our partners, of course). I haven’t had a decent sleep since my little man came. I used to do graveyard shift and that was not easy because Seth’s nanny has to go to school in the afternoon and I have to take care of him when I get home.  For mommies who have husbands we also have to take care of them- their health, the things they have to do. 

So today as I woke up, I prayed for all the mothers. I prayed for strength, and thanked God for you. You, the mother of a newborn baby (God knows how sleepless you’ve been!). You, the mother who is breastfeeding full time (I breastfed for 8 months and it was never really easy). You, the single mom. You, the mother who has to work full time. You, the full time mom. You, the mother of 2 kids below 5 (I can only imagine the riot!!). You, the mother dealing with teenage children. You, the mother of grown-ups. You, the mother whose kids are also parents themselves (my mom won’t sleep too when my baby is sick). You, the mother who has more than 2 kids (I only have one and I can just imagine the noise and exhaustion). 

Today, I pray for all the mothers. And I honor you for all that you do. 

I recall how life was without my little man. Was it happy? Yes. Was it peaceful? Yes. Was it fulfilling? No. Was it the same? Heck, no. Was it meaningful? Yes, but not as meaningful as it is now. 

Today, I am extremely tired. And what do I do? I think of my life without my little man, and then I think of how everything changed when he came. Life had so much meaning when I became a mom. My eyebags may have 3 layers now but I have never felt this beautiful and loved until this cutiepatootie came to my life. I am still tired but I am very much fulfilled. 

And yes, I sip on my coffee to cure this nagging headache. I close my eyes, and wait for the ‘mom call’.  

Thirteen Going on Thirty.

(Fine. This post is 2 months behind. I am overwhelmed with so much right now -blogging about major life events SOON!- but I know I had to post this :)).

Why hello, I just turned 30. Waddup. 

I remember my very first job interview. I was asked the infamous question, the question that we all have been asked at one point in our lives. The question that makes us wanna close our eyes and imagine: 
‘How do you see yourself 10 years from now?’

Being the wanna-be-beauty-queen that I am (I know you’re laughing right now, Zena), I quickly organized my thoughts, weighed everything (insert spiderman slow mo here), and answered. I might have answered something about the job (of course I had to!), about staying on the job for a long time (so they won’t think I am a quitter). I remember saying something about my plans of getting promoted (so they would think of me as a keeper). 

And then I remember answering this:

“I see myself married, with a family of my own, probably with a kid already. I see myself as a mom.” 

I was 21 then. I just graduated from college and was waiting for the board exam results. I was determined. I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

Days before I turned 30, I was feeling a little low. Cranky low. That usual ‘what have I done with my life’ kind of low. You know how sometimes you compare your accomplishments with your friends’ accomplishments? How you look at their lives and think what would have happened if you did ‘this’ instead? I felt that. I thought about my plans and asked myself whatever happened to those plans. I looked at my career and looked at theirs and asked myself if this was what I really wanted to do with my life. 
I guess when you’re getting older you begin to ask yourself if you are already where you want to be. You know- where you really want to be. 

I met with my high school friends at a dear friend’s wedding and expressed my sentiment. They told me they felt that too, and then assured me that what I was going through was just a phase, that I am where God wanted me to be, and that accomplishments are something you cannot compare with anybody else’s.

I was still feeling low but was encouraged by the thought that I am not the only one feeling what I was feeling. I was happy, but there was still something in me that you know, wants to feel accomplished and all that jazz. 

And then I talked to a dear friend. It’s so amazing how God makes us talk to the right people at just the right time. This friend of mine experienced a miscarriage early this year. We talked about what happened to her and how she was coping. During her first trimester, she was the ‘feeling strong’ kind of woman. She felt that she can handle her job and still do good with it, and do good with the pregnancy. She was a career woman and still wanted to be on top of her career (late night reports, deadlines, etc.).  Her job was kind of demanding. And then she had the miscarriage. 

She told me how she realized that career is not everything, and then we talked about how the society puts pressure on women to be career-driven and independent and stuff. 

I was telling her about how I was feeling, about how I was questioning my accomplishments and then she told me this: 

“Mom ka kaya at 30. (You’re a mom at 30.) That’s a high end accomplishment for me.”

That’s it! That was all I needed to hear. That is my biggest achievement. I am a mom! 

Of course I am still a work in progress, but she is right. Career is never everything. While I was driven by what the heck I should do with my life and my career, I failed to think and remember that I have the best accomplishment so far: I gave birth to a son who is turning out sooooo fine, and that I am well, a mom! 
I would never trade what my biggest accomplishment is for anything. I am married to the love of my life and I have a son. Everyday I get to learn something new out of this experience. I am not yet an expert but I know I am handling mommyhood just fine. 🙂 I wouldn’t trade the sleepless nights, breastfeeding sessions and all the running and talking baby talk for anything.

If I were given the chance to go back to the 21 year old me and go back to the interview, I would have answered the same: 

“I see myself married, with a family of my own, probably with a kid already. I see myself as a mom.” 

I AM A MOM. At thirty. That, for me, is definitely an achievement. That makes me feel very accomplished and proud. I may not be exactly where I planned myself to be but I know I am where God wants me to be. As the song goes, ‘God’s plans are never our plans. His ways are not our ways.’

I AM A MOM. At thirty. AND.I.LOVE.IT. 🙂