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Don’t forget your kids! Number 1 commitment for a working mom

Don’t forget your kids! Number 1 commitment for a working mom

Despite all of the troubles of the past year and a half, I always remember my commitment to my children’s growth and development. It is easy to get swept away from the problems and challenges of everyday life that we forget to also focus on our children and family. They can serve as a source of strength and support during those low moments and will be the reason why we get up in the morning to face another day.

My children are my number one priority. I make sure that I continue to stay involved in their lives, spending my free time with them. I shared my thoughts and feelings of what was happening during the challenges experienced by AHEAD because of the K-12 transition. It is always my hope they get valuable lessons from my stories and be more knowledgeable if a similar situation happens to them in the future.

When they were kids, I made it an extra effort to be 1 hour away from where they are. Sometimes, I would even follow a few kilometers away during their school field trips. The main office of AHEAD was moved to Katipunan, Quezon City when my children started going to school in the area. I want them to feel safe and supported. They can always count on me for help if they needed it.

But I also make sure not to spoil my kids even if as a mom, I want to give the best to my children. However, it is more important they learn how to stand up on their own two feet, and realize that it takes effort to succeed. I want to impart the skills and knowledge my children will need in the outside world while they are still in a safe and loving environment. To teach them about responsibility, I assign them work around the household such as managing the grocery budget. One of my kids even handled it too well, with me ending up haggling to include milk in the list because he would say that it was expensive.

I try to set a good example to inspire them to do their best in achieving their goals. I shared with them the core values that I practice and they were happy to adopt them as their own. We have family meetings to talk about our mission, vision and goals as a team. My heart is happy to see them also passionate about the same advocacy as me. The advocacy of education for the less fortunate.

Together as a family, we are launching a monthly training program for school principals under AHEAD. Investing in the development of principals will create a domino effect of excellence in the school system. Good principals lead to good teachers; good teachers will produce good students, and good students will become productive members of society. It is an amazing feeling to have the whole family working towards the same goal.

Being a working mom is a tough job especially when you are experiencing challenges both in career and health. But it is worth it when we remember the reason why we are working hard and striving for the best. It is for the happiness and success of our kids.

This Mother’s Day, I give honor to all the working moms out there who stay committed despite the trials. Our love for our children knows no limits, making us stronger. Cheers to all mothers out there. You can do it!

My mom, I, and all things imperfect

My mom, I, and all things imperfect

When I was younger, I would sometimes wish I have a different mother, far from the one I have. I envied my friends who have a “perfect” mother — prettier, smarter, kinder, and richer. I remember praying to God before sleeping, asking for a replacement. But when I wake up, she’s still my mother, and I her daughter.

When I was about five or six years old, I remember saying that I wish I had my bestfriend’s mother instead of her – straight to her face. Back then, I did not understand how painful it must been; but I remember her telling me, “Can you promise not to wish that again?” I did not know why she told me that, but I know better than to argue. I saw her shed a tear or two and thought, maybe I did a bad thing.

I did not like her very much when I was growing up. Sometime she’s so strict and mean; but sometimes she’s so calm and peaceful like she’s a different person. How can I describe my mom? She has a short temper and has tendencies to become violent. But, at the same time, she is the most loving, caring, loyal, honest, helpful, and most importantly, strong woman I know. Of course, I did not see these good traits of her before; I was too occupied dreaming about a perfect mother I would never have.

When I was younger, I felt like she finds satisfaction embarrassing me in front of our family members, my teachers, and my friends. I felt like she always needs to look out for me, meddle in my life, decide for me, and save me in every dilemma even if I don’t want or need her to do so. She does not want to leave me alone and it made me angrier and angrier.

Over the years, our relationship had been tested countless times. I would cause her pain, she would cause me pain. We would make one another cry. Sometimes we would cry upfront; sometimes, we would cry behind each other’s backs, when we think the other one would not notice – and that’s one of the worst ways to cry.

When I graduated from High School, we were told to write letters to our parents and tell them what we want to say. I wrote my letter and gave them to my mother. In that letter, I told her, “I forgive you.”

But, it did not end there. Our fights continued. Things have worsen, before they got better. But in each and every fight, she will always tell me, “Someday you will be a mother, and you will finally understand.”

As both of us grow up and as more years pass in our lives, we learned to understand one another. I saw my mother in a completely different light, or maybe I saw her for who she truly is all this time.

We discovered how we truly and deeply loved one another all along; we just didn’t know how to show that love. And, we just didn’t know how to receive one another’s love.

For my mom, her love was about waking up early to cook breakfast and pack my lunch, skimping so she can buy me decent clothes and some toys, pretending to be Santa Claus and leaving chocolates in my socks during Christmas, attending parents-teachers association meetings, never missing a school activity, selling different stuff to get me to school, and kissing me when she thinks I’m sleeping.

For me, my love was about studying hard to get good grades because I know she would be happy to see I excel in class, massaging her body when she’s tired, not changing the television channel when her favorite shows are on, helping clean the house, and not eating all the food so she can have something when she’s hungry.

Little by little, I realized everything my mother had done for me. When my anger turned to gratitude and joy, I stopped looking for perfect, because there is nothing greater than what I have in front of me.

I asked my mom a few times if she ever forgave me for all the pain I caused her. She told me, “There’s nothing to forgive because she never held a grudge.” I asked her, if she ever regretted me or wished she had a different daughter. She told me, “I never did. You are my daughter. Someday you will be a mother, and you will finally understand.”

I may not understand everything, but I know better now.

We are two women with similarities. We are both beautiful and smart, passionate and courageous, loving and giving, and strong and determined.

We are also two women with differences. We have different preferences, ways of thinking, opinions, principles, experiences, and beliefs.

We are two women – both imperfect, but never less.

Must-Follow Blogs for Every Working Filipina Mother

Must-Follow Blogs for Every Working Filipina Mother

For us working Filipina mothers, blogs aren’t just a great form of entertainment but also a convenient method of learning. From mommy blogs, family blogs, style blogs, design blogs, cooking blogs, and all the other various genres of blogs that are out there, there is so much helpful, possibly life-changing knowledge made available to us online. Dive into this compilation of summaries and need-to-know information on a few delightful blogs!

Momma ‘n Manila
Mommanmanila.com

Who runs the blog?

Mish Aventajado, a “Filipina American mom of four lovely beings, one of which has an extra chromosome. Living in Manila. Yogini. Teacher. New Yorker at heart.” as she describes herself on her Twitter account.

What can you expect to read about?

“Thoughts on yoga, cooking, crafting, raising a special child, exploring, eating, playing, and living in Manila.”

Follow the blog if:

You want broad knowledge on a spectrum of topics. From special needs awareness to relationship advice to parenting hacks to exercise tips to food recipies to travel ideas to many, many more. This blog is filled to the brim with wisdom on a whole bunch of subjects that you will find relevant. Not only will it educate you with so much of what you need to know, but it also delivers enjoyable and entertaining insights as well.

The author on her blog:

“Through this blog, I hope to document the journey of finding myself through motherhood, learning through my children, my students, and my adventures here in Manila.”

 

Must-read article: 5 Things Your Kids Should See In Your Marriage (http://www.mommanmanila.com/5-things-kids-see-marriage/)

 

 

The Misty Mom

Themistymom.com

Who runs the blog?

Sharina Macainag, a “beauty junkie preposterously attracted to makeup and skincare”.

What can you expect to read?

Articles of tutorials, item unboxings, and features on topics such as beauty, makeup, skincare, hair, style, fashion, and motherhood. She also writes a monthly series of blogs on her favorite products, both beauty and non-beauty alike.

Follow the blog if:

You want to up your style game or stay up-to-date with the latest fashion, makeup, and hair styles. This blog is yet more proof that having children doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with your own style. It’ll inspire you to put together a great #OOTD, try out a new haircut, get the best products for your face and skin, and commit to many more aesthetic-related upgrades. Your kids will be amazed! Who says moms can’t have great style?

Must-read article: How Sleep and Skincare Worked Wonders for My Skin (http://www.themistymom.com/2017/06/how-sleep-and-skincare-worked-wonders-kojie-san-dream-white.html)

 

Mommy Peach

Mommypeach.com

Who runs the blog?

Peachy V. Adarne, “a mom to two daughters, wife to a loving husband, foodie by heart, a coffee lover and a froyo and yogurt junkie, and a law enforcer by profession”.

What can you expect to read about?

“Parenting and life as a mom and as a wife”

The author on her blog:

“This is where I also blog about our family’s travel, beauty finds, and OOTD’s — basically products, brands, or services which I have personally used or encountered.”

Bonus blog: The Peach Kitchen (thepeachkitchen.com) Peachy’s foodie blog!

Follow the blog if:

You’re interested in anything food-related. Whether you often wear an apron or not, this blog has a little bit of everything for everyone. There’s a ton of delicious dish recipes and handy kitchen advice for those who like to cook, but there are also new and exciting restaurant and product features, helpful diet tips, health hacks, and more. Take your pick, you’ll definitely find something that’ll pique your interest!

 

 

Chasing Dreams

Chasingdreams.net

 

Who runs the blog?

Rhiza Sanchez-Oyos, a “wife, mom, blogger, and dream chaser” who is a “self-taught Web Designer and Front-end Developer too”.

What can you expect from the blog?

Energizing articles focused on stories about her “family, marriage, life, dreams, and faith”.

Follow the blog if:

You want to be creatively stimulated. If your mind is ready and willing to be filled up with inspiration of all sorts. Whether to broaden your imagination so you can start up a new project, or to strengthen your motivation so you can continue striving on what you’re working on now. This blog will light a fire in your head, causing your creativity to intensify.

The author on her blog:

“I hope somewhere in the pages of this site you find the inspiration you need to pursue your calling too.”

Must-read article: How to Balance Your Family, Career, and Creative Passions (http://www.chasingdreams.net/2017/03/how-to-balance-your-family-career-and-creative-passions/)

 

So, there you have it! Of course there is still a multitude of other wonderful blogs out there, but this is just a hand-picked variety of some of the ones suited for working Filipina mothers like us. As you can tell, following these blogs are an enjoyable and convenient way of discovering new tricks in the kitchen, fresh outfit and makeup styles, up-to-date tips on motherhood and so much more. When you find some timemaybe when the kids are at school or you have a few free minutes at workgo check them out. After all, it would be a waste to miss out on what these powerful women and their inspiring blogs have to offer!

Your 8 Rights as a Filipino Consumer

Your 8 Rights as a Filipino Consumer

In the wake of the celebration of World Consumer Rights Day on March 15, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) once again reminds consumers of the importance of asserting and fulfilling their rights to overcome unfair trade practices and avoid exploitation.

“Everyone is a consumer and, as such, each of you would want to be treated safely, fairly, and honestly in every transaction you make,” says DTI in a statement issued March 28.

“To guide you, here are eight (8) basic consumer rights you are entitled to. Knowing them empowers and protects you against market abuses and social injustices.”

1. The right to basic needs. This is your right to have access to basic and essential goods and services, such as adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, public utilities, water, and sanitation. This right also reminds you to prioritize your needs over luxuries or unnecessary wants and focus on the quality of goods and services, rather than the brand, high price, and quantity.

2. The right to safety. This is your right to be protected against the marketing of goods or provision of services that are hazardous to your health and life. You can read first the label of a certain product to see its precautions, warning signs, expiration date, and PS (Philippine Standard) or ICC (Import Commodity Clearance) marks. If needed, you can also ask for a professional consultant to learn more about a product.

3. The right to information. This is your right to be given the facts you need to make informed choices and be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labelling. Before purchasing a product, you can read its label carefully to know its use, content, number of pieces, proper handling, and manufacturer. Also, before signing waivers, warranties, or service contracts, it helps that you understand all the provisions written in them.

4. The right to choose. This is your right to select from a range of goods and services at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality. You can always canvass for prices of similar or wide array of goods and services offered in the market before purchasing.

5. The right to representation. This is your right to express your interests as a consumer in the making and execution of government policies. You can attend public hearings or meetings regarding consumer issues to be aware of how consumer laws and regulations are being implemented in your area.

6. The right to redress. This is your right to be compensated for misrepresentation, shoddy goods, or unsatisfactory services. In case you have bought a defective product, you can return to the store, look for Consumer Welfare Desk, and request a replacement, refund, or repair of the product.

7. The right to consumer education. This is your right to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be an informed consumer. You can read newspapers, magazines, and other materials that may educate you on how to get the best value for your money. You can also participate in seminars, conferences, and fora regarding consumer products, new concepts, and developments, which are conducted by government agencies, consumer groups, and business or industry sector.

8. The right to a healthy environment. This is your right to live and work in an environment that is neither threatening nor dangerous but rather permits a life of dignity and well-being. The government then must play its role in enforcing environmental and sanitation laws on factories, stores, and shops; while you need to reduce, reuse, and recycle the waste from your consumption.

For more information on consumer rights, send an e-mail to cpg@dti.gov.ph. To report a complaint on products and services, call DTI Direct 751-3330 or send a text message to (0917) 834-3330.

Photo: Wayne S. Grazio

How Three Women Turned Passion into Profit

How Three Women Turned Passion into Profit

Every woman’s situation is unique, but all women, whatever path they take, can always find opportunities for personal, professional, or business growth. The secret is to look for the opportunities that are present everywhere, whether in the home, in the office, even in your hobby room.

Here, meet three women who did just that: They mined their personal circumstances, passion, and creativity to bring their game to the next level and score financial success.

Mommy Problems—Solved!

When Janice Villanueva became a mom, she had to deal with all kinds of motherhood issues. One time, while breast-feeding her child at the mall, her chest was accidentally exposed. This unfortunate experience, however, drove her to launch her first venture, a clothing line she called Mommy Matters.

“These look like regular clothes but they have a panel that opens up,” she says of the nursing wear she produces. “There’s a hidden slip that you just lift up so that when you are breast-feeding, you don’t look like you are.”

As her child grew older, Janice started to realize how much mommies need specific information relating to practical parenting. And since she was also in the industry of publishing, she decided to publish a book entitled Mommy Pages, a directory for moms containing relevant information such as useful listings and details on party planners and child-friendly restaurants, among others.

Meanwhile as she continued to give seminars to other mothers about proper breast-feeding, a friend suggested that she do events as well. Hesitant at first, Janice took the plunge after her friend promised to place ads in her book if she would do an event for her.

Thus, Janice’s events company “Creative Juice” was born in 2000. She has since then been organizing all kinds of events, and several years ago, she re-branded her mommy events and launched Mommy Mundo, a go-to portal of resources for moms.

The Writer Who Won’t Quit

When she was still a student, author Marlene Legaspi-Munar loved to read. “In elementary I read the Nancy Drew detective series,” she says. “When I reached high school, I turned to reading romantic novels like Mills & Boon and Barbara Cartland. Because I loved romantic stories, I thought I’d write my own.”

At 16, she wrote her first story, and it was published in a magazine. Encouraged, she pitched more articles to magazines and sent book proposals to publishers. But unlike her first article, many of her drafts were rejected.

“Early in my career, I would feel so bad after receiving rejection letters from editors,” she says. “I found comfort in reading about other writers whose works had been rejected, too. I learned that, sometimes, it’s not that your material is bad, but maybe you just sent your material to the wrong publication, meaning, the publisher doesn’t publish your kind of story. So you have to find the right home for your manuscript.”

With this insight, she managed to get two of her works published in the same year—a textbook and a short romantic fiction. Several books likewise saw print later on, including Life in the Middle: The Search for a Satisfying and Significant Midlife and How to Keep Your Hubby Happy at iba pang Tips para kay Misis.

For budding writers who want to get published, here is Marlene’s advice: “Keep reading, keep writing, and keep rewriting. Don’t be afraid of criticism. Be humble and learn from your mistakes. Do your research. Be on the lookout for magazines or publications seeking contributions. Study carefully what publishers are looking for and craft your material accordingly. Follow submission guidelines carefully. Be patient while waiting for the right time.”

Wear Your Confidence

As far back as she can remember, fashion has always been one of the great loves of businesswoman Audrey Quitayen. But even back then, she believed that no matter how beautiful your clothes are, you’ll never stand out without self-confidence.

“A woman can still be sexy, glamorous and beautiful the way God has created her even without showing so much skin,” she says. “So I decided to start a business that is bent on giving women some confidence through pieces and accessories that stand out.”

Her venture, Pieces N’ Creations, sells handcrafted products, wedding accessories, art pieces, and souvenirs. The trademark of her business is the handcrafted satin flower found in the art and fashion products she and her partner sell.

Audrey explains that she came up with the name Pieces N’ Creations from the idea that by using creativity, “you can make some creations from scratch, using different pieces of available materials, to come out with unique creations.”

One of the best things about putting up this kind of business is that not only does it require relatively little capital, but it’s a social enterprise that creates job opportunities for women in many communities, adds Audrey.

Photo: Reynermedia 

Secrets of a Successful Mompreneur

Secrets of a Successful Mompreneur

By Aileen Carreon

As Rose Tanalgo-Meim of Bacolod Chicken Inasal (BCI) has realized, combining a career with motherhood is not an easy task but a juggling act that takes time to master. By making the necessary adjustments and designing effective systems, Rose has gotten better at performing the dual tasks of taking care of her brood of five and handling the marketing, communication, and customer care requirements of their family food business.

Bacolod Chicken Inasal, which Rose manages together with younger siblings JM and Bing, started as a take-out counter in EDSA Central in 1993. The initial eight-seater, open-air counter was eventually replaced with an air-conditioned restaurant upon the prodding of a growing clientele. In 1998, the siblings opened a second restaurant along Jupiter Street in Makati, which was soon followed by a string of new branches in Metro Manila, mostly located in major malls. In the early 2000s, a commissary was put up and systems were put in place as their operations continued to grow.

It was during this time that Rose got married to Paul and soon after became pregnant. “We were heavy on the Ysabella’s Chicken (a tie-up with TV network ABS-CBN) and opening several branches,” recalls Rose. Being young, energetic, and healthy, she didn’t take time out from work even as her family grew.

“When I had my first baby, I would bring her to the office. I even tried to breastfeed and bring the pump to work. But you don’t want babies to be in the car all the time or be in a building. So I studied how I could best manage.”

Rose concedes she was not good at it in the beginning. “I was still a workaholic. I wanted to cover so much and would lose track of time. You go home tired. My kids remember mom trying to read them a story then in the middle of it, falling asleep.”

As her kids got older, Rose made a conscious effort to change her work habits. “I can’t have late nights and come home after dinner or spend the whole day out. I can’t afford to just see my children in the morning before they leave for school.”

Establishing a Home Office

She now maintains a work station at home. “I target three times a week of physically being in the office. But there are times it’s less, and other times it’s more. It all depends on the schedule of the kids and the requirements at work.”

Technology has made it easier to manage the business from home, like dealing with suppliers for marketing and communication materials. Discussions and brainstorming are done through messenger.

On the days she reports to the office, Rose makes sure to be home by dinnertime at the latest. The same goes for her husband. In the morning, she wakes up early to get the kids ready for class and have breakfast together as a family. She then sends the kids off to school with words of encouragement.

Rose is also a committed parent volunteer in school, for which she gets to spend additional time with her children, four of whom are in grades six, five, four, and two, while the youngest is in kindergarten.

Setting Up Effective Systems

To keep track of the needs of her two daughters and three sons, Rose uses a white board system at home. She has a small board for plotting the activities of the kids for the whole month, like field trips, exams, and varsity practices, and scheduling in major family events like birthdays. A bigger one is used as a weekly calendar that details the daily activities of her kids each week.

“The ultimate goal is for each of them to be responsible for their own work. But at their ages you still have to remind them. If there’s a quiz scheduled for the week, we can remind them to review earlier. By knowing the kids’ activities, like violin lessons, varsity practice, or competition, we’re also guided as to the time they should be picked up from school,” shares Rose.

She has also implemented what she calls the four o’clock system. Each school day, at four in the afternoon, Rose checks her kids’ assignment notebooks, no matter where she is.  “When I’m out, the yaya would take pictures of the assignment notebooks and send me via Viber. So I’m always informed.”

“I take a look at what needs to be done and gauge if they would need tutorial assistance, because I know my kids’ capabilities and weaknesses,” she adds. “That’s my system, to first check what is needed so I can support it. If they need to bring stuff to school, I can pick it up on my way home or give the necessary instructions to our help.”

Rose acknowledges the importance of a good team of helpers and reveals that she hires based on attitude rather than skills, which can be learned anyway. “You need a team that you can trust and that have values aligned with yours because they’re part of the family.”

At work, her dependable BCI staff makes things easier. “We have a very organic corporation. We have employees who are from Bacolod and who have been with us since the start. They are trustworthy and dependable. Each one has a specialization so we know whom to tap for specific requirements. It’s good to have a team to back you up.”

Importance of Family Support

The support of her family is also invaluable. “I’m on top of things, so much so that I know every detail in the menu, the posters. If you move the logo, I’ll know it,” she says. “I’m so thankful that in our family corporation, it’s OK to not be present in the office for as long as you are delivering your work.”

In two years’ time, Bacolod Chicken Inasal will be celebrating 25 years of operation. That’s quite an achievement for three siblings who were fresh out of college when they put up a food business that introduced to Metro Manila residents the chicken inasal and other dishes they loved while growing up in Bacolod.

“We are very blessed to have been able to maintain the business this long and to still be poised for future growth. I’m lucky to be in a family business because my work becomes an extension of my relationship with my family,” says Rose.

While her top priority is her family, she also highly values her work and thinks that no business will thrive if the owners are not involved. Besides, she believes that managing the business well today is ensuring that the next generation inherits a thriving family enterprise years from now.

 

Photo: Ramon FVelasquez