What does it take to be a good mom?

I’ve been a mother for almost 16 years, and I have to tell you that there have been good days and there have been bad days. There have been times when I’ve been overwhelmed with joy. And there have been times when I’ve been sickened with frustration.

What does it take to be a good mom? This is one question that I always ask myself. The basics are easy enough: feed them, clothe them, shelter them, provide them with good education, teach them about faith, and shower them with love. I make sure that they grow in a psychologically and financially stable environment so they can be free to explore their various hobbies, interests, and passions.

But as a mother of twin teen boys and two young girls, I ask myself, what does it take to be the best mom? That’s because I always value excellence in everything I do, especially when it comes to parenting. And so, I read books, learn from other parents, and pray for guidance.

But what I’ve learned through all those years is that I can only try my best. For example, my children say that I don’t spend enough time with them. But as far as I could tell, I spend all my non-working hours with them. We not only see plays and watch movies, we also engage in sports. They say I’m too strict when it comes to rules. But then, I am only doing so to instill a sense of discipline and responsibility in them. I try to make them realize that there are consequences to their actions—or inactions.

I’ve realized that there is no one way to raise a child. One child is different from the next. And so, what worked for Angel may not do so for Meggy. Although I also get complaints on that: “You’re unfair!”

And so I keep trying. I keep working at being the best mom I can be because when I see my four children, I know that all my efforts have been worth it.

Me, Super Mom

By Karen Galarpe

It’s been a year since I went back to the gym, and throughout the past months, I get a kick whenever I would put on my special white shirt, hit the treadmill, and afterward lift those 5-pound dumbbells.

The special shirt is just a simple white tee given by my close friend Nancy, and it says “Super Mom.” It comes with its own S logo, much like the one in Superman’s costume.

Me, Super Mom? Yeah.

I’ll be the first to admit, though, that I’m no perfect mom.

I can’t cook well, nurture a plant, crochet, sew clothes, change a lightbulb, fix a leaking pipe, or patch a hole in the roof. I don’t even know how to make my own pesto sauce.

But I can make tacos (using taco seasoning mix), bring my son to school and pick him up when I can, workout beside him, try out new restaurants with him, and never leave his side at the hospital when he’s sick.

I can’t remember to buy all the things on my grocery list in my head, or remember the brand of batteries he prefers. But I can search for the perfect suit within our budget for prom night, and remember to have mosquito repellent and hand sanitizer available at all times.

I can’t teach him how to drive (he learned from others), but I can be there with him for any school activity: card-giving, PTC, program, family day, etc.

I can’t be all, or do all. But I can do some, and do it well.

I’m not perfect (only God is), but I’m one who would like to do her best (“be super”) in everything with God’s help.

I know many moms may feel the same way — we’re a bunch of Super Moms!

As Mother’s Day draws near, here’s a toast to all you Super Moms out there. We’re cool. We’re super!

No to WAHM Burnout!

By Gina Abuyuan


I’m a WAHM—a Work At Home Mom. Aside from the assignments I work on at home, most of my time nowadays has been taken up by a book project, for which I go to my client’s home and we pore over her manuscript there.

I’m about to go crazy.

Understandably, I got a wonderful rush yesterday when I went out to my first meeting not situated in a structure with a sala, a kitchen, a bedroom, and a maid to call on when you need water. Finally! An environment with strangers! With food you had to pay for! And me actually caring for how I looked like!

Working from home does have its upsides—obviously, you get to spend more time with your kids and work without having to commute or dress up. On the other hand, it can be stressful, especially when homework needs coincide with deadlines, or clients are a-calling while the kids are causing a ruckus. It also keeps you more than a tad isolated from the outside world and other adults. So much so that a visit to the mall may seem like the most exciting thing to happen all week, and coffee with other grown-ups is something you want to last forever. A burnout isn’t far away if a WAHM doesn’t take care of herself.

How to prevent it? Some tips:

* Set a schedule, just like you would do if you were working in an office. Before or beyond 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., for example, is time for family. Working at home is for naught if you don’t get to enjoy what WAHMs have over regular working moms: getting more time with the kids. During your “off” hours, allow yourself to play. If needed, you can resume your work after the kids are asleep.

* Designate an errand day. Spend one day a week to get everything done outside your home; stuff like paying bills or going on a bank run, doing groceries, going to the dry cleaners or having clothes altered…you’ll get things done while at the same time, preventing cabin fever!

* Designate a “no kids zone” in your home. In my case I had to build a separate room in our garage. As expected, the kids don’t strictly follow the rule and we end up “working” side by side. My partner and I decided it would be better if we rent a studio nearby to serve as our office. The kids haven’t even been there yet, haha.

* Don’t forget downtime with your spouse or partner. After playtime with kids, you and your partner deserve time together. Step out on a date or snuggle up while watching a movie. Lock the door.

* Have lunch with a girlfriend. WAHMs, SAHMs (stay-at-home moms), and regular working moms—it doesn’t matter. We’re all busy in our own ways, but need time to connect and talk about…well, what women talk about. Make an effort to stay in touch with your friends.

* Get some exercise. In between Skype meetings, go for a walk, a run, a swim. Do some yoga. Me, I hop on a stepper and lift free weights while taking a break. Exercise is a great de-stressor.

* Pay attention to your looks and pamper yourself. Looking lousy will make you feel lousy as well. Being able to close deals while you’re in your pajamas may be a perk, yes, but don’t get too used to it. Don’t forget to groom your brows, get the occasional mani-pedi, hair treatment. Stay fab!


A Bunch of Flowers

A Bunch of Flowers

By Rossana L. Llenado   One of my most vivid memories of my son Nicolo happened when he was just three years old. We were admiring the blooms at a flower shop in SM Megamall. And behind us was a bunch of other mommies looking at the beautiful floral arrangements. I must have looked so pleased because after some time, Nicolo said, “When I grow up, I’m going to buy you all these flowers!” My heart jumped to my throat. Like most three-year-olds, I knew that mommy was still the center of his universe. Nevertheless, his words filled me with joy. He said, “I’m going to buy you all these flowers!” I’ve been given flowers before but nothing beats the promise of my young beloved. Today, Nicolo is 15 years old. And true to his words, he has given me flowers through the years. He would give me bouquets on Mother’s Day and on my birthday. Once, he even gave me a bunch of roses. Put together, his gift of flowers would not be able to fill up a floral shop. But still, I am very happy. Next month, Nicolo will turn 16. Yes, my once sweet toddler will soon become a full-fledged teenager. And already, he’s talking about going to a soiree—an impending event which has brought me a bit of anxiety. Because after the soirees will come the crushes, and then the group dates and the prom, and soon, my once sweet toddler will be giving flowers to someone other than yours truly. I knew it would happen someday soon. And when it does, I will not cry. I will not shed a tear. I will be happy for my son Nicolo as he experiences the first throes of young love. But till then, I have the memory of this handsome three-year-old who made my heart jump with joy.

Mother Dear

By Mari-An C. Santos

My mother turned 60 last month. But looking at her, you wouldn’t have guessed it. Her hair is still jet black and her face hardly has any wrinkles. Her voice is clear and she walks with sure-footed steps. I usually associate 60-year-olds with grandmothers. But my mother is not a grandmother. (Don’t remind her though–she might decide to take it up with me and my sister.) She is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, aunt.

Everyone says we look alike. I always say I got my looks from her but my temperament from my father.

Mama always worries about what to cook for the next meal, that I have a complete first aid kit for my trip, and that our balikbayan relatives have everything they need. Whenever I come home to Manila, we always have these long mother-daughter talks. Aside from telling me about the interesting things that happened around the household, she tells me about her past. That’s how I found out about the time when she went up to Baguio all by herself to meet my father. But since they didn’t talk about where and when they’d meet, Mama had to go to different places until they finally, literally, found each other.

She told me about the first time she came to Manila all the way from Zamboanga. Mama was a nurse and had come to the “big, bad city” to work. Save for her older sister, she did not know anyone in Manila. She stayed at a boarding house and worked the graveyard shift at a small hospital, treating people at odd hours for the most bizarre injuries.

These were revelations to me. My mother, who’s usually escorted by my father, commuting a very long distance for an undetermined date? My mother, who’s always with someone, alone?

I’ve known my mother all my life but it seems that I do not really know her. Listening to her stories, I realized that we have a lot more in common than I had previously thought.

I look forward to many more years of getting to know my Mama better.