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Mommy Lessons (on Parenting) My Mommyology Tribute My Mommyology's Manila Chapter On Becoming a Better Mom

A Father’s Love

The last month and a half have been crazy busy, to say the least!  And here’s why:

Boxes and boxes and boxes... again!
Boxes and boxes and boxes… again!

As some of you may already know (or may have guessed), we’re moving.  Again!  It hasn’t even been two years since we set foot in Manila once again, and yes, here we are, uprooting once more.

Many people ask why.  In fact almost everyone knew we came home because my husband wanted to be close to family.  So why the big move only after 22 months into our supposedly “home for good move”?

Well.  It really boils down to Jamie.

Remember I mentioned Jamie’s skin allergies?  Over the course of 20 months, we’ve come to prove that the cause was the ever-humid and unpredictable weather and highly polluted environment of Manila.  As the months passed, her allergies went from bad to worse.  It got to the point where I wasn’t getting any rest because I’d wake up to keep her from scratching and re-apply all kinds of topical steroids and lotions on her.  The next morning, it was always a game of “where did this blood come from?” or “what will Jamie’s mood be today?” knowing that she didn’t get a good night’s rest.

(I feel like) I’ve tried everything, including non-traditional ways that worked for other moms.  All the solutions would provide temporarily relief, but after a while Jamie would desensitize and everything would flare up again.  Thank God for our constants, Aquasana and Mustela’s Stelatopia; for without them I fear it would be worse.

We’d gotten to that point where I felt I was raising a drug addict, because the allergists had told me to give my then two-year old 10mL of antihisthamine daily, everyday, for 3 months straight (on top of the topical ointments).  For her tiny body, it was too much.  It affected Jamie’s demeanor and behavior.  She was always cranky and sleepy and totally uncomfortable.

We went to several pediatric dermatologists and allergists, who all said that she would “eventually outgrow it (or as they say “control it).”  And I believed them, having gone through it myself for half my life.  It became my default solution too.

But my husband wouldn’t — couldn’t — stand for it.  He just couldn’t bear to see his baby girl in that state all the time.  And he insisted that there should be a better solution than just waiting for her to adapt.

We had proven that it wasn’t food, or anything in our laundry, or even the usual culprits like stuffed toys (hence, Bunny was allowed to stay).  In fact, during our trips to Anvaya, Boracay and Bohol, a dip in the salt water would instantly clear Jamie’s skin up.

The clincher was when we went on our family vacation and Jamie’s eczema cleared up the day after we arrived.  It stayed clear up until the day we flew home.  I came home with full tubes of medicine and lotion because I used them 5x less than I’d normally use them when in Manila.

And so in a matter of months — weeks — from what was initially “just speculation”, became reality.  My husband told his employer that he had to re-consider opportunities in the US, because he wanted Jamie to have a better quality of life.  And it was a big thing since he was the one who wanted to move us home, and because he was (is) doing so well career-wise too.

As luck or fate or a combination of both would have it, his company decided to keep him to handle the operations in North America.  And just like that, the contract was signed and I was back in the motions of packing up.

Many people say it was a very bold thing to do – uproot the whole family when we’re just starting to settle in and get our bearings (They say it takes 2 years to finally feel “okay” after a big move with kids — and it’s true I was JUST getting that feeling!).  Not many would really make that huge a move.  But as my husband points out – it was her health.  And Jamie in her current state was no way to live.

And that’s really what struck me when I saw this slide during our post-Father’s day #BetterMe session with Coach Pia at Seda Hotel (in BGC).

Thank you Jen for making these wonderful pinboards from our session!
Thank you Jen for making these wonderful pinboards from our session!

My language of love is words.  And I’m very good at expressing myself and how I feel.  My husband is quite the opposite.  But you can see it in his actions.  Like this big move of ours.  Thankfully the career aspect of it worked in our favor, but if it didn’t, it wouldn’t have stopped him from exploring it and making it happen.  And after all, that’s what father’s are good at — making things happen.

Somehow the girls know that’s how he loves them.  Jamie clearly knows and is looking forward to “making the owies go away.”  And Sam — she understood.  In one of her emotional moments she caught me by surprise when she said, “I’m sad we’re moving but I know it’s better for Jamie.  So that’s why.”  (Of course I cried).  Somehow she knew that we’d all make that kind of sacrifice for her if she needed it most, and that no matter what, we put our family’s needs first.  Something they also learned from her dad.

Credit:  Jen of @next9 and Attached at the Hip.
Photo Credit: Jen of @next9 and Attached at the Hip.

A very belated Father’s Day — but also a Happy Anniversary!  — to my husband, the Daddy of our family.  We can’t wait to start this new adventure with you. 🙂 

:)
🙂

See you in a few. 😉

A big thank you as well to The One Core, Coach Pia, and Seda Hotels, our sponsors for this #BetterMe session!  Use the hashtag #betterme and #somoms on Instagram and Facebook to discover and gain insights on the topics we’ve learned thus far about becoming the best versions of ourselves.  I sincerely hope that you gain something from them too!

The beautiful rooms at Seda BGC.  Great for staycations too!
The beautiful rooms at Seda BGC. Great for staycations too!
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Mommy Lessons (on Parenting) My Mommyology Wants to Help My Mommyology's Manila Chapter On Becoming a Better Mom

#BetterMe Back-to-School Week

This week I dedicate to a sharing of lessons I’ve learned.  It’s more like a review  really since I haven’t been able to talk about them much in the last few months.   It is back-to-school season anyway, and as you know this is my own version of studying.  Motherhood is the primary role in my life right now and I want nothing more than to do it to the best of my abilities (of course, while still being able to do other things for myself).  The juggling act of parenting; it never ends.  So I look for ways to learn and do things that will help us move forward on this road to raising children in the best way I can.  And after all, aren’t we all students of parenthood?

#BetterMe was a term Kris of OcMominManila coined last year when we first got the SoMoms together.  Because really, who doesn’t want to be a better version of themselves?  And it doesn’t stop at just one aspect — we tackle all the 5 life bubbles that Coach Pia has talked about over and over again.  We spend more time on some areas than on others, and depending on the state of our lives it will tend to shift here and there, but essentially, the goal is to ensure that each one is inflated equally.  It’s really about finding ways, means and people who can lead you towards that goal.

And this is in turn the reason why I choose to attend these sessions, and share what I’ve learned here.   I’ve always hoped that through this process and this blog, I am able to learn from your experiences too.

So far this year, the #BetterMe sessions have been a constant in each month.  And the reason why #BetterMe sessions continue to exist, is because it is powered and supported by people, groups,  brands and businesses, who share similar goals and values as that to which we aspire to be.

We all want to be #BetterMe's -- and hopefully through us we can help others be the best versions of themselves too.
We all want to be #BetterMe’s — and hopefully through us we can help others be the best versions of themselves too.

The #SoMoms are often my companions through these sessions because we share that common goal of wanting to continuously learn and improve ourselves.  It’s the reason we get together — because in each person’s unique experience, there is always some way the lesson will fall to help them in just the way they need.  Amazing right?

So here’s to our journey of continuous learning, and continuous self-improvement.  May we never stop striving to be better versions of ourselves, so that we too in turn, can help others (like our children, and the people we touch!) be the best that they can be.

 

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Mommy Discoveries My Mommyology's Manila Chapter On Becoming a Better Mom

Monitor your Life, with LIFE

Last Mother’s Day, Coach Pia gave some of us #SoMoms a Mother’s Day gift.  She had just come back from Europe and brought back with her a state of the art health monitoring system called LIFE.

The new One Core product. Such a good fit!
The new One Core product. Such a good fit!

LIFE is a non-invasive way of errr — monitoring your current state of life. 🙂  Or well, your current health condition.  It assesses how things are internally on the nerve levels, so that it can predict what illnesses or diseases a person is at risk for before it hits the chemical level.  And it’s already being done in all of the hospitals in Europe we’re told.

It's 90% accurate!
It’s 90% accurate!

It’s pretty cool if you think about it.  For women, it’s essential you don’t have your period (or you wait three days after you’ve gotten it) or aren’t pregnant for you to get an accurate read.  And you have to be above 12.  All you have to do is lie down and let a trained medical technician poke at the points on your arms and your legs which connect to the different parts of the body.  It’s over in about 15 minutes (You can imagine I lay down and tried to get a 15-minute nap in).

Ten minutes later you’re given an 11-page result on your current health condition.  You can see immediately how balanced or imbalanced you are for each system:  respiratory, alimentary, liver, kidneys, immune, cardiovascular, endocrine and anti-oxidant levels.

So my family and I went one morning and after an hour, we all got our results read to us at the same time.  We took my mom along too, and were glad to see the readings since we know we have to help her monitor her health conditions closely.

As for my results, generally I could be better.  My biggest watch out points are my liver and my kidneys.

Less alcohol, more water perhaps?  Heehee ;)
Less alcohol, more water perhaps? Heehee 😉

My brother’s results on the other hand, all very balanced.  He’s got a fairly healthy lifestyle if I may say so myself, and very disciplined with his food, exercise and sleep (it’s not his age, our youngest sister had worse results, he he).  So it shows.

There’s even a Yin and Yang analysis, where the dots should generally be within the green space to show your over-all energy balance.  Thankfully I don’t stray too far, for now…

All within the green zone.  Whew!
All within the green zone. Whew!

Essentially, the report gives you the POSSIBLE illnesses you could contract if you don’t watch it or do something about it now.

I'm showing signs of those underlined in red.  Hmmmm.
I’m symptoms of  those underlined in red. Hmmmm.

So no, I do not have these yet, but with my current state of eating and being, I am susceptible to these conditions if I’m not careful.  Quite honestly I’ve noticed that I’ve started having more headaches recently, and that I’m easily fatigued, particularly on the nights when I get very little sleep.  In my younger college days, I could go two or three nights without sleep (college days) and still manage to function.   Apparently not anymore!  As my father-in-law likes to say — “You’re no Spring Chicken!

The good thing about LIFE is that after the diagnostics are explained, there are clear next steps for you to take to make the changes you need.

Mine essentially says more sleep (haha!  Oh boy.), deep breathing exercises, massages (oooh!), and even yoga and acupuncture.  My diet will need to change — healthier food choices, less salt.  In other words, my stress levels are off the chart and need to be watched carefully.  It may not be something totally new, but it’s always a good reminder to get and to see where things are.  I’m fortunate mine aren’t yet still at horrible or dangerous levels and can still be improved over time.

LIFE is a test that you can take over and over again.  Because it measures your “current” state, if you make changes to your lifestyle, then the next reading could be different.  The recommendation is for you to take the test at least once a month until you see a constant improvement.  It’s such a perfect addition to The One Core’s repertoire because it really is a tool that can help us make better life decisions.

Thank you Coach Pia, for the gift of LIFE! 🙂

The One Core has made LIFE very affordable with each test at P3,000.  But since they’ve just introduced it into the market, they’re giving us all 50% off for every scan until June 30!  You can make your bookings and appointments with Nimfa at 0922-894-4143.  

For more information, visit http://theonecoreblog.com/LIFE.

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A Penny for Mommy's Thoughts My Mommyology Tribute My Mommyology's Manila Chapter On Becoming a Better Mom

Mom-Heroes

I often feel that my role as mom takes the most out of me.  It’s not a complaint really, just an obvious fact of life.  And I’ve been feeling it more and more as they get older and the girls’ needs and wants get more and more complex.  And while I love my girls with all my heart and soul to the moon and a million times back (and forth), it really can be quite exhausting.  Hence, there is the prevailing concept of (much-needed) “me time.

Of course, I enjoy a good massage, some brainless TV, shopping, and/or time out with my girlfriends,  but I also try to use the little “me-time” I have to improve my knowledge of motherhood.  Actually “me-time” is really an escape to re-charge so you have more to go on when you return to the daily grind; so why not learn how to be better for my girls? (This study of motherhood is lifelong after all).  It becomes beneficial to every member of the family in some shape or form too.  That’s why I consider our #BetterMe sessions with Coach Pia me-time well spent.  I learn a lot, about myself and the people around me.  And in my attempts to apply these bits of information, I hope that I really am becoming a #BetterMom in the process (and hopefully for those of you who have the patience to read through my ramblings and follow my Tweets and Instagram posts, you pick up a few useful nuggets of information too).

The last session we had at Sambokojin focused precisely on investing time in oneself.  As Moms it is in our nature (and part of our job description really) to constantly give of ourselves for our children.  We can only give of ourselves if there is something to give.  And it’s not just about giving per se, but  rather giving the best of ourselves and our talents and skills to be the parents that can raise the best children.

Coach Pia drilled down on the key points from her book, Born to Be a Hero (side note:  copies are available in any National Bookstore).

My Mommyology Mom Hero

In the book, Coach Pia talks about what it means to be a Hero, and building on one’s Hero Currency.

My Mommyology Mom Heroes

It actually simplifies — and quantifies! — how someone can look at the events and aspects in one’s life, and see if it builds towards increasing your Hero Currency, or draining from it, through a bank account with a “passbook”.  And like any bank account, the goal is to build it so it gets bigger and bigger. 🙂

My Mommyology Mom Heroes

Coach Pia advises to start at an arbitrary number which you will assign when you felt your self-doubt as a person was equal to (or as close to) zero as possible.  Then from that moment on until present day, identify the key events in your life and assign numbers to it, where the numbers on the left drain from the currency, and the numbers placed on the right, build up to it.  It’s a good way to “visualize” how much you’ve invested in yourself and what you need for you as well at present time.  And when you know where you stand and what you need, it’s much easier to proceed with life from there.  After all, self-awareness is always the necessary first step.

I do pretty well when it comes to visualizing and quantifying things for myself.  I like the structure that way.  But the wild cards that Coach Pia threw into the mix, were (are) indeed true wild cards for anyone in real life, including me.

Big life lessons I must learn.
Big life lessons I must learn.

She calls them Wild Cards because they can create a big swing towards a positive passbook balance.  They aren’t easy steps either (and they require a lot of transcendence!), but they do work wonders, or so I’m told.

Once you know, you can go (Okay I had to say that)!  Set goals for yourself.  And Coach Pia gives us a few tips to try to achieve these goals, two of which stuck to me like glue.

My Mommyology Mom Heroes

This particular one, about articulating myself and my needs without any guilt, I consciously try to practice, even around my kids.  We are raised in a culture of putting others first, thinking of others before you think of yourself; saying we’re okay, even if we’re not.  And we’re taught that if you think of what you need and say so, then it sounds selfish.  So not true!  In fact, I love the way Mish puts it in her own #BetterMe notes, “Exhale and speak your needs.  Let go of the guilt… all of it (no matter what your mother or your religion says).”

Exhale and speak your needs. Let go of the guilt…all of it. (no matter what your mother or your religion says) – See more at: http://www.mommanmanila.com/born-hero-investing-p-2/#sthash.aMRZY7uV.dpuf
Exhale and speak your needs. Let go of the guilt…all of it. (no matter what your mother or your religion says) – See more at: http://www.mommanmanila.com/born-hero-investing-p-2/#sthash.aMRZY7uV.dpuf

No judgement:  just say what you feel you need (to the relevant people of course!), you’re also just taking care of yourself (it’s not the same as always getting it, but saying it out loud helps and paves the way for — well, more honest conversations for one thing).  And then let the Wild Cards come into play.

My Mommyology Mom Heroes

This other one — a willingness to get down to the basics.  In one word:  Simplify.  And if I’m being honest (no guilt!), that’s what I miss about life in Chapel Hill; it was easy to simplify and just cut back.  I’m still trying to figure out how to constantly do that here in Manila, where (I feel) things have a tendency to get a bit more complicated.  But challenge accepted:  I’m working on it.  As it is with everything, it’s a process.  And each one has his or her own pace, but we eventually get there.

I found this session very relevant to Moms because really, by nature of our role as moms, we are our children’s heroes.  We are their “last line of defense” (in a manner of speaking).  And really if only for them, I’d like to do all I can to bring out the true potential of the Hero inside of me.  It would do the world a world of good, if all of us moms work towards that goal. 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mom-Heroes out there. 🙂

Says it all.
Says it all

 

 

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Mommy Lessons (on Parenting) Mommyology at Work My Mommyology's Manila Chapter On Becoming a Better Mom

#BetterMe: A #BetterSummer (and Beyond)

There is much to be said about the #BetterMe sessions we’ve been having with Coach Pia Nazareno-Acevedo of the One Core.

The wonderful SoMoms and friends (and SoKids!) With Coach Pia. :)
The wonderful SoMoms and friends (and SoKids!) With Coach Pia. 🙂

The first being the apt branding of the sessions and the content of each one; it really helps us become better people, and better parents.  It’s hard to describe because there is so much to “learn”, but suffice to say I feel this has had a most positive impact on my life.  Being aware of where you need to improve is one thing, but constantly seeking ways to improve and “better” the quality of life for oneself and one’s family is always beneficial.  Hopefully by sharing what I’ve learned on Twitter, Instagram and through the blog post, you find something that can help you too.  And please feel free to comment and ask questions.  I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned.

The next is a shout out to the sponsors who make these #BetterMe sessions possible.  Unilab is a constant presence who believes in the #BetterMe advocacy, and I cannot thank them enough for this.  It just goes to show the company’s values that go beyond selling products.  As a previous client myself, I understand that before accepting any sponsorship we were trained to ask and justify its ROI to the brand.  Now that I’m a parent and a participant though, I’m glad that there are sponsors who look beyond just ROI, because it is so much more.  It definitely builds long-term brand affinity, and if memory serves me right, those aren’t things that can be immediately measured on the bottom line.  So again thank you Unilab for looking beyond, seeing that and embracing it for all to benefit.

Thank you Unilab for believing in this advocacy.  It wouldn't be possible without sponsors like you!
Thank you Unilab for believing in this advocacy. It wouldn’t be possible without sponsors like you!

The last #BetterMe session we had at Dad’s World Buffet in Megamall was about Strengthening and Developing Better Family Habits for the Summer.

Relevant topic for the morning.
Relevant topic for the morning.

It’s such a timely and relevant topic since kids are now getting out of school and parents are looking for things to busy them with.  I know for sure Sam needs several activities to keep her preoccupied (because I also need my sleep!), and she can’t spend all day in front of the TV.  Jamie as well is beginning to stay awake longer, and is also looking for things to do.

In our day and age, there are really a lot of options to choose from.  It’s so unlike before when I remember my summers were filled with play dates at my cousin’s, non-stop TV and foregone bedtime, these days kids are put through so many different kinds of activities.  Sometimes it also becomes a question of what is too much or too little; are we being to rigid and not letting them have enough free time.  And so much more.

Coach Pia advises to start with the main objective for each child for the summer.  As much as summer is a good time to build skills outside of school, it’s also the only time kids get to explore.  So allow them to immerse in various activities.  There’s no need to choose and stick to one immediately; that will all come in time.

Also, it’s best to involve the child in the decision-making process.  Sharing what your objectives are for them too and getting their buy-in is good practice.  The biggest mistake we parents can make is just signing them up for the stuff we want them to do and then informing them after.  It’s so simple if you think about it — who will go willingly if they’re just told to attend and not consulted about it before?  Sometimes it’s just a matter of asking, “What do you think about trying ___ activity?  How do you feel about it?”  Even if they’re as young as two-years old, starting out this way will help you all develop good habits moving forward.  It’s also important to process the experience with them after they’ve tried and allow room for self-discovery.

I was sharing with the #SoMoms that Sam has expressed an interest in Tap Dance.  TAP?!  It never occurred to me, and least of all it never occurred to my husband.  “Tap?  Tap?!”  Was all he could say with a frown.  I had a feeling that if she said soccer it would have been received with more optimism.  Sometimes as parents we need to catch ourselves and remember that it’s not about what we want for the kids, but what they would like to try.  Self-discovery.  We parents should be enthusiastic about it and support her wholeheartedly.  And what’s more, Sam had already taken the initiative to inquire at the studio for the schedule of the lessons, even before she told me about it.  So Tap it will be then, and there’s no need to convince Sam to go, because it’s something she already wants to do.

As for Jamie, she’s expressed interest in taking ballet.  Sometimes she comes with us when Sam has classes and has watched her Ate dance from outside the glass window.  And she is now of age to do it too.  I paid for a trial class, but remembered also the lesson I learned from Coach Pia about not putting siblings in the same team, the same class or through the same activities.  One will always do better than the other and in the spirit of self-discovery, what you don’t want is to hamper the interest or bias of the other child because of how much better or worse she does versus her siblings.

The main lightbulb moment of the session for me.
The main lightbulb moment of the session for me.

It’s always easier for mom to bring them to the same class because it’s like hitting two birds with one stone!  I tell you with the traffic situation in the Metro these days, similar activities and times make it more efficient.  But then again it may not do wonders for their self-esteem.

In a good way, the ballet classes in this studio are split according to age, so Sam and Jamie will never be classmates.  And the schedules of each level is different, I find I’m at the studio at least 3x a week (what more when we start Tap.  I may as well bring a bed over).  It’s harder on the scheduling, but definitely the way to go so they can both enjoy ballet at their own capacity.

Sometimes the irony of summer is that despite the kids having more free time, parents are busier.  I know for a fact that my husband’s schedule looks quite impossible in the next two months.  Which only means, we purposely need to set aside time for the four of us to spend together — not just in going through the motions of our routine but processing it as well with open minds, and letting the kids tell us how they feel about each experience.  We can use the time to plan for the rest of the year too and talk about what each person in the family needs to move forward.

This is something my little family needs to make time to do.
This is something my little family needs to make time to do.

Coach Pia has a tool that breaks down the major activities a family expects to go through annually.  In that way it provides everyone with a picture of how or where to allocate their time and energy and set expectations and budgets.  It also allows the family to see where they need to simplify.

Left:  Write down the big family activities per quarter.  Right:  Break it down per month and split it according to the amount of time and energy you can put into it.
Left: Write down the big family activities per quarter. Right: Break it down per month and split it according to the amount of time and energy you can put into it.

What’s nice about the take-aways of this #BetterMe session is that it doesn’t just apply to the summer.  It’s also applicable to the activities the family goes through the rest of the year.

The last, most important take-away as moms, is summed up in this slide:

This one hits home quite a lot.
This one hits home quite a lot.

We have to trust in our abilities as moms to do what’s best for our kids and our families.  And when self-doubt is equal to zero, everything will follow without a hitch.

Feel free to send me a note or post a comment if you have questions or anything to add.  In the meantime, here are some of the posts I’ve done on the other #BetterMe sessions: