Mommy Lessons (on Parenting) On Becoming a Better Mom

How To Become The Ideal Mother (To Each Child)

One of the more memorable and lesson-filled #BetterMe sessions we’ve had thus far was the one held last Mother’s Day at The One Core’s office on Esteban Abada.  There were about 7 of us present that morning, and unlike most of our #BetterMe sessions, it was slightly shorter, but still very much jam-packed with insights.

Photo Credit:  Mommy Fleur
Photo Credit: Mommy Fleur

Coach Pia wanted to gather some of the #SoMoms to “celebrate” mother’s day the #BetterMe way.  After all, it is our common ground, and it is the reason we choose to get together and learn as often as we do.  If we’re able to better ourselves for our children, we can be better parents and people over-all.

One thing Coach Pia said she noticed amongst us mothers (and this is may be true for moms in general), is that we are always riddled with self-doubt over the decisions we make for or in behalf of our children.  It’s hard enough being a parent, it’s harder when you (or other people around you) second guess what you’ you do.  And it doesn’t help that everyone has some form of judgement too.

But the self-doubt oftentimes is also self-imposed — particularly when you have more than one child.  Because more often than not, what worked with one, will not necessarily work with the other.  And it’s strange how some of us moms say that with a little laugh afterwards.  It’s as if these kids got one over us.

Seriously though, when I think about the first time I became a parent, I really did not know what I was doing.  I just tried to navigate it as best I could, and hence this blog.  Then when I thought I’d somehow gotten my bearings here comes Jamie and everything is out the window.  There’s this new personality, and new dynamic.  So here I am figuring things out as I go.  It’s tiring isn’t it?

During that session, Coach Pia gave us a few parameters and exercises to help rid ourselves of that self-doubt and be more confident in making the best choices for our kids.

It all boils down to accepting the fact that you are a different parent to each of your children.  The “ideal mom” is different for each child.  Each one has different needs and to be the best parent you can be to them would mean needing to be flexible and adjust.  It’s such a different parameter from the way we were raised growing up, when everyone had to conform and “adhere” to what the parents set for them, or else it was seen as a failure on the part of the child (issues much?).

Ask yourself first from their point-of-view:  If your child were to describe the kind of parent you are, how would he or she do it?

That exercise alone showed me that if I were to put myself in each of my girls’ shoes, they would really say two different things about me.  There would be similarities yes of course.  But in the way that I know them, I could already see that I played a different role in each of their lives.

Here’s an example (an excerpt from my notes):  For Sam, I felt she saw me as a friend and an equal.  She respects my authority but is not afraid to challenge it and reason out her side.  I’m someone who can put up with all her antics.  For Jamie,  I’m her shoulder to cry on; her comfort zone.  I make her feel safe.

Both scenarios can apply to both girls, but one is more predominant for one child than it is for the other.  That’s because their needs are different to begin with.  Jamie is a shy spirit and isn’t as adventurous or as outgoing as her Ate. New situations frighten her, and she would rather sit and have me wrap her in her protective bubble than go out and explore.

On the contrary, for Sam the peacock, new situations excite her.  And what she needs is a mom who will allow her to discover things on her own and not someone who’ll hold her back.  Conversely, because she also has no sense of what could be risky for her, Sam needs a mom who isn’t afraid to pull on the reigns every now and then.

The next exercise was to identify the Positive Qualities (PQ) and the Challenging Qualities (CQ) for each of your children.  It expounds on the initial exercise earlier, but now taken from your PoV as a mom.  The trick is to be as objective as possible.

Which child is more like you? Opposite of you? Which can you deal with better?
Which child is more like you? Opposite of you? And which one can you deal with better?

From there, you can make an objective assessment and answer the question:  Do I have what it takes to sustain it for the long haul?

If the answer is yes, then good for you.  But if the answer is no or maybe not (and it is okay to admit this to ourselves!)… then it’s a good time to evaluate what you need as a mom to be able to be what your kids need you to be.  Does it require having a yaya to help out with the kids (or around the house)?  Does it mean delegating — and getting a yaya to help during the day, or  getting a tutor to help with the studies so the burn out isn’t on you?  Or does it mean cutting back and cutting out those activities which give you both stress (remember, sometimes an activity is done because the parents want and it’s not what the child wants!  Watch out point for us all).  Knowing WHY you make that decision can help free you (me) from the guilt and self-doubt.

Now here’s another interesting insight from Coach Pia:  for those of us with same gender children (close in age), it’s more important to harness each one’s uniqueness above all else.


So if it means that Ate would rather not share her new Frozen doll with Jamie, then help convince Jamie to play with something else, and vice-versa.  Sharing as a value can have its own moment and place in the world.  If getting two of the same means they get to harness their own individuality, then you may want to consider it.   Otherwise, Coach Pia says it’s just a case of testing your management skills.

Objectifying makes it “easier” to see, and what an irony that is no, since motherhood can be very emotional.  It helps to remove the emotion and the “baggage” so you can see clearly how to be their best mother ever (Sam’s words).  In that way you also eliminate the self-doubt in yourself, because you know that your decision is rooted in exactly what the child needs.

I’d love to hear your thoughts (and own little experiments on these exercises!).  What do you think?


Mommy Anecdotes Mommyology at Work

Mother’s Day in Manila

I just realized that it was officially my first Mother’s Day in Manila.

The last four celebrations I had in Chapel Hill were very low-key.  Essentially, I got a “day off” from my duties from the household chores all the way down to dirty diaper changes.  I did get flowers occasionally, and most of all, I loved it that I got to sleep in (well except for the Mother’s Day that coincided with my husband’s MBA program graduation, but it was good reason to get up early on that day!)!

This Mother’s Day was quite a different experience.  I got relief from some of my duties (most importantly the dirty diaper one!), but I was able to spend it with other #SoMoms and our children in one of Manila’s premiere malls, Greenbelt.  Malls are a big “attraction” here in Manila and it serves as a primary destination for a lot of people for practically anything and everything.  For the many special occasions celebrated in this country, Greenbelt 5 and the rest of the Ayala Malls host a series of activities to attract more people to their locations on these days.  It’s a very successful venture since many look for things that they can do with their loved ones.  To participate and receive gifts, all one has to do is meet a minimum purchase in any of the mall’s merchants.

For this year’s Mother’s Day, the theme was Music and Memories, and the SoMoms and our children got a taste of it all firsthand.  It began with a Mother’s Day “Mom and Me” shopping treat from Ayala Malls and Gingersnaps!  The week before Mother’s Day, we were asked to find outfits for our kids and ourselves that matched or complemented each other.  Now if you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll know fairly well what a fan I am of matching outfits.  And apparently, close friends and family have observed that I (subconsciously) match my outfit of the day with what they’re wearing too (I swear, it’s subconscious).  So this part wasn’t too difficult for me.

Of all the children’s clothing stores I like to shop in, Gingersnaps is a long-time favorite; and it worked out well because they gave us gift certificates for their Ayala Mall stores!  Hurray!  Their clothes are adorable, and so easy for the girls to wear in this hot weather. I ended up getting another set of matching dresses for a different occasion too.  As for me, since their clothes had floral prints on them, I dressed myself in a plain version of the same color palette at Zara.  In the end, what we wore wasn’t totally identical but they still looked like they’re all from the same family  (These are some of the things you pick up from watching Project Runway all the time! ;) ).

Complementing outfits! :)
Complementing outfits! 🙂

For the actual mother’s day, we all came dressed in our new attire to attend a high tea garden party at the Art Gallery of Greenbelt 5, with absolutely delicious treats from Bizu.  Sam, in the tan floral outfit was my date for the afternoon as Jamie (although she had her outfit) was down with a virus so she stayed home.  Sam loves these kinds of gatherings because she soaks every bit of the experience in.  As if on cue as we walk into the reception area,  Sam immediately spotted her favorite macaroons and chocolate truffle balls, so happiness was instant.

The Macarons - zone in right and bottom.
The Macaroons – zone in right and bottom.  Photo by Tammy David.

Then Mench Dizon of Ayala Malls took us to the butterfly house where Sam had the best time getting butterflies onto her body.  It reminded her a lot of the Butterfly House back at the Life and Science Museum in Chapel Hill; a place we miss dearly.  Sam would have loved to stay there the whole day, but we did have other things in store for us and it took some convincing for me to get her out of there.  I promised we’d be back (and of course we were — several more times).

Sam and the Butterflies! (right and bottom photo by Tammy David)
Sam and the Butterflies!
(right and bottom photo by Tammy David)

The SoMoms were treated to some Lancome Paris and Kiehl’s products when we visited each store. It feels like I got pampered with beauty things!  I can’t wait to try them. 🙂

Thank you Khiel's!  Photo by Tammy David
Thank you Khiel’s! Photo by Tammy David

It was a hot and tiring but fun experience.  What was mostly exhausting was having to run after Sam and keep her from getting into trouble while we were going around.  But then again, I can’t imagine a mother’s day celebration without being around my kids.  They’re the ones who gave me the opportunity to celebrate it in the first place.  And like any mother, my joy is to see that she’s having a grand time, which she really did.  It was worth all the sweat that trickled down my body that entire afternoon!

I also realized I’d never really been around that part of the mall before and it was a great discovery.  Sam and I even discovered a newly opened shop that gave away Cotton Candy for every purchase.  Sam was sweet enough to take home one for herself and one for Jamie.  I also felt a little bit of nostalgia as we went around, as Greenbelt was a mall that I would visit in my childhood, and now it look completely different.  My how times have changed indeed.

Free Cotton Candy!
Free Cotton Candy!

All in all, it was nice being around mommy friends on Mother’s Day.  Moms appreciate other moms and we understand what it is we go through on a daily basis with kids and the home.  The kids as well are more familiar with one another (since we see each other so often these days!) so they started to play together more, particularly the girls.  Not to mention, they all looked so cute clumped together in their Gingersnaps outfits.  As my friend Jackie of Go Jackie Go! said, it was quite amazing that none of the 12 kids had the same outfit.  Everyone picked something different and it also showcased each of their budding personalities.

Photo by Tammy David at Gingersnaps Greenbelt
Photo by Tammy David at Gingersnaps Greenbelt

How did you celebrate your mother’s day? 🙂

Mommy Anecdotes Mommyology Current Affairs

My Mommyology’s Mother’s Day 2012

As it is Mother’s Day, I will tell you about the fairly decent Mother’s Day I’ve had thus far.

I thought I’d get to sleep in as I normally do on Mother’s Day, but I didn’t.  The girls were climbing over and on top of me for quite a bit when they got up.  My husband must have slept late with the NBA Lakers-Nuggets Game 7 show on our DV-R, so he didn’t get up until after we did, to take them out and get them breakfast.  But he did prepare my breakfast of toast bread and cheese.

My Mommyology Massage Envy
The flyer at the desk said, "A Relaxed Mom Looks Good." I agree!

After Mass we got a call saying that a slot opened up at the Massage Envy  where my husband had me wait-listed for this afternoon.  The original plan was to have a home service massage (how that would have been relaxing for me with the girls banging on the door, I don’t know…), however a few days ago my husband said that the business owner called him and said that she was closing shop, thereby cancelling all her appointments this weekend.

In the end it worked out well:  I helped him get lunch into the kids and they hung out at the Pet Store and at Target while I got some me-time.  I’d have to say my therapist Lisa was GREAT!  Then the Nail Salon across the street was open and could accommodate me for a much needed manicure-pedicure session, and without hesitation I jumped at the chance.  To cap off the afternoon, I got some frozen yogurt for the girls and myself at Moonberries.  Oh and yes, they got me flowers!  A yellow bouquet, as yellow is currently Sam’s favorite color.  Kids giving you flowers are the sweetest thing, wouldn’t you say?

The girls seem to be quite cooperative today too.  Sam was more behaved than usual at Church today and sat down for a good portion of the homily, and up until the writing of this post, has not had a meltdown of any sort.  Jamie — well… 🙂  Jamie saved her explosive poop for her dad while I was getting all my pampering treatments, and thereby saved me one dirty diaper to change.  Atta girl! 😉  Now the house is quiet as Sam is off playing with her dad and doing her Kumon with him, and Jamie is fast asleep for a late afternoon nap.

I am hoping for an evening of uninterrupted peaceful sleep to cap off such a restful day, but I may be pushing my luck (as would have been a facial treatment). 🙂  I’ve been thinking back to the last time that I’d had a truly restful night’s sleep, and it was before I became a mother.  I realize now that sleep and motherhood aren’t quite complimentary, and you just take what you can get when you can get it (like a 50-minute nap during a massage!).  So this is why moms enjoy pampering sessions so much! 😉

I used to think that Mother’s Day was a day when Mom would spend all day relaxing with her kids and family, but now I feel that there is some kind of irony in that sentence.  How can mom, whose natural tendency is to take care of the family, relax when everyone that she attends to is around?  In my case, while I undoubtedly love my girls to bits and pieces — when we’re together it becomes mostly about them than about me or anyone else.  And so, my husband has now concluded that Mother’s Day in our family is really a Daddy-Daughter day, because it’s Mom’s Day (Afternoon) Off.   If it means 120 minutes of pamper time to re-charge for the next few months of 24-7 constant care, then it’s well worth it, wouldn’t you say?

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms around the World!  I hope you get to spend your special day just the way you want to, no matter how simple it may be.  And if anything else, I hope that you get a decent night’s sleep! 🙂

Mommy Miscellaneous

Happy Momma’s Day!

My Mommyology Mother's Day Greeting
Borrowed from

From the My Mommyology cast and crew here in Chapel Hill — Sam, Jamie, Elmo, Barney and all our other Mommyology friends, we wish all the moms a Super Duper Happy Momma’s Day!  We hope that in the past few months of our web existence, we have made our motherhood adventures entertaining as well as relevant.

PS – to all the children and Father’s watching the Pacquiao-Mosley fight today, please remember that while it is another event in Pinoy history, boxing is not considered a Mommy treat. 🙂