PHILIPPINES: Lego and Life Lessons

PHILIPPINES: Lego and Life Lessons

 

I watch my son playing with Lego almost every day. He’s currently using the Basics series, you know, the ones with little neighborhood scenes and people. Most times, though, he’ll create something new, something out of the box and different. He’s an imaginative boy, so I just let him be. Sometimes he’ll work for a long time on a project, not rushing it so that he can get it right (at least in his point of view).

Lego and Life LessonsAt some point, my daughter eventually locates her big brothers’ work and, well, swiftly ends it. Her brother is five years older, but even then it’s hard for him to not take the attack on his Lego model as a personal thing. “She destroys everything,” he has often lamented, sometimes in tears of frustration. I have to explain to him that his baby sister never means anything intentionally. She is just doing what she knows (and at this stage, it’s to be the arbiter of destruction to her brother’s toys, my laptop and my husband’s coffee gear).

 

 

“You can always start again,” I’ve told Vito. “You already know how to build things. Just make something new.”

He sniffs, annoyed, frustrated and impatient all at once. “But she’ll just break it again.”

While stroking his head, knowing he is fighting back tears, I say,

“Yes, she will. But you can always, always build it again. You can make it so she can never break it again. And maybe you can show her how to build, too.”

My boy then walks away, in a mix of emotions, half in agreement, half in annoyance. It’s just a matter of time before he moves on to something else, creating again, imagining again, all the while mindful of what I’ve said.

Sometimes I’ve had to tell myself the same thing: “You can always build it again.”

In the past year, I’ve said this over and over many times. Because life has been kind, but it’s also had its harsh way with us.

We lost our home late last year. It was the first time in six years we didn’t have a home to call our own. “It’ll be OK. You can build it again.” While we can’t build a physical house (not yet anyway), we can make a home with what we have been able to make a new home for ourselves in a small place inside my parents’ compound (which is how many Filipino families live, in fact).

My husband lost his job. It’s been almost a year since my husband has been without a regular job, and since then he has setup a new business making specialty coffee and doing coffee pop-ups. It’s not stable, but it’s a start. “It’s going to be OK. We can build this.”

I failed as a mother. Several times, I can’t even count anymore. I’ve not been the best mom, and sometimes I torture myself over not being present enough for my kids. I totally failed being a work-at-home mom the last two years. It had me out of the house more times than I had imagined possible, and I’ve been beating myself up for it quite a bit. Then I see my kids, ever-forgiving, ever loving towards me. Of course, my children do not need to worry about these things that I deal with in my soul. All they need to know is that “Mom is here, she loves us, she takes care of us. We will be OK.”

Yes, my darlings. It’s going to be OK. I can build again.

And that’s really what I want to tell you, the mom reading this. You can begin again, build again. It may not mean restoring an old thing, it can be something totally new, something you haven’t thought possible before. I’m learning to be like Lego, you could say, and letting life guide the “build,” praying that whatever chapter we’re in, we as a family will learn the lesson, accept the season, and come out of it stronger than ever.

This is an original post by World Mom Martine De Luna, a writer from Manila, Philippines. Find her daily on Instagram @martinedeluna and @makeitblissful.

 

Martine de Luna (Philippines)

Martine is a work-at-home Mom and passionate blogger. A former expat kid, she has a soft spot for international efforts, like WMB. While she's not blogging, she's busy making words awesome for her clients, who avail of her marketing writing, website writing, and blog consulting services. Martine now resides in busy, sunny Manila, the Philippines, with her husband, Ton, and toddler son, Vito Sebastian. You can find her blogging at DaintyMom.com.

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PHILIPPINES: Mother, the light of the home

PHILIPPINES: Mother, the light of the home

In the Philippines, we have a saying that the mother is “ilaw ng tahanan.” In English, it’s literal meaning is “the light of the home.” Beautiful thought, right? It conjures up images of a well-made home, filled with laughter and warmth and hope.

It’s nice and meaningful. In fact, I think it’s sometimes a far-fetched notion, because honestly most times I feel I am the polar opposite. It’s hard to feel like “the light of the home” when — like me — you feel like a looming cloud of darkness, failure and hopelessness. I know I’ve felt this way many times, especially in the past year when our family situation was shaken up from its very core.

We have had a tough past six to seven months in our family. When my husband lost his job at the end of 2015, we knew we were going to have to make some big changes as a family. Perhaps the most heart-wrenching part of this episode was saying goodbye to our rental home of five years. I remember my son crying huge tears for several days as he saw his bedroom being packed away little by little, and our house gradually emptied of its furnishings… and most of all, his memories. I felt as though we had let him down.

It’s a common setup in the Philippines to go to family when a situation has gone awry, and that’s what we did.

It just so happened that my mom’s guest house out back had been made available, and I humbly asked my parents if we could stay in that house until we could sort things out. “You can stay as long as you need to,” my mother said, and she meant it. It’s been six or seven months since we moved in, and every day she assures me of the same thing.

And there, I see what it means when a mother is the light of the home. Because for me, my mother restores my hopes each day. We’re still working to get back on our feet, and her encouragement for us remains constant. There is nothing but acceptance and love for myself, my husband and our two young children here in this tiny little home in our childhood garden and backyard. I’m reminded every day of the goodness of my parents, and the Filipino sense of family in which our people so pride themselves. A “light of the home” isn’t something whimsical or aspirational. A mother is a light to her home when she restores hope to a darkened situation or state. No mention of keeping a perfect house or a spotless kitchen!

Maybe you’re not feeling much like a “light of the home,” dear mama reading this today. It’s OK. Like candles, we all get snuffed out at times; we get burned out and we get spent. It’s times like these that we have permission to rely on our fellow moms: friends, our actual mothers, mother figures.

There is nothing more powerful than women helping women, mothers helping mothers. In a matter of time, our light can shine again, brighter than ever.

This is an original post by Martine De Luna for World Moms Blog. Martine is a Manila-based writer and consultant for women in digital (bloggers, online entrepreneurs). Find her regularly on Instagram @martinedeluna and on her blog, makeitblissful.com

Martine de Luna (Philippines)

Martine is a work-at-home Mom and passionate blogger. A former expat kid, she has a soft spot for international efforts, like WMB. While she's not blogging, she's busy making words awesome for her clients, who avail of her marketing writing, website writing, and blog consulting services. Martine now resides in busy, sunny Manila, the Philippines, with her husband, Ton, and toddler son, Vito Sebastian. You can find her blogging at DaintyMom.com.

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PHILIPPINES: Life is short, life is long

PHILIPPINES: Life is short, life is long

© Lianne Bacorro Photography

© Lianne Bacorro Photography

Wow. It’s been a lifetime since I last contributed to the blog. My last post was after I had just given birth. After that, things totally took a turn for the busy! And now, my second child is a year old, my eldest just recently lost two of his teeth. Already I’m feeling like I am on the short end of the stick when it comes to time! Just the other day my husband and I realized that, in four years, our eldest would be ten years old. Ten years old. I can’t even begin to fathom what I’d do.

When I watch my kids, I notice how they live in each moment. Have you ever stopped to watch your kids do the same?

It’s different for each child. I have a one year-old baby girl and a fidgety, curious six year-old son. Each day seems to stretch on forever for my six year-old, like when he anxiously awaits a new toy or the arrival of his cousins visiting from out of town. (This past week, his long wait has been his dental appointment, which we’ll go to later today.) After last Christmas Day, he asked how long it would be til the next one and sighed how it would be “forever” until we got there.

For my daughter, it’s like each minute is precious, and five minutes is an eternity away from me. (She’s a high need child, you see.) She cries when I step into the bathroom for a shower. (I’ve mastered those 2 to 5 minute ones, have you?) She complains when I leave for a meeting for an hour. My mother once said, “Imagine if your source of food and drink left you for a couple hours. How would you feel?”, and I now understand my daughter, haha! Poor thing.

We recently had a photo shoot at home with a photographer who specializes in unstyled, “day in the life” pictorials. It was a refreshing shoot, because there wasn’t any time set aside for makeup or hair, or vignette styling or wardrobe changes. It was just us, whiling the time away doing our everyday duties of play, work, rest and play again.

Martine de Luna - A Day in the Life Shoot - Photography by Lianne Bacorro-112

“Why would you pay someone to take photos of you when you’re just in your house clothes?” someone asked me on social media. In my head I replied, “Well, why not?” Because of time constraints and a clingy baby and a rambunctious preschooler and a busy-with-a-new-biz husband and a home in need of care…. I have literally no time sometimes to grab a camera. I should, but I had a friend who took on the task instead. And I’m glad she did, because I saw in those 200 or so photos what I realize I often miss or gloss over any ordinary day. It’s not the activities — I notice those, of course. It’s what threads our days, the feelings of delight, frustration, love, and passion that I sometimes don’t notice. Perhaps I needed someone else to look from the outside into our ordinary everyday, so that I could see just how much I get wrapped in time.

I watched this video recently, which perfectly describes why it feels like time speeds by the older we get. I appreciate the perspective here, and I can vaguely remember how time seemed to stretch on forever when I was a child! But very vaguely, really, like a distant memory. I only hope that as time goes by, I will like my children, live in the present.

I hope to not take each life-stage for granted, and not waste time navel-gazing, grumbling or losing myself to the squabbles of the mundane.

“Life is short…
Life is long…
but not in that order.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

How do you feel about time going forward, moms? How do you view time alongside your children’s point of view?

This is an original post by Martine De Luna for World Moms Blog.

Martine de Luna (Philippines)

Martine is a work-at-home Mom and passionate blogger. A former expat kid, she has a soft spot for international efforts, like WMB. While she's not blogging, she's busy making words awesome for her clients, who avail of her marketing writing, website writing, and blog consulting services. Martine now resides in busy, sunny Manila, the Philippines, with her husband, Ton, and toddler son, Vito Sebastian. You can find her blogging at DaintyMom.com.

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Meet Our #Worldmoms From Asia and Australasia

Meet Our #Worldmoms From Asia and Australasia

Every Wednesday we enjoy an article written by one of our mom bloggers in Asia/Australasia Region. Today we decided to run a series featuring the mom bloggers from that region and learn a little bit about their blogs and why they loved World Moms Blog.

Some of us are native Asian and some of us are from other places in the world and living in Asia right now.

Tina Santiago from Philippines

Tina Santiago from Philippines

Tina Rodriguez lives in The Philippines and blogs at Truly Rich and Blessed.

She is a lifestyle/inspirational/family blogger. She describes her blog as – “Truly Rich and Blessed is your little space on the Web where you will find inspiration and encouragement for discovering — and growing — the “riches” we already have: our faith, self, relationships, resources, discoveries and experiences.”

Tina is a Catholic wife and home educating mom by vocation, and a writer and editor by profession — imperfect and broken but blessed to be loved by a perfect God!

5 Words that can help you have a Better Week Ahead is one of the first publications after re-branding her blog.

This is what Tina has to say about World Moms Blog;

“It is such a blessing to be part of a global community of moms, dedicated to serving other moms in our own simple way, even if it’s just virtually!”

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Maureen Hitipeuw from Indonesia

Maureen Hitipeuw from Indonesia

Maureen Hitipeuw lives in Jakarta, Indonesia and blogs at Scoops of Joy. “Finding joy, one scoop at a time”

She is a lifestyle blogger and writes about what she’s passionate about; inspiring single moms, self-love, finding and living a joyful life and travel.

Maureen is a woman who desires to reach her full potential, to live with abundance and joy, and is passionate about inspiring others and sharing this journey with those she loves. Her favorite post from her own blog is Why Self Love Matters.

Maureen thinks of World Moms Blog as –

“It is uber cool! Not only because I get to know these amazing inspiring ladies from all over the world and become friends – soul sisters even – but I feel like the bond is just incredible. My life is indeed richer because of WMB. Knowing that you are not alone when it comes to motherhood, knowing how women can change the world and supporting causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Precious!”

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Martine Cosio de Luna from Phillipines

Martine Cosio de Luna from Phillipines

Martine Cosio de Luna lives in the Phillipines and blogs at Make it Blissful, an intentional lifestyle blog with a focus on blogging inspiration. Make it Blissful explores the reality that life isn’t perfect or ideal, but that we can make things work, “make it blissful” and find meaning in our homes, work, hobbies, and blogs.

Martine describes herself as an sociable introvert, chatty and friendly online and a little shy around strangers.

Her favorite post from her blog is For those who still believe in blogging — a look into how blogging has evolved into something more meaningful for me.

When asked why she loves World Moms Blog, she said,

“I love the reality that we are a global community of different moms with different views on life, but are all supportive and encouraging of one another, even if we are technically perfect strangers!!!

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Melanie Oda lives in Japan and is a lover of chocolate and books. She blogs at Hamakkomommy about parenting, travel and salty humor; “American mom attempts to navigate life in Japan; hilarity ensues.”

Blogging is one of the things that really helped Melanie work through the grief of losing her dad.

This is what she has to say about World Moms Blog;

“I love seeing how women, no matter where we live or how we live, have so very much in common. Both the good stuff and the struggles. It’s uncanny.”

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Next week, on the blog meet our Asian bloggers, Ruth from Singapore, Patricia from Philippines, Susan from Singapore, Piya from India.

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A special thanks to #WorldMom Orana from Indonesia for the production of this series.

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Is there any #WorldMom you would specifically like to know more about on the blog? Tell us in the comments and we would feature her soon! Meanwhile, say Hello to today’s featured #WorldMoms from Asia!

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World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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PHILIPPINES: Growing Your Heart

PHILIPPINES: Growing Your Heart

IMG_5720I’m a new mom all over again.

On January 31st, my family welcomed a daughter, who was an answered prayer and an angel rolled into one cute and cuddly package. We had waited 4 years before deciding to get pregnant again, and so her coming was planned, stemming from a decision my husband and I made that, yes, we wanted to have another baby.

At the time when I learned I was pregnant, a slew of emotions came over me: joy, anticipation, excitement, and all the good fuzzy feelings that come with the thought of having a child you’ve been waiting for. But the strongest feeling that came over me wasn’t all fuzzy-wuzzy and free. I felt a type of uncertainty, honestly.

Could my heart really love another little human being as much as I loved my firstborn?

Well, this last month — the first month of my daughter’s life — I found out that when God decides to give you more kids, your heart grows as well. I feel so much love for both my children.

When I saw my daughter seconds after she came out of me, I felt instantly transported back in time to the birth of my son five years ago, when I felt a surge of energetic, powerful love for my child. I felt the same this time with our daughter, and yet totally different, too. When we went home from the hospital, realizing that there would forever be four of us in the family was also both delightful and daunting.

It’s not been easy. The other day I mused on Instagram about how happy yet extremely hard it is to grow the space in my mommy heart, how difficult it has been especially for my eldest child to adjust with the new person in our home, and how physically tired I feel from the past weeks of newborn care. It’s not that I feel torn between my children — not at all. However, I feel the growing pains, the sweetness and pain. Being a mom of two doesn’t split my heart in two. I know love my both my kids equally, but it is with a love that both enlarges my heart yet feels like it tears it, too.

Does that make sense? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m learning a new way of loving, and that my heart is expanding to accommodate two loves of my life right now. (Well, three, of course, including my husband!)

I’m at the start of a new leg of the journey now. I am excited yet uncertain, but I know for sure that I am full of love and expectancy. I don’t want to rush through any of it! I don’t want to miss out anything my children need me for, whether it be the little one who needs milk, cuddles and carrying, or the “bigger little one” who needs extra understanding, hugs and exclusive mommy time. These tender days of “mommy heart growth” will pass as quickly as my kids shoot up in height! I have got to slow down to savor the accelerated pace of their childhood.

Moms, how did you feel when you had your second child? Can you relate with me?

This is an original post by Martine De Luna for World Moms Blog. Martine is the resident “blissmaker” on her lifestyle inspiration blog, Make it Blissful.

The image used in this post is credited to the author.

Martine de Luna (Philippines)

Martine is a work-at-home Mom and passionate blogger. A former expat kid, she has a soft spot for international efforts, like WMB. While she's not blogging, she's busy making words awesome for her clients, who avail of her marketing writing, website writing, and blog consulting services. Martine now resides in busy, sunny Manila, the Philippines, with her husband, Ton, and toddler son, Vito Sebastian. You can find her blogging at DaintyMom.com.

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PHILIPPINES: A Thrill of Hope

PHILIPPINES: A Thrill of Hope

Here in Manila, the Philippines, Christmas season is in full swing. Everywhere you go, there are signs of it: carols playing in the shopping centers; buildings decked out in holiday decorations; malls holding 3-day pre-Christmas sales; churches displaying the Christmas belen (Nativity) scene; people holding pre-Christmas parties and charity drives. Christmas here is a season of looking ahead to better days, and yes, also to December the 25th!

Speaking of carols, the line, “a thrill of hope” has been on my mind lately. I’ve not gotten around to bring out Christmas decorations (I’m one of those who waits til the end of November), but I have gotten around to thinking about that word “hope.” The line, of course, is from on of my favorite Christmas carols, O, Holy Night. As Christian, it means for me that I await Jesus Christ’s birth, because it holds for me “hope”, hope that He came to save the world in His coming.

Beside the belief that surrounds my religion’s commemoration of Christmas, I find the hope is something we all crave today in the world, isn’t it? With all the tragedy around us, the terror, the fear of disease… hope can often seem far away from our present reality.

And yet, it is always there. Thanks to efforts from the global community of “hope bearers” (like those mentioned this post on #BringBackOurGirls, or this post on the #AYA Summit), there is dialog going on; there is ACTION being taken. And by who? Well, at least for those in our community of global moms, women, mothers. As natural givers of life, I believe we as women are truly blessed with the capacity to HOPE. We know it all too well, during those nine or so months, for instance, when we bear that precious cargo in us!

I know it all too well, right now, in fact. As a second-time mother this coming 2015, I wait in hope for my baby daughter to arrive. I know I have hopes for her, too. For myself, I hope that I will be a good mother to two kids! (Help!) In fact, as I write this, she is kicking me vigorously and giving me quite a tiring episode, haha! I’m both tired and delighted to feel her kicks. Each one is a reassurance that all is well, and that I will see her really soon.

These “thrills of hope” — these summits we attend, the causes we support, the people we advocate through compassion and efforts to give — these all enthral us to ACT on hope. It amazes me that we have the energy to live outside of ourselves, of our own families, our children. And yet, it is right that we do, isn’t it? Because if there is anyone who can better relate to “thrills of hope” — and give fire to that hope — then it is us, world moms, from wherever we are around the globe.

What are your current hopes — for family, for yourself, or for the world around you? They can be big or small, or whatever. What’s important is to never lose faith in what’s possible!

This is an original post by Martine de Luna for the World Moms Blog.

Martine de Luna (Philippines)

Martine is a work-at-home Mom and passionate blogger. A former expat kid, she has a soft spot for international efforts, like WMB. While she's not blogging, she's busy making words awesome for her clients, who avail of her marketing writing, website writing, and blog consulting services. Martine now resides in busy, sunny Manila, the Philippines, with her husband, Ton, and toddler son, Vito Sebastian. You can find her blogging at DaintyMom.com.

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