When I was 15, I had my whole life mapped out.
I’d be married by 25. Within a couple of years, I’d have a daughter, and then a son.
When I hit 30, I’d go back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. By then, I should have already gotten enough writing experience, and gone through enough life experiences, for me to be able to fully appreciate the program. Then I’d go on to publish my first novel before hitting 40.
I was a little girl with big dreams who grew into a teenager with a plan.
In a few days, I will turn 33.
True to my expectation, I have indeed gotten married, but that didn’t happen until I was 28. The baby came first, when I was 23. And I had a son. I have no daughter, but that’s fine. I’m enjoying being mom to a boy.
My pot of life experiences is filling up fast, which is great because that means that life has been great. My writing resume isn’t too shabby. I know for sure that I’d be able to appreciate the Creative Writing Master’s program that I’m gunning for, if only I could afford it.
One thing that I failed to consider when I was 15 was how much it would actually cost to send a child to school, and how expensive a Master’s Education can be.
And then, there are all of these other things.
At 15, I had no idea how hard it was to be married. I didn’t know what it meant to meet halfway. I thought that there would always be a clear winner in each argument. I didn’t think that not going to bed angry could mean tearful discussions that would last until 3:00 in the morning.
I didn’t have a clue that parenting would be as challenging as I now know it to be. I thought that it would be so cute to have two children who are close in age, just like my brother and I. I didn’t realize that having one child is challenging enough already. I had no idea that I would someday find myself at the receiving end of eye-rolling and snide remarks that just happen to sound a whole lot like my 10-year old self.
I believed back then that if you were good at something it wouldn’t be difficult to find a job in your desired field. I never thought about how much of success comes from actual hard work, that luck actually plays a huge part in it all, and that being easy to work with sometimes matters more than what you can actually do.
I went from being a naïve teenager with a plan to becoming an adult with (at least a little bit of) wisdom.
I’ve learned a lot about life in between my 15th and 33rd birthdays.
I know that you should always expect the unexpected. And I mean, always. Life is full of curve balls and somewhere along the way things won’t go as planned.
I believe that the trick is to keep moving forward, and to always look on the bright side of life even when there seems to be no bright side. I understand now that the tough times are there to make the good ones shine even brighter.
Our hearts can handle infinite amounts of heartache brought about by people whom we truly care about. I know this for sure. I also know that these same people, if they love us as much as we love them, will be the same ones to mend those little breaks in our hearts.
I may have proven my teenage-self wrong on many different counts, but I do still believe in dreaming big dreams and planning for the life that we want for ourselves.
We may not be able to accomplish all that we want to do within the deadlines we set for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Things may not happen the way we want them to all the time, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop working on becoming the person we’ve always known we could be.
In spite of it all, and despite life’s struggles, the one thing that we ought to do is never give up on ourselves.
Based on the plan I had set for myself all those years ago, I still have seven years to get that book out. How that will go remains to be seen…!
How has your expectation differed from your reality? Are you close to where you thought you would be at this time of your life?
This is an original post for World Moms Network by Mrs. P. Cuyugan. Photo credit: Jurgen P. Appelo. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.
I’ll tell you a secret. In the weeks leading up to the Philippine presidential elections, a lot of people asked me who I was voting for. My default answer was always, “It’s a secret. I don’t like talking about it.”
But the truth is I had no idea. I remained undecided until a few days before voting day.
Why? Because I knew that I wasn’t just voting for me.
I knew that whoever would win wasn’t going to be just my president, but my son’s president, too.
He or she would determine what kind of country my son would be living in over the next six years, and these are important, formative years. Within the next six years my boy will become a teenager. Within the next six years he will go through middle- and high-school. Within the next six years he will begin to turn into his own person.
This president is someone that he will remember. This president should be someone he can look up to.
Well, Election Day has come and gone here in the Philippines. The candidate that I have finally chosen did not win. On the upside, none of those whom I was certain not to vote for made it either.
As the dust settles, and we look ahead, I want the best for my country and I will remain optimistic.
This new president is not part of any prominent political family. This is such a welcome change, especially since political dynasties are so common in our country. Will this mean a greater potential for actual change? Time will tell.
While my son knows that the new president wasn’t my first choice, I have explained that he was chosen by our countrymen and that I will give him a chance. I tell my child that no matter what, I hope that the new government can make this country a better place.
I love this country, and it was never an option to leave, no matter who assumed the presidency. But I love my son, too, and I want for him to live in a country that he can fall in love with, flaws and all, the way that I have.
Here’s hoping that the new president, even though he wasn’t exactly the one I chose to be my son’s leader, turns out to put the people of the Philippines first. Here’s hoping that the country that I love so dearly has chosen well. Here’s looking towards a better future for us all.
Tell us some things about the leader of your country. How is he/she like? And how is this leader suited for the kids/teenagers and adolescents in your country?
Post Edited 11:04pm EST May 18, 2016.
This is an original post by World Moms Blog contributor, Mrs. C. of the Philippines.
Photo credit to the author.
Our family of three recently started adapting a new normal.
We’ve finally moved in to a home of our own, something that my husband and I have dreamed of doing ever since we started on our life journey together. Here, in the Philippines, we’ve been living with family members since we were married.
To see “our home” become a reality fills us both with so much joy. It also gives us far more responsibilities than we have ever had to take on. Of course, we anticipated this, but you never really know what things will be like until you actually find yourself there, right?
Mr. C works full time, which means that the bulk of the financial responsibilities fall on his lap. I, on the other hand, am in charge of keeping house, and turning this place into a happy home. Our son’s job is to fill our space, and our hearts, with happiness and love. He is also being taught how to do chores that he can manage at his age.
It’s been four months since we moved, and I feel that we are all doing well, so far.
Of course, it goes without saying that there have been times over the last four months where it felt like we were drowning. Or at least, I felt like I was drowning.
Managing an entire household, no matter how large or small, can be overwhelming. It’s super overwhelming for me, in particular. See, our current setup is different from what I grew up with.
I’ve never had to clean the house before. When I was younger, we had several helpers who stayed with us at home. My mom took in working students, and there were at least three of them staying with us at any given time. They helped with the daily chores, which meant that my siblings and I didn’t have to.
After I became a mom, I slowly started learning how to do these household chores on my own, from cooking and cleaning to doing the laundry. I also learned how to drive, so that I could start running errands. But because we were still living in my parents’ house, it was okay if things fell through the cracks once in a while. There was someone in that household who could help me do the things that I needed to do.
Now, in our new home, we are basically on our own. No helpers, by choice!
The three of us each have to pull our own weight around the house. It’s tough, but it’s also very fulfilling. I wish I could say that I have fallen nicely into a Pinterest-worthy routine, but the truth is that I have not. The reality is that, as I type away, I have two weeks’ worth of laundry sitting in the trunk of my car, waiting to be taken to the laundromat. There are also dirty dishes in the sink, and fallen leaves in the back patio and garage.
That’s okay. Yes, it is. See, the one important lesson I’ve learned as a new homemaker is this: If you want to keep your sanity, do not sweat the small stuff.
These things will get done. It may take longer than you had expected, but that doesn’t mean it will never happen. I know that I will eventually get the hang of all of this. I will soon learn to do laundry on a regular basis. I will figure out an efficient way to clean the bathrooms (which, I don’t do just yet, by the way, my husband does the cleaning. Thank God for him.) I will find a routine that works, and I will manage this household like a pro. Soon.
For now, I am just enjoying the fact that I can have coffee on my own couch, in my underwear, on a quiet morning, and not have to worry that someone will walk in and see me there. This family lives in a full house no more, and I do not sweat the small stuff.
What are your daily routines like, and how you manage to do everything you set out to do? Do you have helpers in your home?
This is an original post by World Moms Blog contributor, Mrs. C. of the Philippines.
Photo credits to World Moms Blog.
The author and her brother, as children, with their paternal grandmother, Loli.
Among the greatest blessings I have ever had in this life is the time that I have spent with my grandmothers, Loli and Mama. They were two of the greatest women I have ever known.
Loli is my paternal grandmother, and Mama is grandma on my mom’s side of the family. While they are no longer around for me to hug, the lessons and wisdom that both have given me remain in my heart.
Today I share some of these lessons with my fellow world moms:
1. True love DOES exist
My maternal grandparents spent 68 years together before my Mama passed away. Those years of marriage were not perfect, and of course had their share of ups and downs. But on her deathbed, my grandmother opened her eyes and focused on my grandfather, sharing a final moment with him before she left us.
At the end of it all, we knew that there was no one in the world she loved more than him. We could feel that she didn’t want to leave him, and in the end, the assurance that he will be okay was what she needed in order to let go.
I will never forget the way my Mama’s eyes would twinkle each time she looked at my grand dad, how she would laugh at his jokes and hold his hand while they walked. Marriage is hard, but it can be worth it. And true love does exist.
2. Make sure to create memories with your loved ones
In my family, there is no shortage of photographs and stories to turn to when we want to remember fun times. I appreciate these so much more now that I am older.
My grandmothers made sure that we planned something for every occasion, be it Christmas, birthdays, or even random, ordinary Sundays. What mattered was that we made time for each other, and that we made our time together count.
3. Come what may, you can always count on family
There is comfort in knowing that your family will be there for you no matter what happens. We were raised to love one another unconditionally, and to watch each other’s backs. Our grandmothers had our parents make sure that it stayed this way, even as we all grew up.
We now pass these close family ties on to our children, who are not just cousins but also the best of friends. Truth be told, I cannot imagine what life would be like without my siblings and cousins.
4. Allow your children to be spoiled by their grandparents
This one is a tough pill to swallow, and I fought against it for many years with my own son and parents. But looking back, the best memories that I have of my grandmothers were those times I had alone with them, where I was the princess and got whatever I wanted.
When I was pregnant, my Loli would steal extra packs of lunch or save half of her share to bring home to me as treats after her meetings and get-togethers. My Mama indulged me in mini birthday celebrations in her home, complete with spaghetti, ice cream and cake, when I was already in my 30’s!
These are memories that I hold so dear. They have their own happy places in my heart and can never be taken away. Someday, I hope that my son remembers moments with my mom and mom-in-law with the same kind of fondness.
5. At the end of it all, love is what lives on
I’ve had my fair share of scolding and tough love from my grandmothers, but not once in my life did they ever make me feel unloved. I miss them each day, the nagging phone calls, their funny tales from the past, their hugs and kisses.
The love that they left behind lives on in me, and in each of us in the family. It’s what binds us together now and keeps us strong.
Theirs was the kind of motherly love that transcended generations, the kind of love that I, too, hope to give to my family through the years.
The author and her sister with their maternal grandmother, Mama
*In loving memory of Natividad F. “Loli” de Castro (1921-2008) and Presentacion T. “Mama” delos Santos (1929-2015)
This is an original post for World Moms Blog from our contributor in the Philippines, Mrs. C
The images used in this post are attributed to the author.
I hate to put it this way, but there really is no better way to say it – There are days when it feels like my son is the embodiment of all the bad karma I’m getting for every nasty thing I did to my parents when I was growing up.
There, I said it. Now that it’s finally off my chest, I feel a little better. Just a little, though, because it kind of feels like I just called my baby boy a little devil, which he is on some days. And I am just being honest here.
Please tell me that I’m not the only one who has ever thought and felt this way, lest I be completely consumed by mommy guilt.
I don’t know what happened. One day, my cute little boy turned eight, and dealing with him suddenly started to feel like arguing with my 8-year old self!
The eye-rolling, the sarcasm, the frowny face complete with bunched up eyebrows – they were all there! And dear me, it looks like they’re here to stay. If this stage in his life is an indication that he will grow up to be exactly like me, then this boy’s dad and I are in for a roller coaster in the coming years.
I feel like he’s harder to deal with than I was, though. Maybe it’s because he’s a boy and there are times when I have trouble relating to him. Or maybe it’s really just harder when you’re on this side of the argument.
Oh my gosh, what a test of patience this is turning out to be.
How do I deal, world moms? How do I deal?
I suppose that when he gets really hard to manage, I should think about how I would want to be dealt with in the same situation, and go ahead and do that. Uncharacteristic and weird as it may be for me, it just might work.
I’ve been reading up on the tween years, which my boy is officially entering into on his next birthday, and it looks like his mood swings have only just begun. Online advice also tells me to give him the space that he needs to grow and adjust, because he also doesn’t quite understand his emotions yet. Do you agree with this?
Ironically, I lost my cool with him again just this morning, and in retrospect I know I should have just stopped myself, taken a deep breath, and walked away. But no, I let my own emotions get in the way.
As someone who is very hands-on, and who spends every single day with my son, I think it’s going to be a challenge for me to stand back and just let him be. Today’s incident proves just that. But hey, if it will make things better then of course I am more than ready to try.
If only I could find a shop that sells a limitless amount of patience, then I’d be armed and ready to take on more anger, more crying, and even more hyperactive moments of joy.
But I know, and my husband has reminded me of this several times, that the only place I can find this kind of patience and understanding is within my own heart. For this, I have nothing but my unending mommy love to count on. Over the years mommy love has proven to be enough, and I hope that it continues to BE enough. At the end of the day, I love the little guy, through the good and bad times.
Guess it’s time to temporarily deactivate my Hulk Mom mode. A new little monster is in the house. Literally. Good luck to me!
Tell me mommies, how do you deal with the mood swings and emotional roller coasters you go through with your kids? Does anyone else here feel like you’re arguing with yourself when you try to reason with your child?
I was recently given the incredible opportunity to attend a life coaching seminar about investing in yourself. Truth be told, this wasn’t a subject that I had put any serious thought into before that day.
Our speaker, the amazing Coach Pia from the One Core Group here in the Philippines, shared five aspects that we must be able to balance in our lives:
- Social Life
- Sense of Purpose
After a quick assessment, I discovered that I may not have this whole life-balance thing in order. And I’m pretty sure that I am not alone. We all know that it isn’t easy to do this when you’re a mom.
Family, a.k.a. my son and my husband, comes first. Next focus is our home – making sure we are safe and secure, that we have food to eat, that bills are paid, and all of those other adult responsibilities. Work is after that, because as a work-at-home mom, I have taken it upon myself to contribute to the family finances. I am confident that each day is lived in fulfillment of my sense of purpose, so I get a check there. As for my social life, well it’s better now, and I do get to chat with many friends online every day. I also spend time with parents at school, and with neighbors and childhood friends as often as I can. So I guess that leaves just the “self” aspect.
How exactly have I invested in myself throughout the years? And why have I not asked myself this question before? My wake-up call came when this one powerful line was flashed onscreen before us:
What you invest in yourself influences your ability to succeed, to lead others and to make a difference.
We moms need to start investing in what Coach Pia calls our Hero Currency. This is the capacity to give of ourselves, armed with our talents, skills, and the enthusiasm we have for life. It consists of our commitment to personal growth, our ability to identify and accept our strengths and weaknesses, and our capacity to make the best decisions we can in every situation.
With every positive experience, you earn Hero Credits. These include monumental ones, like your child graduating or the day you were married, and little everyday victories too, like scoring an amazing parking space in the mall or choosing a salad over a slice of pizza for lunch. Things that have a negative impact on your life, like getting stuck in traffic jams or screaming at your child in anger, take away from your Hero Credits.
Assess your day and do the accounting. How much positivity do you put into your days, and how much of it is filled with negativity? Do you allow yourself to do things that fill up your Hero Credits, and balance out or even cancel out the daily negatives?
After this exercise, I discovered that investing in my self relies heavily on my perspective. I have to understand that success, whether big or small, begins with me.
I have to be able to gain focus, to sometimes just be silent and evaluate the decisions that I have made. I have to be able to identify my feelings and understand the reasons behind them. It is only then that I will be able to figure out how to convert my daily negatives into positives. I need to be able to open up to others and show vulnerability so that I can freely express love and concern. And I have to be able to work without seeking recognition and find total fulfillment within my self.
At the end of the session, I came to this striking realization: I have been investing in myself. The fulfillment and happiness that I get out of how I choose to live my life far outweighs any sadness or disappointment I may come across. Somewhere along the way of raising my family and creating a home, I managed to do something right for myself, too. I suppose that this means that I am exactly where I want to be in life, that I am surrounded by love, happiness, and acceptance. This realization really fills my heart with joy, and it is something that I wish for moms all over the world, too.
So, World Moms, are you ready to start investing in you? Then ask yourself this:
Where are you in terms of self-growth? Where do you want to be?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer in the Philippines, Mrs. C.
The image used in this post is credited to SweetOnVeg. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.