PHILIPPINES: Invest in Yourself

PHILIPPINES: Invest in Yourself

inspirationI 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:

  1. Family
  2. Work
  3. Social Life
  4. Sense of Purpose 
  5. Self

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.

Patricia Cuyugan (Philippines)

Patricia Cuyugan is a freelance writer and the resident mom blogger at www.mrspcuyugan.com. She is a WAHM, domestic diva in training, real housewife of Ayala Alabang, and mommy to an 8-year-old boy who is known online as Little MrC. When stressed, she turns to crochet, chocolates and hugs for comfort.

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BELGIUM: Rino

BELGIUM: Rino

Rino_K10KWe have a cat. A lot of people have a cat. Ours is named Rino. As in rhinoceros, minus the “h” and the horn.

Looking back, I got him when he was still a little too small, so he definitely sees me as his cat-mom. He slept in the Big Bedroom during the first months of his life, with me stroking him upon every little yelp. When he wants to cuddle, he tucks his head in my armpit, as if he wants to get nursed. He’s the cuddliest cat I know. And the best frog catcher as well.

Rino is get-out-of-jail-free card. He radiates reassurance. Peace of mind. When I’m overwhelmed by motherhood, he can convince me to allow the children to come back downstairs after their time-out. He reminds me I prefer talking above time-outs.

When the kids are finally asleep, he crashes the couch with me. There’s nothing like the sound and feel of a purring cat to take the daily stress away. Did I mention he’s fat and orange? The perfect blanket. Matches most of my cloths too.

When our son is having a bad morning, he usually refuses to put on his cloths. He goes on strike on the couch, with his head beneath the cushions. We aren’t able to get through to him nor make eye contact. His sister will try, but she always manages to make things worse. Not her fault, and she earns her credits for trying the impossible.

And then Rino comes pawing in. Takes a few bites from his food and then goes straight for his ‘big brother’. The minute I tell my son who is coming for him, we see his face again. Eleven minutes, fifty three strokes and fourteen cuddles later, he will be dressed and heading for breakfast. The same goes for homework, violin practice and heart break: Rino will drag him through.

When our adopted daughter first met Rino, she nearly jumped to the ceiling. She only knew cats as thieves that should be chased from the orphanage’s kitchen, so she hissed and motioned to get him out, hiding behind my skirts. She didn’t develop a liking for stuffed animals either, with a brother sneaking up on her with those. He didn’t particularly like his new little sister those first months and couldn’t stop scaring her away, so we ended up hiding all the stuffed tigers and cats from them both.

Two years later, their bond has grown. They do continue teasing each other. They fight like little demons over who gets to open the curtains in the morning but an hour later in school the little one will call for her brother when she’s running from kissing boys. They always end up wanting to play with the exact same box of Legos that was untouched for weeks before, but just as frequently, they will team up against me, especially when candy is at stake. I was told that is universal proof they’ve developed a sibling bond.

The same goes for Rino. Our daughter considers him part of the family now. She demands we talk about him with first ànd last name, our family name, and she doesn’t believe it’s fair he’s not allowed to go to the zoo with us. He would love the big cats, you know. I’m glad Rino is visibly terrified inside moving vehicles so in the end our daughter’s more or less convinced he wouldn’t really like joining us.

A few weeks ago, my daughter asked how Rino came to our family. Did he come willing? Or was he taken from his mommy?  After we hesitantly told her it was the latter, she immediately went to find him and whispered in his ear, “You’re just like me!” Ever since, she considers him her little brother even more.

He has become her mirror, in a way. Whenever she’s fantasizing about what she would like to tell her birth mother, he’s a major part of her story. She would like to send her birth mother pictures and drawings of Rino, but not of herself. Pictures of Rino sleeping in the bird house, of Rino coming from the woods when he hears our car approaching, of Rino sleeping with his paws in the air and head to the side, like a wrongly assembled toy.  She wants to tell her all about him.

But most of all, she wants to tell her birth mother that we are such great and loving parents.

For Rino, of course.

Do you have pets that enrich your family? Do they help your children cope with life’s sharp edges? Feel free to share about their funny and serious contributions in your daily life!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by K10K from The Penguin and The Panther.

The picture in this post is credited to the author.

K10K

If you ask her about her daytime job, K10K will tell you all about the challenge of studying microbes in extreme environments, going from the deep underground to outer space. Her most demanding and rewarding job however is raising the Penguin and the Panther, her seven and five year old little rascals. The Penguin grew in her belly, turned out very, very white and wants to become a meteorite examiner, fireman and artist. The Panther grew in her heart, had quite, quite dark skin and wants to become a teacher, mother of thirteen babies and famous musician. Together they provide most of the feed for her blog, The Penguin and The Panther, but they are also the primary cause of why she struggles to find the energy for writing anything lately...

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UNITED KINGDOM:  The Book I Never Thought I Would Write

UNITED KINGDOM: The Book I Never Thought I Would Write

peepingWhen I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer.

My bookshelves were bursting with myths and legends, tales of epic journeys and magical enchantments and warriors and warlocks and princesses; talking animals and terrifying villains. I read many of them over and over and would always think, when I closed the covers, how wonderful the author must have felt to have created such a thing.

I started writing my own stories, on sheets of rough paper, taped or stapled together. I would write the title first, then the author – me – beneath, then carefully index the chapters, number the pages and sometimes, if feeling really enthusiastic about the content, provide rave reviews for the back. I showed my parents, my friends, my teachers. People nodded and smiled.

I grew up, and kept writing. I studied English and French literature, and kept writing. I studied journalism, and kept writing. I got a proper job, and kept writing. Then I had a daughter, and stopped for a while. When I came back to it, I wrote furiously for several months, then realised the embarrassingly semi-autobiographical nature of the novel I had crafted, and put it aside. I got married, and got divorced, and had another child, and got married again.

There wasn’t very much time for writing, let alone for cudgeling my exhausted brain into thinking of something interesting to say.

Then my elder daughter Grace was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. It had taken us years to find out what it was that was ‘off’ – what the teachers saw, and wondered about, and what her peers saw, and walked away from, and what I saw, and thought was just my eccentrically lovable child. Finding out that my daughter had autism was like discovering she had been living behind glass for 8 years and that I had been oblivious to the sound of her banging her fists on it.

We were sent off with a label, and little support. Grace started to be bullied at school as she grew older and her differences became more apparent and other children were drawn to her weirdness and capacity for combustion when they pressed her buttons. They found all her buttons.

Grace spent a lot of time crying. I spent a lot of time crying. We both felt very alone.

Then one day on the way to work, I pulled out my notebook and emptied the thoughts in my head onto the pale blue lines. I scribbled and scribbled, oblivious to the other commuters, thinking that if I wrote everything down then I might be able to make sense of it. I came home and said to Grace: “Shall we write about what’s happening to us?” And Grace said: “Yes. Please tell them what it’s like.”

So I wrote. I wrote a blog and called it Grace Under Pressure. I wrote about how it feels to be the parent of a child with autism. I wrote about the things I was learning and about how much I realised I still had to learn. I wrote about Grace’s marathon attempts to fit in and understand her own limitations and learn to cope with the limitations of classmates who had no sympathy or understanding. I wrote about running a marathon myself in order to raise awareness among those who had no sympathy or understanding of autism.

People started reading the blog. Then more people read it, and more. Eventually, someone said: “You know, you should really think about making this into a book.” A publisher called Little, Brown agreed.

My book is not the book I ever thought I would write. But it is the kind of book that I used to read. It is the tale of an epic journey, and a magical enchantment, and a courageous princess. I am very proud of the princess, and I am grateful to her every day for letting me tell her story and for taking me with her on the adventure that changed our lives.

Grace Under Pressure: A Girl with Asperger’s and her Marathon Mom, by Sophie Walker, is published in the United States by New World Library, and in the UK by Little, Brown (Piatkus).  

**Enter to win a free copy of Grace Under Pressure!  Comment on this post for a chance to win — we will be choosing a winner on Friday, December 13th! **

This is an original post by our writer in the UK, Sophie Walker.

The image in this post is credited to the author.

Sophie Walker (UK)

Writer, mother, runner: Sophie works for an international news agency and has written about economics, politics, trade, war, diplomacy and finance from datelines as diverse as Paris, Washington, Hong Kong, Kabul, Baghdad and Islamabad. She now lives in London with her husband, two daughters and two step-sons. Sophie's elder daughter Grace was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome several years ago. Grace is a bright, artistic girl who nonetheless struggles to fit into a world she often finds hard to understand. Sophie and Grace have come across great kindness but more often been shocked by how little people know and understand about autism and by how difficult it is to get Grace the help she needs. Sophie writes about Grace’s daily challenges, and those of the grueling training regimes she sets herself to run long-distance events in order to raise awareness and funds for Britain’s National Autistic Society so that Grace and children like her can blossom. Her book "Grace Under Pressure: Going The Distance as an Asperger's Mum" was published by Little, Brown (Piatkus) in 2012. Her blog is called Grace Under Pressure.

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NEW ZEALAND: In Praise of Cousins

NEW ZEALAND: In Praise of Cousins

cousinsI have three sons and they are a lot of fun. They are also a lot of noise, mess and busyness.

They adore one another most of the time and loathe one another at other times. Needless to say, living in a small house can get a little hectic and the fact that we live a car trip away from most of the boys’ friends—and I don’t always want to drive to fetch or deliver children—means that, from time to time, my boys can have a little too much of one another.

We are one small family and that can make us all tiresome to one another – no matter how strong the love between us.

The healthiness of living in an isolated, nuclear family unit has always bothered me a little. Not that living with my extended family or my in-laws would suit me, or them I suspect, either. But the cousins. Oh my goodness. The wonder of having cousins around – that appeals to me.

With cousins there is the common bond of grandparents and other family members, and the common history and the common family rituals. There is the emotional connection of knowing they all belong together, and the emotional connection of having been all together for their life times.

But, what I really love is the bond I see between our boys and all of their cousins in terms of visible affection and loyalty. When we have been away on holiday together, older cousins have often taken our boys off for adventures or have played with them, especially as babies and toddlers, so I could have a break. Younger cousins provide opportunities for my older boys to teach and help, in their turn. Sometimes it’s just fun to hang out together.

With their cousins, my boys are learning that things their brothers have said to them repeatedly, and they have ignored, are often the same opinions of others – and their cousins are not afraid to tell them so, sometimes bluntly. They are learning a higher level of co-operative skills and greater negotiation techniques, than they get to use with just two others. They are learning to walk away, when they need to walk away, and they are learning when it is appropriate to comment on another’s behaviour and when it is best to stay silent.

Like their brothers, their cousins love them. Unlike their brothers, their cousins are listened to. Like their friends, their cousins enjoy playing with them and will tell them to go away, when they‘ve had enough – but only for a short while. Unlike their friends, they cannot be transient members of their lives. And that last point, in particular, I love.

Do your children have good relationships with their cousins? Do you see a deeper bond between your children and their cousins, than with their friends?

 

 

Karyn Wills

Karyn is a teacher, writer and solo mother to three sons. She lives in the sunny wine region of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand in the city of Napier.

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NORTH CAROLINA, USA: My Truth About Motherhood

NORTH CAROLINA, USA: My Truth About Motherhood

3146262373_fc89d851ffThe truth about motherhood is that no one prepared me for this.

No, really.

Have you ever actually admitted that, out loud? That you feel lost, unprepared, five years behind where you “should” be in raising your children?

I just did. (more…)

Frelle (USA)

Jenna grew up in the midwestern US, active in music and her church community from a young age. She developed a love of all things literary thanks to her mom, and a love of all things science fiction thanks to her dad. She left the midwest in her early twenties and has lived in the south ever since.

On her blog, she tries to write words that make a difference to people. Long before she attended college to major in Special Ed and Psychology, she became an advocate for special needs and invisible disabilities. She's always been perceptive of and encouraging to those who struggle to fit in. Having been through several dark seasons in her own life, she's found empowerment in being transparent and vulnerable about her emotions, making deep and lasting friendships, and finding courage to write from her heart. Her biggest wish is to raise her kids to be compassionate people who love well.

She's been online since 1993, with a total of 19 years of social media exposure. Having friends she doesn't know in real life has been normal for her since her junior year in college, and she's grateful every day for the ways technology helps her stay in touch with friends from all over the world.

Jenna lives in a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina, and is a freelance writer and a stay at home single mom to 3 girls and a boy. She blogs at MadeMoreBeautiful.comMadeMoreBeautiful.com.

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SOUTH AFRICA: A First Love Mystery – SOLVED!

SOUTH AFRICA: A First Love Mystery – SOLVED!

Me_XO_Simon (1)On 15 May I wrote a post about searching for an old boyfriend, which caused a few of my awesome fellow WMB moms to don their detective hats.  They helped me find two possible addresses for the man I was looking for.  After much soul-searching, I eventually decided to send a letter to each address.  Just over two weeks ago, I printed the letters, added a copy of my blog post (as well as a copy of the last poem he’d sent me) to each envelope and invested 25 rand in postage fees.  I was told that the letters would take approximately 14 days to reach America.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really expect a reply.  Imagine my surprise when exactly 2 weeks after mailing my letters, I found an email in my inbox from “my”  Campbell T Fisher Jr (aka Toby)! (more…)

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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