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How do you work when you’re constantly invited to play Barbies and House every hour?
When I don’t have meetings or events planned during weekdays, I am usually just at home (in the home office a.k.a desk on the second floor where I hide from the kids so I can actually get things done) the whole day. I savor these days because I can focus working on content for the blog, finalizing product development for Rory & Sloan and fixing content schedules for clients among other things. All without having to waste precious time in traffic – which is just the worst.
Throughout the years, I’ve realized it’s even tougher focusing on work at home than when you’re working in an office setting. You will hear your toddler crying so you feel compelled to go to him and check what’s wrong, you’ll sometimes hear them fighting so you have to rush down and pray to God they haven’t killed each other yet. And especially with Selene, she knows I’m just there so she constantly comes up to ask me to play with her, get her juice, wash her baby butt when she pooped, basically stop working and just breathe together while looking at each other’s eyes.
Don’t get me wrong, being able to work at home is a huge blessing. It has tremendously made an impact on helping me focus on my kids while also earning on the side. I’m just here to shed light on the challenges as well.
“She hit me right where it already hurt…”
Whenever I’m firm on finishing work and tell Selene we’ll play later, I would feel guilty the whole day because I made her feel unwanted. I even had moments where I got so frustrated and broke down because she threw these exact words at me, “You never play with us! You only care about your work.” I cried so hard in the bathroom after the second time she said this to me. I couldn’t take it anymore – she hit me right where it hurt. During the first time, I tried my best to remain calm and even talked to her about it asking how she felt and explained to her why I needed to work first. It kept me up at night as I prayed hard that eventually she will understand as I know what we talked about can’t be fully absorbed in one sitting.
I sometimes think to myself, “Should I just leave and work outside so at least I won’t feel this debilitating Mom Guilt of being there but not really?” Which sometimes I just do – I work in a coffee shop and don’t go home after meetings to finish up what I need to finish for the day so when I come home – I’m fully there with them. So far, that has been my way of coping with this. It’s definitely not practical because ang gastos – eating out, buying coffee and gas/fare going to and from the places – but at least I don’t make both the kids feel unimportant when I’m at home but busy working.
However, there are days I still work at home often and just leave the desk when they ask me to play because when I think about the bigger picture, it’s them I’m doing it for anyway. In the end, I don’t want them to feel that yes, all this is for them yet I didn’t have enough time for them. During interview, when I’m asked about “How do you balance motherhood, work and everything else?” – I curl up inside. I just do my best, I wing it and to be honest, I don’t think I’m balancing everything well. I’ve stopped trying to find that perfect balance because I will probably just go crazy. Instead, I remain optimistic and take one day at a time and continue being thankful that I have my parents, sisters and our newfound yaya who step up when I need to focus on work for a while.
Take a break and INDULGE. Selene brought home this Strawberry Cake from Le Monet Baguio for me! Huhu. She asked my parents to buy me a cake na pasalubong daw niya for me and Tristan. So thoughtful grabe – naiyak ako.
Taking a Break
At home, I’ve devised break times when working to spend time with the kids. Merienda around 3-4PM is our “me time” where we eat a snack together and enjoy our favorite juice drink with nata, Mogu Mogu. When we go to groceries, we make sure to stock up on it. Selene’s favorite flavors are Lychee and Strawberry while I like Lychee and Grape. One thing’s for sure – we are both fans of nata! We also like picking out new snacks – breads, pastries, cakes, veggie crackers and the like to pair with our merienda drink. Sometimes, we even watch her or Tristan’s favorite show together on Netflix while eating.
It has been an established part of our routine which is also good for me as it helps clear my brain from thinking or my eyes from the laptop. Like in my previous blog, small wins like this help a lot. The stress from feeling anxious, guilty and worried all the time is something I struggle with on a daily basis – but moments like this, baby steps to address the relentless #MomGuilt, can feel so freeing.
At 3PM, she’ll come up na to ask me to prepare our merienda! Sometimes, when I go down, she’ll have it prepared na.
Lychee Mogu Mogu, please Mom. Her face seeing the nata is like diz… every. single. time.
Lunc and merienda are break times for me so no phone, no work brain ON during this time.
Showing off the nata! Tristan naman hates nata, maybe he finds it slimey. Haha! But Selene loves it.
Guess who thought of this pose? Hahaha! Nung una, she shoved a huge piece of cake down my throat!
She also likes to baon it sometimes when we go out. That face, classic Selene.
Don’t Feel Guilty
I guess as my last words for today on this topic – it’s okay to feel the #MomGuilt, momma. Most of us, if not all, go through it. But don’t let it paralyze you. If you genuinely feel that you know what you are doing is right in your heart, just keep the faith. Whether you’re a working mom who spends the whole day at work or a stay-at-home mom who just wants to take a longer shower without interruption or pee in peace, you are not a bad mom. This is still something I struggle with on a daily basis – especially since working is not an option for me but a requirement – but I’ve learned that the smallest changes help. Whether it be mindful breathing, taking a break, a good cry, indulging in a mani/pedi/spa/beauty treatment. But mainly, mine involves praying and lifting everything up to God.
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