Passing on Lessons from Mom

I am the eldest and the only girl in a brood of three. Growing up, my mother would always ask me to do something for her. Whether helping her with the chores or running errands for her. I remember riding my bike to a small mini mart near our place because she asked me to buy milkfish for lunch. Of course, I didn’t get the freshest fish since I was only 9 or 10 and I have no idea what a fresh fish looks like. They all look the same to me, all slimy and…wet. Another time I was to get chayote (sayote) and I ended up getting the more green papaya, which was more expensive than chayote.

Even if she hired household help then I never saw her relax. She would still be cooking, doing other chores and checking what the help is doing. There were times when we don’t have a helper in the house and that’s the time, I would be assisting her most of the time.

I remember would always tell me, “How can you be a good mother if you don’t know how to do household chores?” As a teenager, I don’t like doing chores! I dreaded chores! I would rather listen to my music and write but I have no choice, I have to obey or else 🙂 But as the Bible says, everything turned out for the best.

My homemaker training as a young girl paid off. Now that I have my own family, I can manage without any help at all. I do laundry, clean, cook, homeschool, run errands, and work part time too. I do hire outside help once in a while to do some ironing but other than that, we’re okay. Tired but okay.

Of course, I pass on what I learned to my own kids. Though they can’t do the hard stuff, I have assigned them some tasks to do everyday. Both of the kids need to fix their beds every time they get up in the morning.  They clean up after breakfast and put their dishes in the sink. You have to remind them to do it everyday but their not complaining, thank God! Once in while Coby would wash his own dishes too, since he is the last one to have breakfast.

Jianne, our little girl is being trained as early as now to be a good homemaker. She helps me in the kitchen when I’m preparing dinner. She would wash the vegetables or get other ingredients I need. She wants to help out in the kitchen all the time. In the evenings, while relaxing and watching TV, she would see me fold newly washed clothes. I would put them on the bed and fold them one by one. She would volunteer to fold some clothes too so I taught her how to do it the Martha Stewart way…nah!  She’s a fast learner and now she is the one folding her own undies, shirts and pajamas. What a great help indeed!

the little helper unfolding her undies, step 1

the little helper unfolding her undies, step 1

step 2

step 2

step 3

tada! neatly folded undies :-)

tada! neatly folded undies 🙂

I am grateful that my mom taught me well. I learned how to be a great homemaker because she was my best example. I hope I could pass on the same values to my daughter and that she would imbibe the joy of motherhood too when that time comes.  But of course, I pray that the Lord would direct her to the right path, the right husband and right career. I trust that whatever career God places her in the future, she would not neglect her duties as a mom.

Have you heard of the Proverbs 31 wife? I would like to follow her example of biblical motherhood 🙂

What lessons did you learn from your mom? What lessons are you passing on to your daughters?

The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?     She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her     and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm,     all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax     and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships,     bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night;     she provides food for her family     and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it;     out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously;     her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,     and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff     and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor     and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;     for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed;     she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,     where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,     and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;     she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom,     and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household     and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;     her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things,     but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;     but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,     and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:10-31

How I Find the Time to Blog

This is an official entry to Dainty Mom’s guest post challenge, on “How to Find the Time to Write or Blog.”

This question really got me thinking…I must confess that in the past, I have failed to write anything on my blog. The reason would be is that I was busy…really? I think the word busy is mostly overused these days and I am guilty of that. I have to schedule everything because I run a tight shift.

First and foremost, I don’t have a helper or maid in the house so I do everything that needs to be done. My mornings are pretty busy because aside from the daily housework I also homeschool our two kids. In the afternoon, when school work is done, I get the chance to relax for a while and watch reruns of my favorite show, “Friends.”  But at times, I cannot afford to watch my show nor blog because I have to attend to my patients after school.  And when the patients leave I have to prepare dinner and plan the lessons for the next day.

But when I have no afternoon schedule, I sit in front of my laptop and write.  I usually get inspiration from our homeschool lessons, or some random thoughts the kids may have had that day or any insight they have learned from me or vice versa.  At times, I would recall what I have learned from the Father in my morning devotion or quiet time. But when my afternoon is full, I would set aside a time after  dinner to type away my thoughts. This is the time, the kids are relaxed and are busy watching TV with their Papa.

So, how do I really find the  time?

First, if I say find time, I could never really “find” it as time sometimes is elusive. It’s like my quiet time or spending time with God. I have to MAKE time for him and focus on him alone because if I don’t would never find the time to do it. Same is true with blogging or writing. I really have to make it part of my daily or weekly schedule, whatever works for me. Blogging should be part of my itinerary. It’s a must that I blog!

Second, because I take blogging seriously, I don’t want to be disturbed! Yes, I am that serious about it. As soon as an idea comes rushing to my brain I have to write it as soon as I can. I don’t want to thought train leave me at the station.  I get easily distracted too so I have instructed my kids not to bother me when I’m blogging. If they need anything or have questions, they can ask Papa or wait for me to finish what I’m writing.

Third, just like Martine de Luna of Daintymom.com, I too keep a small notebook with me wherever I go. I jot down ideas I might have for future posts. When I can’t get to my laptop right away and I am so psyched to type, I use the WordPress App on the iPad and just blog from there, which I find very convenient too.

Lastly, I just do it! When I find myself having some sort of free time and just staring at the Facebook News Feed, I close Facebook and open my blog. I force myself to write. I just do it. And you know what, I get inspiration from some of the FB posts too 😛

Admittedly, I have been consistently inconsistent in blogging in the recent past. I realized that I need to change my ways and commit to writing on my blog again. How about you? What do you do to keep blog rolling?

It’s My Anniversary

I have started blogging on WordPress two years ago. My goodness! Has it really been two years already? The length of time does not match the number of posts I have made ;-( As much as I want to regularly blog about my so-called life, I just couldn’t find the time…but then again, is it just that I won’t make time for blogging? Hmmmm. 

Well, I could have filled this blog with tons of posts but I let laziness and Facebook get in the way of my introspection. I envy those moms out there who are really committed to writing posts daily and are just typing away about almost anything.

As I was doing Facebook the other day, I found myself bored, as in REALLY BORED to most of the posts I saw. I said to myself, “Hey you, instead of looking at other people’s lives and feeling sorry for yourself or making judgments in the inner recesses of your soul, why don’t you quit it Facebook and start blogging!” You know what, self, that’s what I’m goiing to do! 

So, yesterday I forced myself to write something about the experience I had over the weekend. I had a wonderful experience of how God was at work at the lives of my relatives that made me want to blog about it. It felt great to write again. To share my thoughts and emotions to anyone who would find my posts interesting and would somehow find a connection to. I don’t have a great blog site, (yet, keeping my fingers crossed) neither do I have gazillions of followers but knowing that somebody appreciated my posts and in a way related to it is such a blessing. 

I started blogging because I really wanted to write ever since I was young. However, I did not pursue writing but got in a dental school. Looking back I knew this was God’s path for me. But then, I want to thank Him too for allowing me to use technology to bring my passion back to life. Blogging has allowed me not only to improve my writing skills but to share my personal adventures as a mom or a homeschooling mom for that matter.

People may have misconceptions about stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) thinking that our life is boring. Ask any SAHMs out there, I wouldn’t dare say that their life is boring or maybe not.  But there is just so much to write about. As I call my blog, the chronicles of Mama, it’s about anything I do as a mom and it is not confined only to homemaking. Why? Because moms are people too! We are NOT JUST MOMS! Moms are daughters, sisters, friends, sisters in  Christ, Sunday school teachers, professionals, IT people, business people, celebrities, chefs, volunteer workers, advocates, and a lot more. Do not underestimate the power of a MOM! 

Oops, got carried away there. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah, blogging, phew! So, anyway, I will again reconnect with my writing passion.  I will commit to writing AT LEAST one post a week. Hopefully, I could do more than that. Here’s to more posts and anniversaries to come! 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

Romans 8:28 NIV

 

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No Woman is an Island

When I look back at the faithfulness of God in my life, I couldn’t help but stand in awe. He has indeed been the one who brought me out of the rut I was in before.  However, I also believe that God used other people to minister to me, to encourage me, to get me frustrated, to have pity on myself or to just be brutally frank with me.

I would like to honor a few women who have been all of the above to me. They have pushed me to be better. They have tested my patience. They have encouraged me to be the woman God wanted me to be. Don’t get me wrong here. I haven’t “arrived” at the level of spiritual maturity. As the apostle Paul also says, he does not claim to have known it all or achieved a level of greatness with regards to his Christian walk. But like Paul, I am also still struggling. Still being pruned by our heavenly Father so that we can finish the race He has set before us.

Here are the outstanding woman who became instruments of God’s love in my life.

Women are the flowers in the garden of life

My Mommy. She was only 17 when she had me and she had to go through a lot early in life. Yet she stood strong amid all the trials that came her way. She is not perfect. But she tried her best to be the perfect mother for me and my brothers.

I attribute my domestic skills to her. She is a domestic goddess, not diva because she never was one. She dedicated her life to raising a family. Her priority was and is her family. She “forced” me to take up Dentistry because she already had in mind what my future would be. She doesn’t want me to work in the media because of the long hours, which was what I wanted, because according to her, I should be at home taking care of my family. Hey, look at me now, I am at home with my family and I could still work part time in my profession.

Even if she is a stay-at-home-mom she would always be busy doing something. She helped worked for  our education. She is generous with her time. But she would also find time for herself. I remember back then, she would be irritated if you wake her when she is napping. Sleep is a priority to her. She never stays up late because she wakes up early to work the next day. She pampers herself too. She is a regular at the parlor because I think that is her downtime. Now that she is based in the states, she makes it a point to go to the gym regularly.

She is dedicated to anything she gets her hands into. Whether it be cooking, cleaning or caring for other people, she will be there and she will perfect the task.

She influenced me to be close to God. She was a prayerful woman and would share how God answered prayers. I appreciated her more when I became a mother myself.

Mayeen Ilagan. I met Mayeen when I was pregnant with our first child, Coby. She and her husband, Francis were giving a breastfeeding workshop to would-be-moms in a hospital. After the sessions, she did some follow up with us and we found out that we have a lot of things in common. She and her husband invited us for a couples’ bible study in their home. This went on for months until I finally realized what Christ has really done on the cross. And that the world does not revolve around me but God alone. I am glad that during this time of awakening my husband also accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Since then, Mayeen and Francis have become our spiritual parents. Mayeen was so patient with me, well, up to know. I would run to her before especially when I’m too crushed or too weak. She would encourage me to look to the Word and our conversations would always close with a word of prayer.

She became like an older sister to me. I  would watch her every time she talks to her boys. I would never hear her or see her shout at them, but she would just call them to her side and whisper or talk quietly to them. How could you be so calm? 🙂 I wish I was that calm.

Our friendship means a lot to me and I would always be grateful to God for them.

Girlie Argosino. She is one of the pioneer homeschooling moms in the Philippines. I met her when we were on our second year or third year of homeschooling. She is the busiest woman ever! She would be my go-to-gal when I need some inspiration and just somebody to talk to when I’m about to burst in anger. She talks sense to me all the time. The times when I told her I would give up on homeschooling, she would not convince me otherwise but she would quietly be praying for me, I know. She is truly an inspiration. She is like a mother to me too because I could feel the sincerity in her heart. Where would our homeschooling be without our Teacher Girlie? 🙂

These three important relationships have been developed through the years and I’m praying that our relationship will continue until we are all together in God’s kingdom.

I have made connections with other women in the recent years and some of them have also inspired me in their own special way. I hope I could make an entry about these women too in the future.

Free Milk for Babies

I was a senior in high school back in the 90’s when our English teacher asked us to visit the library. We were told to search for subjects that might interest us for our term paper. As I rummaged through the old books and encyclopedias, I stumbled upon an article on breastfeeding in a woman’s magazine. When I saw the title, “Breastfeeding: Best for Babies”, I was immediately taken back in time.

I was 5 or 7 years old, minding my own business, when lo and behold, I saw our helper expose her breasts to feed her baby. I was confused as a child as this was the first time I saw this mother and child scene. When my mother saw that I was dumbfounded, she explained to me that our helper was breastfeeding her baby. She said the baby is taking in milk from his mother’s breast. I didn’t know milk came out of that!

After that brief moment at the library, I immediately copied the title in a 1/4 sheet of pad paper and kept it in my pocket to be submitted later to my teacher. I found two more additional topics during our library time  but the one that my English teacher approved was, you guessed it, the breastfeeding subject.

Fast forward to the future, I had our first child. I told myself that I would breastfeed him since I have all the information on breastfeeding recorded in my brain. My husband and I even attended a breastfeeding seminar in one hospital in Alabang just to make sure that I would really be serious at it.

After giving birth at the hospital, it took a while before I was able to get up and see him in the nursery. At first attempt, it did not work. Why didn’t it work? It was because the nurses already fed him using a feeding bottle. I remember giving instructions that I would be breastfeeding him but still they gave him formula. The nurse told me that it’s normal. Milk does not come out easily during the first try. She told me to come back after two hours and try again. I came back and tried again, he suckled a little and then just gave up.

On discharge on route to our house, our baby started crying incessantly. So, my instinct tells me to give him my breast. I remember that I was so frustrated because he couldn’t get any milk from me. The flow of milk was not that strong and he was getting angry too. I tried my best until we reached home.

After the ooh’s and aah’s at home from my parents, he started crying again. I tried to feed him but to no avail. He kept on crying and I can’t do anything about it. Imagine my despair as a first time mom who is trying my best to feed my baby but how come the lessons I got from the breastfeeding class does not work at all. My mom, seeing my inability to feed my child, asked the maid to buy formula at the supermarket. I really felt I cheated on my child that day. I was crying too feeling helpless.

To cut the long story short, I was only able to breastfeed him for only 2 to 3 months, which was unfortunately supported by formula which I regretted later.

I vowed after that, if God would bless us with another child, I would not give up that easily on breastfeeding.

And God heard our prayer, He gave us a baby girl. This time I made sure I did my homework. While still pregnant, I told my doctor that I would be including breastfeeding in my birthing plan. I think the doctor had written down my instructions in my chart plus I also informed the nurses that I would be exclusively breastfeeding her.

What we thought as a “easy” delivery turned out to be the opposite and a delicate one at that. Because of the baby’s position in the womb, it was going to be difficult for me to push and the baby to go down the pelvis. They had to do an emergency C-section because I have been pushing for so long and the baby might be in trouble. Finally, she was out but I was so dazed I couldn’t remember seeing her in the delivery room. As soon as I went up to my room, I immediately asked that the baby be roomed in with me. The doctors advised me not too because of my surgery but I insisted because I has to breastfeed. I wanted to make sure that I would be the one feeding my baby. So she was brought in, all bundled up in that tiny blanket. After checking if all the body parts were complete and smelling and kissing her, I tried to feed her. There was no milk coming out yet, which was normal, as I was told. Because I had no milk at that time, the baby was hungry, the hospital sent their formula to my room. I had no choice but to take the formula. So I put a small amount of formula in a medicine cup and tried to feed my baby. Little by little she was able to take in milk. I was so happy because no feeding bottle was used. For 2 or 3 days, that was how she was fed because my milk supply was not available yet.

After about one week, the milk came in and boy was I sore. I was crying because my breasts were so engorged that I could breathe anymore. I had to call my friend, who is a breastfeeding coach on what to do. She told me to just massage the breast and put hot compress over it. It was painful and again, it was normal. The milk supply is just coming in that’s why I feel that my breasts are so full. I needed to express some of the milk to help relieve the pressure. I could not remember how many days the fullness and pain lasted, but when it did, it was such a relief. I could now feed her more comfortably and I was more relaxed. My friend told me when my body is relaxed, the milk would flow easily.

It did flow for almost three years. I exclusively breastfed our second child for 2 years and 9 months. She never liked the taste of formulas. Neither did she like bottle feeding. There were times I had to express milk and put them in bottles, she would not take them. So I had to bring her with me everywhere I go.

Good thing that moms and Filipino moms have been open to the idea of breastfeeding. Even companies have been supported of breastfeeding moms that they have allowed us to breastfeed our kids comfortably and in public without shame.

Some of the breasfteeding items I enjoyed the most were:

Nursing blouses or dresses. Not only did it keep our private feeding time with baby discrete, these blouses are stylish as well. There are different styles and some of which you can wear as an ordinary blouse. The blouses either have zippers or slits that would hide the breast while feeding. Mommy Matters from Havin’ a Baby sells these cute blouses for moms.

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Nursing bras. Some moms I have talked to didn’t like wearing nursing bras but I appreciated them. Search for them at the lingerie section of your favorite malls.

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Breast pads. Oh so helpful in those days when the milk just can’t stop. Have to change it often too especially is your milk supply is more than enough.

Nursing bib or Cover up. If you don’t have a nursing blouse, the nursing bib can help you cover up when baby is feeding. I was blessed by my sister in law who gave me not two but three of her nursing bibs and they are just so cute.

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Baby sling. This is my all-time favorite breastfeeding/attachment parenting tool that was ever created. We ou see African women or even here in our country, mothers who live in tribes carry their babies either on their backs on a sling. This modern day baby slings have different designs to suit you and your baby. The baby sling that I bought can also be used as a cover up because of the style. I got mine from Babyland and when you purchase one, an instructional CD is included in the package. It will teach you the different ways of carrying your baby or toddler.

I believe God designed mothers to breastfeed their children. Not only is this free, it has great health benefits for both baby and mom. No bottles to clean or bulky bags to carry around. Moms can feed anytime and anywhere and it creates an intimate bond between mother and child that lasts a lifetime.