WORKING MOM OR STAY-AT-HOME MOM?

Paolo and I taught at a parenting seminar yesterday and one of the concerns that was raised by a mom was working vs. staying at home.Image and video hosting  by TinyPic

I know a lot of great kids… well-mannered, respectful, giving, helpful, have a heart for God…some have stay-at-home moms (SAHM), others have moms who work a 9 to 5 job or run a business. I also know some not-so-great kids… rude, whiny, rowdy, selfish, disruptive, impatient… some have SAHMs, others have moms who work a 9 to 5 job or run a business.

Every family situation is different. I am a SAHM and I am so thankful I can be with my kids most of the time. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I realize that other moms have to work or want to work. Some moms work in call centers on the night shift. Some moms have jobs that require them to travel. Hats off to you moms who have learned to balance family and work very well. There is nothing wrong with working as long as we don’t forget that it is our primary responsibility to train our children. The key is maximizing every opportunity we have with our kids to disciple them and train them up in the ways of the Lord. Remember, we only have a window of time with them. And if you are a working mom, always remember that your kids come first. You are the only mother they have. But I am pretty sure that somebody else in your company can fill in for you whenever your kids need you at home, or at a game or a recital.

I pray that every mom will seek God’s wisdom first before deciding to work or start a business. I pray that God will give us the discernment to know what’s best for our family in this particular season that we are in. I pray that our children will always get the best of our energy and time. Whatever our situation is, we cannot parent without God. Whether we’re home or working, it is Him who gives us the grace and wisdom that we need to be the best mom we can be for our children.

THE COST OF RAISING A CHILD

Author: Unknown

I have seen repeatedly the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way. It’s nice, really nice.

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 for a middle income family. Talk about sticker shock!

That doesn’t even touch college tuition. But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That’s a mere $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice says don’t have children if you want to be “rich.” It is just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140?

Naming rights. First, middle, and last!

Glimpses of God every day.

Giggles under the covers every night.

More love than your heart can hold.

Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.

Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.

A hand to hold, usually covered with jam

A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
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Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140, you never have to grow up.

You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to keep: reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother’s Day, and cards with backward letters for Father’s Day.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck.

You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling a pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, word, first date, and first time behind the wheel. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you’re lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.

GOD PROVIDES FOR THE BIG AND LITTLE

I was in line for Nathan’s Playshop Streetdance recital. I didn’t think the line would be that long already and it was getting longer by the minute. Paolo had to look for parking and my dilemna was how to buy another ticket and keep my place in the line. I only had 2 complimentary tickets and I needed one more for Ryan. Should I leave Ryan in line while I go to the ticket booth? Or should I bring Ryan with me and just tell the people behind me to watch my spot? Or should I just sneak Ryan in and not have to pay an extra P150? hehe… While I was considering all my options, the woman in front of me, just out of the blue, asked me if I needed a ticket, because she had an extra one. And of course, with a wide grin, I exclaimed “Yes, I do!”

I love it when God surprises us like that! He is really our Father who desires to bless us in big and little ways!

Here is a video excerpt of Nathan’s recital:

GOODBYE FARMVILLE

I am finally letting go of my farm. And to all my Farmville neighbors, it was nice farming with you!

Since I started my facebook, I’ve gotten tons of invitations to play different games from different people. I was never into them, and still can’t say that I am now. I only started playing Farmville upon the insistence of my kids. For many months, I’ve always declined, saying that I’m much too old for things like that. And then one day, it hit me, that I don’t want them to remember me as their mom who was too old to enjoy the things that they did. Hence, my decision to build my own farm.

What followed was days of hard work (wink). Plowing, planting, harvesting, earning coins and farmville cash, expanding my farm, sending and receiving gifts to and from my neighbors. I did spend a lot of hours on it, but in this case, I wouldn’t say it was pointless because my kids and I were enjoying the experience together. But since my kids have moved on to Hotel City and other stuff, I might as well close my farm. Now they want me to play Plants and Zombies (oh my!)

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As a mom, I want to stay relevant to my kids. I want to bridge the generation gap by stepping out of my “grown-up world” and trying things out that they are into. That means watching the movies they want to watch and learning the songs that they are singing. I want them to remember me not as a corny or kill-joy mom but as a “fun” mom, who enjoyed the things that they did.

NAILSPA AND FISHING

Janina and I had a wonderful day yesterday with other mom and daughter teams, Therese and Isabel and Belle and Bella. We had a nice lunch at Larry’s Bar in Serendra, then got a footspa at Nail Tropics.

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Lunch at Larry’s Bar
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Foot Spa at Nail Tropics
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The girls’ nail art

While we girls got pampered indoors, Paolo and the boys were out being sweaty and dirty. He brought Ryan, Nathan and Nathan’s friends to Lakeshore, Pampanga to go fishing.
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Fishing at Lakeshore with their home-made fishing rods
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Dipping their heads to cool off
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Ryan dipping not only his head, but his upper body

Though there are a lot of things that we enjoy together as a family, I always cherish those times when I get to hang out with Janina and I know Paolo does too his times with the boys.

15 YEARS OF CRAZY MARRIAGE

still in bed, upon waking up this morning, paolo puts his arm around me:

jenn: you were so mean to me…
paolo (shocked): huh? when? how? what did i do?
jenn: i don’t remember. it was in my dream last night.
paolo: oh, I’m sorry for being mean to you.
jenn: it’s ok. i forgive you.

after 15 years of marriage, i still love waking up with this crazy guy!

OUR TRIP TO CORON

At the beginning of summer, we asked our kids where they wanted to go for vacation: HongKong or Palawan. Unanimously they chanted “Palawan, Palawan.” I almost regretted making them choose. If it was up to me, I would always prefer shopping in the city and theme parks over lots of sun and sticky, salty water. I started doing the preparations for the trip… booking with the airline, arranging our lodging and island-hopping tours. With the tips given by several friends, I was able to save several thousands of pesos.

We spent 4 days in Coron, Palawan. I must say that every centavo we spent was well worth it. And I’m sure glad the kids chose to go there. The islands of Coron were something else. The beaches were the cleanest I’ve seen so far, and the snorkelling was lots of fun because the fishes were everywhere. We all want to go back someday!

Some tips for those planning to go:
1. Plan your trip in such a way that your schedule permits flight delays. There is always no guarantee that the airlines that fly to Coron ( Cebu Pacific, Air Phil, and Zest Air) will depart on time. In our case, our flight home was delayed by 3 hours.
2. For this trip, since it was our first time, we booked with a tour company for our island-hopping. But if you want to save, you can book everything separately, like book your hotel separately, then hire a boat, buy your food from the market, etc.
3. On the island-hopping trip, make sure that everything is tied securely to your body or to the boat. We lost 2 pairs of shades and one cover-up.

Here are some pictures from our trip:
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For more pictures, you can click here.

Or watch this video Paolo edited, with underwater footages:

ALIEN MOM

Image and video  hosting by TinyPicOver lunch today, one of my kids told his siblings “I told you, our real mother got abducted by an alien.” And the others agreed in unison. A part of me felt insulted and wanted to ground them for life, but a part of me understood why they were saying it. I decided to play along and in a robotic, alien voice said “You’re right. I’m not your real mother.” And they all laughed.

Mothers have good days and bad days. On our good days, we are jolly and sweet, always encouraging and helpful. On our bad days, we morph into that mom that we vowed never to become.  That’s when my kids sometimes call me the “dark master.” Hehe… Funny but true. Today was one of those days. I snapped easily, I was bossy and was very unaccommodating.  The fact that I didn’t have helpers and I had so many things to get done is not an excuse. These are one of those times we need to go to God and ask for His grace.

My kids apologized to me for saying such a thing. I also made a conscious decision to change my mood and attitude and told them happily that their real mom is back.

ACCEPTING DEFEAT

After the results were announced, I saw Janina hugging the winner. I wasn’t sure how Janina would react if her name wasn’t called because she wanted to win Playshop Idol 2010. She auditioned and became part of the final 3. She was so nervous and when she asked me for my last word of advice before the show started, I told her “Just be yourself and no matter what happens, you’ll always be the winner to us!” And as she walked away, she mumbled “You always say that mom…”

A big factor in helping our kids accept defeat is how we react as parents. Sometimes the bigger pressure comes from us and our kids are scared of letting us down. We need to be careful about the expecations we put on them. Janina was sad about not winning, and admittedly I was a bit too, but it helps to assure them that we love them unconditionally and that our love is not dependent on their performance. Let us be our kids’ #1 fans!
It is also good to remind them that “God works all things for the good of those who love Him.” (Rom 8:28) Ultimately God’s perfect will prevails over our kids’ lives.

Not winning doesn’t mean losing. It just means you have learned a better way to do it. It means knowing what not to do and what to work on. It means you can try again and give it another shot. The only time you fail is when you quit.

“There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.”