Saturday, January 8, 2011

How I, a working mom, manage

Mommy Ems sent a message to some of her working mommy friends:

working mom's need your advice... how do you do it? when you start going back to work and leave your precious little one behind for the yaya to take care won't she/he be looking for the yaya in the long run? pano work hours mo? what time is left for your little one?

Dear Emily, I wanted to reply to your Facebook wall post but realized I'm going to have to write a looooong reply. So here it is.

Ate Marita took care of me when I was a kid.
Now she's taking care of my baby!
First, I believe the baby will always want what he wants! Sometimes, it won't be you. Most days, Vito is content to fall asleep beside me. He has a little ritual where he'll suckle for 30 minutes then sing himself to sleep. Then there are days Vito pushes me away when he's sleepy and looks for his yaya because yaya is willing to rock him for hours while I, his mama, am not as patient with this whole rocking-baby-to-sleep business. So I won't impose my will on Vito; to do so will just escalate into a crying fit. Instead, I let yaya take over. She's happy to rock him, he's happy to be rocked, and I can blog! Or eat or shower or watch TV or read or spend some time with the hubbylicious.

It's not just the yaya. There are days when my son is really fussy and nothing I do can soothe him. Then Vince enters the room and simply smiles at him, and Vito starts laughing. Obviously, I was the problem there! I learned very quickly not to take it personally. Vito has moods. Like every normal person! Some days he wants to be rocked, some days he likes yaya, some days he likes Papa, some days he wants me and me alone.

I've always believed that it takes a village to raise a child so if there are more people taking care of Vito, the better it is for everyone. I know someone who refuses to let anyone, even her husband, care for her kid. She's afraid the baby will love other people. So she's an angry woman--she's angry at pretty moms ("They obviously spend more time in front of the mirror than with their child!"), dads who go out with their friends ("Look at how these men enjoy themselves while his wife is stuck at home!"), angry at her friends who don't have kids ("You are selfish for not wanting to give your life to another human being!"), angry angry angry! How does this make her a better mother? 

My friends always volunteer to watch over Vito so I can have some "me" time
Well, I already know that Vito will eventually love other people, unless I keep him locked up in a tower! So I might as well share him. I don't feel threatened because I know that I'm his mother. His only mother. I'll always be first in his affections (until he gets married!). I like it that many people love Vito and it warms my heart to see that he loves a lot of people, too. I see that he's friendly and curious about other people. 

My Mama was a working mother and she never ever had time for us. Seriously. I hardly ever saw her. But as you know, I love her dearly. So it's not really the quantity of time, but the quality of time we spend with our kids. I know I'm resorting to old sayings with the "takes a village to raise" and "not the quantity but the quality" but these sayings are true.   

Now, as for your question about how much time I spend with Vito... Well, I'm very very lucky. I'm a working mother, yes, but I live just across the office. Plus, my work hours are very flexible. I can even work from the house! And sometimes, if I really have to go to the office but I can't resist Vito, I bring him along to the office and he just sits there charming everyone while I work!

Can't bring Vito to the salon (all those chemicals!) 
So, unlike a lot of very brave working mothers out there whose hearts break every time they leave their little ones, I get to work and spend time with Vito as well. I spend so much time with him that I sometimes purposely schedule a salon appointment or a lunch with my friends or a romantic date with Vince. Because I may be a mommy, but I'm also a friend, a wife, a woman. I need time to nurture the other aspects of myself.  

So, Emily, I'm not one to give advice. Each mom's situation is different. But since you asked how do I do it, all I can say is I can do it because I let other people help me, and I've designed my life in such a way that I can spend a lot of time with my family. Not a lot of moms are as trusting, not a lot of moms have people willing to help them out, and not a lot of moms have the work arrangements that I have. So there. I don't know if that helped at all but, Ems, don't worry. Your little Chesca is in very good hands.

6 comments:

  1. I super like Frances!

    While I was reading, feeling ko you were talking to me! I so agree with what you wrote! =D

    Thanks to emily, nagkaron ka ng blogpost like this!

    And thanks to you for taking time to write this post =) take care!

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  2. Hey Frances... super super super thanks for this blog post that you dedicate to answer my worries! (As I reply I have Chesca in my hand as she refuse to sleep alone on the bed once again...)
    I guess your one lucky working mom who can bring Vito to the office... I wish I can find work with similar privilege. But I guess I have to agree with what you wrote people are different, situations are always different...and your just one lucky gal to have gotten a yaya that is really patient and loving with Vito.
    What you shared helped me understand how I should be looking at things. Seriously, we mom's should know that our little one's needs tender love and care from others aside from us. (Sigh... I hope to see you one of these days and Vito too!!!)

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  3. I like this post, Frances!

    Buti you got it all worked out.. or at least manage it. I envy you for living so near your work! My work is 20 to 30 minutes away from my house, I consider that as near na. I miss my baby when I'm away.. buti din you got a great yaya!

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  4. Hi, Frances! I agree about "it takes a village" to raise a child.
    I've been a single parent for many years, but I'm lucky that I have my entire family helping out to care for my child. I find that he's a little like me, a little of his grandpa, a little like his grandma. Everyone in the family just came together to help into making him into the boy that he is now. So when people say, "Wow, you raised him pretty well," I tell them that it is and has always been a family thing.
    I think the bottom line is, we moms just need to be humble enough to admit that we need help. We're not Wonder Woman. We get tired too, and we lose our patience at times, so it helps to have nannies and family members helping raise our kids. And you're right: We're not just moms; we're also individuals, and we can't give our kids the best of ourselves if have nothing to give in the first place. All the best!

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  5. I really like your POV on being a working mom. You're a great mom, Frances! Your post convinced me to start Bud to separating classes this year. I think we're ready to spend more time apart. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

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  6. I agree with you Frances! Even if I'm a housewife, I still have a yaya and I enjoy a lot of "me" time. Tala is now 3. There were stages that she wanted just her yaya. It did hurt a little but as she grew older she knew who her mom is. Her dad, who's always out, is quite surprised that she looks for him and she's happy whenever he's around. I remember what this mom told me-- a happy mom means a happy kid!

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!