Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My life of luxury

A few weeks ago, a reader left a comment on one of my past posts, telling me I live a life of luxury. Considering that I haven't gone to the salon in 7 months, need new shoes, haven't shopped for myself in two years, and am foregoing a trip to the orthodontist because braces cost the same as tuition, I scoffed at this silly observation. Luxury? What luxury?

Perhaps it's because, now that we have three kids, I started thinking we're suddenly in need of more space, or maybe because I spend so much time at home breastfeeding that I stare at the walls and toys and furniture that I've begun feeling that we need to change things. New paint on the walls. New rugs. New bins to contain the ever-increasing chaos that Legos bring. New pots and pans. New throw pillows. New sheets and towels. New, new, new. But because our income is not regular (but expenses are frighteningly so), there's no way we can buy anything new.

We're fine. Don't worry. But with three kids, gone are the days when Vince and I—newlyweds and both with cushy jobs at that time—could go on crazy shopping sprees. We still can if we wanted to, but responsibility stays our hand. Vito will go to preschool soon. Piero has his monthly vaccines. We really really need to get a health plan now.  

So maybe because of this kill-joy responsibility or the fact I haven't shopped for me and just me since 2012, feelings of discontent have crept in. I've been working so hard, I tell myself, I deserve a treat. I had a terrible pregnancy and giving birth was so painful, I deserve a reward. I look in the mirror and see my whiteheads and fine lines and my hair that needs a cut, and I say, "I look unkempt, messy, tired. Will people think I'm messy and exhausted and unhappy?"

I, I, I. Me, me, me. Life really gets ugly when it's all about me!


Then my husband rearranged the furniture and suddenly our home is so spacious. Because I missed the chandelier hanging over the dining table, he made colorful lamps and said, "Pretty lamps for my pretty wife." When I was younger, I grew up with Mama constantly wondering when Papa would do anything for her.

I got sick. My kids got sick. While I was praying for our health to get better, I looked at my little medicine box, just a little Tupperware thing, and felt grateful that all we need is paracetamol. Grateful I could just pop into Mercury Drug next door and buy my asthma meds. When I was growing up, Mama and I, both asthma sufferers, stayed up all night for months at a time, struggling to breathe, all because we couldn't afford asthma medicine.

Our refrigerator and cupboard are full of food. At the supermarket, I never need to compare prices or buy the cheaper brand. My children eat abundantly. When I was growing up, we borrowed heavily from my aunt's grocery stall. While we never missed a meal, the food was rationed. No such thing as a second helping. And dessert? We had dessert only on birthdays and Christmas!

Growing up, I wasn't unhappy. It was only when I saw my mother working herself to death and getting into debt that I became unhappy. It doesn't have to be this way! Why was it this way? When I become a wife and mother, I swore it will not be my way.

And it isn't. My career dreams came true at 30. My health improved, too, at 30. My acne finally disappeared. I have a closet full of clothes and bags and shoes I don't even use. I live in a big condo unit with beautiful furniture we bought with a writer's/editor's salary, something we were told can never be big enough. My life is practically sponsored—free beauty products, free trips, free clothes, free food, free diapers! I get to do what I love—writing—and stay home with my family. My husband is hands-on with raising our kids. And our kids, our kids! They are healthy and smart and beautiful.

My life is luxurious. It's not filled with designer bags or glamorous events. It's not peppered with fancy trips all over the world. It's not punctuated with shopping sprees every weekend. It used to be and that was fun, but it didn't feel luxurious back when we had so much money. Now it does. With our good health, our freedom to choose the jobs we want to do, the time we spend with our baby boys, oh, the time with our boys! That's 24/7 with them, giggling, cuddling, tickling, playing, sleeping, bathing, reading, just breathing! We laugh every day. Every single, glorious day! Well, yes, this is a life of luxury.

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My baby boys!

I pray I never lose sight of how blessed I am. Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes to Your goodness. May You also open the eyes of the mommies who read my blog and let them see just how amazing our lives as mothers are!


P.S. Moms, you have got to read this wonderful and funny essay over at Momastery. It is absolute perfection on getting us to see that our lives are so blessed! I especially love her kitchen makeover. Best before-and-after pics I have ever seen in my life!!!


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17 comments:

  1. Oh what a lovely post! We live a life of luxury, indeed. Thanks for sharing this and inspiring us once again! All the best, Frances!

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    1. All the best of God's blessings on you too, Khristine!

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  2. That's a life of luxury indeed :) You are a very blessed person, Frances!

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    1. And I forgot to count you as another blessing to my life! Friends! The very best of blessings!

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  3. Hi Frances, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. This is such a great pick-me-upper :) Playdate soon! :)

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  4. I could not help but nod my head in agreement with everything that you said. We must always count our blessings, no matter how small. Love your posts!

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    1. The truth is food and shelter and family are the BIGGEST blessings! =)

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  5. You have a blessed life that inspires me, Frances. I realize my life is very similar in many ways, albeit we are still waiting for God to open up our eyes to our permanent home. Otherwise, we have it good. Rejoicing with you! After all it says in the Word, "Where your TREASURE is, there is your HEART also." And you are living this out, which is why God is blessing you and your family. Keep on inspiring us, momma! Hope to see you soon and finally meet your baby Piero.

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    1. Aww, thanks, Martine! We'll see each other soon. Aren't we supposed to be planning a workshop with Ginger???

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    2. Yes, we are! What happened na?? I think Ginger is super busy, eh! Pero I still wanna do it. Let's meet up na, I can go to your place para hindi hassle, unless we can meet in Mega Fashion or Shangri La para halfway from our places? :) Lemmeknow!!

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  6. Thanks so much for this. Very timely, just what i needed to hear!

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  7. Thank you Ms. Frances for this post. May the good Lord bless you & your family with more and more.

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  8. Great post Frances.

    I can certainly relate to the points you brought up. Do keep on writing posts like this.

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  9. Thank you. You may never know it but you have inspired me in so many ways!

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  10. I am touched by how genuine this post is Frances! I'm a big fan now! I've been contemplating (well hesitant) about adding up more kids because of certain fears such as this. But somehow I felt enlightened that despite all the chaos, there shines your biggest blessing!:) keep inspiring us! Thanks again!! Much love, tina

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