The past two years have been incredible. I retired from magazines. I focused on my growing family. I focused on blogging. Then I neglected the blogs. I went freelance full time. Then I went back to magazine work part-time. It's been a lot of trial and error, trying out this and that, finding what I liked and wasn't good at. Quite an interesting experience!
Let me break down my failures:
Tried being a housewife. I'm soooo not good at it.
I can manage a team. I can't manage my household. I can plan an editorial calendar. I can't plan a weekly menu. I can put together a magazine, write an article, interview people with my eyes closed. I can't remember to buy toilet paper. My brain just isn't wired for home management. I tried it. I failed. I didn't fail miserably, okay. I was good enough, even when we didn't have a yaya and maid for a year, my house never got dirty and my kids never missed a meal. But being good enough didn't seem good enough, you know what I mean?
People think homemaking and housewifery come naturally to women. But it doesn't. I'm not a housewife. I'm a career woman. I'm done feeling guilty about this. I should be spending my days doing something I'm really good at!
That's why I'm so grateful my husband, Vince, has taken over some duties, and also why I appreciate our household helper. Some women are great at this (and they are amazing!) but I'm not, so why feel guilty about it?
|Thought this lunch for my son was adorable until the teacher sent a note saying my child should eat healthy.|
Tried working from home. I now know I prefer working in an office.
In an office, I have a set time and place for work. I can focus on work. I don't need to run every time a child screams or cries. I don't need to be distracted by anything that I'm particularly not good at (household management). I like dressing up and going out to work because the act of dressing up and physically leaving behind the house gets my mind and spirit ready for work.
A lot of moms are grateful to earn money while taking care of their kids and I'm glad I'm one of them, but I also know I'll be more productive away from home. The only thing I love (yes, super love!) about working at home is I don't need to suffer the horrendous traffic. And of course I also love the little critters who distract me from work! They exasperate me no end but they're only little for so long so I will stay with them and work from home. Then as soon as they're in school (or maybe earlier), I'll go back to working in an office!
Tried freelancing. I like it and I'll continue doing it but...
I am not very good with clients who don't pay in 30 days. Seriously, I'm not very good dealing with this issue. I start working on a project, say, in January and finish it to meet their very tight (usually unreasonable) deadline, but they pay me in April or June, maybe October, even December??? What's worse is they avoid my calls, emails and visits.
I'm not patient with this and I honestly don't know how to deal with it. I think it's unfair, cruel and unprofessional. My bills come every month, my kids and I eat every day. It's disrespectful to not pay on time. While our family's financial status is okay (thanks to good money management), what I can't handle is the disrespect.
I still like freelancing but I think a steady pay check will make me more patient with the industry. I'm already easing into "steady pay check" territory with my stints in BDJBox.com and Baby Magazine.
Tried homeschooling. Can't do it.
I was so relieved when Vito, a few months after his 4th birthday, decided he was ready for preschool. I was kinda good at homeschooling although my husband was better. We liked it because it was cool to see Vito and Iñigo learning from us but we both know now that homeschooling is not for us. Unless of course our life changes in such a way that we'll need to travel constantly or live in a far-flung place.
For now, we're happy to send Vito (and Iñigo, when he's ready) to a school in the neighborhood. We like that he has a world separate from us, navigating it without us. It's giving us incredible insight into who he is and what he's capable of. We love what we see!
|Vito's education is handled by the pros but we're still homeschooling!|
Tried breastfeeding. So tired of it.
Wait—I'm not a failure at this; in fact, I'm a natural breastfeeder. I'm really good at this! Never had problems with latching, supply, nursing in public, weaning. I've never had problems with breastfeeding at all! Never even felt loss or guilt or longing when my first two sons weaned on their own (I strongly believe in baby-led weaning so when they stopped nursing, I was proud of the milestone).
But breastfeeding feels like a love affair that was so amazing but has now lost its allure. I'm ready to move on. I want to have my breasts back and not share them with anyone else, to wear normal bras, to wear clothes without hidden holes in the bodice, that zip up at the back. I want to wear perfume on my cleavage, to have a glass of wine, to take strong pain medication when I have migraines, to maybe have a cigarette every now and then.
After almost 5 years as a nursing mom, I'm really done with breastfeeding. But but but I will still breastfeed my baby boy until he's ready to wean. Piero turned 6 months old last week and he's still exclusively breastfed. I'm happy to nurse him until he decides he's done with my milk. So I do cherish these breastfeeding moments while simultaneously feeling anticipation for that happy day when he weans. That happy happy day!
I'm glad the last two years gave me this incredible vision—I know myself better now that I've seen what I do well and what I can't even though I tried so damn hard. Many of us are afraid to try because we're afraid of failure. Well, I tried and I failed. Well, okay, not failed. Just found out that I wasn't as amazing as I thought! So what? The worst thing that came out of all this is I got stressed out by clients. That's it! Soooo silly! Really nothing compared to living with "what ifs?" all my life. And that's the best thing that came out of this whole experience: I will never have to deal with that awful question. I will never have regrets. I always gave it a shot. I may have failed at some, but I did succeed at others. I know myself better. I like myself better.
I'm even happier that my husband is also giving his dreams a shot even though people think we're crazy. Well, we're the happiest people we know. I hope my kids see how crazy their parents are, how we failed and succeeded, persevered and graciously conceded. I hope they see we are having the time of our life living with no regrets. I hope they have that same courage. And if they live life as bravely as Vince and I do, then I know we'd have triumphed as parents.
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