Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why I'm still a working mama

What a lovely January it's been! Well, my entire family's been sick on and off since the holidays (I'm actually still sick as I type this), so that's not the nice part, but barring that, what a lovely January it's been! I met with friends and I had dates with my husband. When I'm home, I'm having fun feeding solids to my youngest boy (he turned 6 months old last month!), organizing my mess, playing with my kids, and letting my husband entertain me with funny stories.

But all good things must come to an end. This February will be CRAZY busy with work work work. I have editorial meetings, photo shoots and deadlines for Baby Magazine, and events and meetings for the blogs. Although I like to whine about how busy I am, I'm not complaining. I enjoy having a career and being with my kids. I am so lucky to have this life!
At a Team Kramer photo shoot. How lucky am I that I can go to work in pambahay and still meet stars? 
At a fashion shoot. How lucky am I that I can bring my kids to work and breastfeed my baby, too?
Paid to shop! How lucky am I that I shop with and for my kids for work???
At a shoot in my sons' new room. How lucky am I that I get to work from home?

Some disagree, however. A few months ago, a reader sent me a letter telling me how she was so disappointed in me. She said, "You became a true inspiration when you quit your job to be a full-time mom. Real mothers stay home with their children!" But then I became market editor of Baby Magazine weeks after Piero was born, and she said, "You are a huge disappointment."

I replied, "Two things: First, I never quit being a writer and editor, and second, what you think of me and how I live my life doesn't matter to me or to anyone."

Suffice it to say that I lost a reader there.

When I left the magazine industry, I didn't stop working. Let me just correct that perception since everyone seems to think I gave up everything for my kids. Like, I made a huge sacrifice. I did no such thing. In fact, I became busier when I quit corporate! I wrote for websites and magazines. I edited a book. Mostly, I became busy with my blogs because they took off like crazy. Then I slowed down (almost to a halt) when I was pregnant with Piero because it was a miserable pregnancy. I missed writing. I think not working made me even more miserable. So as soon as Piero was born, I accepted the position at Baby Magazine and BDJBox.com, and I worked on the blogs.

I don't want to be part of the debate of what kind of mother is the better mother. The working mother or the stay-at-home mom (or the combination of both, the WAHM, which is what I am now). The mother who uses a stroller or the mother who uses a sling. The mother who homeschools or the mother who sends her kids to the best schools they can afford. The mother who cooks or the mother who orders food. The mother who doesn't believe in yayas or the mother who knows she needs all the help she can get.

Of course I have opinions, too, on certain parenting methods. I'm not judgment-free. In the end, though, I've always believed that joyful and secure children have the best mothers. Whatever works for your family (as long as it doesn't harm other families!) is the best kind of parenting. So if what works is for mommy to have a job, then so be it. For many lucky mothers, their job is a source of fulfilment. Full stop. But for most moms these days, a job is necessary. For me, it's both. My writing makes me happy. My writing feeds my family and there is nothing disappointing about a woman who feeds her family.

But I don't just work so I can be happy or because we need the money; I work because that's me. Writing is who I am. If I'm not writing, I'm not me. When I'm not me, I'm lost. When I'm lost, I feel empty. When I'm empty, then how can I give anything to my family?

Three jobs, three kids, no yaya! I'm exhausted and busier than ever. But I'm happy. Thanks always to my husband, Vince, for agreeing to be part of this crazy life!

I like my choices. They all stem from knowing who I really am and being true to who I am. I don't live life pretending I'm happy, or hoping to be an inspiration, or fearing I'm disappointing other people, or trying to meet expectations. I'm free from all that. It's a shit-free life. The only kind worth living!


*first photo by Stanley Ong Photography. It's a test shot. Stan was testing the lights while Cheska was getting her makeup done and the kids were getting dressed.


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24 comments:

  1. You have a very beautiful life, Frances :)

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  2. You have a very beautiful life, Frances. You are actually my peg. Because you live a shit-free life.

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    1. Oh wow, thank you, both of you! You can do it, too. It's not easy, especially when you have to deal with expectations heaped on you by people who love you. Very tricky to navigate! =D

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  3. At this day and age, so amazing to know may mga tao pa rin na baluktot ang utak. Lol. That's the problem with sharing yourself to the public.. sometimes the readers expect you to live according to their way of life. Sigh. I will always be your loyal reader Ms. F kahit ano pa career decisions mo. ;-)

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    1. Thanks for the support! Yes, people do have an idea of who they think I am because of the blogs. I seem to be a big disappointment when readers finally meet me haha

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  4. Hello there!
    Well said! I can relate as a fellow WAHM.

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    1. Hi Marilen! I'm so starstruck you're here!!! =D

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  5. I myself am a working mom. In a corporate setting nga lang. I enjoy my work though even if it requires me to work longer hours than normal. For me, having a job is a necessity. I have to provide for my son's needs apart from being a mom to my son. I would love to be working from home but I don't have that option yet. Sana in time pwede na. :-) kudos to you for pursuing your career on top of being a full time mom. It my be hard but if it is what brings you the sense of fulfillment, then so be it. We cannot live by anyone else's or even society's standards... :-)

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    1. Yes! I might go back to corporate when the little ones go to school na. Hirap din ng freelance, madalas walang pera!!! =D

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  6. Every parent has a uniique parenting style so no one can judge us what is good and what is not. kaloka naman ang reader na yun, pakialamera lang.

    I admire you, three handsome kids and awesome freelance job/s. :)

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    1. Thank you! I have to give credit to my husband for the kids and the jobs. Without him, life would be a lot different! =)

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  7. Answer to all your questions in the photo captions: super lucky! I love the "shit-free life" that you said! :)

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  8. I am still single Ms. Frances, but I agree with you. Some mothers tend to compare themselves with others thinking there should be a certain standard to be a great mom. And then when you dig deeper, sad that they are really not happy with their lives.

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    1. We're all struggling to find out if we're doing the right thing by our kids. I understand that struggle. Sometimes, those insecurities come out as attacking other people's lifestyles because their choices make you think yours are wrong. So when I feel that way, I tell myself, "You just have to believe in yourself!" =)

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  9. I love this post, Frances! :) I can totally relate because we're in the same field. When I left my fulltime editing/writing job to focus on caring for sick Baby Anne when she was still a newborn, I was lucky to still have work for my previous employer, though on a freelance basis na. Plus, I still had another part-time editing/writing job for a monthly newsletter. I eventually got 2 more jobs. I used to whine a lot, though about having multiple jobs, no yaya/helper and three kids. I actually struggled with looking at my jobs as blessings and not burdens — because I felt like they were all out of "necessity". I got so stressed out with one of the jobs that had a daily deadline, though, and my health was suffering because of it. Also, I couldn't blog as much anymore, plus do other things that I enjoyed. So I quit last month and though I will miss the extra income, I am glad that I did it! I have more time now to do the things I love, and to rest more, etc.

    I totally agree with you re: not being "part of the debate of what kind of mother is the better mother" too, and even wrote about it a bit on my latest post. I think it's more important that we support one another, noh? :)

    God bless you and your family, and all your endeavors!

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  10. No yaya? I only have one wee babe, no yaya, and I'm going stir crazyyy.

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  11. Who the hell is that commenter? i understand your stand Mommy Frances because I'm like your opinion...

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  12. The nerve of that reader! Is she living a perfect, fairy-tale life to say that you are a huge disappointment?

    I have seen you as an inspiration in being a WAHM and for doing your best to balance work and family life. Thank you for continuing to share your life to your readers.

    May the Lord continue to bless you and your family. :)

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  13. This really struck me Frances. As a working mom, I waver between feeling guilty for not spending enough time with my children because I work, and feeling proud because I work at a job that I actually really love. One time I was able to bring my daughter to school, and one of the moms told me that the other moms were talking about me behind my back, how I might as well just give my child to the yaya because she does everything anyway. I was shocked. How could other moms be that snide? I don't have to always bring my child to school, or make fucking Bento boxes to prove I'm a good mother. I KNOW I am. So kudos to you, kudos to us, and kudos to all mothers, SAHMs, WAHMs, whatever. We do the best we can and most days that's enough.

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  14. You are so good at what you do, Frances! Keep it up! We are all cheering you on! :)

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  15. "It's a shit-free life. The only kind worth living!" I love this last line Frances :) Seriously, I don't know how you do it! :) We didn't have a yaya from January to February and my life was so crazy and super tiring. I found myself always asleep in the morning shuttle to work everyday. Then there's you, three kids, three jobs, no yaya. I suddenly feel like an impertinent brat. Kudos, Frances! :) Hope to see you and the VIPs soon!

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