Sunday, March 1, 2015

The lies we live for our kids

Watched this heart-wrenching video a few weeks ago, when all my kids were sick:

I wanted to share it with you then (I already wrote a draft), but the physical and emotional exhaustion of taking care of my sick boys made me share a bit too much and I was also extra depressed. So I saved it as a draft. I looked at it every week after and felt it was too depressing to publish. I think I can edit it now.

Watching that video reminded me of my mother. I always think of Mama not eating lunch for weeks because we needed new shoes. She never told us she didn't eat. I found out from someone that I don't remember now, but after that I never asked for new shoes or new clothes or anything new because I always think if I ask for something from Mama, she will have to make a sacrifice again.

Although I'm now living a life that's a lot better off than my mother's, I still haven't really asked for any gift for the past how many years. I keep thinking that money can go to the kids or to my hubby. Small sacrifice compared to my mother's, I know, she who never had anything at all. But I'm a mother now and there are certain things I understand now. Like giving up the things you want so you can give more to your family.

Then there are other things I'm now confused about, like honesty.

Over at my Instagram account, I coined a hashtag, #authenticmama. I believe in being completely honest. But now that my kids are older, I find that I can't be completely honest with them. I can't say these things anymore:

"I am so tired. I don't want to play. Just watch TV while Mama rests."
"I work so hard to buy you your toys and you don't even take care of them!"
"I really should be working. Instead I'm here doing crafts with you!"

But I do. I have. I'm awful.

My boys getting a scolding. They looked so cute looking contrite that I laughed and hugged them after I took this photo. They were so relieved and happy, they forgot they were strangling each other over chocolate just a few minutes before this!

Do they really need to know how I feel? What do my real feelings make them feel? Rejected, resented, guilty. But should I hide how I feel like how my mother hid what she did? When I found out about her not eating lunch, that didn't make me feel all gooey and loved. I felt bad. I don't think anyone wins with either the truth or with the lie.

I've also been asking my husband certain things like, "When do we tell the kids about skeletons in the family closet? Do we tell them why we don't like certain people? Do we tell them our love story, the uncensored version?" Vince says everything has a time and place. So I'll wait. But it's just weird for me, for example, when Vito wondered this, "Where is the mama of [certain relatives]?", and I have to say through my teeth, "Oh, she's somewhere. She sends them money. Don't think about it," when what I really want to say is, "She ran off with another man. That's bad, but if I told you the whole story of why she left, you're going to believe that evil truly exists in this world." So maybe let's keep that a secret.

I don't have any answers here. I've only been a mommy for 4 years. I really don't know anything. All I've known all my life is I should live my truth, whatever the consequences. But now that I have a family, I now also know that if the truth hurts, then maybe I should keep my mouth shut. Maybe I should even lie.

I don't know how I can live with myself if I lie to my kids. What do you do, mommies?

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  1. Can totally relate! As in those three statements come out from my awful mouth a lot of times, too. Sigh. But I'd rather say that than play with my daughter in a sad, tired mood. Or I'd rather make her realize we don't have all the money in the world than believing that we can buy all that she wants. My parents were super good with that, I really thought that we lived a "well-off" life when Papa was alive. When he died, our world crushed and I saw that what used to be fried chicken and nilagang baka were really ginisang sardinas and paksiw na tamban. Our parents ate after four of us, most of the time, eating what's left. They used to buy from Eloy's and Bambang's just so we can have our Cabbage Patch Kids coullots and Giordano long back shirts. When I realized that as a single woman, it made me feel so guilty that I wanted to work my ass off so I can give my mom a better life.

    And then I have my own family now. More guilt for not being able to give to my mom. Jeez.

    My husband and I talked about it and concluded that we'd rather tell our daughter that we can't afford such things (like a really big party on her 7th bday) than forever be in debt to make her believe that we can do everything for her. However, we also decided not to make her feel that "we're not rich" by not allowing her to experience little things like regularly eat icecream (yes, you know about this), a new set of clothes just because (not just pamasko) and have a vacation once in a while.

    Sorry, super haba na. But in my almost 7 years of motherhood, ang daming kong natututunan habang tumatanda yung daughter ko. Naiiba ang perspective ko habang mas nakakapag-share na siya ng sarili niyang perspective about life.

    1. Oh, Denise. Naiyak naman ako sa kwento mo. Ganyan din nanay ko. She'll eat after kumain na si Papa and kaming apat na bata. Minsan walang natitira kasi naman she says she's full na so kain lang daw kami. =(

      You're right about finding that balance. I think whether rich or poor, we do have to make our kids realize that they aren't entitled to things, that we parents don't have to bend over backwards just to prove our love for them. A few good things given now and then is wonderful, but I think there's also such a thing as living within your means. For example, dream ko na mag-British School my boys, but the rumor is more than half a million pesos ang tuition dun. Tatlo anak ko. Saan ako hahanap ng P2M every year para sa tuition nila??? I can either work harder (and never see my kids again), bury my family in debt, or send them to affordable but good schools pa rin but hindi British School.

      I don't know all the answers. Like you, I'm learning also as I go along. That's why sobrang kapit ako kay God ngayong nanay na ako. Wala kasi akong alam talaga! Only God's wisdom and guidance will see us through! God bless you, Denise!!!

    2. True! Sometimes, kahit sobrang okay kami ng husband ko and ok naman finaces namin (nakakasurvive), talagang parang may kulang when I don't seek God. Parang ang bigat. Yes, may times na kinakatamaran ko ang kausapin Siya. Kaya another work ko yun, as a Christian naman, kasi alam ko na when I'm with God, mas nagiging madali ang tasks as a wife and mom.

      About sa school din, nakita ko na malapit yung Manila Waldorf School dito sa amin and I really want that kind of school for my daughter. Nung malaman ko ang tuition, di bale na at di talaga kaya ng sweldo ng husband ko at konting kinikita ko sa biz. Pero my husband and I promised to ourselves and to one another na babawi na lang kami pag highschool at college na siya.

      Thank you for sharing bits and pieces of your life with us, Frances. As a reader, it makes me think na mas madali ko ng makalimutan yung bubog ko na yun kasi hindi lang naman ako ang dumaan sa ganun. Na pag nakita ng ibang tao, especially ng mas bata sa atin, na kinaya natin now that we have our own families na, hindi sila manghihina at alam nilang kakayanin din nila.

      Yan ang inspirational mommy blogging at its finest! Salamat sa mga tulad mo. You make the superficial world of social media authentic. Naks, #authenticmama. Pa-trendingin na natin yan. :)

  2. Oh dear, the things we do for our children. I am actually guilty of saying: "You know what, I'm really so tired but still I cooked this special dinner for you. So you guys better eat it." It's really true, I'm really tired these days, well, ever since 2015 started. Tired is my middle name. Dito pa lang sa comment to nasabi, but we are going through challenging times right now as a family and sometimes, I just want to lie in bed and not go out.

    But then, I am blessed with this son who cheerfully says good morning to me, kahit antok antok pa, and a very patient and prayerful husband and it makes me experience a whole range of emotions: guilt, incompetence, lahat na. I feel guilty specially on the praying part. I'd say, buti pa sha, he's so trusting, buong buo ang faith niya. I always ask for God's guidance kasi kulang na kulang pa talaga ang lakas ng loob ko.

    I am blessed with a son who understands that we don't buy him everything that he wants because there's a time for everything. For instance, in one of my IG posts,we were saying hello and goodbye to my dream mixer. Lyndel has also developed that habit of saying hello and goodbye to a toy that he loves but can't have yet.

    And all these give me perspective, they remind me that life is not just about your problems, your fears, but it is also about celebrating life as it is and enjoying the little things. Kaya whatever I post on IG, or hopefully write (when I write again) in my blog, it's somehow a testament of me showing up and fighting for that balance.

  3. My dad naman was the one who did this for my brother and me. I remember eating in A&W sa greenbelt (tagal na nito!) and meron kaming food ng kapatid ko pero si dad hindi umorder. I was around 8 ata that time. I asked him why he did not order food and he said that he is still full and he will just eat whatever we don't finish (goodluck ang takaw ng kuya ko). Until today, nasanay ako na pag kasama ko kumakain dad ko eh binibigay ko food ko sa kanya kahit na there's more than enough to go around. Now that I'm a mom, I can so relate to this... more posts like this dear! :)


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