Slow Down, Momma!

It’s a past-faced world.

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Every one is hustling and moving. I can’t even finish one article without starting ten more just so the ideas would not leave my head. My big, busy head. There’s a lot of things I want to write, and a hundred other things I had to do. Add motherhood to the mix, and I had a full brain buzzing with a thousand lists of to-do’s.

Then, I realized, maybe it was because of the way I was brought up by my parents. My mom, a teacher, always brings home her auto-timer for every tasks, just as how she does it at school.

“You have 20 minutes to answer this pop-quiz.”

“5 minutes to take notes before I erase it all down.”

“10 seconds to answer this question.”

“1 minute to pee.”

I didn’t find it stressful before, though. Instead, I learned how to move quicker multi-task. Applying make-up while sipping coffee; breakfast and checking email; social media and taking a shower.

But then, as I think about it, I don’t really do much of multi-tasking. I just do one part of the one thing in between of the other. Thus, it looks like it takes me longer time to finish one thing.girl-757441_960_720.jpg

Worse, I don’t get to enjoy what I’m doing. Sometimes, I’m in the office, and I’d ask myself if I already had my coffee for the morning. I end up drinking as much as 5 cups a day.

As a mother, though, I prefer my child to know the value of quality time; that good products and new skills are produced and learned by spending effort and time. And also that it’s worthless if he doesn’t know how to appreciate and congratulate himself for these things.

I want my son to enjoy every little thing that he does. There is no better time than now that he’s growing up for both of us to realize the value of appreciation for both of us. The small things that he discovers about his little world now might have been the usual stuff for the us, but I try to remember that these are big deal for him. These are new.boy-1916204__340.jpg

Walking, playing with usual objects, getting dressed, taking a bath are the things that we usually overlooked as an adult. We pay little attention to them. But these are huge tasks for my son, and I should not expect him to move fast..

Usually, I’d blurt out the words : “Faster”, “Come here, quick.” “Finish that right now.”

I try to be mindful of that now. I try to avoid saying these, and be more patient and wait for him to finish on his own time.

If he’s hanging on to one task for a long time, I would instead blurt out other tasks for him so he’d get to choose if he wants to switch from one thing to another.

“Aren’t you hungry, yet, sweetie?”

“Do you want to go outside and play now?”

“Do you need help putting on your clothes so that you can your favorite show now?”

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I know that it’s basic necessity for the kids to understand how time works, but it is also important for them to enjoy every little stuff as much as they could. That could help them be appreciative of time and effort that they’d exert for each tasks. I believe to be one of the keys for them to appreciate their self-worth. They’d realize how hard they had worked for small stuffs, and they’d know that they had finished it in their own time, being mindful on each development. They would bring that mindfulness until they grow old, understanding the world around them, discovering insects and holes and door knobs, and once they figure it out, they will celebrate their mini-victories. When they grow up, they wouldn’t deliver less. They would take time to finish a project and they would know how they should be treated after each work done.

Writing in braids,

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A Month Recap – March

When I were a student, March is considered an ending season for us. I had a love/hate relationship with this month, anticipating it whenever I come across difficult situations at school, and avoiding it when I just can’t get enough of the things I could brag about my successes and good jobs for the year.

I’ve had three major goodbyes done in the month of March, transitioning from one school to another, all left empty promises with my friends that I would try to keep in touch, and held a lot of hope about the next scholle where I would basically be living in. They all taught me the importance of changing one’s perspective about ending a season and starting a new one.

It was all about accepting change, and the fact that moving forward sometimes means leaving something behind.

In this blog this month, I ended my breastfeeding chronicles. It’s goal is to share the essentials about MY experience: what things I think were necessary, what emotions are felt, and how I encourage myself in times when I would just about to give up. At this point of writing, I haven’t yet decided what I would like to share next in place of breastfeeding. But that’s okay. I still see the beauty of this indecision. There are just so many topics to choose from and all of them holds so much stories to be told.

As for me personally, I have encountered so many opportunities this month, so much like graduating from college. I was lucky to talk to different people about start up businesses and getting back on corporate world. It is much harder, though, now than in college, when to accept a job is based on liking the work and the environment, and not thinking about the hours that it would take a day and which one would affect less on my precious time with my child.

Eventually, I had, as of now, already gone 2 days meeting people without dragging my son with me. I left him at home, with my inlaws, and I thought about him every single minute that I’m away. It’s a burden that I think I have to learn to live by.

Even I ask myself, too, do I really need the job? Do I really have to leave my son to talk to other adults about technology and grown-up stuff? Aren’t I supposed to be just at home, taking care of my family? Isn’t it selfish of me to think of working because it’s part of who I was?

It takes a lot of hardwork and self-reflection to accept the fact that yes, I need to work. I need this, and, it sounds selfish to need it but it’s part of my destiny. I felt like it’s part of my lifetime to work on myself, to educate myself about the corporate world, and it’s a persona of me that everyone around me has to accept, even my son. I’m a working person, a working human, a working woman, and a working mother. And there’s no judgement to those who doesn’t work, to moms who stay at home, those who chose or need to be indoors. This is part of the differences that each person has, and we have to accept and be kind to everyone.

Every March of the year, I consider it a transition month for learning about myself. Ending it doesn’t mean closing my doors on my previous schoolmates and the lectures that I had. For me, it’s passing all the exams and tests of the previous semesters, applying all the knowledge that was taught to me, and giving myself a break from all the lessons. So that when the new school year comes, I would enroll in fresh from a vacation, skin a little bit darker, hair a little bit rufflier, ready to tackle on some new lessons to learn and passing new tests that life would give.

 

Writing in buns,

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Spending Precious Time

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Some other people thought that when you’re a stay-at-home mom, you have all the time in the world to spend with your little one. Sometimes, my husband would innocently ask me “how was your day?” and I’d be defensively describe to him every work I’ve done. I barely even had a chance to brush my hair. The whole day has been spent with my son, yes, but not to play with him 24/7, but to attend to all his needs, and every mom knows that a little baby can be so demanding all the time.

Overtime, I learned how to manage my emotions while taking care of my baby. It can be overwhelming, especially on days when I have to look at the mirror, and see my eyebrows turning into unibrow, the tangled hair that looked like they’d all stick together forever, or the chapped lips that I haven’t had the chance to mind all week.

One great thing that I learned into being an effective mother is finding the happiness in each chores. Being mindful helps, which I try every time my mind wanders into the pile of tasks that I had in my to-do list each day. There would be nights when I would evaluate how I did that whole day, how it all ends up and what I have accomplished. I would be very disappointed on days when all I had done was fold up laundry and putting it away. After being mindful, I learned that I have to be easy on myself, and to remember even accomplishing the smallest chore is a success in its own way. Knowing that the clock is always ticking no matter how tiny or unimportant my job is, every second is spent and that’s enough for me to believe that I have been productive in some way.

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This realizations made me appreciate each moment with my little son. I try to take chores that involves him and make it a bonding moment as much as possible. The best one is when I bathe him. Before, I would give him a quick bath: wet-soap-scrub-rinse, that single set of steps and done. But then, he’d start to enjoy being in the tub and played in it, and trying to get him out of the water right after rinsing would be a struggle. In my mind, though, we have to finish up bathing because I can’t wait t
o move on to the next thing I had to do. But my attempt to force him out of the bath tub takes up more energy and more time than the actual bathing, and we both get out of the bathroom upset and disappointed at each other, which then makes it hard for me to put fresh clothes on him, and ending up him wanting to be comforted and me nursing him to calmness. At the end, we would both be exhausted and I would find myself lying next to him, napping.

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After a while, when I decided to be mindful, I started to let him play at the tub after the quick bath, until he has spent enough time in the water and would not be upset when I take him out. I would also watch him play, see him develop new skills, and check out his curiosity on how liquid works. I get to enjoy this simple moments, and after, it was so much easier to get him dressed, and he still have little energy left to play before nap time, which I would spend cleaning up the bathroom and doing other small chores until he’s tired and ready for a quick sleep.

There would also be times that I would take a bath with him, let him play at the tub while I take a bath myself, and after which, we’d both be fresh and clean, which is killing two tasks for the day.thiago-cerqueira-191866

Since then, I have believed at the power of being mindful, and saw that trying to multitask everything in my mind will always be a challenge to almost everyone in the house as it affects all the family members. Trying to be present at everything, be it small or big, always makes it easier and simpler for me, resulting to a more graceful mother who can run up the household in a very calm way.

Writing in buns,

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Explaining A No

I have fear of public speaking. I do, and a lot more fears that I think just doesn’t make sense. These are things that I hope I wouldn’t pass down to my son.

Most of the time, I would psycho-analyze myself, talking into these emotions. Why am I so mad at my father for no reason? Why do I have too much pride on myself forgetting how to forgive? Why am I so scared of even talking to the bank just to open an account?

When I was little, I remember being afraid of electric fans, and how I never even want to be near one. It’s inexplicable at the time, and even I don’t know why I cringe every time I look at the rotating fan. Then I saw a man on TV stopped one using his tongue and I was caught off guard. I thought why would he do such painful thing. Until one day, at school, everyone had this mini fans running on a single AA battery. I wanted to have one, but I’m so scared to. Then my father bought me one in my favorite color – purple. It was so pretty and I realized that there’s nothing, really to be scared of, only if I know how to be careful around it.

Just this weekend, my son experienced his first cut. He didn’t actually put his finger inside the electric fan on purpose, but he used it as a guide as he walked around. He accidentally shoot a finger inside, and that’s it. He cried and wailed, but after an hour of soothing and giving him toys, he’s at it again, mindlessly doing the same thing. I remembered my fear again. Then I realized, there’s a much better approach to saying no whenever he comes close to a dangerous object. I should not only reject his actions on things that might hurt him, but I should also explain why.

Now that I have a son, I would want to reason out myself better, because I believe that he would also get that, not knowing why he feels certain emotions toward things. So as he grows older learning new stuffs and exploring objects around him, I would go after him and would always be mindful of how I react to his little adventures.

It’s not enough to say no to children nowadays. I realized that if I want my son to grow with good reasoning skills, I should treat him like a regular person and tell him the reason behind every no. “It might hurt you. It might break. It might fall on you.” This way, he’d realize that it’s not that I’m stopping him to have fun, but that I just care for him so much that I don’t want anything to happen to him.

Don’t get me wrong. I grew up in a house where “NO” was the first word they enjoyed me saying, and I liked to believe I grew up just fine. But of course, it’s with this same principle why there are thing in my life that I regret not doing. (college committee presidency, cheerleading, working abroad). And though I already forgave myself for it, I would never want my child to have the same regrets. Growing up with an unexplained no is okay. You don’t have to always say the reason why you don’t feel comfortable doing things. But then, you’ll never know the extent of the opportunities that you’re saying no to if you just explain yourself better. For example, I didn’t take up cheerleading and the committee presidency in college because I was afraid it would take up much of my time. But what if they had offered me a compromise, explained to me that they also understand students’ need of their time to study.

Aside from this, I would want my son to tell me when something’s wrong. I want him to be as open as possible, and not just say no to everything, even trivial ones. I want him to be as vocal as he can be, at least to me, so that at least there would be one person he could trust to say anything. It’s just me wanting to know everything that runs into his mind, but also for him to know the comfort that it brings whenever he says the reason behind his every anxieties.

That, I think, would guide him into choosing the right partner. Then, he wouldn’t settle for someone who would just accept his every no, who would be fine to not hear his reasons. Then, he would look for someone he can confide in, someone who would give him the comfort of listening to his every problems.

Explaining to a child goes a long way! In fact, if I could, I would use the word No as less as possible, giving him only the consequences of each dangerous actions. Then he’d figure it out at an early stage. It’s not that I won’t like to hear No from him, but I want him to realize that because I seldom say that word, when I do, it means it’s serious. And the same thing goes for him. I don’t want him growing up saying No to brocolli, but if he finally said that word on certain things, then I’d know that he’s not just being picky, but he’s uncomfortable, too.

Writing in Buns,

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