Archive of ‘Mommy Diaries’ category

PromΒ 

Today, my daughter, Biancs, attends her first prom, excited and totally resolved to make it one of the best nights of her high school life. I know there will be more prom nights or dates to come but this one is quite special because this is the first time I’ve seen her literally glowing like a princess. There’s hardly any trace of the pain and discomfort she’s been through the past years, only a beautiful sparkle coming from her very own brilliant light.

Eversince her daddy died, I’ve been working so hard to raise her into this independent, well rounded, and self-assured person, who is compassionate towards others and passionate about her love for the Lord. But truth to tell, this work is not really meant to be done by a single parent alone. It does take a village to raise a child. Luckily, I have a strong community of family and friends co-parenting with me, making sure Bianca is well taken cared off and does not miss out on anything. Tonight I share this special moment with my close friends, BCBP family, and Bianca’s lolos and lolas, titos and titas, godmothers, “fairy godmothers,” and doctors. We’ve done a good job so far. Thank you very very much for always stepping in to help. 
To the boy who took my Bianca to her first (prom) date tonight. I’ve been praying for you for years. Believe me, I pray for these things too and the Lord didn’t disappoint once again. He sent someone who isn’t promising her the moon and the stars, just the possibility of a beautiful friendship. Like what I’ve always prayed Bianca’s first (prom) date to be. Thank you for being every inch a gentleman. Your parents have indeed raised you well. You are exactly what I’ve been hoping you to be, a heaven sent. 

Mindful Mom Retreat: Find Your Flow

Last Saturday, January 28, I attended the fifth Mindful Mom Retreat at Earth Kitchen in Bonifacio Global City. I personally think this is a good way to jumpstart 2017 that is why I made sure not to miss this one.

An offline version of Mommy Mundo’s award winning Mom Manisfesto Campaign, the Mindful Mom Retreat uses modules to guide moms to uncover and (re)discover their purpose and passion so they could live better, fuller lives, and parent more intentionally. It is especially designed to equip moms with tools that would help them be more mindful and conscious of their thoughts and actions.

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This retreat is facilitated by Michele “Ichel” Alignay, Registered Family Psychologist and co-founder of the Mom Manifesto Campaign. An expert when it comes to creating an open and inviting atmosphere, Ichel always manages to keep things light and fun. Main reason why moms who attend this retreat are never shy to share and participate in the well crafted activities and insightful discussions that have become the trademark of Mommy Mundo Parenting Events. Since participants receive a lot of support and encouragement in this retreat, they always come home re-fresh, re-energize, and re-centered to their mommy mission.

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And true enough, after sitting for three delightful hours listening to Ichel lead and facilitate the discussion on finding one’s flow (your strength) instead of one’s flaws (your limitations), of focusing and harnessing one’s strengths instead of one’s weaknesses as a woman, I felt truly empowered and affirmed. I must admit, I spent a significant part of my life as a mother trying to overcome, to no avail, my weaknesses until I simply just quit trying because truth to tell, I don’t really have the knack for them baking, cooking, Math, and even breastfeeding. Ichel’s fresh take on self-improvement made me feel truly good inside. It drove away any guilt feelings I have for delegating such tasks to the other members of the household and made me stop feeling like a total failure in the motherhood department also. It made see that if I just take the time to acknowledge the skills and talents that I have, I would realize just how much I can (still) share and give despite my limitations. It completely drove this point straight to my heart as well: I do not really need to be a perfect mom, just a mindful mom who deliberately and consistently work on improving myself for the better through constant and mindful reflection (self-check, visioning, goal-setting) and action.

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There is definitely a lot to learn from this retreat. But perhaps the most valuable lesson I got from this Mindful Mom gathering is this, to live a life of meaning and purpose, one must always take the time to recharge, reflect, and re-center. The Mindful Mom Retreat I tell you, is the perfect venue for that.

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In case you are interested to catch its May run this year, simply follow Mommy Mundo to get heads up on its latest schedule. Hope to see you there.😊

Photo credit: Mommy Mundo

Happy Father’s Day To Me

That moment when your 15 year old daughter gives you a long talk about her plans, hopes, and dreams for senior high school, college, and sigh, the future. You sit there and listen as she shares passionately how she wants to be a Medical Technologist and eventually a Pediatric Oncologist because she wants to help children with cancer like her, and you think silently, I’m not ready yet emotionally, mentally, and yes, financially to let you go. You stare at her with your mouth wide open, and wonder to yourself, where the hell did your crying, scrawny little kid go, and when exactly did this sensible, level headed teenager take over?! So many thoughts running in your head and so many conflicting emotions fighting their way into your poor mommy heart. But then, you continue to sit there and let yourself have it, and when she finally said, “What do you think mommy?!” You just nod your head and mutter, “Gee, that’s some plan,” and you go hug her and tell her you’ll support her. You stand up with a big brave smile on your face and watch as she leaves excitedly to search for some senior high school scholarship program. You brace yourself as the usual painful twist in your heart comes and quietly whisper, “Oh Lord what do we do now?!” Happy Father’s Day to me. 😌

Nature to Nurture

When my daughter, Bianca, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 12 three years ago, I cannot help but look back and ask myself, had I done things differently, like be more discerning with the things we used around the house and things we exposed her to when she was growing up, would I have been able to shield her from cancer? Though doctors pointed at genetics as the root cause of her cancer, studies show that genes can be altered and influenced by chemicals in the environment.

Babies and mommies nowadays are lucky to have vigilant mompreneurs who make it their passion and mission to develop safe baby products. One such mom is Jacqueline Siy, co-founder of Nature to Nurture. In her desire to protect her child from exposure to unwanted chemicals, she painstakingly studied the usual products we use to clean our body and our home. When she found out that most of them are unhealthy and unsafe for babies, she looked for safer althernatives. Since there are not that much available in the market that are just as effective as the commercial ones, she created Nature to Nurture, one of the brands that I wish we had when my Bianca was just a baby.

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Nature to Nurture products were designed having children in mind. Since Jacqueline is a self confessed cleaning addict and a fan of disinfectants and bleach, the first thing she developed was a fragrance free Baby Bottle and Dishwash. This solution contains only ingredients essential for cleaning. It does not have the nasty and harmful chemicals, colourants, and fragrance. When used on feeding bottles, they come out sparklingly clean and free of residues since the mixture of plant-based surfactant and baking soda effectively remove the grease from breastmilk and eliminate milk film and odor. It rinses easily too thereby cutting down the time you spend washing bottles. It is perfect not just for feeding bottles but for toys, teethers, breastpump accessories, fruits,and veggies as well.

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Another product, Nature to Nurture Multi Purpose Cleaner concentrate, acts as a cleaning agent for surface residue. It contains plant based ingredients that safely yet effectively cleans dirt, buildup, grease, and grime. It uses Tea Tree Oil, an antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral solution that kills germs and deters insects. It can be diluted in water and sprayed on surfaces, or for cleaning or mopping floors. It has been proven to kill 99.99% of E.Coli and Salmonella becteria and 99.92% of Staph bacteria by SGS Phils, Inc., a world renowned testing center.

I know some of you would not even give cleaning solutions in your household a second thought but believe me, after having had a close run in with cancer, I say we should especially if we are raising and nurturing babies and toddlers at home. Little things like this matters especially when it comes to our children’s health.

Nature to Nurture products are available at The Parenting Emporium, Cash & Carry, Lazada, Shoppers Mart, Echostore, and Sesou outlets. For more information connect with them on facebook and instagram.

Ten Things I Learned From Motherhood

1. Babies don’t really come in neat little packages labeled cute.πŸ‘Ά 🍼 Most often, they come in mismatched clothes and soiled diapers. But hey, they always smell good with or without the poop. πŸ’©
2. There is no truth to the “Terrible Twos” or “Terrific Threes” theory because they can drag on even way past the age of 2 or 3. πŸ™Š
3. Typical doesn’t even begin to describe your kid. πŸ˜‚
4. You never really know what reserved energy is until you’ve become a mom. πŸ’ƒ
5. In most cases, joy comes not from seeing your child happy and carefree, but from seeing him asleep, peacefully and soundly in his bed. πŸ˜§πŸ’€πŸ’€
6. There is nothing glamorous about motherhood because by the time your child becomes a teen, you’ve already turned into a momzilla or worse, a momster! πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‘πŸ‘Ή
7. God made children difficult to sanctify and purify us.😜 They are our means to heaven.πŸ‘ΌπŸ˜†
8. All things being equal, our children will have their turn when they become parents. Trust me, I know. πŸ˜πŸ™Š
9. Motherhood is not a vocation like what Hallmark claimed it to be. It is a loving devotion where double portions of grace are given. πŸ™
10. Motherhood is always worth every face-palm and hair-pulling moments. πŸ™ˆπŸ˜–πŸ˜Š

Happy Mother’s Day to all the badass ladies out there who’ve managed to keep their wits together despite the challenging role of being moms to your kids. You sure have earned yourself a spot in heaven.☺️

Awesome

Dear Bianca Angela,

ThisΒ is mommy’s way of saying…don’t just do what makes you happy. Instead, do what brings you great joy no matter how uncomfortable, hard, scary, or even crazy it may seem to others. Remember that you can only become amazing when, with bold faith and purpose, you do something that others won’t even dare to do. So when you find yourself wanting to make a dream happen or to relive a dream again, listen only to yourself. When your heart says YOU CAN and your gut screams DO IT, GO FOR IT! You owe yourself a second (or even third and a fourth) shot at awesome.

Love,

Mommy

Mindful Mom Re-Treat by Mommy Mundo

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the Mindful Mom Re-Treat organized by Janice Villanueva of Mommy Mundo. It is an off shoot of the Mom Manifesto that she co-created last year with Mommy Mundo Head of Content, Jing Lejano, and registered psychologist and counselor, Michile Alignay. The series of Mindful Mom Re-Treats happening this year, in the words of Janice herself, “are all focused on helping moms be more mindful of where they are in their lives right now so that they can consciously live out their mommy mission amidst the joy and challenges of motherhood.” It is the perfect venue for re-centering and re-energizing for moms.

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Janice Villanueva, founder of Mommy Mundo

A quick rundown. During the Retreat, Mom Manifesto co-creator, Michel Alignay, walked us through the different mindful activities that had us reflecting much about ourselves in a way that we had never before. In the first activity, she had us charting our daily schedule to know whether we are letting ourselves run our day or letting our day run us. Most of us, surprisingly, found out that if we just mindfully go about our day, we need not bend ourselves backwards trying to juggle everything. We can in fact, strike that balance in all areas. In the second activity, Michele had us examine our life scripts, the things that we had ourselves believing and now naturally, doing. This was actually the part where most of the realizations came in. Moving to the third activity was quite easy for most of us then after having had a clear understanding of how we were wired and programmed growing up. The way Michele made us understand our weakness and the way she encouraged us to give more importance to our strengths in the third activity was truly self affirming. By the time we were in the fourth activity, it was pretty clear to most of us who we really are as an individual and as a mom, our special chracteristics and unique talents, and what we want to personally attain for ourselves.

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I had a lot of take-aways from this retreat. Personally, it made me realized that I should love myself better so I’ll have more to give to others. It made me see that I shouldn’t be apologetic of my weaknesses because they are often met and matched by one or two of my strengths. It encouraged me to break free from the trappings of societal norms and expectations often blown out of proportion by media, and measure and align myself only against my own life goals and aspirations. Right now as I am writing this, I am pretty excited to start my own Vision boards. I cannot wait to sit down and start affirming my strengths. I cannot wait to make personal breakthroughs and create my mindful plan of action.

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Kudos Janice Villanueva, Jing Lejano, and Michele Alignay and all the sponsors for a very insightful and inspiring Mindful Mom Retreat! I am looking forward to the next one already!

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(Photo grabbed from Mommy Mundo)

Oooops, before I forget, this Re-Treat is definitely a TREAT because of the ah-mazing treats! Thank you Pampers, Monogramstyleph, Trollbeads, Botanicals in Bloom, Moringa O2, Pylones, Photobooks Philippines, Philips Avent, Celebrity Mom, Urban Ashram, Brow Studio, Oscar Mejia, Blo Blow Dry Bar, Ogalala, Marie France, and Facial Care Center for filling our loot bag with goodies! It was a joy to dig inside the bag!

Every Mom’s Guide to Social Media Usage

Moms of previous generation were mostly domesticated divas who juggle their time between raising children and managing the household. Modern day mommas however, are as right at home on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram today as they are in the kitchen, uploading perfectly executed photos, updating online statuses, liking, sharing, and commenting on posts.

While the social media networks have admittedly brought us together in ways that were not possible before, we, moms, however should always keep in mind that even in these environments we continue to be our children’s role model. Therefore, we should act accordingly. Here’s are some social media etiquette that every online mom should know when conducting themselves in facebook, twitter, and instagram.

Practice “cybercivility”

Anything we share online, may it be comments, images, articles etc. give others a collective snapshot of who we are and what we value. Our children,most especially, watch, read, and absorb all that we do digitally. Sad to say, if you go over the comment section of almost any controversial article in the internet, you will be surprised at the number of rude and cruel comments from adults themselves. For our children to grow into respectful and caring individuals who knows how to use technology responsibly, we have to behave appropriately, constructively, and respectfully in the online community too. Kids especially teens become the example we set for them.

Avoid oversharenting

Facebook, twitter, and instagram have made it easy for moms to document children’s milestones and share the joys and challenges of parenthood. In fact, they have successfully made updating and uploading our life in the internet a social norm. However, all these sharings come with a price. Stories of how excessive sharing of personal information has compromised families’ most especially children’s safety, with the worse being digital kidnapping, have been rampant in the news lately. As a parent, we are responsible for our child’s protection and privacy. We need to be mindful of what we share and how much we share in social media because once it is out there, it is hard to undo. Anyone can access and use them no matter how strict our privacy settings are. They become part of our child’s digital footprint too.

Show respect and courtesy

Gina, mom of China, 13 and Sophie, 15 shares, “One time I felt nostalgic, I shared an old photo of my girls when they were about 7 and 9 years old. I never realized how much this upset my girls until China came up to me one day crying, ‘Mom thanks to you, my friends are now calling me chubby chinchin.’ I made the mistake of uploading and tagging my girls in the photo of them wearing bathing suits!” Respect and courtesy also applies in social media. Just because our children are cute in the photo does not mean that they would love seeing it on facebook or instagram. We still need to ask their permission first before sharing a post, video, or image of them because no matter how cute, funny, or inspiring their images and experiences are, they are still not ours to share. Not all parents of our children’s friends also would welcome seeing photos of their children in social media for privacy and security reasons. It is best to ask clearance from them first before posting or tagging them in photos with their children.

Parent Offline

Although social media provides us with an ingenius way of connecting with family and friends in an instant, it still can never replace personal interaction when it comes to parenting kids. Nothing beats spending quality time with your children offline. They appreciate us more when we are not lost in our smartphones and screens or too busy liking and commenting on their posts and pictures. Let’s face it, what may be a supportive action for us may be embarassing and instrusive for them when we do it online. Compliment them, call their attention, and discuss issues and concerns with them in person rather than in the comment box of their facebook, intagram, and twitter accounts. Be that kind of “invisible mom” in social media and you are guranteed to receive a million likes and love from your children, especially from your teens.

Happy Halloween

First, happy halloween to all! I know Halloween is not something unique to us Filipinos but like all things American, we have wholeheartedly embraced this tradition like it is our own. I know of a lot of people who spend tons of money in order to achieve the perfect halloween look. Children and adults for that matter look forward to this holiday because one, they get to dress up and be the fantasy character of their dreams, and two, they get to throw parties and eat all the sweets too.

Now, who says only normal kids can dress up and enjoy halloween! Children with special needs can join in the fun too. Check out this heartwarming Buzzfeed video of Oregon dad, Ryan Weimer, who started a nonprofit to build kids in wheelchairs amazing Halloween costume. Now, be ready to be touched and be inspired.

Go to MagicWheelChair.org if you want a kid on a wheelchair to have his dream costume. Happy Halloween!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October, I am one with the thousand others in celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wether it be in remembering every cancer patient, family, relative, or friend who has lost their battle to breast cancer or honoring the survivors and those who are still courageously fighting with the disease.

I know first hand how physically, emotionally, and even spiritually trying this disease can be both for the sick and her family. My only daughter, Bianca, was diagnosed with a different kind of cancer, Papillary Carcinoma (Thyroid Cancer in layman’s term) back in 2012. Sometimes the memory of her difficult experience during surgery and RAI treatment still knock the wind out of me. The fear alone that this lifetime disease would recur in the future is enough to stress the life out of anyone.

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My daughter is not cancer free yet but we are certain in time, she’ll be. I am sure a lot would agree with me when I say that when you have invested enough in this fight, you’ll do everything to achieve victory. That’s what my daughter as well as the other cancer patients, survivors, and care givers I know have been doing. And it is for this reason that I have nothing but deep admiration for them for remaining positive and strong in the face of this dreaded disease. Their tenacity, will power, and faith during and after the ordeal are truly inspiring.

Despite the heartache, I still must say that I would always see cancer as a blessing rather than a misfortune in my family. It is because it has become a way for us to receive God’s amazing grace and boundless blessings. It also continue to serve as a great reminder for us everyday to celebrate life and its many big and even little yet significant victories.

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