Rainy Day Reflections: My Ups and Downs as a WAHM

Our country faces yet another storm today and I pray that everyone is safe. I’ve seen a lot of photos on Facebook and Twitter of floods that go up to the neck, and I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for people in these heavily affected areas. I sincerely hope the storm passes soon.

I’ve never been a fan of the rain. Coming from the BPO industry, I know how difficult it is to brave the rain, traffic and floods just to get to work. I even bought myself boots at some point because I dreaded having to get my feet wet, because I was always dead scared of leptospirosis. I just hated commuting on rainy days, everything was just so inconvenient.

I’m glad that I made the decision to quit my call center job and work from home. I remember having so many hesitations, even crying over my decision, because I felt that I was leaving behind a career that I worked so hard to build. But at the time, all I could think of was Ethan, and how he was barely spending his first year with us. I spent more time sleeping than playing with him, and it also came to a point where my mom was having a hard time with the sleepless nights while I was at work. I felt that I was being unfair to her, too. I weighed the pros and cons and wrote them all down on paper, and even though the pros outweighed the cons, I couldn’t find it in myself to up and quit my job. I was overwhelmed with the things I was going to lose, quite selfish if you ask me. I kept talking to my husband about it, and one day, he eased my worries and simply told me that whatever happens, that if my work from home gig did not work out, he’d take care of us no matter what. It may not sound like much, but he did put my mind at ease.

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How To Deal With Mouthing: Uh oh, Is Baby Putting Stuff In His Mouth?

A few months after your baby is born, his curiosity will have him exploring the world around him. He will start reaching out for objects that catch his attention. However, since babies’ hand movements are not developed enough until about seven months, they can only manage to grasp objects but not fully explore them with their hands. To satisfy their curiosity, they put objects in their mouths as they are able to control their lips and tongues better than their hands. This is referred to as “mouthing”.

Claire Lerner, an LCSW with American Baby, elaborates this further in an article on www.parents.com:

“While your baby is learning to master his hand movements — reaching, grabbing, and swatting — he’s not yet so adept at using his fingers. So when a baby grasps what he desires and wants to investigate further (“Is it soft or hard? Can I eat it? Does it make a sound?”), this often means putting it in his mouth. Mouthing helps babies learn all about different shapes and textures. They also learn what feels good and tastes good, and what doesn’t — so your child will only mouth a wool blanket once.”

Besides being a means of exploration, there is another reason behind mouthing in babies, and that its teething. When babies’ teeth start coming in, they like gnawing object to soothe their gums. You can easily distinguish teething from regular mouthing when your baby drools while putting things in his mouth. Rest assured though that whatever the reason may be, mouthing is a completely normal and is a great way for babies to begin sensory development.

In this post I’ll be focusing more on mouthing, but you might find some information applicable to teething, too.

Caught red-handed.
Caught red-handed.
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How I Kept My Sanity During My Last Pregnancy

Pregnancy – for some it’s such a breeze while it drives others insane. Hormones are to blame, I tell yah. One minute you’re a peace-loving puppy-hugging hippie, and the next thing you know you’re channeling Linda Blair’s character in The Exorcist. You might be here because you’re a soon-to-be mom (congratulations!) looking for helpful tips. If you are, I hope you find my experience useful and informative. But if you’re already a mom, join me as I recall my hormone crazy preggy days and how I kept my sanity, I’m sure you’ll be able to relate in one way or another.

Remember this movie? Two characters with completely opposite pregnancies! Image from Google
1. I gave in to my cravings. Seriously, ladies. If you don’t then you’re gonna have a bad time. You’ll get cranky – extremely cranky – and it’s going to ruin your day. Some women have the most outrageous cravings though, take my mother for instance. When she was pregnant with me, she craved for apples. Not just any ordinary apple, though. She craved for apples that we’re almost rotten. So whenever she’d tell others about it, she’d say, “Pinaglihi ko siya na bulok na mansanas!”. Bizarre, right?! My cravings with Ethan were reasonable though – pancakes. I was lucky because my office back then was surrounded by fast food stores that sold pancakes for breakfast, and I always ordered some before coming in to work. It may be difficult at first, but food cravings normally end during the 2nd trimester. Hang in there!

My favorite fast food pancakes!

 

2. I always carried snacks with me. This is a must. You have to realize that you’re eating for two and your body will increase it’s demand for food, which means more frequent hunger pangs. When I was pregnant with Ethan, I swear my stomach was like a bottomless pit. No cracker could keep it from rumbling. I remember coming across a tip about eating small frequent meals, so I decided to try it and it worked well for me. Keep your snacks as healthy as possible and choose those that are more filling. I loved snacking on wheat bread sandwiches, Century Tuna Lite and hard boiled eggs, trail mix and apples. Always bring snacks with you whenever you go out, you’ll never know when you might need to munch on something.

image from Google
3. I drank a lot of water. I was always thirsty especially in my third trimester,  so thirsty that I could finish a liter of water in one go. Water also helped me with hunger pangs, kept me refreshed and made me feel energized. Having a small water bottle in your everyday bag is an idea you might want to consider, that way you can take a sip anytime, anywhere.

image from Google
4. I warned people about my mood swings. I set expectations with people around me by explaining how I sometimes preferred to be alone, especially when my “suplada” side was rearing it’s ugly head. This way people will know what to expect and will understand how to deal with you on bad days.
5. I always had a Chinese menthol stick in my bag. They may not be for everyone, but these little white sticks work wonders for headaches and dizziness. I frequently used them during my 1st trimester, not only because of constant dizziness, but because I had a very sensitive sense of smell then. There were places wherein I felt like throwing up just because of the smell, back then I especially hated the smell of deep fried food.

image from Google

 

6. I also kept a handful of candies. I needed these for when I’d throw up due to morning sickness. Only after my pregnancy did I come across tips suggesting ginger as an effective remedy. Try ginger candies and ginger ale!7. I gave our dog Chicken hugs.

 

8. I watched my weight. I kept tabs on my weight during every doctor’s appointment and made sure I was gaining at a normal pace. My OB said I should only gain about 20 lbs, but I ended up gaining 30 lbs. Ten pounds is a big difference but my doctor said it was just fine. I was totally fine with it too because, compared to my 1st pregnancy, I gained 50 lbs. So how did watching my weight keep me sane? During pregnancy, a lot of women are easily alarmed by weight gain. I myself have self-esteem issues because of my weight, even now. When I was pregnant though I realized that I had to make a conscious effort to make sure my weight gain did not go out of control. Keeping track of my weight gain gave me the control I needed, it helped me understand that being pregnant is not an excuse to eat anything and everything to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content. I gave in to my cravings, but still ate everything else in moderation. Because of my efforts, I didn’t blow up so easily like I did with my first pregnancy, and I worried less about becoming ginormous again. No “OMG I’ve become so fat” moments to bring me down! Downloading a pregnancy app on my phone helped me a lot with monitoring my weight. You might want to check out these Google Play Pregnancy Apps if you’re using an Android phone.
image from Google Play
9. I ditched random loose clothing for proper maternity wear. During my first pregnancy, I always wore cheap dreadful denim colored leggings that were trying to pass themselves off as jeans, loose cardigans and P99 tops that looked liked drapes. You can imagine how awful I looked, I always had my head down because I was ashamed of how silly my ensemble was. I was like “It’s okay as long as my tummy fits and my arms don’t show” (I have huge arms. LOL). You couldn’t blame me though, because I wanted to save as much as I could for the baby back then. When I was pregnant with Ethan though, I realized that I should still be able to enjoy wearing nice clothes even with my growing tummy. I was lucky enough to have an awesome friend who lent me some of her old maternity wear, and I also invested in a few pieces for myself. I’m glad I did, because was finally able to say goodbye to my frumpy outfits and I ended up feeling confident about myself. I guess the key to get more bang for your buck is to buy something that you can still use after giving birth, like a nice classy blouse or dress. Take a look at this cute top from Buntis at Zalora!
If you still want to wear jeans but can’t afford to buy a new pair, you can try what I did – go DIY! Pinterest has amazing tutorials for DIY maternity jeans. If you have a pair you’re willing to sacrifice, go ahead and try it out. I tried doing the one with an elastic band in the front, and another with the band on the sides. The one on the sides worked best for me. Seriously, you can’t wear leggings for nine months.
10. I cried when I had to. There were times went I felt sad for no reason during my pregnancy, and there were also instances when I would get extremely upset over little things. They tell you not to cry because it will affect the baby’s well-being, but I think that bottling up such feelings can lead to more stress. I’d cry alone, let it all out and just be done with it. I’d always feel a lot better after.
11. I followed a TV series. It helped keep my mind off stressful things – a distraction. Whenever I’d feel overwhelmed by my pregnancy and my husband wasn’t around to talk about it, I’d load my favorite series on the computer and watch til I was tired.

image from Google

12. I made time for friends and family. I even commuted to Bulacan for a swimming trip with my in-laws while I was eight months pregnant! Chatting and catching up with people you love will never fail to make you feel awesome.

13. I spent quality time with my husband. We always went out on dates – we love movies and trying out restaurants. Just being with him, knowing he was there for me, kept me sane on most days.

14. I prayed. Prayers always got me through the worst days. It never mattered if my prayers were short or long, as long as I spent a few minutes to thank Him for the little miracle he blessed me with. I always asked Him for guidance, for patience and for a happy and healthy pregnancy.

How about you, mommies? How did you get through all the crazy during your pregnancy?
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Surviving Without a Yaya

It’s been a while! I’m currently working on a LOOOOONG post about my son’s first birthday suppliers and I’m only halfway through because I’ve been so busy. I know it’s my same excuse every single time, but come on, we’re moms!

My son being adorable.

So anyway, I couldn’t focus much on blogging lately because I have to take care of my son full-time since my yaya (nanny) walked out on me. She was the first yaya I ever hired and honestly, she was good. She was always proactive and she didn’t require as much supervision. What I didn’t like about her was that she had this nasty attitude where she would always make snide comments while she’s next to the person she’s making fun of.

“Naku si Mama mo hindi nanaman daw magkakanin! Haha sige panindigan niya lang yan!”
(Your mom’s not going to eat rice again! Haha she should stick to that!)

I was right next to her when she said that. I was avoiding rice at the time because I was watching my weight as I was starting to gain dramatically. She did this to other people too. It became so annoying but I had to put up with it because I knew how hard it was to come by good help. One weekend I decided to let her take her day off because I needed her to be around the following weekend for my son’s first birthday. She left on a Saturday evening then promised to be back by Monday morning.

Then she pulled off a classic.

She texted me Monday morning claiming she couldn’t return yet because she had to bring her son to the doctor. I had to give her the benefit of the doubt, she used the “my child is sick” card and it would be cruel of me to accuse her of lying. Long story short, she didn’t come back and she spread stories about how I would make her starve and that I was hiding the coffee. Seriously? We always had food in the kitchen and I always bought coffee and left it on the dining room table. Why would I hide the coffee?? It turns out that the real reason why she did not come back was because she was offered a higher pay at another household. I couldn’t compete with that, so we just decided to let her go and look for a new yaya.

It’s been three weeks since and we still haven’t found a new yaya.

My husband and I decided to “wing it” for now until we could find one. It’s been pretty tough because we both work full-time and we both work night shifts – which means we both need to sleep during the day. What’s more is that our son is now more active than ever and he refuses to be left in his crib. He has this urge to always walk and follow us around the house even though he’s not used to being on his feet yet.

So how do we manage surviving without a yaya? We take turns looking after our son. I work from home from 9PM-6AM so right after work I look after him – feed him breakfast, wash and prepare his bottles, give him a bath and cook lunch. He tends to wake up earlier than 6AM so I let him watch some nursery rhyme videos on our iPad while I finish my shift. While I’m on baby duty, my husband sleeps from 6AM when he arrives from work until about noon. After lunch and washing the dishes, we switch and I get to sleep until about 5PM. My husband then starts to prep for work and leaves at around 6PM. I put my son to sleep at around 7:30PM but sometimes he doesn’t fall asleep until 8:30PM. Once he’s asleep I start prepping for work. If he cries in the middle of the night I take a real quick moment to put him back to sleep then get back to work.

Has it been easy? Absolutely not. But these things happen and we need to adjust, even if it makes us twice as tired as before.

I have to say though that being “yaya-less” has given me the chance to bond more with my son. Ever since he turned one, he’s become more affectionate but has also entered the separation anxiety stage. I’m glad that I am able to address his needs at this stage and that I am able to realize his changing needs as well. For example, as I mentioned earlier my son has this urge to walk all the time. Here in our house there really isn’t enough room for him to do that, so his yaya just lets him stay in the crib which makes him cry and fuss a lot. When the yaya was gone and I took over, I realized that I needed to find a way to let my son practice his motor skills so he can start walking. I started moving furniture around to make enough space for my son to walk around and play. Ever since then we has improved dramatically and he isn’t as fussy as he used to be. He enjoys the freedom to walk and play outside the confines of his small crib.

Do you think my yaya would have done the same thing? I don’t think so. There’s just these things that only us parents can and will do for our children. Now that I have realized this, I’m thinking of not hiring a yaya anymore. I’ve also grown to love the quality time I get to spend with my son. I guess that’s what tops it all off, like the proverbial cherry on a sundae.

Was there a time when you had to manage without a yaya? How did it go?

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Planning My Son’s First Birthday Party

How are you, clueless moms?

I still can’t believe that my son is turning one next month! Has it been a year already? When I look at my son nowadays I find myself thinking “Stop growing! Can you stay like this for a few years more?”. Sigh, but it is inevitable.. he’s growing up!

Now that he’s turning one, I want to go all out on his first birthday party however after giving it some thought, we decided to settle for something more reasonable. Though I just began my work-from-home job, we did come across some money and managed to secure a venue. At first, I was eying Shakey’s Pizza. Unfortunately though, there are no decent Shakey’s branches near our area. There is one along Evia Daang Hari, but they don’t hold birthday parties on weekends. Crazy, right?? I didn’t want to have the event catered either, it can be quite tiring having to speak to several people like with my son’s baptism. While doing some research, a lot of people recommended Fun Ranch to me. When I visited their website I thought it would be a perfect for my son’s first birthday and then I started bugging my husband about it. After a few weeks, I managed to visit Fun Ranch Alabang and reserve a room and date for my son’s first birthday!
from Google images

We chose the Main Barn which costs P35,000 and is good for 100 pax. It is spacious, neat and is right next to the play area. The P35,000 is inclusive of consumable food and drinks. I have yet to choose our menu, but I may focus more on their best sellers and recommendations.

What’s good about Fun Ranch is that they’re like this one-stop shop for parties – they offer other services such as entertainers, hosts, photo booths, food carts, etc. They may come across as expensive compared to others, however if you choose to bring in external party services, there is a corkage fee of P1000! I’m really lucky though that some of our family members offered to pitch in for some of the services and everything is coming together nicely.

I may finalize more details this week and would love to update you guys soon. I’m also planning to DIY the decorations so I hope that works well for me!

I’d love to hear feedback about Fun Ranch, especially about the food! Your suggestions are also welcome!

Catch you later, clueless moms!

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