The “Hair Tie” Technique

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” ~ Franklin P. Jones

Everyday, our lil toddlers wake up bursting with energy. Working moms like us might not have the same energy to keep up all the time, so we end up stressed whenever there are tantrums or misplaced toys or attention-seeking behavior from our children. 
Ideally, we want to stay patient amidst the chaos, and avoid as much as possible to yell at our children. Sometimes, this effort is futile and we end up giving in to our emotions and end up hurting our children with words. 

Kelly Holmes of the Idealist Mom, devised a way to be more conscious of our mood and non-responsive with our quick reactions to children’s behavior— the hair tie technique.  Each day, we start with 5 hair ties in one wrist (ideally in your writing hand so it’s more visible). Every time we yell at our children or respond negatively to their actions, we move one tie to the other wrist, and do 5 loving actions to counter our negative reaction. The goal is to practice more patience so we end the day having all the hair ties in the same wrist.


Click here to learn more.

Kindermusik

“At Kindermusik, our passions are children and music. So we put the two together to create a music and movement program for young children. Our mission is to reach every child through music.”


I first learned about Kindermusik from my boss, who enrolled her then two-year old daughter to the program and sang praises about it. Her once timid girl blossomed into a confident young toddler. I knew then that I wanted to also bring Sofie to Kindermusik. As an only child, these play schools are supposed to teach basic socialization, but I knew that Kindermusik can develop so much more for Sofie. She was already turning two, and I wanted to expose her to more learning and creative environments suited for her age.

We searched their website and found Saturday morning schedules to be ideal, so we can also join her during classes. After going to potential venues, we finally found a fit at Kindermusik at CTEC Greenhills with Teacher Dang. Her class would be Wiggle and Grow, for toddlers her age.

The first day was surprising for all of us. Sofie was overwhelmed by the new environment and kept her eyes closed the whole time! There were tears and tantrums, but Teacher Dang assured us that this is normal behavior, and we should acknowledge Sofie’s feelings and let her adjust to her new surroundings. We kept our faith and crossed our fingers that the next days would be better.

True enough, Sofie did do so much better in the next classes. Little by little, she began to recite familiar animals and animal sounds during story book time, played with rhythm sticks, and even did cooperative play with classmates. She especially loves parachute play, lining up blocks and sticks, story time, and “massage” time with mommy. She has learned to pack away toys and wait for her turn. At home, Sofie and I would read books from Kindermusik and look at videos from the website, and she would remember her modules from her classes. Her development was amazing, and we are thankful to Teacher Dang and Kindemusik for helping Sofie to develop all these, and enjoy bonding time as a family too. 


As we enroll Sofie in a new school, we would forever be grateful for the foundation given to her by Kindermusik. She now sings nursery rhymes all the time, dances to familiar songs during car rides, and has better appreciation of music. No more eyes closed! We have appreciated the opportunity given to us to learn together with Sofie, and she has learned to trust the support she can get from her parents. More importantly, she has gained the confidence to face new schools and new challenges in the world ahead. 

Listology

“No wise pilot, no matter how great his talent and experience, fails to use his checklist. ” ~ Charlie Munger


When there’s a big event or special occasion or an out-of-town vacation coming up, I find myself restless the night before. Sleep eludes me, because my mind is rattling off an imaginary checklist of things to do, to bring, to prepare, and to buy along the way. The curse of the moms, I realize now, is having to think of everything and everyone.

So when stress becomes my constant companion, I turn to lists and checklists to calm my frazzled nerves. Writing everything that I need to do and prepare gives me the assurance that I won’t forget anything. 

When doing my lists, I follow tried and tested tricks:

1. Make the List and Check it Twice

Sometimes, when the trip is short, I don’t make lists anymore and just tick things off the top of my head. However, I find that I always forget something to do or leave something behind that I was supposed to bring. So it really pays to make the list, and double check everything before you step out the door. 

2. Imagine your Day

What is it like, a day in your life? Picture all the activities and things you use in your day-to-day. Or you can walk through your whole event. This will help you imagine all the details needed to be accomplished in real life.

3. Sound off with a teammate or travel buddy

I usually show my list to another person (usually my husband) so he can double check if I missed anything that may not be on this list. 

4.  Leave Behind 

It’s not always what your bring with you; sometimes, it’s the stuff you leave behind that is most forgotten. Always remember to keep your house in order (Have you paid bills? Have you checked all utilities before leaving the house? Etc) before attending to commitments. 

5. Use your smartphone alerts

Today, a lot of smartphones are already capable of apps that have built in lists with times, alarms and reminder systems. So if you’re the digital type, maximize these platforms to help you plan the details better.

6. Ask for Help

Don’t hesitate to ask for others’ help to remind you about important things to bring or do. Choose wisely though, that the person you asked help from has a better memory than you!

 Lists should not be limited to daily tasks, as these may also be applied to the greater aspects of life, or what is commonly known as your personal “bucket lists”. Whether short-term or long-term, the important habit to learn is to write these lists down, so that it imprints not just in your memory, but also commits it to heart. 

Birthday Week

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” – Dr. Seuss


Today is my husband’s birthday. (Happy birthday Ling!) And while he decided to celebrate at home since it’s a weeknight, he also proposed to celebrate his birthday thrice— three celebrations in three days. Today is for office lunch celebration and in-laws dinner, tomorrow is date with the wifey, and the day after is a swimming picnic with his brood. A birthday week celebration.

It’s becoming a tradition for us, celebrating birthdays and special occassions in multiple days. With to-do’s at work and at home, sometimes a full day of celebration is not anymore feasible. Plus, with our in-laws and extended families, our birthdays become extended too.

It’s actually a better set-up for me. Last January, my birthday month, I also celebrated for one whole week: different days to shop, watch movies alone, enjoy pasta and wine, relax in a spa, and have a staycation with my husband and daughter. Birthday bucket list fulfilled, even if it took many mini-buckets to fulfill them.

Having a birthday week seems to be a better set-up for us: we still get to celebrate our hearts’ desires, but we manage expectations that one day alone cannot fulfill. We have more cakes and more time to celebrate with the people who have made the past year memorable.

Looking forward to continuing this tradition in the next years!

Birthday Wishes

“A birthday is just another day where you go to work and people give you love. Age is just a state of mind, and you are as old as you think you are. You have to count your blessings and be happy. ~ Abhishek Bachchan

mom-party

Birthdays are often a happy family tradition. My daughter’s favorite song-and-action activity is singing “Happy Birthday”, clapping along and blowing candles to an imaginary cake. I have always celebrated mine in a new destination or in a new restaurant, so that the novelty may create a more interesting memory.

As we grow older, the parties become simpler and the guests fewer. This year, I chose to celebrate in one whole week, giving time for my family and for myself. After all, even the material gifts seem to matter less—all I really wish for is good health, career and financial security, a more positive outlook, love and happiness. Oh, and some genuine peace and quiet! Now, we can’t buy those things in a store, can we?

I received more than my fair share of greetings in social media and SMS. And though I’m floored by the birthday wishes, it’s in the company of family and true friends with whom I am able to really celebrate and be thankful for another year of life. Real relationships are hard to find and even harder to maintain, and to have those is already a birthday gift in itself.

So to Working Moms celebrating their birthdays… take your well-deserved day off, spend time with family, pursue what makes you happy and be grateful for the blessings. Cheers!

Traditions and Resolutions

 

“At the heart of every Family Tradition is a meaningful experience.”

 


Family holidays are usually beset with so many activities: reunions, parties, gift giving, and gatherings. I’ve always looked forward to this time of the year, because it’s an opportunity to spend time with family and see old friends. Though physicially tiring, the spirit is lifted celebrating Christmas and NY traditions with loved ones.

I’ve always been a traditionalist. They give so much meaning to the occasion, and there’s something to look forward to every December. I believe that the family is bonded more over traditions, and it’s a legacy I wish to pass on to my children and their children’s children. I’m glad to have shared these with Milo, Sofie, and our extended families this year:

  • Grocery shopping for the holidays at S&R
  • Mall decor and Christmas tree viewing at Power Plant Rockwell
  • Starbucks sticker collection for the planner
  • Series Binging (The Crown)
  • Simbang Gabi at CTK
  • Bibingka and Puto Bumbong
  • Noche Buena and Mass
  • Christmas Spa and Dinner date with the hubby
  • A Christmas wedding (Joe and Jady)
  • Games and Christmas Reunions
  • Media Noche, with coins and trumpets (no fireworks this year)

The New Year brings a fresh start, which is why I also look forward to creating my resolutions list. (Listing is another favorite hobby.) This Year, I resolve to:

  • Be more positive, less angry and frustrated.
  • Be on time for meetings and deadlines.
  • Be healthier. At least cut down on chips and rice (easier said than done!)
  • Be more presentable.
  • Catch up with friends more often.
  • Focus more on my family’s needs.
  • Save and invest more.

Hope this New Year brings more blessings and growth opportunities! Happy 2017 to all Working Moms and your families!

Tales of a First-Time Flower Girl

“It will all work out in the end. You must keep faith in yourself, and leave the rest to God.” ~ Leon Brown 

For days, months, weeks, we have been trying to train and psych Sofie for her first role as flower girl. Each episode ended in tears, frustration and drama. The little girl did not want to walk nor wear her dress. Stress!

D-day came. We were readying ourselves for another fit of tears, but this time we poured drops of holy water on her bath and on her head. We prayed hard. Lo and behold, she put on her dress without a fuss! And though she did not walk down the aisle (I had to carry her), there was no drama the whole day. She even posed for the pictorials (thank you Allie for keeping her steady!). Thank you Joe and Jady for being patient with us. 

Praise God for our miracle! Prayers are truly powerful, if you just keep the faith 🙏🏻 #BastaIkawLord