Work-Life Blend


They say millennials don’t look for work-life balance. What they want is a work-life blend–the ability to shift seamlessly from work to personal life and back. 

As an early millennial, I would recognize some wisdom to this new theory. The blend concept applies to more focus on outputs rather than hours spent, quality over quantity. 

When technology connects everything, work hours and personal time clear delineations disappear as one big gray area. It doesn’t matter how much time you put in, but how much you are able to give at each aspect of your life. And in the modern setting where technology forces one to multitask, this work-life blend would be perfect for millennial moms who juggle different hats across a 24-hour time frame. 

Read more about millennials and Work-Life Blend in this article.

Review: The Ten-Year Nap

“You stayed around your children as long as you could, inhaling the ambient gold shavings of their childhood, and at the last minute you tried to see them off into life and hoped that the little piece of time you’d given them was enough to prevent them from one day feeling lonely and afraid and hopeless. You wouldn’t know the outcome for a long time.”

Meg Wolitzer, The Ten-Year Nap


While looking for a vacation reading list, I came across this novel from Meg Wolitzer. The synopsis was quite intriguing: it tells of an interwoven story of the lives of four American women, once high-powered career professionals, who took a decade long hiatus to be full-time wives and stay at home moms. Very relatable, so I grabbed myself a copy.

At first I thought that the book was too long. A lot of words were spent trying to describe every minute, every apparently boring thought of a has-been working mom. So I put it down after ten pages and thought I’d read it again someday, when I could muster enough patience to find it interesting again.

Someday came this month, when I remembered having bought the book and not being able to finish it. This time though, I found new perspective– what was once too observant was now an accurate depiction into the harsh realities of mothers-who-used-to-work. The storytailing flew by quickly… Of anecdotes and adventures that sometimes became too relatable for comfort.

In America, most career women who get married and have children rarely climb up the corporate ladder. Most are resigned to make the sacrifice of choosing to be with the kids instead of being in the office. No day care or extended relatives can see to the children, so the burden lies heavily on these women. But they only realize this up to that crossroad of their lives, and I wonder if knowing this beforehand  might affect their choice. 

In Asia, family ties are kept even after the children are married, so child rearing can be shared among grandparents, aunts and uncles. I myself am lucky to have these family members, on both sides, to willingly share their time with us. Both my husband and I can keep our day jobs while the Lolas take care of our daughter. In return we help to support the whole household financially. 

The novel chronicled different facets of the women’s lives. Some were changed after the “ten-year” nap while some lives  stayed on the same course. Some went back to their desk jobs, while others found full-time volunteer work that, albeit different from what their careers were initially like, the fact is… something was different. And isn’t that what we’re all battling against? The stagnation of the human spirit from a decade long routine? The absence of passion and lost meaning?

So whether it be ten-, twenty-, or fifty-year naps… whether we decide to go back to the corporate hub or back to the kitchen… Lest we become bored or bitter with our choices, we must never forget that in the end, we are all mothers. And though motherhood sacrifices change us for good, we must remember that we are individuals too, filled with passions and dreams that shouldn’t be forgotten just because we were called into this vocation. Sometimes, that makes all the difference. 

This Stage of Life? It’s Hard

Here’s Hayley Hengst’s (almost) accurate account of a woman’s life in her 30s. 


This stage of life. It’s hard, you guys.
I’m talking right now to you moms who are in your early to mid 30’s. You have kids. Likely two, three, maybe four of them. They probably range in age from newborns to 7 or 8 year-olds. (Give or take a few, on all of the above mentioned stats).
In this stage of life, you are dealing with exhaustion. Mental, physical, and emotional.
In this stage of life, you are dealing with teething. With ear infections. With stomach viruses. You are juggling nap schedules, and feeding schedules and soccer schedules. A million balls you are juggling, and you probably feel like you are dropping most of them.
In this stage of life, you are dealing with guilt. Guilt over having a career, and not spending enough time with your kids, or guilt over staying home with your kids, and not doing enough to contribute financially. Guilt over being too harsh with your kids. Too lenient. Guilt that your house is clean, but your kids were ignored, or guilt that you enjoyed your children all day, and now your husband is coming home to filth. Guilt.
In this stage of life, you are bombarded daily with a whole host of decisions. Some of them life-changing, some of them not. None of them with clear cut answers. Do I vaccinate my kids? Do I not? Do I send them to public school? Homeschool? Charter school? Do I continue to breastfeed? Do I blow the budget so that I can buy all organic? Do I force my child to apologize, even though the apology will be insincere? You don’t know the answers to ANYTHING, but you feel constant pressure to figure out EVERYTHING.
This stage of life is less and less about watching your friends get married and have babies, and more and more about standing by and witnessing your friends struggle in their marriage, and even get divorced. It’s a stage where you’ve got to put in the time and the effort and the work and the energy to make sure your OWN marriage stays healthy. And that’s good, but it’s hard, too. At this point, you or someone you know has experienced infertility. Miscarriages. Loss of a child.
It’s a stage where you are buying houses, selling houses, remodeling houses, packing up houses. And then you do it all again a few years later.
It’s a stage where your hormones are all of of whack. I mean, you’ve basically been pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding for the last ten years, right?
It’s a stage where you are struggling with identity. Is my entire identity “mommy”? Is there anything even left of me that isn’t about mothering? Is there something more glamorous I could have/should have done with my life? I LOOK like a mom now, don’t I? I totally do.
It’s a stage where you are on a constant quest for balance, and can never find it.
It’s a stage of life where you are overloaded. Constantly. You are overloaded with questions. Your children never stop asking them. You are overloaded with touch. Someone is constantly wanting to be held, holding on to you, hanging on you, touching you. You are overloaded with to-do’s. There is so much to do. It never ends. You are overloaded with worry. You are overloaded with THINGS. Your kids have way too many toys. You are overloaded with activities. You are overloaded with THOUGHTS (thoughts about how to not be so overloaded, perhaps?).
It’s hard.
So….what do you need to do to survive it all?
You need to ask for help.
You need to accept help when it’s given.
You need to not neglect your marriage. You need to put your kids down for bed early. Sit outside on the back porch with your husband, drink a glass of wine, and have a conversation.
You need girlfriends.
You need your mom.
You need older friends, who have been there and done that. Who can reassure you that you AREN’T screwing it all up as badly as you think you are.
You need to not feel bad about using your kids nap time every now and again to just do whatever the heck you want.
You need to lower your expectations….then probably lower them again.
You need to simplify. Simplify every single part of your life, as much as it can be simplified.
You need to learn how to say “no”.
You need to practice contentment
You need to be ok leaving your kids overnight, and going away somewhere. Anywhere.
You need to do something you enjoy, every day, even if it’s for no more than 15 minutes.
You need to pray. Girl, you need to pray.
You need a coffee you love, a wine you love, and a bubble bath that you love.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, you need to remember that…..
….this stage of life is beautiful, too. Like, really really beautiful. This is the stage of life where every single older person you ever meet tells you, “you’re going to miss this”. And you already know it’s true. It’s the stage where your kids love you more than they are EVER going to love you again, for the whole rest of your life. It’s the stage where they can fit their entire selves into your lap to snuggle…and they want to. It’s the stage where their biggest problems ARE ear infections and teething and stomach viruses, and you’re not having to deal yet with things like broken hearts or addiction or bullying. It’s the stage where you are learning to love your spouse in an entirely different….harder…..better…. way. The stage where you are learning together, being stretched together, shedding your selfishness together, and TRULY being made into “one”. It’s the stage where you get to see Christmas, Halloween and the Fourth of July through your kids eyes, and it’s so much more fun and magical than it would be just through your own eyes. It’s the stage where you get to watch your parents be grandparents…and they’re really good at it. It’s the stage of life filled with field trips, class parties, costumes, swim lessons, bubble baths, dance parties, loose teeth, and first steps. And those things are so fun. It’s the stage where you are young enough to have fun, and old enough to have obtained at least SOME wisdom. It’s SUCH a great stage.

But man, it’s hard.

Love in Spoonfuls

“I was a really picky eater as a child. Because I was obsessed by Popeye, my mum and aunts would put my food in a can to represent spinach and we’d hum the Popeye tune and then I’d happily eat it. ” ~ Paul O’Grady



As my toddler grows up, it becomes increasingly challenging to feed her. They say, the stage of picky eating may be overcome by giving your child a variety of healthy options. This way, she can be introduced to different tastes and textures. Nutrition is priority, but aesthetics and presentation can also play a vital role. Mealtimes are not only feeding times, but opportunities to stimulate the child’s senses as well.

Sounds like a big challenge! Good thing I’ve found some resource materials to help me plan a weekly menu. 

Enter Parenting’s Love in Spoonfuls 👏🏻


This cookbook features easy-to-follow recipes for your little tots. They also recommend other healthy alternatives for some ingredients that may be hard to find in stores. But what I particularly like about this book are the tidbits of nutritional trivia per recipe. Very helpful for newbie moms like me. 

Can’t wait to cook pasta stars in tomato sauce this weekend!

Rainy Day? Go Play!

“When Life gives you a rainy day, play in the puddles.” ~ Nikhil Saluja

‘Tis the season for rain, storms, and bed weathers. When the gloomy skies won’t allow you to go outside and play with puddles, here are some indoor playtime ideas for you and the lil toddler:


1. Take One? Action!

Take a video with your child and create your own movie. It can be a musical with your own song-and-dance routine, or a scene from your favorite movie. Or it can be an original comedy with your funny faces and favorite tricks. Let your child direct what happens in the next scene.

2. Artsy Fartsy

Get crazy with colors and washable paints. Bring out some papers, old magazines, safe scissors, and create your own masterpiece together. You can ask your child to draw their favorites, or create a new toy together. 

3. Obstacle Course

Channel your inner athlete and create a short obstacle course for your lil one. Get pillows and old boxes to make a unique track of mini-tunnels, fortress and walls. Cheer your toddler as he races to the finish line!

4. Once Upon a Time 

Get lost in all the Fairytales and read stories together. You can act out some characters and even mimic voices. You can even act out the story in a puppet show or a mini show, complete with makeshift costumes and props.

5. Masterchefs

Make pancakes, homemade pizza or bake cookies together. You can ask your little one for some helping hand to mix the dough or decorate the pastries with some ready ingredients at home. Enjoy your finished product together for some fun afternoon snacks.

6. Cuddle and play

Time for a ticklefest! Have some fun identifying body parts and discover which one is your funny bone. Then cuddle up with warm blankets for a nice afternoon nap.

The possibilities for playtime are endless! The important thing is to stir creativity and spend quality time with your toddler. Stay cool, keep dry, and have fun! 

To the Thirtysomething Mums

Beautiful piece by Littles Love and Sunshine


Dear fellow thirtysomething mum,

I see you in the supermarket, I see you at the playground. I see you at the school drop-off, I see you on the train and in the kid-friendly restaurants. Sometimes you see me too, and we exchange a little smile, an eye-roll, an “I get it” moment. More often you don’t see me – you are chasing your toddler down the aisles, watching your pre-schooler like a hawk as she climbs higher than you’d like, admonishing your kid for pinching her brother, reaching for a wet wipe, mopping up a spilled drink.

A few days ago I was at our public swimming pool, and if ever there was a stark metaphor for life as a mum in her 30s, the public swimming pool has to be it. There we all are – the stereotypes we swore we never would be – wading knee-deep in the kiddies’ pool, eyes locked on our littles – and genuinely delighted by their antics. Although we may be there in pairs or groups, our conversations are piecemeal, we cannot relax. Our focus is entirely on our children. We are tired. We are distracted. Our tankini-clad bodies are battle-scarred and utterly not what they used to be. 

Up on the hill are the shiny twentysomethings. They are flipping through magazines, chatting to their friends, Facebooking and selfie-snapping on their iPhones. They are rested. They are toned. They are magnificently oblivious to what is coming their way in the future. They don’t even see us. Or if they do, they swear they will never be us.
It’s okay. We were there once, and we know better than to be offended.

You see, the truth is, we thirtysomethings have let ourselves go. No. We have let our SELVES go. We have small children and for the next little while, our SELVES will not come first. We will be sleeping (or not) according to the timetables of our toddlers and/or newborns and/or a combination of the above. Our hair will not be washed as often as we’d like. Sit-ups? What sit-ups? We will be wiping noses and bottoms and messes from the walls. We will be cooking what feels like continuously from breakfast to supper time and not leaving the table until at least a forkful of peas have been eaten. We will spend hours a week kneeling by the side of the bath and then reading “just one more” bedtime story until we pass out on the edge of the toddler bed. We will be fluent in the language of Paw Patrol, Sofia the First, Peppa Peg and Doc McStuffins, and will use said characters shamelessly as threats, bribes, or as digital babysitters so we can dash upstairs to grab a shower. We will find ourselves negotiating with terrorists even though we swore we never would. We will answer to “Uppy” and “More” and “I don’t want to”, and we will say “What’s the magic word?” more times a day than we ever imagined possible. This is thirtysomething. It’s not easy – and that’s the truth.

But there is another truth. Up there on the hill, nestled subtly amongst the twentysomethings, are the fortysomethings. They too are rested. They too are toned. They are alone, quietly reading a book. They see us, and they are sympathetic but also a bit smug. They’ve been there and done it and they know it doesn’t last forever. Girls, fortysomething is the holy grail. Fortysomething is coming.
The decade we get our SELVES back.

Not that I want to wish away the time. Although thirtysomething so far is a bit of a blur, it’s also a kind of magic. Never again will I feel a squidgy cheek rest on my chest in the middle of the night. Little arms reaching up to me after a fall. The delicious baby smell and the little pairs of skinny jeans and sparkly trainers. The scooter rides and monkey bars and the bed time stories with a small person in the crook of each arm. Hearing “I want Mummy,” and “Please can you help me?” and “I want to huggle you.”

Yes, fortysomething is coming, and it’s going to be bliss. But don’t let it come too fast. If I’m to lose my self for a decade, motherhood sure is a delicious thing to lose it to.

Love, Catherine

Travel Bugs

“There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.” ~ Kate Douglas Wiggin

I’m on my last leg from an assignment in Eastern Europe to attend and assist delegates in a conference. Before that, I came from another weeklong midyear conference, out of town, from which I was the lead organizer for 500 delegates. Two weeks away from my family to fulfill my duties for work. 

It’s been difficult both physically and emotionally to be away for so long. Before when I was single, I would relish the thought of traveling to new places. I’ve always wanted to visit different destinations since I was a little girl, and my work has given me opportunities to see beautiful places in my country and around the world. Travel has always been a passion and a blessing. 

But having my husband and my daughter changed my priorities. If I can limit my trips now, I would gladly take that option. Otherwise, a lot of planning and preparation ensues. As a working mom, I not only have to ensure that every detail of the trip itinerary is complete, but also stock up on supplies for the household and endorse childcare to my family.

Here are some tips when a working mom goes away on a trip:

1. Make a Laundry List.

It helps to list down your daily routine so you can go it over with your husband, yaya or the Lolo/Lola on the things needed to be done and prepared everyday. This is what you do when your child wakes up, eats breakfast at this time, goes to her nap, playtime and bedtime routine. Schedules can be pinned to the ref or anywhere that can be easily seen, so the child’s routine will not be disrupted even while you’re away. 

At work, make sure to sit down with your superior to let him know of your trip details and scheduled return to work. Update him with your tasks and things to be settled so there are no loose ends before you leave.

2. Accomplish in Advance.

Prepping is very vital prior to your trip. Plan the menu and the meal plan for the week. If you can, cook the food the weekend prior and assign days for the week for each viand. Stock up on groceries (with a little extra for emergencies). Leave some money with someone you trust in case of an emergency purchase. List down names and contacts of your pediatrician, teacher and nearby baranggay/ police station.

Meetings can be set prior to your trip so you can settle concerns with customers without worries. Submit all deliverables in advance and assure clients that they can still contact your assistant or reliever while you’re out. 

3. Go online. 

You don’t have to spend so much to call and check up on home. While away, I use different tools to keep in touch: Viber, Skype, FB messenger. Before I left home, I tested all the apps on my device and my husband’s and brother’s to make sure they’re working. We aligned time zones too so we know which is the best time to call each other. Now I’m learning to use WorldSim too so I can call home and work for a minimal rate. 

In the office, I’ve turned also my auto-reply with my email address (not mobile phone) so customers and suppliers can still reach me for urgent matters. 

I am grateful for the support system I have right now–my spouse and my parents, along with yayas and household help–that have allowed me to take on trip-related responsibilities while they take care of the home front. I’m fortunate as well to have workmates who are willing to carry some workload while I’m gone. Without them, the delicate work-life-travel balance will not be possible. So, while it’s expensive, I make sure to buy everyone little tokens of appreciation from my trip. Goodwill always goes a long way.

And while you’re at it, enjoy the trip! Let go of the guilt and take in the scenery. Each adventure truly changes you, and you leave with new life lessons.

Thankful and excited to finally go home!