Obligation for Working Mothers

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Mental Load

Working mothers who are the breadwinners are 3x more likely than fathers to bear the mental load.” ~ Bright Horizons Family Solutions

Here is an interesting article from Business Wire on Working Mothers. According to a latest study, women who are primary breadwinners are doing more at home than their male counterparts and even more than working mothers who are not providing their family’s primary financial support. Mothers with jobs that provide their family’s major source of income are also two and three times more likely to be managing the household and children’s schedules than breadwinning fathers, and more than 30 percent more likely than other working mothers to be taking care of everything from family finances to organizing family vacations.

Overburdened working mothers and modern husbands need an effective support system to fulfill their new dual, even multiple roles. By providing supports to working women, they can help open up mindshare that can contribute even more to the workplace. And by creating environments where men are encouraged and valued for taking advantage of work/life supports as well, workplaces can start to catch up with the culture this generation of working families demands.

Full article here.

Peace Be With You

Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy. You deserve delight.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen

For a milestone birthday as my thirtyfifth this year, I wanted a new experience. I was tired of the usual hotel buffets, restaurants, staycations. And I remembered that I have always wanted to try the Bed and Breakfast at Sonya’s Garden in Tagaytay. The out-of-town journey would not be too far to be tiring, yet it would be a welcome respite from the stressful city life.

The Gardens were tucked away in a small community in Cavite, away from the usual tourist hangouts of Tagaytay City. Upon inquiring, we learned that the fee for B&B is per person, and includes overnight stay, buffet dinner/lunch, and buffet breakfast. No internet, no TV, no aircon. Just pure nature at its best.

So off we go, the weekend before my actual birthday. And though the trip was tiring because of our stopovers, we arrived in a breathtaking lush of greens and a vast array of florals that took our breath away. The staff took us to our cottage, and offered another cottage for free since we were 5 in a group.

The cottage was homey, and the four poster bed was soft and dreamy (another long time wish fulfilled!). We quickly settled in, and took some couple time to enjoy their signature massage amidst the soothing sounds of raindrops. The tarragon tea was the perfect cap to a relaxing afternoon.

Staff were very warm and accommodating during our whole stay. During dinner, they serenaded me with a birthday song and cake, and we feasted on their angel hair pasta, breads and dips, fresh green salads, sweet and fresh dalandan juice, and another round of tarragon tea—all signature meals from Sonya. My heart and tummy were full and happy.

In the morning, there was a free tour of the greenhouse where they harvested the lettuce, herbs and flowers they serve to the guests. The caretaker was kind enough to explain the diiferent plants she took care of, and even gave us freebies to take home. I wasn’t the usual nature type, but this time I was truly enthralled by God’s beautiful creation.

The whole experience, though short and sweet, gave me the perfect birthday gift—solace from stress, and the chance to clear my mind from technology and clutter. I even finished a book, which I haven’t done in a long time. So thank you Sonya’s, for a very peaceful and happy birthday getaway. I’ll see you again soon. ☺

For more info, you can check out Sonya’s Garden’s website.

Old Traditions, New Beginnings

“Home is the nicest word there is.” ~ Laura Ingells Wilder

December flew by so fast. Everything was a flurry of construction, appliances delivery, and shopping for more fixtures. My christmas haven was home depot, and my gift from Santa was a queen sized bed. This is what it meant to be adulting… moving into our own place at last. We tried to squeeze in some holiday traditions too, just to provide some normalcy:

  • Starbucks planners (they did BOTO stickers this year!)
  • Christmas reunions with friends and family
  • Photos by the yuletide decors in malls
  • Shopping for new shoes
  • Simbang Gabi with bibingka and puto bumbong
  • MMFF film (new Jennylyn-Derek-Dan fan)
  • Spa and japanese brunch with the hubby
  • … and watching Disney on Ice! (New tradition this year!)

As we spend the holidays in our new home, I’m in the mood to create (fewer but more realistic amd doable) new years resolutions as well:

  • Family: Less gadgets so I can be more present in the moment.
  • Marriage: More patience. Choose thy battles.
  • Health: Walk more. No more chips.
  • Work: Be more on time for meetings.
  • Finances: Cut credit cards.

New Years bring new beginnings for us in our new home. Here’s to fresh starts for 2018!

Review: I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam

“When you arrange tiles to create a compelling mosaic, one with work, family, and your own sweet time too, life can be pretty good.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

I Know How She Does It

One of the biggest struggles that I have as a working mom is the juggling act: even if a lot is thrown our way–work, home, and self needs–we make sure that all areas are covered, without breaking anything fragile.

Yet, how do we find the time to accomplish all these?

Time usually runs on a different course for working moms. There always seems to be a shortage of minutes or hours to do everything! How do we squeeze all our to-do’s in just 24 hours a day?

In this book, Laura offers some best case practices on time management from actual working moms. In her study, she recommends looking at each week, as a whole mosaic of 168 hours, instead of just a day of 24 hour tiles. Admittedly, there are days that we may focus on one area more than the other, and that’s fine. We find time to put effort in other areas, other days of the week.

Based on her study, an average working mom works 46 hours a week, or 6.5 hours a day. That still leaves time for rest and time for family. In fact, even if working moms claim that we don’t have enough sleep because of our never ending task lists, Laura finds that the average (American) working mom still has about 6-7 hours sleep.

So how exactly can we manage 168 hours and still do meaningful work and spend meaningful time with our families and with ourselves?

Laura offers the following time management tips which she learned from her mosaic participants, and which I find personally useful:

On Work

Split Shifts

Working on shifts, and not straight 8-hour work time, allows us to be present for our kids when needed. Most moms either resume work after the kids are put to bed, or early morning before the rush to school. In these cases, they are able to leave work on time to pick kids from day care or be there during school presentations, and still churn out deliverables needed for work.

On Families

Be There When It Matters

Our children, and even our husband, demands our time and attention the most. So working moms need to build in the habit of using free time to give these much needed attention to the family. It can be as easy as a stroll or a talk in the evening with your husband to catch up, or a morning snuggle-and-cuddle with your kid before the morning rush. Most importantly, be there physically and mentally when it’s family time. No work, no social media, no distractions.

On Self

Use Travel Time

My work usually requires me to go on field visits or attend conferences abroad. Usually, I look forward to this time to attend to my self-needs, either to catch up on blog writing or a book or even a few more hours of sleep. Even during drive time, I found useful audiobooks to keep me company so my mind can still learn through traffic. Nurturing your learning and developing your passions is also important, and must be given their own time.

 

Time Management is composed of planning and priorities. Knowing what is important helps you schedule and move tiles around those activities or those goals. Yet learning how much time you actually have, and what you can do meaningfully with that time, helps for better planning. What matters most, to working moms, is being able to maximize what we have, so we can maximize also what we can give to our work, to our families, and also to ourselves.

 

Tired

“Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.” ~ Tina Fey


There are weeks that are busy, and then there are weeks that are crazy busy. This was one of them.

Daughter had a big arts and crafts project due this week, so we had to buy scrapbook, printer ink, and design papers over the weekend, then do all-nighters just to finish cutting and pasting each picture page. This was on top of her quarterly reviews, of which we also had to review for every night.

This week also meant brand presentations for work, as well as financial reviews. We also launched our new drugstore campaign going live this week at Bicol. So lots more emails, meetings and follow ups were scheduled too.

Condo was scheduled for kitchen backsplash tiling this week, as well as cabinet and grill sizing and consultation. So I had to buy all materials and cleaning equipment in preparation for the construction ahead.

Husband, on the meantime, was scheduled for a store opening out of town, which meant that he was away for most of the craziness. It was me, myself and I left to do the dirty job.

Naturally, this took a toll on my already overworked body, and I had to work despite my flu in order to do all of the above. 

Sometimes, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do. Being tired does not even begin to describe how I feel about all this flurry. I’m reminded of the juggling act we all have to play everyday as working mothers, and the reminder seems even more resonant this week with all that is happening. 

What does it mean to be really tired? This mom was able to capture mommies “being tired“, so others would start to understand. 

Because more than saying, “this too shall pass”, all we need is a kindred soul saying yes, we acknowledge that being tired is part of the package, and we do understand. 

Traffic Conflict

“Traffic is only one of the side effects of growth.” ~ Roy Barnes


Most people say that if you can drive in Manila, then you can drive anywhere in the world. The traffic system in the city has become notorious, especially in the recent months, when the long hours on the road became the subject of memes, sarcastic tweets, and random rants of commuters and drivers alike. 

Yes, manila traffic is horrible. It gets me cranky and tired, and it takes away precious time I could have spent at work or with family. So what’s a working mom to do? Here’s my survival plan to still be productive while stuck in a standstill:

Listen to Audiobooks.

I’m currently subscribed to Blinkist, an app which summarizes books and captures the highlights in blinks or mini-chapters. Wide range of topics include business, time management, relationships, even parenting tips. This way, you can still enjoy the take away messages in just minutes. Plus factor is their audiobook version, so you can plug this in and listen to a “storyteller” read through the blinks while navigating traffic. 

Clean the Clutter.

There’s always some old receipt or expired item left in the car. So what better way to practice konmari than by letting go of these articles during a traffic stop? Always bring a handy bag or plastic you can use to store these items, then throw it all away once you reach your destination. Cleaning the car is also clearing your mind.

Call the Clients. 

This I will only advise using hands-free, speakerphone calls. I usually sneak in follow-up calls to clients, suppliers or office assistants for quick reminders on tasks to do. Sometimes I also call home to check on my daughter or my husband, who I was not able to bond with more as I leave earlier to go to the office. Quick calls lessen the checklist, and still make up for productive time while on the road. Don’t do this while in moving traffic. 

Retouch the Makeup.

Quick dab of lipstick or powder, and we’re good to go. When I have more time, I keep tweezers also in the car so I can clean up my brows as well. 

Run through the Day.

When there’s nothing to do, the mind can easily wander aimlessly to all directions. I usually use this time to think about tasks I have to do for the day, or even, for the week. This can even include grocery lists, personal errand reminders, or people I have to call back. The mental checklist helps me remember what I have to do both at home and the office, so that I can hit the ground running already as soon as I get to my destination. 

Pray the Rosary.

It only takes about 15 minutes, and you can pray for a miracle to power through the traffic. Otherwise, you can also use the quiet time to meditate and clear your mind.

There are many other ways to use the traffic time wisely. What matters is that we stay patient and stay positive, and that we can rise above the seemingly useless situation to still be productive, working moms.