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. 

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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. 

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!

Forget-Me-Not

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” ~ Milan Kundera

Have you ever had an episode where you went to a room to get something, but when you go there, you completely forgot what you wanted to look for?

Or in a rush to go to the office, you forgot your laptop as soon as you stepped out of the parking lot, and had to go home again just to get it?

I’m guilty of all of these. Most of the time. 

Sometimes it’s funny, but it can get really frustrating. Especially when my forgetfulness takes up extra time to backtrack. Entering motherhood has given me more tasks, activities and to-do’s to remember than before. 

But I’ve learned how to manage though. Over the years, I’ve enlisted help from reminders and people to help me not be so forgetful:

  • I have extra charging cords, baby wipes, toiletries, clothes in the car trunk and in the office. Just in case I forget to bring them from home.
  • I have lists and reminders and alarms of my schedules in my phone and my email. Lists are actually therapeutic.
  • I align tasks with my husband, so we can share reminders with each other. I ask him sometimes to remind me about grocery lists, or passing by the gas station, and I do the same from him.
  • If there’s a trip, it helps to prepare things to bring the night before. We put these in the car or near the door, so we won’t forget anything the next morning when we’re moving in a rush.

Lately, scientists have researched about this particular state of forgetfulness for mothers, and clinical tests show that this may be the real deal. Read more about mumnesia here.

Sick Leave

“Life is difficult for everyone; everyone has bad days. Everyone has trouble in their life, because it doesn’t matter how rich you are: Sickness and trouble and worry and love, these things will mess with you at every level of life.” ~ Domhnall Gleeson

When I was single, I rarely had sick leaves. I still came to the office when I had fever or just sent some emails then had an early off for really bad flus. 


These days, when my daughter is sick, I have to leave everything behind (or at least compose a work around) so I can take a sick leave for her. Just like today. Cascades, presentations have to be postponed and delegated to the team. I have to exchange cars with my husband all the way to North Edsa because mine is coding for the day. A lot of sacrifices and juggling around, but I don’t complain. This is my choice, to prioritize my daughter and my family. Work comes second. I’m just thankful that my work allows me to send my output in emails and I have an understanding boss and dependable team.

For now, I’ll enjoy lunch with the husband and more quality time to take care of and be with my daughter. Thankful for the blessing of family and of work. 

Blinkist: Never Stop Learning

“A Smarter You in 15 minutes.” 

This was the promise from Blinkist, a new app I discovered online. The app features over 1000+ books, presented in 15-min snippets of the most important highlights, which you can enjoy through audio or text. From business/ marketing, to success / time management, even to relationships and parenting, the selections are really relevant and your library can be personalized to feature books that are interesting to the user.

Blinkist

From someone who collects books in the bookshelves and in my bedside table, never being able to finish them because of mommy duties and work responsibilities, this is a welcome breather. Now during my drive home, I can just choose a category and listen to new nuggets of wisdom, instead of feeling tired and frustrated with the rush hour traffic.

The app comes with a free trial only for 3-days. I’m thinking of extending my subscription for a year… a year of stress-free traffic and more learning time for this working mommy 🙂