I’m a working mom. I work hard and spend a lot of time at the office, traveling for work and trying to excel at work. I also have no relatives here in Manila. Ergo, if I get asked “Who watches over your child while you’re at work?” A constant question, by the way. I answer “The yaya.” (yaya = nanny)
*insert judgmental look or statement here:_______________.
I also try to be as hand on as I can and communicate with my daughter regularly throughout the day because again, I am always away at work. We use our smart phones and chat constantly everyday.
I also do not have a tutor. I tutor my child as soon as I get home after a day at work. There are days that I can’t make it on time and I tutor her by remote, through chat.
Being connected to my daughter and husband is such an important thing to me. I cannot be with them all the time and I know I can’t make up for it but I try my best to answer and reply right away when they need me. Yes, I’m not an ideal mother but no one is, really. I can’t give a lot of motherhood advice or be an expert because I really just try to make most out of everyday with my daughter and this is what works for us.
I don’t try to be a perfect or best mom, I just want to be the mom who tries her best.
Yesterday, I discovered the SMART Family Ties Plan and it’s exactly what I need. The plan allows me to have postpaid plan at such a reasonable price of PhP900 or PhP1800 with 3 handsets, Unli call and text to family members, Unli text to SMART, 200 All Net Text, 100MB of data per member. Unli call for homework and instructions for what type of paper she needs for her school projects.
When I get the plan, I plan to give one to our nanny for work use a.k.a the daily question I get and dread at around 4:00 p.m. “Ate, ano lulutuin ko pang hapunan?” (What will I cook for dinner?) and will alleviate the stressful “Hindi po ako maka reply, wala ako load.”( I couldn’t reply, I don’t have load). After all, our nanny is part of our family.
To know more about the SMART Family Ties Plan:
Don’t stop trying to keep your family together. You don’t have to be the perfect mom, no one is. Be the mom who just keeps on trying her best. It’s what matters to those who matter.
“Mom, I need you to take care of something for me.”was a chat message I got from my 10 year old daughter. This is rare. She’s a very independent girl and asks for help in schoolwork but will never full endorse something for me to handle.
“I was minding my own business doing my class activity and one of my classmates shouted and asked who was thedarkest in class. Another one shouted my name and they all laughed and looked at me. They pointed at me.”
“There is nothing wrong with having dark skin color, luv. Mommy is dark too.” I say.
My daughter is a morena. I love her skin color. She has a nice even caramel skin from top to bottom. Evenly baked caramel skin. It’s beautiful. She’s a friendly, funny, smart and polite girl with a beautiful smile.
“I know but they humiliated me and it was so malicious.” Then she starts crying. “I was so embarrassed. Dark people are cool and all but they were laughing at me and I wasn’t even doing anything, just my project!”
As a mother, this made me angry. Really angry. Momzilla from hell angry. My first instinct would be to run home and give her a hug but it wasn’t possible since I was still at my work area. It is upsetting to hear your daughter cry and even more upsetting to hear her angry. It broke my heart. The issue was not about skin color anymore. It’s was about bullying, labels, public humiliation and hurting the feelings of others.
All I could do was listen to her and just let her talk. Get it out of her system. All I could say was to tell her:
To be the bigger person and let it go.
It’s okay to be angry and feel bad because what they did hurt. It hurt but what they said was not wrong or false, it was how it was said/ done.
Don’t dwell and keep on thinking about what happened. I asked her to draw to keep her mind off it.
I asked her if the teacher did anything and she said, yes. The teacher spoke to the group about how it’s wrong to label people and equality and made them apologize. It made her feel better but she was still feeling a bit raw. I’m thankful the teacher tried to manage it from her end. I gave my daughter a hug when I got home from work.
Why is skin color discrimination so rampant here in the Philippines?
It started in the Spanish period wherein there was a perception that the wealthier people were fair skinned Caucasians. The darker skinned Filipino was considered the working class, the poor. It’s 2014 and we are still segregated by skin color. People percieve the darker skinned as less attractive and there is still a perception that they are poorer. It’s sad.
Growing up, I was teased and mocked about my skin color. I was athletic and was always under the sun. I was called negra, ulikba, indio, nognog (hard to translate all this but these were all labels to call a dark skinned person) not just by friends but also family. Just like my daughter, it hurt sometimes not because I was dark but because it was said maliciously and to mock. My mother called me Black Beauty because of my skin color and in hindsight, I hope she said it to make it feel better. I mean she compared me to a horse but still, I knew she had good intentions.
Eventually, I realized I could outswim all of them in the pool so I stopped feeling bad about about my skin color and treated it as a badge of honor.
The Filipinos obsession over fairer skin dominates sales and media. People use a range of products to be fairer. From the more organic papaya soap to scary Intravenous glutathione shots, to chemical skin peeling that really makes my skin crawl. Human skin is not meant to peel and drop off in huge slabs like shedding snakes, people!
Yet, we can still be as ignorant about parity in terms of skin color and looks. Yet we are too ignorant to see that Filipinos come in 50 shades of brown. That diversity is what makes us special. That mix of different races is what makes Filipinos beautiful.
Bullying is another story.
Sometimes these kids do not realize they do hurt people. They learn from school, their parents, nannies, media and even on the internet. They absorb data and learnings like sponges. They also have to be guided. Please observe how your children interact with others and the things they say sometimes. Ask them questions and opinions about things if you can’t be around all the time. Check out what they love, laugh at, their jokes as well. Be able to discern if your child has the tendency to bully. Observe and take off your mommy goggles* once in a while.
*Mommy Goggles:Mom equivalent of rose tinted glasses; thinks and sees that her child can do no wrong.
Reprimand when needed. Kids can be kids but these kids grow up to be adults as well. When will you expect them to learn?
That could have been me flying in a perfect swan dive in the air. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to show for my spectacular dive and I still blame Mark to this day.
A couple of years ago, we went to Boracay and wanted to try leaping of this cliff called Ariel’s Point. The pictures showed a group tour with food and lots of laughing, drinking and jumping off. I don’t know what happened but the boat we rode towards this place was empty..apart from us. It was just me and Mark. Where was the group tour, the laughing and singing? Anyway, it seemed we had a miscommunication with the boatman and when we said “cliff diving” he brought us to Mr.Lee’s Island (not real name of place because we seriously do not know). They could have mugged us and thrown us off the boat and no one would ever find us.
Mr.Lee’s island had a cliff diving area as well. Thus, the miscommunication. We were the only people on Mr.Lee’s Island except for the boatmen and that was a bit strange. They brought us up and there was a seafood lunch served. *crick* *crick* It was seriously just me and Mark which made us quite uneasy until we met Mr.Lee, the Korean owner. They opened the week before and we were one of the first guest.
They showed us the diving board towards the sea which was around 25 feet high. After lunch, we wanted to try out the diving board. Correction: I wanted to try the board. Up I went and unto the ramp up high. Mark and the boatmen were excited. Camera was ready.
I asked the fisherman on a boat at the bottom. He was there to assist divers “Gaano ka lalim ang tubig sa baba?” (How deep is the water?)
“Mga 12 feet po.” (12 feet)
“Okay!”So I looked at Mark and said “Ready?”He nods.
And I gave the best swan dive I could muster. My swim coaches would have been proud. My arms stretched out and I soared, back arched, feet together, toes pointed, head proudly up. I struggled to move my arms forward for the entry because of the wind velocity but did it. I landed perfectly on the water and heard a snap upon impact.
My bikini top broke. Of all the dumb luck..but I was too excited about my dive.
I held my top up before emerging from the water and gave a big smile and waved. I thought they would be cheering and happy. All I saw were faces in shock. Mark was in shock, the boatman was in shock, Mr.Lee was in shock and the man on the boat dove in to check on me. They just stared. Then I wondered if I flashed my boobies to all the fishermen before landing in the water but no, because then, I would have changed his name to Lucky Mr.Lee.
They thought I was going to do a countdown or not push through with the dive so they were all caught unaware. Mark had this “You’re crazy.” look on his face. He said he was in shock and had no picture of my epic dive. No picture means it did not happen. I only have memories of my epic dive. I was so sad. Mark, now my husband still owes me big time. I want to do it again but we don’t know how to get back to Mr.Lee’s Island or know the name of the place. So, this is basically like some unreal dream sequence I’m talking about because again, there was no picture! Grrrrrr!!!
Then our boat got stranded on our way home but that’s another long story but it did happen because I have a video to prove it! :