• Success After Motherhood: How Being a Mom Helped Me Find My Passion

    Here's proof that motherhood can become the catalyst to your success.
    by Ines Bautista-Yao .
  • Society sees motherhood as the end of your life as you know it: no more late-night partying, no more girls’ nights out, no more shopping sprees (well, for you anyway -- shopping sprees for your kids are another story), and no more time for yourself and your passions. These five moms prove that motherhood wasn’t like that for them at all. In fact, having kids pushed them to follow their hearts and their joys, leading them to win at life. 

    AURORA M. SUAREZ, Certified life coach

    All her life, Aurora was passionate about the work she was doing: as the publisher of Summit Media, then the COO of an e-commerce company, helping start a social enterprise, then working as Marketing Director and Purchasing Director for National Book Store. “One principle has always guided me, which is:  Do what you love and the money will follow,” she shares. “Whether I became a mom or not, this would still be how I would make my decisions as it has proven to be true throughout my entire career.” 

    When she had her daughter, however, her priorities shifted because she now had to focus on someone other than herself. “For me, the biggest surprise was how much joy I would get from being a mom,” she says. “Having experienced that kind of happiness and love made me want to experience that throughout my day, not just in the moments when I would get home from work and be greeted by exuberant hugs, or on the weekends when we would go for fun little adventures, or in the quiet times when I would watch her sleep and be in awe that she was my daughter.” 

    Living from the heart 
    It was the joy Aurora experienced with her daughter that encouraged her to become a certified life coach. She wanted to help others find joy in their lives as well. A recent graduate of the Courageous Living Coach Certification, Aurora has a client base that is steadily growing. Besides coaching women one-on-one, she also speaks at different workshops, retreats, and organizations. 

    Although leaving the corporate world to help bring balance and peace to other people’s lives was a big decision for Aurora, she suggests not making a giant leap first. “Don’t go about life with the goal of finding your passion and eventual success,” she suggests. “Just find a way to incorporate more love and joy into your day and make a choice to lean into that by doing more of what you love. This will either lead you to finding your passion or at the very least, it will make you happier because you’re making more joyful choices.” If you’re worried about making mistakes, Aurora says not to stress over it.

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    “There are no mistakes. Even if you fail or take a so-called detour, you can learn something from the experience that will shape your decisions moving forward.” 

    The mommy life  
    Prior to being a mom, Aurora would live in heels and spend long hours in the office. “Things would be definitely different if I weren’t a mom,” she muses. “Maybe I’d be getting more sleep. Or maybe I would still be wearing my chic stilettos. I would probably still be pulling 10-hour work days. That life was fine, filled with a lot of excitement and fulfillment as well. But knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t exchange my sleep-deprived, flats-wearing self for the chic woman I used to be.” 

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    PEACHY MARASIGAN, Owner of My Left Hand Creative Solutions and Bubblewrap, and Financial Advisor for Sun Life Financial 

    Peachy wasn’t always a super-entrepreneur. She started out in the corporate world as an employee. But when she went home one night and her son was crying because he didn’t want to be with her and preferred being with his yaya, Peachy decided a drastic change needed to take place. 

    Her many passions
    She resigned and put up her graphic design company, My Left Hand Creative Solutions. “I enjoy creating advertising designs for different companies and offering different marketing and design solutions for their products and services,” she says. Later on, she wanted to create something for moms and kids. “Thus my web store Bubblewrap was born,” she shares. 

    “From designing bag organizers, my collection grew into car organizers, travel bags, money and bill organizers to baby bags and multi-purpose bags. I have distributors based in Australia, the U.S., and Brunei, all carrying the Bubblewrap brand through my online store www.bubblewrapphilippines.com.” 

    When her kids grew older, Peachy added one more venture to her already fruitful career. “I am a financial advisor for Sun Life Financial,” she explains. “I love helping people discover the many ways they can create money sources or plan for their future needs because these were things that were not taught to me growing up, but I found a necessity to learn especially when you have children that depend on you and your income.” 

    Balancing work and kids
    Because Peachy is in control of her own time, she can make sure she spends it with her children. She says, “I've always been present in almost all of my kids' school activities or extracurricular activities. I am able to manage my schedules better now doing all my passions without sacrificing quality time with my kids.” She works while the kids are in school or asleep, and if it’s summer vacation, she takes them along with her on client calls and they shop or have a snack in between meetings.  
    “If I didn't have kids, I would probably choose careers that would involve a lot of traveling or late nights, as my background was in advertising and events during my single days.

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    "Being a mom has defined what my priorities are and has given me a clearer direction in my career path.” 

    Passion and hard work
    Once you have identified what it is you’re passionate about, the real work begins. “First, know what your strengths are and identify your weaknesses,” Peachy suggests. “Second, assess where you need to further expand your learnings. Maybe take special courses to enhance the service or improve the products you want to offer people. Every endeavor entails risk, and based on what I teach to families when making investment decisions, getting into business is a high risk you must be willing to take. So after doing the necessary research and study of the business you want to explore, go for it!” 

    Peachy warns that if you are half-hearted about something, you won’t have the drive to see it through when things get tough. She says, “Unless you are passionate about your chosen path, taking risks and making sacrifices may only cause you heartaches in the end. Success is sweeter when you are doing what you love and you are doing it for the people you love.” 

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    JANICE VILLANUEVA, Founder of Mommy Mundo  

    When Janice was young, she wanted to work in television or advertising. This dream died when she realized she didn’t want to spend hours in a studio away from her future children. She knew she wanted to be involved in her children’s lives, but she did not foresee becoming the founder of Mommy Mundo, one of the most popular resources for Filipina moms.

    “I never thought motherhood would be so intertwined with my life,” she shares. “Motherhood ended what could have been a career in TV production, and it also directed my life to a purposeful journey of being totally involved in my children, in being the best mom I could be, in connecting with fellow moms, learning about their needs, wants, and dreams, and working for them and with them, to make the world a better place for moms.” 

    Motherhood opened doors 
    Becoming a mom “truly opened the floodgates of inspiration and passion in me,” says Janice. Because she didn’t find what she was looking for when she had first become a mom 19 years ago, she decided to address those needs herself. “I figured other moms would have the same needs,” she explains. “And I decided to create the resources myself to make them available to more moms. From there, I looked for like-minded moms to partner with and together, we started organizing talks and seminars for moms, starting with breastfeeding support, then parenting, baby care, and more. Together with my cousin Candy, I also started designing and manufacturing our line of breastfeeding clothes called Mommy Matters.” 

    Mommy Mundo came about because of her personal mommy black book where she would jot down names and numbers of suppliers, classes, shops, and so on. Since friends would keep asking her for info and numbers, she figured putting them all together would be very helpful for Filipina moms. Now her business — through her website, magazine, workshops, expo bazaars and many more — has grown even beyond Janice’s dreams. 

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    “As they say, happy moms make happy homes, or you can only give love that you have.”

    "I think it's important for moms to practice mindfulness and really try to live with greater awareness and intent about the choices we make, while nurturing yourself, whether in small or big ways—in order for us to stay happy, balanced," says Janice.

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    FRANCES A. SALES, mommy blogger at TopazHorizon.com

    Before Frances became a mom, she was the editor-in-chief of OK! Magazine for six years. “It was a dream job,” she shares. “Something on my bucket list, a career I thoroughly enjoyed.” When she became a mother, however, she says, “I just wanted to spend more time with my kids. I had kids one after another and I found I wasn't very good at balancing motherhood and being an editor-in-chief of a publication. I admire other women who can do the work-life balance. Apparently, I couldn't do it because I'm the sort of person who has intense focus on just one thing. I'm not a multi-tasker! It was either my kids or my work so I had to retire from magazines.”  

    The blogging life
    Though she still did freelance work, what thrived was her parenting blog, TopazHorizon.com. “Through my blog, I was beginning to find more meaning in helping other moms, especially working mothers,” she enthuses.

    “To my surprise, when I focused on my children and prioritized my relationship with my husband and kids, that's when my identity, and subsequently my career, was defined. 

    “Motherhood pointed me to a new path where my interests shifted from just mothering my kids to issues that concern women, especially mothers. I now give talks to women on how to use social media to launch their careers. I do workshops for women on how to care for themselves. I also use my blog as my platform to talk about motherhood and how we can navigate it with grace and grit. I earn much more now, too!” 


    The focus motherhood brings
    Frances says when you focus on your family and make them the center of all your decision-making, everything will flow from there. She suggests asking yourself, “Does this job/project/advocacy/sideline work well with my schedule as a mommy? Will this benefit us all? Will it take away too much time from my kids? Will this be something my family will be proud of?” When you ask yourself these questions, you “zero in on what matters in your life, you don't make compromises, and you know that you're always doing the right thing,” she says. “Then it's easy to be passionate about it, whatever it is! And when you're pouring passion into anything, whether it's a blog, a small business, or a career, it will be a success!”.

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    CHRISSIE M. PERIAAuthor and two-time winner of the Filipino Readers' Choice Awards 

    Writing has always been a part of Chrissie’s life. In school, she always found herself at publication offices or reading literary works. Her first job, however, distracted her from literary success. “I wrote advertising copy for work and food blogged when I had free time. But writing fiction was still there, hovering at the back of my mind, waiting for a chance to make a comeback,” she recalls. 

    When she became a mom, she realized it was time to focus on what mattered to her. “Motherhood taught me that we need to make things happen,” she says. “Time management is tough when you're trying to raise a child, mind the house, and work. It makes you value things more, so you grab every chance to make it happen. If I weren’t a mom, I'd probably still be hunched over my office desk, writing for work, but not making time for my own writing.” 

    The push and the opportunity
    Chrissie got the chance to focus on writing books when she joined Mina V. Esguerra’s Author at Once and #romanceclass workshops. She wrote her first book, a contemporary romance entitled All’s Fair in Blog and War which went on to win the 2014 Filipino Reader’s Choice Awards for Romance in English. Her next book, The Kitchen When it Sizzles won the same award the year after.  “After that, there was no turning back,” Chrissie shares. “Like with most things, it's a struggle juggling writing with work and family, but this time, I've promised myself that I'm not letting go. I'm giving myself room to do things slowly, but I'm not allowed to stop.”

    "I used to wait for the perfect time and the inspiration to come, but nothing ever happened. Now I take whatever the universe hands me and little by little, I make progress.”


    How to keep going
    When you’re a mom, you realize you can’t control your time because there are demands from little ones (and not so little ones) all the time. Because of this, Chrissie has to push harder. “Now that I know I don't control my time, I strive to be more productive,” she says. “I also take happiness in the little things. If I can't finish a whole chapter, at least I try writing a few paragraphs. I tell myself it's okay, as long as things get done." 

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