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  • Life Lessons From A Mom With 10 Kids: 'It's Not Easy. But It's Like Having A Barkada!'

    She admit that they don't have a lot of material possessions. But they always have each other.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Life Lessons From A Mom With 10 Kids: 'It's Not Easy. But It's Like Having A Barkada!'
PHOTO BY courtesy of Macey Pabandero
  • Raising children is both difficult and demanding that many new parents decide upon themselves that having two or three kids is already more than they can handle. But if that number of kids is already a handful for some, for Macey Rae Pabandero, it’s a cinch. After all, she is raising 10 kids (yes, you read that right TEN) with her husband Marcelino.

    Macey came from a small family. An only child, she would often daydream of having two kids. “Even my relatives said they never thought I would have a lot of children because I was never patient with kids. They would say, ‘Mapagpatol ka sa mga bata,’ and ‘mantika ka matulog’,” Macey tells SmartParenting.com.ph in an email interview. “As an only child, I never had to do house chores so nobody thought I would end up having a big family.”

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    Macey with her husband Marcelino.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Macey Pabandero
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    It was also quite ironic because Macey and Marcelino are both in the medical field. She took up Medical Technology while her husband is a nursing graduate. “We should know better about family planning and birth control but we never thought of applying it in our own family. We did not plan to have a big family but we also did no efforts to stop multiplying,” the 45-year-old mom shares cheekily.

    Thankfully, all her children were born via normal delivery, which helped lessen the expenses. “The first two kids were born in private hospitals. My in-laws were there to help us with the hospital expenses until we discovered government hospitals that offer low cost to almost free births. After that, we didn’t need to worry about giving birth as much as we did in private hospitals,” Macey explains.

    The challenge of having ten kids

    Macey’s children are Beatrice, 24; Aegea, 22; Earl, 21; Clarease, 20; Alaura, 18, Denease, 16; Genesease, 14; Beally, 12; Geaven, 10; and Jedideah, 4.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Macey Pabandero
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    As the kids were growing up, Macey needed to stop working to take care of them. Not only did it make a dent on their finances, but it also made Macey feel inadequate. “Seeing my classmates and friends traveling, going abroad, buying a new condo, I thought of myself as ‘just a homemaker,’” Macy shares.

    But her husband provided the support she needed during these rough times. “He said, ‘You are not just a homemaker. Our children would not have grown up to be good people if you chose another path,” Macey shares.

    “We tend to spoil the little one more because he is the baby of the family. Although my eldest daughter had the best of everything.

    Still, raising 10 kids was not always smooth-sailing. Like any mom, Macey has experienced the fear of seeing her kids with minor injuries or being hospitalized. She’s also had to deal with petty quarrels, like whose turn is it to do the dishes, or borrowing each other’s clothes.

    But because Macey instilled respect early on, her kids learned to defer to the older siblings. “They would always listen to Ates and Kuyas. And maybe because they grew up to be polite and respectful kids, a single shush will already stop them,” she explains.

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    Parenting was also difficult in some ways. Macey’s eldest is 24 years old while her youngest is 4 years old. That’s a 20-year gap and she admits her parenting style has evolved over the years.

    “My husband and I tend to spoil the little one more because he is the baby of the family. He gave more light, more laughter to us. So we pamper him more, and we give in to his requests more,” she shares. “Although, my eldest daughter had the best of everything — milk, diapers, stroller, even a playpen — when she was a baby. That’s because everyone was so excited to have a little one in the family.”

    Looking after 10 kids also means that each child is fighting for her attention, but she ensures that nobody gets jealous. “For example, I notice one of them doesn’t get attention from grandparents or my husband, I will give that child more attention. Or if one of my children gets reprimanded more than the others, I will give them more kind and caring words,” she says. “When one child is too quiet or prefers to stay in the room, I will pull them out and play with them. Even now that some of my kids are already grown-ups, I still tickle them until they fall from the bed then I’ll pull them out of the bedroom, haha!”

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    Raising happy, smart, and successful kids

    Macey with her three youngest kids.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Macey Pabandero

    With 10 kids, we couldn’t help but ask whether Macey and her husband ever doubted themselves especially when it came to fulfilling the needs of their family.

    "We don’t have much. We don’t have a big house or a car or high-end gadgets but we always have each other."

    “Financial wise, I’m so blessed to have such great parents — both mine and my in-laws. They were and still very supportive of us. They love their grandchildren so much that they helped us in raising the kids,” Macey shares.

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    And even though they had to cut back on some expenses, for example giving birth in government hospitals and letting the kids attend public school, their children never felt that they lacked anything in life.

    “My kids are home-school-church-home kind of people. Maybe because they are satisfied with what they have at home. We don’t have much. We don’t have a big house or a car or high-end gadgets but we always have each other,” she shares.

    Macey, who had to stop working for more than eight years, got back on her feet and worked for a BPO company for five years. Now, she’s an online English teacher. Marcelino, on the other hand, has been working in their family business for years now.

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    Thanks to their parents’ hard work the older kids were able to pursue their passions. Aegea is completing her Master’s Degree in Psychology, while three more kids are finishing college — Beatrice is in her fourth year as an accountancy student, Jan Earl is a third-year hotel and restaurant management student, and Clarease is a fourth-year Tourism Student.

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    Macey admits that raising 10 children is not easy. But she’s thankful that she was blessed with loving, funny, smart, and respectful kids. “Having them is like having my own barkada,” she says. “I can say that it’s great that God gave me a big family. They’ve been my source of strength and joy.”

    “Seeing how wonderful my children are, I think I am doing a good job in guiding them. Although, we still have a long journey ahead of us and there will be bumps along the way,” Macey shares. “But so far, so good!”

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