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Mom Truth: Mothers Feel They Should Be Doing More, Even When They Already Do
PHOTO BY Dix Perez
  • Motherhood isn't a performance, but sometimes moms feel like they are on a stage from the "reviews" they get of how they parent. Why are you doing this? Why didn't you do that? People think they are helping with unsolicited advice, but they make a mom's job harder most of the time.

    So for these members of the Smart Parenting Mom Network 2020, they wish more moms will stop putting other mothers down. Instead, show understanding, spread inspiration, and be a fellow mom's advocate. 

    ANNA PATRICIA RODRIGUEZ-CARRANZA, 30

    “Parang ayoko ng superpower kasi masyadong madali maging mom kung ganon, so bawas yung precious moments and lessons na matututunan ko.”
    PHOTO BY Dix Perez
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    Then again, however, Anna Patricia wouldn’t mind having herself cloned. That way, she has several of her personas fulfill her multiple duties: wife, mother to two kids, teacher and graduate student who has been working on her thesis for the last four years.

    “Each clone can be designated one persona: a researcher-academic for my teaching and graduate studies self, another for the housework, and another for the childcare,” Anna Patricia said, laughing. “Sana all puwede!”

    In reality, Anna Patricia may have found her own formula for a balanced life. “Just go with the flow. When I was single, I used to have a checklist for every single task. It works if you're by yourself. But with a family, [every member] has his timeline as well. Sometimes the timelines don't even go according to plan kasi may outside factors pa. So for me, I learned to balance things by relaxing a bit.”

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    Patricia finds self-care in writing through her blog, @mamaatbp, which also serves as a creative outlet for her musings. She explained, “Bottling up negative feelings is not good, so somehow you have to let it out. Plus, in intentional writing, you have time to edit how you want to convey things. Kahit nega siya, pwede pa ring lumabas as positive.”

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    BALOT DEL ROSARIO, 35

    “For me, motherhood is really playing it by ear, and just doing the best for your child.”
    PHOTO BY Dix Perez
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    Having two kids has taught Balot that motherhood is an ever-evolving journey that brings a lot of surprises. Motherhood is also different for every woman, and that’s why moms shouldn’t be hard on themselves, she added.

    Balot's story, for instance, is marked with two miscarriages before having her son Santi, 4, and her daughter Lucia, 2. Balot suffers from antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APAS), an auto-immune disorder where “your body is rejecting your baby.”

    Balot, who is one of the admins of a Facebook group on APAS awareness, also recently ended a 15-year stint in the corporate world to run her own business and focus on her children. She explained, “I feel like they’re growing so fast and I’m missing out on a lot of moments while they’re young. Wala pa sila sa big school, so I want to spend with them. My mom also passed away last December 2019, so I realized that anyone can be taken away in an instant.”

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    The mom of two, who is a certified professional aromatherapist and a published author and writer, is a firm believer in self-care and has several tools for it, including writing, meditation and yoga, and essential oils.

    “As I told my friends before, you cannot give what you do not have. Parang, if you don’t feel well, you cannot take care of your family well. Looking after yourself is one way of being able to give your best din to other people.”

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    KATHLEEN FELIX SANTOS, 34

    “I recently got judged about something I allowed my kids to play with. That incident showed me that some people can be quick to judge.”
    PHOTO BY Dix Perez
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    When Kathleen decided to teach her 3-year-old fraternal twins, Audrey and Antonino, the concept of money, she thought of doing it in a fun way. She engaged them in a water sensory activity using coins and posted it on her Instagram account. Soon after, she received a direct message, telling her, “Kids should not play with dirty coins!”

    “The message surprised and hurt me,” Kathleen said. “I replied, hoping to clear things up because I was sure the person who sent the message just didn't know the whole story.”

    Kathleen responded by saying she used newly minted coins, and even UV sterilized them before letting the kids play. From then on, she added in jest, she considered writing a disclaimer to her activity posts involving coins. She also hoped to see more moms cheering one another by sending words of encouragement and support.

    When asked about the superpower she would like to have, the banker-turned-fulltime mom said she wanted the power that will let her absorb the pain when her kids are sick. She also wanted a superpower that will make her kids “do what I tell them to do the first time I ask them!”

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    Kathleen says she is still figuring out her formula for balance. “We’re still surviving day to day with ‘threenager’ twins!” She’s just happy to have even 10 minutes each day to catch up on her reading, a self-care tool that she’s found to be a great pick-me-up.

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    LAIRA PELESCO, 36

    “The last time I felt judged was when I started to express myself more through social media. No one, including me, knew that I was suffering from depression then.”
    PHOTO BY Dix Perez
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    Laira had the unfortunate experience of being criticized online by simply venting out her personal feelings. She wanted a release for her negative thoughts, and she felt it would encourage or help other moms to do the same. The experience has made her an advocate for moms who want to use social platforms to be heard. 

    Laira, who’s a devout Jehovah’s Witness like her husband, credits her faith for remaining true to her values and beliefs. It also helps her balance her life as a mom to two daughters Kei, 6, and Kendall, 3, and a part-time financial advisor for an insurance company.

    If given a chance to choose a superpower to possess, she’d want to have teleportation, “so I can go anywhere and do anything that I want in just a second, without feeling guilty because I am still there with my kids.”

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    SEEMA SAVOIE, 29

    “Is there really a formula [for a balanced life]? If there is one, somebody sign me up for a class!”
    PHOTO BY Dix Perez
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    Raising two kids is no joke. But Seema never fails to find humor in her daily struggles as a work-at-home mom to a 9-month-old, Clea, and a 5-year-old, Zacha, who has special needs. 

    “I think what's important is amid the joy and pressure of motherhood,” she said, “one should still not forget who you are, that is, still doing the things you used to love. It doesn't need to be grand or big, just the little things, like being updated on your favorite K-drama series, mini-dates with the husband, or retail therapy that is for you and not for your baby.”

    Seema understands how humor can be crucial, especially when people these days are quick to judge. On a recent trip to a department store with her two kids, Zacha had a complete meltdown when Seema and her husband did not buy a toy for him.

    “It was not his usual whining or mini-meltdown. It was a complete meltdown, screaming, rolling on the floor one. I felt helpless because we started getting attention, passersby would look. I don't blame them — the young me would've probably looked too. 

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    “But there was this lady who took a picture of us, and she probably thought, 'What kind of parents were we to let our kid cry it out.' But with my son, you don't get to explain why we can't buy things just because he wants them, he doesn't understand that. 

    “It's something we have to deal with for the rest of our lives. Even the simple things could trigger my son [to have a meltdown]. We've come to terms with that, we've embraced it. I wish other people would be more understanding.”

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    TRISHKA PUNO-SAMONTE, 27

    “I’m all for breastfeeding, but I wouldn’t think badly of a mom who decides to feed her child formula.”
    PHOTO BY Dix Perez
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    Trishka wished people would stop putting too much pressure on moms to breastfeed. She recalled, “I was shaking a bottle of formula for my daughter Georgia (who is now 3). My daughter was quite petite but already six months old then when I started to mix feed. I felt the heavy glare of one mom who was still breastfeeding her child at 2 years old.” 

    The working mom, who owns a clothing brand, believes mothers shouldn’t be too critical of one another. Instead, they should share inspiration and encourage each other through social media. 

    Trishka also wishes to have the unique ability to accomplish all her duties in merely one hour, so she’d have the rest of the day for lambing and playtime with her family. She said happily, “That’s the mommy superpower I’d like to possess!”

    Meantime, Trishka has learned to multitask 100 times better than her single self. She explained, “Formula for a balanced life for me is pushing yourself to become the best mom you could be, but at the same time knowing when you need to breathe and ask help from your partner. I believe it when they say you are a better partner, mom, person when you take care of yourself, too!”

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