Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Relationship

Why Our Kids Are Not Our Priority

It wasn’t always that way, just so you know.

Before our eldest son was born, my husband and I were the best of friends. While we did almost everything together, we still had our own space so that strengthened our friendship, I guess. What I love the most about us then was how we could talk about literally anything. Every day, there was something we talked about – we shared our thoughts on it, we compared what we knew about it, we argued when we had different opinions, and at the end of the day, we would come to a conclusion on what we talked about.

Sure you might think that sounded serious, but when I said we could talk about literally anything, I really do mean anything. I remember once how we spent several hours arguing if a snail without its shell is naked or homeless.

When our son was born, things sort of took a turn.

It was fine for the first couple of weeks because I just got back from the hospital and I had help for the first few days I was home. Then slowly the truth of how we’re parents now started to dawn on us. I find myself constantly pushing myself to keep up with my son’s needs in between juggling housework. My husband felt the sudden importance of earning because now we got extra things to pay for for our son.

Along the way, our eyes were set only on our son.

Every single thing revolved around him. Me taking a shower? It had to be while he was asleep. My husband needed to go out and get some bread and eggs? It had to be after my son was fed and burped so I could take a minute of sleep while he slept. Our sex life? Had to be scheduled when our son was in his deep sleep.

It was okay, I guess, for us to go through all that because we thought that’s how our lives were going to be from that moment on. I mean, hey, after all, we have a son now. We can’t exactly go out whenever we want anymore, right?

Wrong.

Turned out making our son’s (and soon our other kids’) needs as our priority was one of the most damaging things that ever happened in our relationship.

From the best of friends, we tried so hard to be the best parents. To be the best parents, we believe in being attentive to our kids, attending to all their rational needs, we believe in being there for them.

19437219_10155454958974197_4875216214273405108_n.jpg

What we forgot to do was being attentive to each other. We forgot to attend to our rational needs. We forgot to be there for each other.

In the chaos and pressure of looking after our kids, we forgot to look at each other.

Our sights were dead set on our kids, we neglected each other. Our attention was so focused on our kids, we lost track of each other’s lives. Our thoughts, passion, and hope were directed to our kids, we lost our own way to each other’s mind and heart.

Being parents to two kids (then) was so crazy for us that at one point, I realized that we have not touched each other for almost a month. I’m not talking about sexual caresses or romantic cuddling; the actual human physical contact was gone between us and it was only after a month I realized it.

I was watching the TV while our kids were in bed and my husband fell asleep on the couch next to me. I turned to look at him and I realized how much I miss the man who was sleeping right next to me. I forgot how warm his hands were, I forgot how he looked when he smiled, I forgot how safe I felt when he hugged me. As much as I wanted to lie down on his chest while he slept, I was more taken aback by how I was afraid he might react. It literally felt as if I were to lie down on a stranger’s chest on the subway.

The next morning I told my husband how I felt when he was asleep on the couch last night and while I was ready to hear him say he was too tired from working, I didn’t expect him to look at me under hooded eyes and said he felt the same way too. To be honest, I would’ve preferred to hear him raise his voice complaining that I didn’t understand his workload than it was to hear his quiet voice telling me I felt like a stranger to him too.

That very weekend, we decided we needed a break from our kids.

I battled guilt and shame for wanting time alone with my husband. I came up with hundreds of scenarios to tell my mother she needed to watch over the kids while my husband and I had to attend “a function.” I packed and repacked our kids things before we dropped them at my mom’s place. I almost told my husband we should skip going out because I was feeling too guilty about leaving my kids behind for no apparent reason.

But that’s just the thing. We had a strong reason to go out.

We were falling apart.

We thought having kids would bring us closer, but all it ever did was sent us down different paths, further and further away from each other each day. We had to do something before we were too far away from each other and could not see a way back home.

Our first date night felt extremely awkward. We both rushed through dinner, quickly finished our drinks, and went for a quick stroll, each tried to discreetly check our watches. We talked, yes. But it wasn’t like any of our talks before. It felt scripted, it felt forced. When we finally picked up our kids from my mom’s, I swear to God I heard my husband sighed a tiny relief.

However, the next day, my husband came and hugged me around the waist while I was cleaning up after our breakfast.

He told me he actually had a nice night and he felt bad for feeling rushed and wanting to be home quick. I told him I felt the same way and he told me we should go out again that weekend.

Our second date was definitely more relaxed. We took our time finishing our meals, we enjoyed our drinks, and after our stroll, we even stopped for some coffee. And we held hands while we were drinking coffee.

I can’t tell you how much I felt like myself again. That night on the way home, I cried and told him how I miss him and how I wish we could be like how we were before. I hated leaving our kids at my mom’s, but I hated it more that I feel like I don’t have my husband with me anymore. My husband called my mom and said we were not picking our kids up that night and we would be there first thing the next day. To my surprise, my mother didn’t make any fuss and said it was getting rather late and she hated to wake the kids up.

With tears and snot running down my face, I realized that it was late. I forgot to look at my watch during our date and I didn’t feel the hours passed at all. Just the way it was when it was just the two of us before kids.

Ever since that night, we realized how making our kids’ needs our only priority was damaging to the both of us.

Choosing to spend time with each other doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to our kids. Having some alone time doesn’t mean we don’t need to take care of our kids. Putting ourselves before our kids doesn’t mean we’re selfish.

And being able to have regular date nights ever since then actually made us better parents. We’re not stressful when we’re facing challenges with our kids, we’re not losing our temper as often as we did before, we could laugh more, we talk better to our kids, and our kids somehow behave better too.

We can really see how they are happy when my husband and I are truly happy.

I used to feel guilty and embarrassed for wanting time for my husband and I. I used to feel that I shouldn’t feel too free anymore now that I’m a mother. I used to think people would think I’m a bad mother if I want to go out for a movie with my husband.

Not anymore.

I feel free to be who I am not because I’m in denial I’m a mother and I want none of the motherly restraints.

I am free to be who I am because I know by taking care of our happiness and priorities first, I can definitely be a better mother to our kids.

 

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Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Relationship

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My birthday is coming up soon and I don’t think I have felt so jaded before.

Granted, I have never truly been big on birthdays (except perhaps my husband’s), but I did somehow look forward to it. This time around, I don’t even feel like I want to know it’s my birthday.

For one, I have not been feeling myself because it’s been ages since I last wrote for myself. As a matter of fact, I just realized that my last post on this blog was a year ago; just a few days before my birthday – just as how I’m writing this right now. There is nothing more I love in this world than writing and reading, but as I said, I have not been writing for myself for ages. It’s always been about work, it’s always been for other people.

Never have I realized how important it is to write for myself. I thought that as long as I’m writing something, I would be happy because I’m still writing.

You’ve heard how people say that if you love someone, you would always try to find the time for them no matter how busy you are. I guess that’s no different than when it comes to doing the things you love. If you really love it, you would find the time to do it.

Thing is, it seems almost impossible for me to find the right time for me to write. A friend who is also a mentor told me that I should just write each day, even if it’s just one paragraph each day. I tried, but it didn’t feel like writing. I couldn’t just write one paragraph. When I write, I want to be writing for a long time. But I know that to be writing for a long time, I need time.

And I just can’t seem to find that.

My kids are definitely more independent now than they were a year ago. But somehow, things seems more hectic and chaotic. There’s so much I want to do, but there’s just not enough time to do it. When I finally did find the time, all I want to do is rest, and during the times I did get my rest from my chores and work, I felt guilty for resting.

I feel like I’m burning out sometimes. I feel like I’ve been stretched to my limits even though I know in my heart I’m nowhere near my limits. I feel like my soul is tired and it’s starting to take a toll on how I see everything.

I understand now what Bilbo means when he feels like “butter scraped over too much bread.”

I don’t know.

Maybe I just need a really long vacation.

Posted in Home Made, Motherhood

Chocolate Chip Cookies Craze

I don’t know about you, but I just love chocolate chip cookies. I could really eat them every single day.

When I was younger, while I didn’t have any romantic idea about having the dream wedding or a happy family, I’ve always known that if I ever have either of them, I want to be able to bake the best chocolate chip cookies.

Butterless chocolate chip cookies

 

Because of this I have been trying many recipes; some traditional ones that are passed down in my family from mother to daughter and some I improvised from the ones I found on Google.

Today, I tried (yet again) to make these butterless chocolate chip cookies.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against butter. In fact, I love them so much I usually use in a lot of my cooking. It’s just that I ran out of butter and I still want to bake.

These cookies may take a little longer to make because there are several extra steps than the usual simple recipes, but it’s worth it because I made about 75 pieces of cookies (1.5″x1.5″) around 2pm and now it’s 10pm and not a single piece left!

Here’s how.

Posted in Motherhood

It’s March?!

What on Earth have I been doing?

Things have been so crazy that I don’t know where the January and February went. I thought it was just 2016 and now it’s March. MARCH.

My eldest is in school and my second is starting preschool. My youngest is driving me up the wall and on top of that, I’m having toothache every other day (mental note: Freaking go see a dentist).

I couldn’t even find the time to write and each time I sit in front of my computer, all I can think about is sleep. I’ve been getting only 3-4 hours of sleep each day that I’m pretty sure I’m up for a role of a zombie on Walking Dead any time soon. I thought I could get more sleep on weekends, but who knew that the kids would still wake up early on Saturdays as well?

God, I need to stop rambling.

I’ll write again when I’m me and when I think I can make more sense. ASDFGH@#$%^&*.

Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting

Because Postpartum Depression Is Real

Last week, a new mother jumped to her death from the 16th floor of her high-rise apartment.

She had a 10-day old baby and the reason she jumped? She was pressured to breastfeed her baby, but wasn’t able to produce much supply.

This news shook me as well as angers me because she was pressured to believe that a newborn should only be fed with breast milk. The age-old debate about breast milk vs. formula is turning ugly day by day. All-natural mothers are quite vocal and expressive in making formula-feeding mothers feel insulted, shunned, and embarrassed over their feeding choice.

There wasn’t much information in the news about the mother’s background, mental state, financial situation and other telling factors, but the only thing I can think of is how a mother who has just given birth 10 days prior is a delicate person and she could be suffering from postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression happens not because a mother is too emotional or full of herself.

Due to significant drop of hormones in a mother’s body after delivery, it can affect their mood, temperament, and mental acuteness, among other things.

There are many women who suffer in silence because everyone expected her to be a glowing, happy mother. Many mothers bottled up her emotions because she doesn’t want to let anyone down or let them know she doesn’t know how to be a mother. Many women feel helpless and hopeless because this is her own baby, but she doesn’t even know how to take care of him or her. Many mothers, especially new mothers, feel pressured to perform, as though breastfeeding, changing diapers, burping, soothing a newborn, going through engorged breasts, feeling messy and ugly, should make sense to her the moment she returns from the hospital.

I know these because I suffered from postpartum depression 6 years ago.

What’s worse than feeling like a hopeless and useless mother, I was made to feel ashamed of how I feel, as though I didn’t want to be a mother, as though I only know how to procreate but ignore its responsibilities after that. I was made to feel incompetent because instead of taking care of my firstborn, I chose to ignore him when he cries.

The breaking point for me was when I felt everyone was right, that I was too pathetic to be a mother. I felt that everyone was right when they think I didn’t deserve to be a mother. I did feel like there was no reason for me to be my son’s mother anymore if I can’t even take care of him. I also felt that it was because of him that I felt this way. I harbored the utmost resentment towards my son. I felt that if I didn’t have him, I would still be me, I would still have my husband’s attention, I would still be able to figure out what I want instead of having this spewing, mewling creature shoved in my face.

That was when I had thoughts of harming him.

I wrote everything down about how I felt, what my thoughts were because I didn’t want to leave without any explanation should anything happen to either me or him because deep, deep down, I know this isn’t me. I know I could be a much better person. Because at that point, I hated myself. I hated for being so weak and not knowing what to do despite going to antenatal classes, reading and taking notes from countless parenting books and magazines.

I thought PPD wouldn’t happen to me.

I was looking forward to having a son. I was looking forward to decorate his nursery, I was looking forward to see him breastfeed, I was excited to start him on solid. But when I finally had him, it was different. I know I wasn’t too naive to think that everything would be pretty and butterflies, and taking care of a newborn would be as easy as breathing. But what I didn’t expect was the dark, sinister feeling clutching me.

One day when I thought I might really harm my baby, I decided to tell my husband. I thought he was going to laugh it off, telling me that I was being too emotional, that it was all in my head because I thought I wasn’t ready to be a mother. But when I told him everything I felt, his face changed and he knew we needed help right away.

Recovery wasn’t easy because I still feel inadequate.

I still feel embarrassed because I threw away what thousands of childless mothers would want. I still feel that others were judging me because what I ” really wanted” was to be one of those glossy magazines mom where she has perfect hair, Ray Ban shades, skinny jeans, cute floral blouse and pushing a stroller as though her life was a walk in the park. I didn’t want to face the ugly, nasty, dirty, smelly part of being a mother.

I lost the first 6 months of my firstborn’s life.

And knowing that nothing in this world could bring that back was what made recovery really difficult. I guess that’s why now I try so hard to be a good mom. Somewhere in me kept telling that I still wouldn’t do a good enough job to make up for the 6 months that I lost. But I’m no longer afraid of this feeling. It shakes me up every once in a while because I know what it feels like to be sucked into that black hole that all you want to do is curl into a ball and cry your eyes out.

My husband has been a great support. Where I expected him to be conventional and get me to do everything, he took charge and looked after our son. Where I expected him to laugh and tell me to get over it, he listened to me and held my hands, telling me we’ll get through it together.

This is why I take new mother’s woes and laments very seriously. I knew exactly what it felt like to feel alone, I knew exactly how it felt like to feel no one understands, I knew exactly how frustrating it can be when everyone sneered about how you should know how to be a mother.

My advice is, stop making fun of mothers who are struggling to make sense of motherhood. Stop comparing her to other mothers or your mother or your grandmother about how “last time they don’t have all this because they suck it up and do their job.”

Because what you really should do is stop and listen.

Bring her to a doctor or pray together or meditate together or anything that could make her feel less alone. Tell her that while you don’t understand how she is feeling and you probably would never understand, you’re there for her because you’re learning to be a parent as well. It’s okay to tell her that you’re afraid too, that you can’t figure out what to do as well. Because when she feels like she has a team, she will try to get better and share more feelings with you so you could prevent unwanted things before it’s too late.

Being a mother could be hard for some people.

Because they give you drugs to ease the pain when you’re in labor.

They don’t have drugs to make you understand motherhood.

Posted in Motherhood

Of Being A Mom and Losing Weight

Work out for moms

The topic of how to lose weight after having kids has got to be one of the most discussed topics among me and my other mom-friends.

For many of us, losing the weight we’ve gained during pregnancy almost seem impossible. It has been the cause of frustrations, anger, and to some of us, even embarrassment.

Even though many of my mom-friends had alluring figures before pregnancy, not all of us are able to get back into shape. I have gone through yo-yo weight ever since I got married and after my pregnancies. Before I was pregnant with my first son, my weight has always been the same. Although far from what I would’ve liked, it has never really gone down, but it has never gone up either.

When I delivered my first, I was at 220lbs. I wasn’t worried about losing the weight because I have never been truly conscious about my size because I’ve always felt that we’re only as big/small as we want to feel. So being at that weight didn’t bother me.

What made me change my mind was the difficulty I had to go through of lugging all that weight while having a baby for the first time.

I hated how I can’t move as fast as I wanted, I hated how I could sit on the floor to play with my son but had to have help to help me up. When I decided to lose weight, it was drastic. I set my mind to it and I pushed through.

And I did it. I went from 220lbs to 130lbs in about 7 months. I wrote about it here if you want to read more on that.

Weight loss mom

Now I have 3 children and most of the times it feels almost impossible to try and lose weight when I have to do something all the time. It doesn’t really help that I’m a writer working from home who has to chase tight deadlines for days on end sometimes.

However, I realize, it is not impossible. It is not an excuse to let the weight pile on. It is not something that I couldn’t do.

I’m not sure how much this would help you, but in this two-part post, I thought I’d share the 10 top things I do to try and lose weight while taking care of 3 kids, working, and getting the housework done.

I’ll tell you now that most of the times it won’t be easy and it won’t take you 2 months or even 6 months maybe, to be in the shape you want, but I’ll also share on how I got through those tough days.

 

1. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself One of the things I learned to let go while being a mom and trying to lose weight is how I always berate myself for being fat.

I know I try not to make it a problem as I’ve said earlier, but I have my bad, moody days when I get pissed off when I can’t fit into my jeans, but I try my best to be careful to not let this get to me. I remembered when I was 220lbs and starting to realize how big I was, I was constantly thinking about how thin I was before, how I could wear that cute halter top that my husband bought for me during our honeymoon.

And I vividly remember how thinking about this just made me feel even worse about myself. The first step for me to losing weight was to love how I am now.

I strive to look better, focus on how I want to be, rather than how I was during my “heydays”.

 

2. Don’t Ever. EVER. Compare

With so many blogs, Instagrams, and Facebook pages of super super healthy moms who seem to be able to do it all, I admit it can be hard not to feel bad about myself.

I get envious of how some moms who also have 3 kids can fit into super skinny jeans and look gorgeous with those knee-length boots and cropped tops. Not only that, they bake gorgeous cookies, complete awesome Pinterest projects, and a champion in keeping their house spotless.

Then I realized that that’s them.

I know that that body is not mine (even though I can get it too). I don’t want to lose weight for the wrong reasons, least of all jealousy. I don’t want to lose weight to make other moms feel bad about themselves. I don’t want to lose weight because I want to buy a $200 slip dress. I want to lose weight because that’s what I want it for my body.

I’m not saying these super healthy moms are doing it to make other moms jealous because they’re doing it for their body too, but sometimes you can’t help but to feel envious because you’re not quite there yet (and it feels like you’ll never will!).

So I switched to following health blogs or websites more than I do of these super gorgeous moms with sleek abs. I still check their blogs for tips and tricks on working out or cooking or baking, but I don’t compare my home to theirs, I don’t try to pull off an outfit they just posted on Instagram.

It is completely okay to want to look like those gorgeous moms, don’t get me wrong. But you need to make sure why you’re doing it so that you won’t get frustrated when you don’t look like that after months of working out.

 

3. Use What You Have

I don’t go to gym. Ever. Okay, so I’ve been to one before, but I decided I didn’t like it.

I don’t like how I always feel as though I’m the fattest one in the room. I know it’s probably all in my head and no one really cared about my jiggling buttocks as I tried to do squats, but I don’t like how it made me feel.

I still want to lose weight, so what I did was, I place myself in my most comfortable environment where no one would judge – my home.

I could work out in an unwashed t-shirt and old sweatpants and no one is going to say anything. Since I don’t have the equipments that I need, I look for things I could use at home instead.

I used to use my kids play mat before I could get my own yoga mat. I used to fill water bottles and used them as dumbbells before I could the appropriate ones for me. As a matter of fact, there are many workout routines that don’t require any equipment at all. I would spend a little bit of time to find videos on YouTube for these workout routines and search some more on other health websites.

Though, I won’t deny that it does help to invest on several equipments such as dumbbells, yoga mat, or a resistance strap, but you don’t have to have all of them at once for you to start losing weight. As a mother of 3 on a tight monthly budget, I would think 100 times before buying these things. But I would get one whenever I can and use it in my routine before I could buy another piece of equipment.

Work out without equipment

4. Don’t Put It Off.

I think for me, if not many mothers, one of the toughest challenges in trying to lose weight is sticking to it.

Feeling dead tired after a day at work or having to chase around kids all day and getting housework done from morning to night is enough to make the thought of working out a dreaded one. I know this is easier said than done, and believe me, I have felt it thousands of times, but you just have to do it.

You need to find the time to do it. Even for 20 minutes.

I know it’s impossible for me to work out when my kids are asleep so I do it the moment they’re down for their afternoon nap or at night after they’re asleep where I can workout for a longer period. I would usually do light routines in the afternoon such as basic yoga poses, and concentrate on a full body workout at night.

At first I felt there was no way I could spend 20 minutes to work out when there’s housework waiting to be done because I usually get more housework done in 20 minutes when my kids are asleep than I do in 20 minutes when they’re awake. But most of the times, I ended up checking Facebook for more than 20 minutes after my kids are asleep. When I logged off and got started on the housework, I realized how I could’ve used that time to work out instead.

So yes, cutting down your time on the Internet really, really helps if you needed the push to start working out. My mother always says, “If you have time to watch TV, then you HAVE time.”

 

5. Pace Yourself

Many a time I set myself a goal that I want to lose weight this much weight by a certain date or month. And many a time I failed.

So, I switched from setting a goal of trying to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date to a goal of how much I could work out in a day.

I would set a goal of completing how many reps for one routine. Say if I did 2 sets of 8 rep squats the last workout session, then I aim to do 3 sets of 8 rep squats for the next. It may seem like a trivial thing and a small accomplishment to make and achieve, but believe me you, it works in pushing yourself to reach the goal you’ve set. And without you worrying about it every day, you are losing that amount of weight you initially aimed for.

It’s often the case where mothers want to lose weight because they want to prove it to others as much as to themselves that they can still maintain their shape after pregnancies. I see nothing wrong with this because everyone wants to look good and I know and understand that. I would be lying if I say I don’t want others to look at me and wonder how I’m able to stay in shape after 3 kids. Just like everyone else, I want and love to look good too.

But you have to be careful not to make this your only goal and sole purpose.

Like I said, do it for yourself and no one else. If there are admirations, then it’s a bonus to keep motivating you to push harder. But don’t ever push yourself to lose weight because you want to look thin for others.

 

I’ll share more in the next post on how I push through the tough days and what keeps me going.

But first, why not share what’s your biggest hurdle in working out at home with kids?

Posted in Children, Motherhood, Parenting

Things I Never Thought I’d Say As A Normal Person (But Didn’t Think Twice About It Now That I’m A Mom)

1. Don’t eat that! That’s soap.

2. Can you not smell that. That diaper has poop in it!

3. Why are you licking the wall?

4. Please don’t try to eat your toes.

5. Don’t eat that. That’s.. What is that?!

6. That’s not my butt on my chest. That’s cleavage.

7. There’s no cartoon today because the people who works at the TV station is having diarrhoea.

8. We can’t eat chocolates for dinner because later worms will grow in your stomach.

9. For the last time, no you can’t use your toothbrush to clean the toilet bowl.

10. What am I doing here?

 

Toddler years are only for a few years, but they sure do do things to you.

What’s the weirdest thing you find yourself saying to your kids?

 

Motherhood