Busy

Our jobs are important but they’re not essentials.

I’ve been having to remind myself that while working furiously (by this, I mean intensely & with all my heart) is great — I shouldn’t let my 9 to 5 steal occupy more space in my life than it should. It’s been happening in the last 3 months — work took a seat a my dinner table, I showered with it, I dreamed it, I asked my spouse about it. It edged essential things out.

I let my “today” items (the deadlines, the emails & calls to return, the targets to meet) overtake things I desperately needed for more “tomorrows” (self-care, prayer, time with family, sleep).

Tomorrow is Monday. I think it’s time I put today down.

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Give Like a Child

My daughter’s friend recently celebrated his birthday. My daughter and I bought the gift together. As we browsed, I decided the present must be useful. I thought about what the parents of my daughter’s friend would say. I thought about how much I was willing to spend. So much back and forth in my head to buy such a small token.

Some days later, we were wrapping the present & I asked my daughter to help. She got out her box of stickers and started decorating the plain brown wrapper. I’d noticed she was using her favorite stickers. I realized she might not understand that once she gives the gift to her friend, the stickers wouldn’t be coming back.

“Are you sure? Those are your favorites.”

Oo nga. It’s for my gift. I’ll give him my favorites,” she said as she continued to stick on more stickers. When she was done, all of her favorite stickers were on the gift.

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I watched her with awe. Her idea of giving was so far from mine. In fact, I couldn’t call my cold calculations in the shopping mall “giving” at all.

With an open palm, my daughter freely shared what she loved most, precisely because it was what she loved most.

May we all learn to give as children do.

Positively Yours

I’ve been meaning to create a new year’s post but as usual, I put my blogging at the back burner. It’s hard to think of a worthy topic to welcome a new year! So I procrastinated.

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Fortunately, the office I work at has launched a “positivity campaign” — giving me a much-needed topic! So, for my first post for 2016, I give you 3 ways you can be more positive at work:

  1. Be realistic. A truly optimistic person does not live in a bubble of happiness. This person is not blind or in denial. In fact, it is the acceptance of their realities that helps them identify what can and cannot be done. They don’t hold on to impossibilities or wallow in past failures.
  2. Vent and take action. Everyone has had those truly awful days, even the most positive of people. And letting it all out is important to moving forward (venting can be healthy — if done right!). If something bothers you at work, tell a team member or your supervisor about it but don’t stop there! Make a plan to address the issue and most importantly: recognize that sometimes your emotions get in the way of clarity! 
  3. Know your motivations. Being a positive co-worker is much more than keeping sarcastic comments at bay or treating colleagues to a nice lunch to boost team morale — it is having another person’s best interest at bay. For managers, most especially — when a team member is frustrated at work, resist the easy/lazy route of invalidating their emotions by saying: “stop complaining, be positive!”. Instead, listen to what they have to say, offer constructive ways to help them with their work, and most of all encourage them to do better.

More on this next time. 🙂

My Husband, the Stay-at-Home Dad

“What are your plans?”

All throughout my pregnancy, it was a question I dreaded. When posed by well-meaning relatives, this question usually followed assumptions that I would (or already have) quit my corporate job to stay home with the baby. Colleagues would ask me, (almost) complete strangers would ask me, I felt even the baby growing inside me was asking: “What next? How do we manage now?”

During the first furtive months after the baby was born, I was wary of bringing up the subject of childcare. Perhaps, it was just hormones, but I had feared that my husband would be offended. I did not want to quit my job. I was not ready to be a housewife.

There was the question of finances and time management. He was a hemodialysis nurse who worked long hours, on call even on weekends. I work in PR. Where hours are also long but flexible. I did not know how discuss all these things with him without hurting his feelings. (I had been warned by my mom about managing the “male ego” – such a fragile thing it is!).


I began to realize that despite the progressive ideals my husband and I shared, practicing the openness such ideals required was tricky. I could go on and on about this but the bottom line is: marriage and a child changes things.

I started to panic as my maternity leave dwindled (what would I have done if I did not have a C-section and had an even shorter time to regroup?). The question of who would be giving the baby long term, hands on care remained unaddressed.

Over dinner one night, my Mom asked us the dreaded “Anong plano ninyo? (What are your plans?)question. I felt cornered. I looked to my husband for support.

Tears were in my eyes as my mom kept talking about choosing the best option for the baby, about putting the needs of the baby first, and of sacrifice. I agreed with her. But I felt hurt that my husband just kept his silence. I did not know how to answer the question but by then, I was determined: I would resign if need be.

I went to bed with a heavy heart. I felt selfish for still wanting to keep my career and sad as I knew quitting the “race” was becoming inevitable. The weight of what was “expected” and “normal” was, quite frankly, becoming unbearable. I closed my eyes despondently.

As I was drifting off to sleep, I heard my husband’s voice. I startled and turned to him. In his soft quiet way he said: “Ako na ang mag-aalaga kay Gab.” (I will take care of Gab.) I looked at him in surprise. And he assured me that I heard him right. We spent the night alternately crying, embracing and laughing…the gap between us suddenly gone.

My husband was Dad enough to make a decision not all men are strong enough make.

Thank you, Rom. Thank you for choosing what is best for our family over what society dictates as “normal”. Thank you for being man enough to stand against the kantyaw (crude jokes) and the quizzical looks.

Thank you. I am so proud of you, fiercely proud of you. I love you.

Happy Father’s Day to you, a genuine Man of the House.

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Lack of Commitment

OK. Let me start by saying I’m committed to a ton of things: moisturizing twice a day,maintaining ten hour work days, getting articles to press on time, eating vegetables, reading six broadsheets and at least four news blogs each day, not smoking, paying bills on time, keeping my apartment organized, four hour Sunday dinners with my family and lastly, looking good (e.i. not being a fashion disaster, choosing the right/appropriate make up).

Not a very impressive list. I’m sure most people juggle more things. But for someone who’s constantly beset with the lazies, it’s enough. If you notice, blogging isn’t part of my commitment list (example: please see the Women’s Month challenge that I forgot to do. Sorry!).

I have to change this. Also, because I’ve recently turned 25, I’ve made three new promises to myself:

1. Brush up on photography skills by attending at least one seminar per quarter.

2. Finally get myself to enroll in a PR course.

3.  Buy more furniture.

Oh, and blog more frequently. 🙂