Friday, March 30, 2012

On being a mom-blogger

“This is an official entry to Dainty Mom’s Bloggy Goodies Contest, in celebration of the Dainty Mom blog’s 2nd anniversary.” 
I only wanted to earn extra money - that is the plain, awful truth why I started blogging last year. But instead of ending up richer 34 posts thereafter, I am still stuck in the same financial position when I started. Oddly enough, I gained something intangible which, to me, was far more meaningful. I am a mother who tried to write. And this is my story.

I was a relatively new professional who's been jumping from one firm to another in quest for my chosen field. After a series of misfits, I finally tied myself to a medium-sized firm, with high hopes of having found my niche and working my way up the corporate ladder. Little by little, I started buying nice things for myself, dining out in fancy restaurants every once in a while,  helping out my family financially, trying my luck in investments, developing a career in the academe. I was having a blast. I was starting to live the life. 

Then I got pregnant.

When the ominous two lines appeared, it was a jungle of emotions. First was utter disbelief. (How could we have missed that?!) But after three pregnancy kits which all gave me positive results, I summoned myself it's time to believe what was happening. Then, excitement came rushing in. The idea of holding a little sweetheart in my hands overwhelmed me. The dreams of starting a family with my "incredible absorbing man" awed me. The thought of so many kids running around the house ignited a profound excitement. It was euphoric.

The nine months of uneventful pregnancy went like a breeze. When my son finally arrived,  I thought to myself, this is it. The long wait was over. But the excitement went down the drain with the realization that it was more than just a change in status from single to married to mother (not necessarily in that order). There was no way to sugarcoat it. Motherhood meant responsibility - financially and emotionally. 

Suddenly, I was back to square one because I was put to an entirely different world where I was not in control. I was afraid because there was no way to check if I was doing things right.  The frivolous life that I was just beginning to embark on was put to a halt. I had to close my eyes to nonsensical things and focus instead on Huggies and Johnson's Baby products. I was emotional and tired. I was broke and clueless.

That was when I started browsing motherhood blogs. Realizing that experience is the best teacher, I turned to motherhood blogs for help. Where to buy, what to use, when to stop, all my nagging questions were addressed by mommyblogs. In the process, I also discovered that one can actually earn real money from blogging. (Yes, it took me 28 years to know that.) I was stunned at the freebies that came pouring down their doorsteps. I was giddy at the shopping money they earned just by writing down their thoughts and publishing it in the internet. But more than the tips and the encouragement of these bounteous mom-bloggers, and the misconception of easy money in blogging, there was something in the blogosphere which kept me drawn to it.

You see, somewhere in my dark, distant past, I had a very humble background in amateur writing. I used to write for the school paper in high school, and for a short while, I did a few articles in the college paper. But, at one point or another, I kind of got convinced that I really did not have what it takes to be a writer, so I ditched the idea. But every time I read blogs which were so nicely written, there was a tiny spark of interest and envy that crept up to me. I would be amazed at how these writers could concoct words that convey so much emotions. I would repeatedly read lines that were spot on.  I would bookmark blogs with the wittiest thoughts and the most moving words. I would look up to the profiles of these writers with so much respect and admiration.

And so from their inspiration, Legallymama was born.

Now, almost half a year of blogging, with 34 published posts, thank God for my total earnings of...surprise, surprise! One Hundred Ten Pesos! Yes, it was far more difficult than I thought. Extra money  wouldn't come easy, it would require marketing and hardwork, and I   haven't gotten my way around it. But more than the money, blogging gave me something more meaningful - it brought my passion back. I became interested to write again. Well, there were still a lot of grammar lapses, scattered thoughts, silly posts with heavy pictures, shameless articles directed to gain sponsors - but who cares. There were a few articles that were close to my heart, those that I have poured my soul into, those given praises by my personal editor/husband, those which chronicled how motherhood has changed me from a spoiled selfish brat to a more compassionate and patient person. Those are the bigger reasons why I continue to keep this blog. And one day, those articles will be read by my son. And he will be proud because he paved the way for me to re-discover writing. Likewise, he will realize that he is  a living proof of the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child. In his case, a village of mothers trying to survive the day by writing their hearts out.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mad about fruits

It's been a month since I started this series of adventure (mostly misadventures, actually!) on Zohan's solid food intake. Since then, he's been on cereals and vegetables. And now, he's moving up to fruits!

Here's a rundown of what he's had thus far:

"Pears are high in fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. High in fiber, Pears like other fruits, are great aids in reducing the risks of cancer and heart attack and sustaining healthy cholesterol levels. They are also a great fruit to offer as a remedy to help alleviate baby's constipation."

He enjoyed pears! Look at that face!

"One of the most important nutritional components of Apples is that they contain two types of fiber; insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Both the insoluble fiber in apples and their soluble fiber pectin, help maintain bowel regularity (thus helping to prevent diverticulosis and colon cancer). The insoluble fiber works like roughage, while the soluble fiber (pectin), helps keep the bowels regular (avoiding constipation, avoiding diarrhea) and specifically affects the makeup of the stool.  Pectin will firm up the stool as it is a soluble fiber."

Apples were A-okay, too!

"Avocados are often called one of nature's perfect foods because they are said to contain everything a person needs to survive. A wonderful "good fat" food for baby's brain and physical development, try an avocado as baby's first food instead of refined cereals."

 After looking for avocados in different grocery stores, I finally chanced upon them in the produce section of Robinson's Place Ermita the other day. I hoarded for Zohan and for the entire household. (I figured since it's summer, it would be refreshing to have a thick avocado shake at home!)

It's his first green food and Zohan was a little hesitant to taste it.
Nanay, what is this experiment again?
But after a moment of what I thought was a thorough inspection, the little boy caved in!

"Bananas are an excellent source of nutrition and as such, are another perfect fruit to be one of baby's first foods.Bananas are often called one of nature's perfect foods because they are said to contain many of the nutrients that a person needs to survive. One of the most important nutritional components of Bananas is that they contain potassium and fiber. Bananas are also high in Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and Vitamin B2."

 This was not the first time that Zohan was given bananas. You can read about  his first encounter with it here. And if only his vocabulary was vast enough, I think he would have used the word "abhor" to describe his feelings towards it!

Here he is, trying to decipher that familiar taste he once hated..
After realizing it was banana, he gave me that face again!

Right now, I've been alternating fruits, vegetables and cereals in his daily menu. So far, his favorite is sweet potatoes, and his hatest is, obviously, banana. After a series of hit and miss, we're finally down the happy road! And since I have made so much fuss and and have written far too many posts over just solid food, it's about time to end this series. It's been a little rough for this first-time mama. But hey, who said motherhood is a walk in the park? It was a little bumpy, sure. But little Zohan's definitely making the ride all worth it.

To read about his entire solid food experience, here are the links:
*Information enclosed in quotation marks were taken from here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A visitor in my office

Every quarter, our law office schedules a "housekeeping day". It's held on a Saturday, when lawyers and secretaries come to the office to file all documents and papers in their respective folders. From an outsider's point of view, such task will appear to be something that can be done during ordinary workdays. But believe me, in a typical day in a busy lawfirm, the pile of documents in one's incoming tray could reach knee-high because the latest  incoming work is invariably more important and more urgent than the previous ones that just arrived.  As such, the filing of papers in their case folders is always last in priority.

Housekeeping days are scheduled on a weekend -- free food, casual outfit, no time-in. There is only one caveat at the announcement board- to please leave your children at your house. And for good reason. It is the only day when we have no choice but to file all our papers and documents after failing to do the same for three months.  Needless to say, bringing a kid to work will definitely take its toll on the task at hand.

I was okay with the the "no-to-bringing-kids" rule during my pre-baby time, so to speak. I mean, I really come to the office on housekeeping days to do just that - organize my three-month worth of accumulated trash. I'd come in almost lunch time because I need to do more important stuffs at home first, like catch up on my sleep or spend two ecstatic hours of peace and quiet just staring blankly at the walls. Once at the office, I'd have lunch with the rest of my officemates, make some chika in between, and then do my housekeeping duties. By around 4pm, it's time to go home or to the mall or to wherever.

Last Saturday, our family was scheduled to go home to my province. It was also our Housekeeping Day. Things were different this time. I suddenly realized the need for a strict compliance with  the reminder to leave the kids at home. Weekends are days for the family, and there will always be a strong urge to bring the kids to the office while doing office duties. For as long as I can recall, there were always kids, or sometimes babies, gracing the office activity despite the reminders of the big bosses. 

So who am I to break the tradition? To be fair though, I went to the office at around 7am, even earlier than my usual work schedule on weekdays. By 10am, I was already done with my housekeeping! And what other lovely way to end it than to be fetched by my "little boss"?

Nanay, is this your keyboard?

I want to try it!

So, who's the boss now?

After a few proud-mama-moments of showing the little guy around, off we went to my province. 

Certainly, there will be days when office work can be demanding. When that happens, I put myself in the shoes of my bosses and assess if a particular rule is really necessary. And for the most parts, it is.  So while I try to comply, I still need to make sure that weekends  are days for the family as much as possible. I have already dedicated five days of my week to attend to my work, so it is just fair that I try to dedicate the remaining two days to my loved ones. In cases like these, adjustments have to be made to make sure that those precious time with the husband and my son are unscathed - even if it means that I have to drag my lazy ass off my bed earlier than usual! Zzzzz!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Finally, a happy photo!

I told you about our struggle to get Zohan eat his first solid food. The first solid food ever introduced to him was Cerelac wheat, but allergies soon developed which compelled me to wait for one month before re-introducing the same.

After one month, we tried Earth's Best Brown Rice Cereal and fortunately, everything went well. For one whole week, Zohan had been on cereal and it was all smooth. You can read about it here and here.

When it was time to move on from cereal to more "real" food, it became bumpy again. I attempted to introduce bananas by mashing the fruit and mixing it with a few drops of breastmilk. But Zohan made it so clear that he's not into bananas. The pictures spoke rather clearly in this post.

I figured maybe banana was a bit cold for a first fruit. I could hear my folks back home nagging me that banana is "malamig sa tyan at nakakasikmura", so I tried squash instead. But then, it didn't pass the standard of the little boy. I was beginning to think I suck at this motherhood thing. And Zohan seemed to agree with me. Just take a look at him here and you'll probably agree, too.

After a lot of make-face, heavy sigh and frustrated rantings to the husband, I considered  jarred food. I just thought-- since it's prepared by the experts,  a lot of study had been undertaken to produce a consistent, tasty, and nutritious jarred food for babies starting on solids.   So I gave in. 

Ninang Joyce and I trooped to Healthy Options and I got me three of their first food line - first squash, first carrots and first sweet potatoes.

But since I really intended to feed him natural foods - which were a lot cheaper - we dropped by the supermarket and bought five small pieces of carrots, a small cut of squash and three pieces of sweet potatoes - all that for P50. The jarred foods were priced at P45 EACH so I paid a total of P135, as against the P50 I incurred for those real veggies! See how cheaper natural foods are? Once his taste buds have adjusted well to foods with taste, then we can go natural all the way.

Well, my P45 paid off because Zohan, thank God, finally ate his first squash jarred food! I would have wanted to document it by taking photos, but there was no sufficient time for picture taking  because I still had to work. For the entire week,  his menu looked like this:

  • first jar of squash   c/o Earth's Best
  • real squash - boiled, mashed 
  • first jar of carrots  c/o Earth's Best
  • real carrots - boiled and mashed
  • first jar of sweet potatoes   c/o Earth's Best
  • real sweet potatoes - boiled and mashed and mixed with a little hot water

This weekend, it's real carrots - and look, finally here are a much calmer and happier photos!

I am just so proud, and relieved, and assured that I'm doing things right!

Now that we're past the stressful part, feeding time has become an exciting part of the day for me. And for Zohan, too!

 Next week, it's all about fruits. What fruits did you first give your babies? Zohan and I would like to know! =)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baby's Day Out

Baby's first day out! It took six months before the husband and I felt really comfortable with taking Zohan out to the big world. There were some instances that we had to bring him along, like a lunch out at Tagaytay because it's on the way home to my province, or to a mall in the North because we had to stop and take out food, but those days didn't really count. 

Last Sunday was the official day out for Zohan.

And what better way to introduce him to the world outside the corners of our home than to bring him to... the mall? I wished! ...the zoo? Maybe soon! ...the park? That's in the list. We brought him here...

Photo Source
The National Museum! O dba, cultured lang ang peg! It was actually the husband's idea, and since I would appreciate going out even just to go to Luneta Park, I was happy when he brought up the idea. At the back of my mind, I was screaming What the heck are we going to do at the National Museum?! Then I realized, that's near Robinson's Place, where we could have lunch. Hmm. Kay. Lezzgo.

I was grasping for words to explain our experience at the National Museum. I was literally lost for words because it only meant to me that we got to take the little boy out. But the husband - oh my bizarre husband. His eyes were sparkling with wonder and amazement the whole time. It just affirmed my theory that he was an ancient person trapped in the body of a modern man. (He appreciates history and philosophy, and while I would love for him to impart those passion to our son, I guess Zohan is just too young to appreciate these things.) So we both agreed to come back when he's older and curious enough to appreciate history.

Meanwhile, I will just share with you our photostory. I guess the pictures would make a better story teller than I would.

Let me tell you Zohan's fascination with a mythical character from Lanao del Sur named Borak. Borak is a figure with the body of a horse and a human head. When we passed by him, Zohan was swept away. He didn't remove his eyes from the statue.

Three floors of galleries after, the little boy was already getting bored from being trapped in his stroller. Tatay had to carry him for the next two floors, but the problem was, he was grabbing everything within his reach! And you know how important that all things displayed remain unbroken and unblemished so I held my breath the entire time.

The sole gallery that sparked interest in me was the Philippine Arts Awards. They displayed the entries to the award, and for an instant, I wished I inculcated arts in my boring self. 

The artist weaved threads to depict his biography

I call this... The Lazy Song

The husband said the explanation of the artist for this canvass was very meaningful. I read it over and over but I don't think I get it. Remind me to ask him tonight what exactly the artist meant with drowning.

After the final floor of galleries, it's time for my favorite part. Lunch at Robinson's Place.

It looked like he enjoyed his day out! With this kind of smile, we can't help but think of  Museong Pambata next. 

The National Musem is located at P. Burgos St., Manila, Philippines. Entrance fee is P100 for adults and P30 for students. FREE entrance during Sundays. Visit their site for more information -

Saturday, March 3, 2012

We got featured!

Hold your horses before you jump into conclusions. No, we are a sure far cry from those "mommy-baby" features in glossy magazines. But nonetheless, I am so ecstatic that Zohan and an article which I wrote both got featured last February.

When I first started blogging, I was overwhelmed with the many clubs and and sites that one could sign up to. One of the sites which caught my eye was momcenter, an online community of mommies and a repository of all mom-information. True to it's name, it's everything for every mom. Last week, I received an email from Arbee Panga, the Interactive Marketing Coordinator of momcenter in the Philippines, telling me that an article which I wrote in my blog was chosen to be featured in their Resource Center. The article was Working Mom Guilt, which you can read here. 

I was supposed to be happy and all that jazz. But then... You know that queasy feeling when you bump into your ex and your hair's a disaster? Or when you were seen by the ex of your boyfriend/husband and you're cussing yourself deep within because before leaving home, you did not choose your flattering dress and opted instead to wear a sloppy ensemble, put together with your unkempt hair and a pale face? That's exactly what I felt about this feature: Zohan's clothes were uncoordinated, my writing was not my best, the photo was taken by a camera phone, and all those frivolous things. Don't get me wrong though. I am grateful to momcenter for the feature. It's just that I have been consciously working to improve my writing - I just hoped they waited for it to happen before they did the feature. haha. Probably in the next twenty years. Or so.

Now, to happier news!

One of the momblogs that I have been following is mommyfleur.  Deviating from most mommy blogs which provide endless tips on how to become a better mom, mommyfleur provides a comic relief to those who just want motherhood to be one happy stride. Fleur is the uber witty and kikay writer behind the blog. She is an epitomy of a genuine and jovial mother-  sees the good in everything and chooses to tread the happy road. 

She believed that Filipino kids are just so adorable and fashionably fierce. So she thought of having a weekly feature of cute kids in her blog portion, This Kid is it!, which, to me, translates loosely to our beki jargon as "Ikaw na!". Or something like that. Last Tuesday, look whose kid is it. Yes people, it's my kid! You can see the feature here Head on over to mommy Fleur and see the "Houston, we have a problem" look of our adorable darling.

Thank you momcenter and Fleur. You made one silly mama very happy!
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