Saturday, September 29, 2012

Great Tips for (Solo) Working Moms

Filipinos have close family ties and most families are very patriarchal, meaning the father is the head of the family and decides for everyone. Mine was a bit like that, but I was too mule headed to stay and listen. Like any new graduate, I wanted to discover the world and start a career to earn my own money. So, despite his non-acceptance on my decision to work, he wasn't able to do anything. 
Now with the freedom I experienced also came some sticky situations where soon I found myself on the way to motherhood. And with the very conservative culture of Filipino families, I decided to pursue a more stable career away from home. It was difficult at first, but I know many will agree, when you feel that little being slowly growing inside you, you'll feel utmost responsibility for it and find all means for both of you to survive - he will give you strength in body, mind and spirit.
As a young, solo, working mom, I implored other moms in my circle for tips to make working and mothering go well together.  It's no secret that single parents are sometimes looked down upon in many companies here in the Philippines, lucky for me, I got a welcoming working family who supported me all through out. Here are some tips that my "mommy's nook" gave me in my struggle to thrive and survive being a solo, working mom. 
1. Build a Network of Moms

This I did offline and online. Mother's where I work had been more than helpful with the things that I should expect as I progress with my pregnancy and even after I gave birth. I also started reading fora and mommy groups over internet along with my search for inexpensive hospitals and other baby stuff. I gained friends and confidants who made me feel stronger despite my situation. I received trinkets and useful advice and information ranging from breastfeeding, baby formula, food and a lot more! These moms from both online and offline worlds provided constant support all throughout. 
2. Build Stronger Family Ties

Despite issues that arise over my untimely pregnancy, my parents were insistent upon providing me all the help that they can. Yes, they were nagging, they have a right to be. Well, we are Filipinos and you know that your family will always be there for you no matter what happens. And we let bygones be bygones and started with thriving yet happy days with proud grand parents and strict tita doting over the first baby boy in the family (Welcome, Teloyskie!)

3. Find an Exceptional Yaya (nanny)

For those who don't have their families or relatives in close proximity, finding an exceptional nanny or yaya is very significant in being a career mom. Even if Teloyskie was with my mom, we were still lucky to find someone genuinely caring for him. Yaya Eden was someone that we can trust our home with and one whom we can easily communicate with. Having her during the critical 2-3 years was simply a blessing!
4. Set boundaries that you can stick to.

Work and family time should be well managed. When my son is with me, I try hard to finish work at 5pm so I can be home at 6pm. Once I get home, I won't be available for work related calls until my son sleeps. I guess I am also lucky to find a moderately demanding work where I can have some time off and it's very rarely that I need to work beyond 5pm. 
5. Do what you love and Relax

If you don't love your job, then you'll only be spending the day wishing you are home with your child. It's hard enough to be a working mom, so find something that you love to do so it feels more rewarding. 

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