It’s March 15, which means we have been living in quarantine for a full year!
Funny because this “memory” popped up on my Facebook last week. Just a few days before the lockdown was announced last year, I took Yuri to Gibi because he needed new school shoes. Until now, his shoes are still brand new in condition! I need to give them away because they don’t fit anymore 😅
I’m praying things would be back to normal very soon. I haven’t left the house except for grocery trips and medical appointments since the pandemic began, and I must admit I’m already feeling the Covid-19 fatigue.
But I am still optimistic. With the arrival of the vaccines, I think things are looking up. I hope so! And because it’s been a year since this life-changing event happened, I just wanted to make a post to remember what I did during the pandemic year.
(Yuri also did a pandemic year time capsule last year. We got the free printable here. I think it’s a great exercise to help us process our thoughts and emotions.)
9 Things That Defined My Quarantine Year
1. Homemade bread: I have been already been baking way before Covid-19 happened, but when the lockdown began, I started learning how to bake bread. It was fun, and the kitchen always smelled lovely, but it was so time-consuming and I didn’t really get to save money haha.
2. Underemployment: Remote or online work is nothing new to me since I’ve worked from home for more than 10 years now. But my client last year was affected by the pandemic and had to cut my already part-time hours into half. For months, I was only working 2 hours/day (which did give me a lot of time to bake LOL).
But God is good, and I have since gotten another part-time client. I ultimately resigned from my first work just this month.
3. Homeschool: Homeschoolingis the biggest change we went through last year. Not to undermine the dire effects of the pandemic, but homeschooling was (is) the one good thing that happened to us because of it. It was a leap of faith, but we love it so much that we decided to continue homeschooling next school year!
It’s back-to-work day! And I am savoring the remaining days before back-to-school day. I just want to share with you a simple thing that happened today. It was a very simple thing, but I admit I’m hoping it will never happen again!
While eating lunch, I didn’t know that Yuri was playing with a stray thread from his shorts. He knotted it twice and thrice and accidentally wrapped it around his finger tightly. I didn’t notice it at all because he didn’t want to show what he did.
I only discovered it when I noticed that he couldn’t lift his hand all the way to the table. I looked at his finger and it’s already swollen because of the thread wound tightly around it. I wasn’t able to take a picture anymore because, hello, action first siguro. Anyway, it really was swollen I was afraid a slight nick would cause the finger to bleed. It was also stressful because there’s no room for a pair of scissors to fit in the gap between the thread and the finger. I also didn’t have time to go look for the seam ripper which I don’t even remember when I last used.
The offending piece of thread (sorry for my dry, dry hands. I went swimming the other day and they haven’t recovered yet haha)
I wasn’t at the point of panicking…yet… but I was having trouble figuring the solution out. Until I called my mother. She simply told me to use the nailcutter. Brilliant. Very carefully avoiding the skin, I was able to snip at the thread and set the swollen finger free.
I’m embarrassed to admit that such simple solution didn’t occur to me. Then again, there’s another level of wisdom only grandmothers know, which could only come from experience. Who knows which one of us siblings led her to this kind of knowledge? Teehee.
Happy new year, everyone! My 11-day holiday break is finally coming to an end! Here are the things I planned to do but, of course, didn’t:
Write a year’s worth of blogs
Update my blog’s look
Plan a new morning routine for 2018
Take pictures of the clothes I’m no longer wearing and sell them
Take Yuri on a date or do science experiments
Update the look of my home office
Lose 15 pounds
Perhaps I don’t need to say that I feel like a failure lol. But I am trying to be kinder to myself, to realize that while I am not able to do everything I think I need to do, I am still trying. That I’m only a failure when I stop trying.
Before I proceed, let me say thank you to the best bosses in the world for giving us a long break! Please visit our website: Stay At Home Mum.
It’s true that I could have done so much more during my vacation. I could have done science experiments with my son, rearranged the furniture, tried new recipes, become a real estate superstar… I could have rested more and watched an entire KDrama or two!
By the way, I wasn’t even able to write about our Christmas celebration. To be fair, because of our hectic schedules, we didn’t go all out on decor this year. Only your standard Christmas tree and Christmas ornaments on our shelves. No lights because they take effort to put up and even more effort to take down hehe. We also didn’t have a formal sit-down Noche Buena. Instead, we had a street party with our friends and neighbours.
At our Christmas street party, wearing my new Ever Bilena Toast of New York lippie hehe and the matching shirts our neighbors/friends worked on
What we lacked in decor and formalities though, we made up for gifts. I saved up a bit before Christmas and spent it all on gifts and Christmas stuff. For someone like me whose love language is gifts, Christmas truly is a special season. Yuri had the lion’s share of the presents, of course. Kids do have the best Christmases! I received a few gifts myself, both from friends and family. Thank you! Continue Reading
It’s almost 9:30 pm now and we are supposed to be studying for Yuri’s second quarter periodic exam, which starts on Thursday. But obviously we are not. I’m here typing my fingers off while Yuri is dancing to the tune of… guess what… Baby Shark! LOL.
Yep, it’s my fault. Again. Sorry, Yuri! It’s the weekend and I’m very busy with real estate work. Heck, it’s almost Monday na nga eh hahahuhu (good thing there’s no class tomorrow — but there’s still work!). I’m doing a lot of things, and even when I’m not actually doing them, there’s thousands of things running on my mind. And that’s still stressful haha!
Segue: My period is delayed for more than a week now and there’s still no sign of it arriving soon because I’m not having PMS symptoms. It’s not alarming because I don’t feel sick and I’m 101% certain that I’m not pregnant lol, but I have very regular periods so I’m not sure why I’m delayed this month. Is this stress-related?
Anyway, I did spend a good chunk of the weekend making Yuri’s worksheets and catching up on the lessons I wasn’t able to work on this month. You’d think making worksheets is easy, but even if I’m already using a laptop and a printer, it’s still ma-effort and time-consuming. The things we do for love!
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of doing it for Yuri, though. He’s such a good kid and I ~humbly~ think he deserves nothing but the best. He has his pilyo moments, but overall, I think he’s very nice and understanding for his age, malambing, and on top of that, an honor student pa! Did I mention he was one of his class’s representatives for the Math quiz bee last week? The one I stressed about last Monday hehe. His partner was Isabella, who happens to be his girl best friend. Too bad I didn’t have a picture of him (looooong story). What did we do to deserve this child?
Anyway, we’re not studying right now because aside from the fact that I finished doing the worksheets late, even when I started yesterday, I’m still waiting for a video to upload to send to a client. We’ll do the studying tomorrow and hope for the best lol.
Oh by the way, I want to share with you something Yuri said earlier while we were having lunch outside.
Hi! I think it’s time for me to come out of hiding. Lololol. I miss blogging! After all, it’s been three weeks since I started my self-imposed hiatus. And it’s March now! Come on, how fast does time fly? Wasn’t it just yesterday when I was freaking out because it’s Christmas season?
It’s supposed to be the start of summer, but it’s still cold and rainy! I can’t complain, though. As much as I love clear and sunny skies, there’s just something so enchanting about gloomy weather. I’m enjoying it now because I’m sure I’m going to miss it when the sun finally takes over.
Anyway, how are you? As for me, life is full lately – and that’s a cute code word for stressful. And it’s only about to get even fuller!
1. Helper wanted!
I’ve taken my recent hiatus because I just didn’t have any time to blog anymore. I still haven’t found a helper for the house, so it’s looking like a disaster zone and a daycare had a lovechild. Seriously! Why is it so hard to look for decent help nowadays? There was one who came to our house last Sunday. My friend, Yankee, referred her to me. However, upon arriving at my house, she was shocked to know that she will be serving an entire family. She thought she will be working for me alone daw.
I was surprised; it turns out there was a misunderstanding between her and my friend, and I can’t blame either party. Long story short, even if she didn’t insist, I made the helper go back home. Mahirap na, baka manumbat pa in the future.
2. Operations Manager -slash- Real Estate Broker
I’m still working my 8-hour job, which I thankfully love. And we’re still terribly busy setting up our real estate office. We’re not yet done with the preliminaries; there’s so much to do!
Cavanico Il Mare!
Here’s my routine. Right after I’m done working, I proceed to either work on my real estate website or head out to visit sites, get accredited in offices, or do whatever. All my weekends are fully booked, but in fairness not everything is about work. Just last Saturday, we spent the day at Cavanico Il Mare, which was a welcome opportunity for some R&R!
3. School hunting season starts now
Oh, and there’s Yuri. Thank God he doesn’t have to do any homework at the stage he’s currently at in Eye Level — or else there will be a four-year old kid who hands in empty workbooks every time. My Type A personality would not be able to handle that!
Then again, reality check: Yuri’s starting kindergarten this school year and we can’t delay it any further. Also, I will have to face the truth that homeschooling is not for us. It does not fit our current lifestyle. Even though Job is supportive, he is more than 5000 miles away, so everything that needs to be done (at least physically) is up to me. And my katawang lupa can’t handle it. It’s time for big school and we have to prepare for it!
4. Yuri’s birthday
And speaking of Yuri, he is about to turn 5 later this month! His birthday is actually on the 26th pa but because we’ll not be in Davao that day, we will celebrate his birthday a week earlier.
It’s just a small party – actually I wouldn’t even consider having a party if not for McDonald’s. I’m not really the type of person who holds parties, pero sayang naman ang gift certificates lol. His party is already booked (which was a breeze — thank you so much, McDonald’s!) but I still have to finalise the menu, the cake, etc. I haven’t even finalised the list of invites yet. Help!
I’m supposed to be losing weight now because I’m doing a lot of things, but the opposite is true. I’m stress-eating more so I’ve gained more weight. Eek! So I’m planning to revisit my routine, follow it, and find a way to prioritise my faith, health, and well-being.
Let’s start with a couple of minutes of positive thinking. I’m thankful I have to scrub tiles and wash dishes and mop floors because it means I have a house. I’m thankful I have to balance my time between my day job and my being a real estate broker because it means I have valuable skills to impart. I’m thankful we have the option to look for a good school and have a party! Even though I barely have time to shower — let alone moisturise — I’m grateful.
It’s me, your friendly neighbourhood blogger slash full-time WAHM slash budding real estate broker. See also: trying hard superwoman filed under reality check.
I’ve been trying to wear all the hats simultaneously, but this time, I really need to focus on the last one. Earlier this year, my mum and I decided to team up and start our own realty office (just about time), and there are a loooot of things that I need to do and take care of. I had virtually zero rest (outside of sleeping, of course) for the past several weeks and it shows — my eyebags are now too heavy to hand-carry. It’s time to face the truth and admit that I cannot do all of these things at the same time. I need to prioritise and de-prioritise.
I will never fully give up blogging; it’s just that now is a really really busy time. It’s a busy time at work as an operations manager and it’s a busy time trying to get accredited and affiliated with developers as a real estate broker. My blogger hat needs to rest first because I barely have time to even write now. Scratch that, I barely have time to do anything else now! I’m going crazy LOL!
But I will be back as soon as I can. Please be there when I come back! Love you all!
It’s been seven years since I started working from home, but there’s one thing I’m still mastering: the art of work-life balance.
It sounds like a no-brainer. I’m working and at the same time, I’m at home, so work-life balance must come naturally, right? How I wish it was that easy! When you’re a WAHM, the divide between work and, well, life easily gets blurred. There are times when I can’t stop working even when it’s already beyond working hours. And then there are also days when I barely pay attention to my child because I’m chasing the deadline.
I usually work from our home office (you know, with an actual desk), but it gets too cold there nowadays so I elect to work in the living room instead!
The guilt is double on my part because Yuri’s dad works abroad — time zone difference between Philippines and KSA is 5 hours so by the time Job gets off work, Yuri is already fast asleep. Because Job can’t spend time with Yuri as often as he wants to, I need to be Yuri’s mum and dad at the same time.
This year, I resolve to put my family first. It’s not going to change overnight, but it’s going to have to start from somewhere. I chose to start by doing one simple thing: stopping work to have kulitan breaks with Yuri every now and then. I started doing it last month and I’ve never felt better!
There are no rules. Kulitan break simply means lambingan, landian, harutan! We don’t have to do anything. We can eat if we want to, or cuddle if we want to, or take a short walk if we want to. If you’re a WAHM, here are 5 reasons why you must take kulitan breaks, too.
1. It improves productivity.
Confession time! I’m a Type A personality, and I feel like I have to do everything on time and perfectly. I felt like doing constant breaks doing nothing (at least, that’s what I used to think) ruins my schedule, which is oftentimes rigidly organised. Until I started doing kulitan breaks. Each time I go back to work after even just cuddling with my child, my mind feels a hundred times more refreshed! Because my mind is refreshed and my body is relaxed, I am able to focus on the tasks at hand at be more productive.
And I have time for my hobbies now, too!
2. It is a good stress-reliever.
Work is sometimes stressful. As I get older, stress begins to take a toll on my body. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I had vertigo for the first time in my life — and that’s not including the IBS, allergies, and lactose intolerance. Gasp! But with a constant kulitan break with my 4-year old, I find it easier to forget about the stressful stuff. Going back to number one, instead of being stressed, my productivity level gets a boost so I don’t have to worry about stuff!
With a face like this greeting me every day, what’s there to stress about?
3. It’s a good excuse to get out of the house!
I love rainy days just as much as the next girl, but it keeps us from doing outdoor activities. During the summer time, Yuri and I enjoy taking walks around our quiet village, but we haven’t been able to do that for some time now because it rains every day. But WAHMs, you need to get out of the house and get some fresh air in your system! I myself feel trapped when I’m inside the house for too long. Since it’s always raining, we simply have my older brother drive us around or take us to the nearest drive-through for some comfort food fix!
(My brother is Yuri’s driver of choice instead of me because he wants me to be seated at the back with him #demoted)
4. It helps us know our kids better.
My son loves to laugh. He’s sensitive but he rarely gets angry. He’s also talkative and oozing with confidence! But he’s really shy around new people, so I think he might be an ambivert? Now that my four-year old (almost 5-year old!) is showing his personality, I am enjoying the reveal. I relish the facets of his personality that I discover every day, and the things I discover during kulitan breaks are invaluable.
5. It helps us grow as parents.
It feels good — and it makes your kids feel good. It sounds great, but it’s actually challenging because, let’s be honest, our kids are not immaculate angels all the time. Kulitan breaks sound wonderful, but there are days when kulitan and lambingan take more effort than usual.
No makeup, no problem. Messy hair don’t care!
But a WAHM must resolve to spend time with her child even on days when she doesn’t have the time or energy or the motivation to do it! Even on days when you don’t feel like doing so, even on days when you think you simply do not have time to get away from the keyboard.
Yes, even on days when your child seems naughtier than nice! Even on frustrating days when they seem to be not listening or following. Even on days when their curiosity gets the better of them. Remember that whether they finish first, last, or not at all, for us parents, ourkids are the best. Whether they sit down nicely to do art or run like a tornado and leave a devastation behind, our kids are learning.
(This reminds me of McDo’s latest commercial that actually brought tears to my eyes. Mahal pa rin ni nanay at tatay indeed!)
And neither their child-like behaviour nor their performance must dictate how we show them our love. Our kids are being just that, kids! So let’s allow them to have fun, explore things, make mistakes, make a mess! Let’s show them that time spent with them is much more precious than time spent on doing work.
You never know how much a 10-minute kulitan break with his mum (and dad!) means to a child.
Blogger disclosure: This post is sponsored by McDonald’s.
A photo posted by Marie Angeli Laxa (@maanlaxa) on
When I first took the leap to become a full-time WAHM in 2012, I thought it was the most ideal setup a mother could have. I see my son, who was then an infant, every minute of every day and even though we had a yaya, I was still hands-on when it came to him.
But working from home is not exactly flowers and rainbows.
For example, just the other day, it wasn’t even 8 am and I was already deadbeat. Piles of dishes that needed to be washed greeted me when I took a break to eat breakfast. The house was messy all throughout and the floors badly needed sweeping. My dad, who undergo regular dialysis, needs to be assisted when taking his meds. Yuri is a lot more independent now but of course he still needs my regular assistance and guidance.
Before you picture me in athletic gear and Nike running shoes with beads of sweat on my forehead, let me tell you that I just ran indoors. I did it for two reasons: first, I didn’t want to see “bad-vibe” neighbours (our lovely ex-yaya who propagated malicious rumours against us ‘round the village was still working for a neighbour back then) and second, I didn’t have athletic gear or running shoes. LOL!
But you know what? It still worked. I had quick (okay, relatively quicker) metabolism and strong legs. It wasn’t hard for me to lose weight then.
Until I stopped because of weak knees.
I was still breastfeeding heavily then so I attributed the knee pain to it, but running also contributed, so I just stopped. And then I grew fatter and fatter… /sob story
But recently, I noticed that my knees are no longer aching. It’s as if the knee pain didn’t exist at all. Because I’ve gotten a lot heavier and most of my clothes no longer fit me, I was motivated to exercise again. I couldn’t run again though, at least, not yet. I had to start with something easier, like walking.
Beginning, particularly, with my home office desk.
(I only “own” half of that office — I’m focusing on my desk now teehee.)
I mean, I know it’s not that messy (my mum’s desk is a lot messier!) but it’s no longer inspiring. Nothing is in its right place and it’s a far cry from what it looked like during the first days of January. Observe:
Almost all of my pretty desk stuff unceremoniously dumped on top of my (Yuri’s) shelf
I keep on forgetting to glue this cute giraffe back to my Rina Designs pen holder (see brown wooden box at the back)
For some reason, I put this notepad on top of my (unclean) printer?
And my drawer is overflowing with paper, stickers, cards, and whatnots
I read just this afternoon an article that one simple trick in boosting your productivity is this: a workspace that inspires you. Isn’t that simple and wonderful? But at the same time, it’s quite hard to accomplish (at least for me). How will I ever find the time to reorganise and give my humble office space a makeover? I had printed a couple of wall art printables several months ago but still haven’t found time to frame and hang them. Now what?
To find some inspiration, I browsed what else but Pinterest and looked for beautiful desk inspirations that are also doable: Continue Reading
As you might have probably guessed, yes, I don’t have a helper again. Michelle stayed with us for just a little over 4 months, and while we have had some complaints (who doesn’t, really?) about her work, her stay with us was generally pleasant. In fact, she’s really a pleasant person to be around with, and, thankfully, her last day was devoid of drama. Totally unlike our last favouriiiiite yaya! 😛
(Update about the ex-yaya who had brought so much trouble to our lives: her amo’s finally sent her away just last week! Finally, nagising din sa katotohanan! Good riddance indeed.)
Anyway, back to Michelle. I’m really glad that she was with us during the time Papa got confined in the hospital. She was such a big help. We have parted ways on good terms and I couldn’t be happier. Continue Reading
There’s no such thing as an empty year I’m sure, but my 2015 has been filled with so many things, a few bad while everything else wonderful. I’ve been so busy throughout the year that I barely had time to write in my journal – – I say that regretfully.
I could go as far as saying that a lot more things happened this year than 2013 and 2014 combined. These are 15 handpicked highlights of my totally awesome year:
1. JANUARY: I weaned Yuri from breastfeeding. That was a tough decision to make but I felt like it was time. I felt guilty but had to remind myself that, hey, almost 3 years of breastfeeding ain’t bad at all.
2. FEBRUARY: I went back to “school” to become a real estate broker. That was a great decision; I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and and met wonderful people who are now my friends!
Me, third from the left
3. MARCH: I, together with my immediate family, my cousins, and some friends explored Benguet, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Manila, and Cavite for the first time. During the same trip, I volunteered to stay back in Vigan because of a nasty for poisoning and and got to explore the historic city on my own.
4. MARCH: I finally left my freelancing job (I had a dilemma about this nearing the end of 2014 because the new administrative changes no longer make the job worth it – – and I couldn’t even ask for an employment certificate since I am not “employed” after working with that group for 4 years). Continue Reading
I love how time flies so fast when it’s Monday and then all of a sudden, it’s already Friday.
I hate how time flies so fast when it’s Friday night and then, you look away for a second, and it’s already Sunday night. Like right now.
But I don’t lament Mondays for being Mondays. I should be thankful I have a job to look forward to. It’s just the waking-up-early-to-get-to-work-immediately that I’m not very enthusiastic about. For those who don’t know, my work days begin in bed before 6 am.
So let’s just talk about the weekend before it officially ends.
I’ve been contemplating on getting a new yaya for Yuri for sometime now (I’m no martyr — it’s tiring to look after a 3-year old while working full-time!), but during these past few days, I’ve gone from plain contemplation to desperation! As in!
Yuri had a fever over the weekend. That’s nothing new – kids have fevers all the time. We’re blessed Yuri doesn’t get sick often. And even though he was running a temperature, he was still playing actively. Not as active as his normal level of active, but nothing to worry about. Then he developed cough and a cold, but still nothing to worry about.
So sorry to mislead you, but this has nothing to do with Yuri getting sick. (But he was so clingy when he was sick, so I was also wishing for a yaya during the time).
But no, I found myself desperate to look for a new yaya when Yuri, who was still not in his best form, got into a mild accident.
A little more than a month ago, I started this new blog on a whim (well, not really – I explained my reasons here). I also explained why the name “A Joyful Mess” charmed me, but really, the name was also reflective of my present situation.
Life is messy.
I’ve accepted and embraced living a messy life because I realised that the more I acknowledged the mess, the more I’m allowing God to be in control of the clean-up. I’m nothing but a weak human being who messes up, imperfect. And I love it. I love calling to my God whenever I feel that life is becoming too much for me to handle. I love knowing that God is always there, always there to supply the strength to my weakness, unlimited grace to my flawed human nature.
There are some — many — aspects of my life that I couldn’t afford to mess up any further. I need to acknowledge the truth that for these aspects of my life, it’s not normal living that took course. It’s laziness and lack of planning, pure and simple.
I need to work on these aspects of my life. I need to reclaim and return some sense of organisation to my life!