Blog Post

Surprise Anniversary Celebration and Date Nights

So I got a ticket from Circuit Makati to go and experience this movie night they are having on the 14th and 15th of October at the Power Mac Spotlight. They have this restored films festival, featuring Pinoy romantic movies that I’d enjoy but thought VC wouldn’t. I want to go but things are hectic so we’ll see.

The movies that will be featured are One More Chance, Got2Believe, Forevermore and Nasaan Ka Man at the Power Mac Center Spotlight. Heard that place was used mostly for performances, and I was pleasantly surprised that it can also be fixed up into a temporary cinema house.

Circuit Makati

An Anniversary Surprise

So last week was VC’s and my wedding anniversary. Us being busy and all with the shop, the kids, and my own magic for the Ellie & Me/ Vivacious Mommas community, I thought it would be a rather ordinary day.

My anniversary reflections – I am super thankful for my hubby, how supportive he is, what a great team we make, and the beautiful family that we have, that my daily appreciation of us being together is enough for me. We have businesses to run, kids to attend to, ahh life… is sweet as it is. Not perfect, but sweet with Grace. I am content. I guess a quiet anniversary dinner at the end of the business day is fine. But really, VC and I could just share a snack at some tindahan and I’d still enjoy it with him.

And so, surprise, surprise, VC brought me to Tagaytay for a quick Road Trip and I got one of the biggest surprises of my life when VC ushered me in to our own intimate movie date.

Anniversary

String lights, sweet calligraphy greetings, flowers, comfy seating (mattresses to lounge on, haha) rose petals strewn everywhere, a humongous screen for my movies… your granny really cried with joy at this pokerfaced man’s sweet, thoughtful gesture. He doesn’t talk about it much but I really understood how much he appreciated our marriage and our partnership. VC!!! Now I’m crying again. But smiling too, so smile-y and cry-ey = fun kind of craycray.

Vivacious Momma_anniversary
Me too, VC. Me too.

We had a lot of fun that night. We talked like the lovestruck young couple we once were. We were transported to that time in the past with our youthful dreams of building a forever together, back when #walangforever wasn’t coined yet (Good thing that it wasn’t a thing then yet).

But now, still young, with our kids, the context is different that our love is linked to the practical present, but also connected to the steady, hopeful future.

After our fun night, I settled contentedly to sleep with this loving piece of a hubby beside me. I was reminded at how important date nights are to any couple, especially to parents who are easily frazzled with daily concerns of running a household and raising tiny humans.

So. Date Nights. When was the last time you really enjoyed your hubby, just him as a person? When was the last time you dolled yourself up to please yourself, and also your husband too? Still remember?

Okay ladies, let’s have some fun in the comment section below. When was the last date you had a date with your husband/ partner that was really memorable for you?

What were you wearing…
What he was wearing…
What was the lighting…
What can you remember about the place…
Can you remember what you ate…
One memorable thing that is still in your mind about that date…  😉

Last: Declare what you appreciate the most about your husband.

 

Comment below and don’t be shy!

BTW, if you want to go to the Makati Circuit – Spotlight Movie Box film fest, just say so (Oct 14: Nasaan Ka Man) and you can have my ticket. First person to say DIBS on the comment box below gets the ticket. Bring your hubby for date night and get to know each other again.

V

Blog Post, Motherhood, Social Media

The Current Worth of Stay-at-Home-Moms

The Current Worth of Stay-at-Home MomsThe Day My Baby Made Me Cry-2

Have you ever come to a point where you felt worthless because you chose to be a SAHM?

Stay-at-home moms (SAHM) fun fact: According to a 2016 survey by salary.com, filled up by 6,079 mothers, a SAHM’s equivalent economic value costs… a whopping $112,962 or around Php5.6 million Pesosesoses annually, around 400k plus monthly. Fine, add in the inter-country wage adjustments, that’s less than that. Regardless, whatever amount is adjusted is definitely waaaaaay more than some old school misconception that a SAHM is worth a lot less than the husband or an employed mom because she “doesn’t work” or “sa bahay lang.”

 

You were once the most successful woman in your group, the busiest one, the most fashionable or maybe the ‘kikay’ and most sociable one. Then it all changed after you decided to give up your world for your new world, Motherhood.

For some, being a SAHM is a choice, but for others, there is none. Mothers have different stories on how they landed into it. Nonetheless, you are not alone and you are worth more now than ever before. Please don’t think that I am biased or judgmental since I believe all mothers, regardless of what kind they are, are truly awesome. I just want to highlight the SAHMs for this post.

I was once on the same boat so I know how it truly feels, how physically tiring it is to be a jack of all trades in your household. You are the dishwasher, cook, house help, nanny, etc. all rolled into one. Observe the tasks on the salary.com graphic. Your role is not just the most basic jobs, but note that you also hold technical and executive roles in your two hands — the same hands that hold the baby and the face towel that wipes the snot off baby’s nose.

You start your day when your alarm clock rings… Or when your cute living alarm clock’s cry cuts through the silence of the morning. You sleepily give milk, change nappies, you stare blankly at the wall for a few minutes and you stand up because you are compelled to. Your brain is barking out orders on the long list of tasks to be done… or else.  You have to start ASAP because some tasks will be not be done if the staring contest with the wall lasts any longer.

… And so the seemingly endless treadmill of a day begins.

You have to cleancookdothelaundrydeclutterwipebaby’smouthburpbabychangenappiesorbaby’spantiesmoppeegrabsnacksstabholesthroughjuiceboxreviewdrivepickupfromschool*(&*(#$&(*#$*&!!!andothergazillionthings (gasp gasp gasp) all while taking care of your little one. You have to eatpeepoo(!)takeabathtoo as fast as you can because every minute counts.  For some of us, it’s because you don’t have anyone to take turns with in taking care of your little one.

And for those times you do get to have a break, (thank God for long naps!) you browse the internet and check your Facebook.

You see friends and acquaintances, others who get to socialize, buy new stuff (the expensive ones), travel and do other things you don’t do (because you still can’t… at least for this moment while the kids are still small). The world is moving by, and your friends seem to be right smack in the middle of all the excitement.

Then you push a tear away.

You love what you’re doing, you love your family, you love being a mother. But remember that there will be moments. Just like any other mother in the world, you might doubt your worth and it is normal.

You want to have your own source of income, even though hubby is not pressuring you. You just want that you can buy that pair of shoes for your kid (yes, yes, not for you) without asking hubby for money.

You want to go out, get out. But you know that when you do, a few minutes out the door and you just want to run back home and hug your kid. You just want to shout FREEDOM!!! and yet the moment you get it, it feels different. It doesn’t feel like you. And you suddenly realize, you are happy and contented being a SAHM, that being one is just where you wanted to be.

 

And you start to remember…

… the moment when you get to witness every milestone of your child

… your closeness with your child

… the feeling of being needed by your family (yes, without you, it’s not just the house, but they themselves are a mess)

… overhearing someone telling your in-law that you’re a great a mom because you do everything hands on

… how grateful your husband is with you (even if he rarely tells you so)

and realizing that your situation is not forever. Time goes by so fast and the next thing you know, your children will not need your help as they used to. All the hard work and sacrifices you made are just now a reminder of how much you love your children. And that it is all worth it.

 

But you are there, mom.

Don’t lose perspective, my dearest SAHM. You are your own unique worth, much more than that 5 million paycheck. We all have our own different stories and value, even those who seem to have exciting lives. To each one’s own, beshie. What is valuable to you and your family, may not be the same for others. Don’t be discouraged. It will all pass.

I listed below some advice, tips or words of encouragement from me and other Vivacious Mommas in our Community. I hope these help:

“For those who really want to have their own sources of income, you can try searching for online jobs once you and baby are ready. Go from SAHM to WAHM — as a Virtual Assistant, Online Teacher, etc. or maybe open up your own online store. The possibilities and opportunities are endless, but being a WAHM is another story.”

“Others would just want to have their sense of fulfillment. You can either start a blog, support or maybe start a cause. Join and be active in a mom-filled community. Or just do and fulfill your passion.”

“Reach out to families and friends. Stay connected. Ask for help if you need some, it doesn’t make you less of a mom.”

“Stay focused on the Lord’s Word. If you haven’t been reading the most important book in the world, it’s never too late to start. It will open great depths of strength for you as a mom, as a wife, as a person. Pray, pray and pray. Pray for your child, pray for your husband, pray for yourself. Remember that the only person who will listen to you is Him, up there. So if you just want to vent anything out, talk to Him. Cry if you need to. And breathe.”

So to all the SAHMs out there. I’m personally amazed by you. I cannot say if others feel the same way. For myself, I cannot put into words how I look upon you highly.  Motherhood is never an easy job, but you took the Motherhood game to a higher level. You are a game changer. In your hands will spring forth how the next generation will treat each other. That in itself is invaluable. You have a responsibility of great magnitude, and you are doing great.

So from this ex-SAHM to you, kapit lang Bes ha? (Hold on tight okay?) ❤

 

V

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Post

Why This Busy Mom Runs an Online Store

All is going well as I work on the new collection for my online store. Please bear with me, mommies, when I can’t update as much as I want. Things are just hectic but soon, I will be able to share with you our newest designs from the Ellie and Me family. Please share our newest designs with your friends, whether they are expecting mommies or not.

eliie-and-me-maternity-nursing-wear

I have a friend who is content with her babies and has no plans of adding any more kids, but still checks out maternity clothes. When I asked her why, she said, “I’m pear-shaped kasi, and I found that maternity clothes not only come in my size, but embrace my non-pregnant curves just right. Regular clothes can be too tight, or too loose in some place or the other. Maternity clothes have space for hips (and some extra tummy, hehe) so I look if there are any nice designs. And the material they use is comfy.”

I also asked if it makes her uncomfortable to seem pregnant being in that section of the store, and she just said, “Not anymore. Keber carebear.” I pressed further if she is bothered by the nursing wear feature in the clothes? She shrugged, “Nope.” and looked like she never even gave it a thought before.

So there’s another one for my inspiration books. I don’t just help nursing or pregnant moms with the clothes I design, but also help very un-pregnant women with womanly curves. I like that.

***

People wonder why I run an online store when I’m already too busy being a wife, mom to active babies and helping run VC’s shop. I have been asked many times already “You’re one of the busiest moms I know, Vivs. Why do you still have to have an online shop?”

Yeah, I also ask myself that, especially when the going gets a little bit too rough. I could very easily just not do it, but my gut feel says I want to.

My priority in life is to balance being a loving wife and mom, being caring to myself, and being a helpful Christian for others. I figured working on the store and all the activities I do around it helps me address the last two.

Having the Ellie and Me Maternity and Nursing Wear store and growing our community is something for just me as an individual, as a woman. It helps me grow as I reach out to other people and grow a community.

I love helping people out and to enclose myself within just the immediate family boundaries is not healthy. The E&M and Vivacious Mommas community is also family anyway. Just a bigger version, and I want to be part of it and be a part of other mommas’ lives as well. As I interact with you ladies, you also help me grow and want to be better. With our community, I am inspired to be a better wife, mom and woman. Thanks for that, by the way.

Someday, hopefully not soon, my kids will grow and inevitably slowly break ties away from me. Sad thought, but it’s the natural way of how life works. A few more years down the line and it will just be VC and me. (“Grabe ka, Vivs. Babies pa ang anak mo!” True, and I’m not excited for them to grow up, but it will happen.) I want to be part of a community as we go through the natural progress of life.

A side benefit of running the store is that it also helps keep my organizing and managing skills sharp. I do these in the other aspects of my life as well, but as I mentioned above, this is one thing that’s just for me alone.

Lastly, like I always says, I want to be helpful and reach out to you mommas and be a friend/ sister/ sounding board. Doing so through a structured store and community, not just an online persona, hopefully demonstrates it’s not all talkies but also inspired action. They go hand in hand for a balanced life.

I hope I will be able to encourage you ladies to also work on yourselves outside the wife and mom persona. There’s a whole world out there, mommas, and you can still do what you dreamed of doing before you became a wife or mom. Maybe for you it’s not running a store, it can be a lot of other things but it’s there deep down in your heart. You just have to listen a bit and do it. With some bit of listening to your heart, some pushing, a bit of balance, and a prayer, we can do it.

Let’s do this, mga bes!

 

V

Blog Post

The Day my Baby made me Cry

There have been lots of instances when I cried because of Ellie.

There were tears of joy and fulfillment the day I first saw her, on the day she first said “Mama”, and when she fulfilled all her first milestones.

There were also tears of panic and fear when she hurts, like when we rushed her to the ER because of the 40° temp she was having. I cried too when she first went to the dentist. Boy, she cried so hard from the pain and each wail cut through me (my gums?) too.

There have also been a lot more instances when, because of the unexplained sadness or worry or happiness, I cried. In motherhood, crying is technically a vital feature. It’s inevitable, even to the strongest of moms.

beautiful-baby-E
Sniff!

These past few weeks have been hard for me and VC since technically, I’m not just his #1 fan but I’m also his (ahem) sexytary/admin/messenger/accountant/advertising/you-name-it-that’s-me employee. I saw how he worked so hard to start and maintain his business and I’m very proud of him. He managed to build a physical shop without relying on anyone but himself. But yes, we all face problems (who doesn’t?) and we were drained by the recent series of events that have shaken us. Shaken but not moved btw, because as a couple and as individuals, our strength comes from the Lord so it’s limitless.

So onwards to today, I’m feeling better but still not in a tiptop shape. Then I learned from the Miss in Ellie’s class that she had a rough moment with one of her classmate… again!!! Normal me would have shrugged it off. I would have simply talked to my kid and let her understand that you don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you. I felt so ashamed when I heard about it. And okay, admittedly, I was furious at my kid for not behaving the way she should in class.

We went to the shop after school. She was still up to her antics, kicking the car door from the inside since she wanted to get out of the car. I told her to wait. I was royally pissed and fed up.

I had to cool down so I left her in the car with her dad. I went to the office and stayed there.

After a while, VC brought her up to the cafe / office. Ellie was still crying her eyes out and kept looking for me. The crying woke Syoti (her little brother) up. Sleep interrupted and surprised at the loud crying (he hates that), Syoti too joined the Wailing Caravan. Can you picture the madness in our setup?

Pushed to the edge, tears began to fall down my face. A lot of questions poured out with my tears. Where did I go wrong with Ellie? I’ve been hands-on with her ever since. I made sure to model good behavior all the time and be patient at teaching her things. I felt that I was such a failure with motherhood. I knew I was effective as a preschool teacher… But why couldn’t I discipline my own child?

A bit later, Ellie fell asleep from exhaustion. As she slept, I looked at her face, so innocent this time. And that’s when the guilt rushed back to me. Ellie looks like a doll, my baby doll. How can I be super mad at her? Maybe I was just tired or maybe I needed a break. She’s merely 3 years old. Playful, curious, reactive, your average terrible two’s kinda kid.

I found this image when I was a college student studying Early Childhood Education. Somehow I’ve always kept it as a reminder that kids are different as they grow. What you have gotten used to for sometime about your child can and will change in a few months. I can’t find now who put this together, but I hope it helps you when things get psycho around the house, with the kids screaming, and other external things happen. I hope this quick reference reminds you to stop and breathe, and put things in perspective.

how-do-i-grow
Photo not mine. Credit goes to the anonymous owner

As for me, I realized I’m merely human (just like you). These past few challenges pushed me to be the worst version of myself. Instead of focusing on the Lord’s Words, I let misery, worry, anger take over me. I forgot that there are far more important things in life than dwelling on my misfortunes and emotions. I have my loved ones, my husband and my children underneath it all. And that’s where I should focus on.

So a bit of an advice from this Momma to you. If you need to let it all out and cry… just give it a go! We all need a time out once in a while so that we could always be refreshed and give our family the best version of ourselves. Remember that crying is not a sign of weakness but giving up is. So if you feel that you are overwhelmed with too much emotions, give your Mom a call or your BFF, have an alone time in a coffee shop or do whatever you need, just to… BREATHE. I urge you to take it, because you certainly deserve it.

Despite troubles, there will always be things to be thankful for.

Virtual Hugs to you Mommas,

V

Side note: Just in case you need someone to listen to you, or maybe share a thing or two, I am here. Just leave me a note. I will be more than happy to help.

 

 

 

Blog Post

Hear ye, hear ye 😉

We’re very excited to share with you that we’re coming back with another collection this September. Please stay tuned. ❤

With every Apparel of Ellie&Me | Maternity and Nursing Wear comes our passion and love for every detail, design, quality and comfortability. We pray that moms will look good (because they indeed look great with their OOTD from us), feel good (because they look good), and do good (as they get inspired by our stories and advice). Hoping you vivacious mommas out there will decide to pay it forward and be supportive to another fellow Momma.

Don’t miss out, ladies!

V

 

P. S. I *might* have a surprise for you gorgeous ladies out there when the collection launches, who knows? Soooo … for now,  I smile to myself. 😉

 

Motherhood

How to Stay Healthy (and sane!) as a Mom in this Social Media World

These days, almost every mom is active on social media. It’s the place to be whether you’re a SAHM, WAHM, or any kind of mom. You may be a silent reader, an influencer in your online community, you may always be going ‘live’ on Facebook, or always giving out likes or comments. But whoever you are in the social media world, you use social media fully and it’s a part of your motherhood. These platforms are a great way to read the news and current events, be connected with friends (or for some – virtual friends), learn something new, buy something conveniently or to put it simply, be updated with the world.

healthy-use-social-media

But let’s admit it, social media can either make or break your day. Even though there are a lot of advantages in being active online, you can’t deny the fact that it’s also a cause of panic, paranoia, doubt, guilt, feeling of worthlessness, envy or even depression for any mom, especially for first time moms. So I dedicate my first post for you, my dearest Mommas, by posting some things to practice when using social media for you to have a healthy outlook. I always believe that for us to be able to give our 100% to our families, we have to be 101% whole with ourselves – happy, contented, peaceful, refreshed, you name it.

Points to consider when you are in SM (short for Social Media, haha!)

  • With lots of news or reports being negative (talk about drama and exaggeration), please make sure that the source is legit. Or at least reliable. After thoughtfully examining and you conclude it is authentic information, please don’t panic. Be thankful you are informed, instead of being fearful. I know, I know, (nakakapraning naman talaga.) mothers are very cautious (for some, even OC) with their little ones. I for one have experienced watching and not taking my eyes off (and even placing my hand over my children’s chest!) just to make sure they’re still breathing. (Kayo din ba? Haha!) Just remember to stay away from articles, news or videos that make you stressed and feel bad. You don’t need it, trust me.
  • Remember that most people will post only the good (if not the best) part of any  story… and oftentimes leave out the sad or negative side. And yes, there are instances that people tweak or even sugarcoat whatever there is to garner more likes. So dear, don’t be envious of what that person has, but instead, look at what you have and be contented with it. I once read that the only time that you look at your neighbor’s plate is to check if they have something to eat. You don’t check to compare or to boast. If they have a lot, be happy for them. If they have none, give them something to eat.
  • Use social media in a different light, instead of making it our own personal diary where we pour out all our emotions (and regretting it hours after). Use it to inspire others. Share good things. Share knowledgeable things. Share the Love.
  • There is never a good outcome when you act out of pressure. For example, buying a certain product even if you don’t need it because you read raving reviews about it. Or when you see great deals for a staycation or lavish events, you buy vouchers just because). Being a parent, discipline yourself and commit to living within your means, even if it means celebrating your child’s birthday in a fast food chain instead of a posh venue with all the grand detail. (Will write about this on another post as I saw a lot of moms being pressured —  whether to celebrate their children’s birthday simply, or to splurge. Of course, if you have the means, go for it!) Instead of living in the system of this world, find the system that will best apply to your household. Do not be pressured, but reassure your place. You are on the right track. Not being able to spend for something (especially if you don’t have the funds or need for it), doesn’t make you less of a parent.
  • Try not to compare your life with others’. Our timelines are different from each other. I might be in the plot while you are still in the introduction. No comparing of wealth, things and yes – even kids! Everyone is unique in their own way. And that’s what makes you special.
  • Golden Rule: Whatever is applicable to them may not be applicable to you. There are a lot of mommy groups that you can join that share the same vision that you have. It is best to get as much help as you can, but remember that even though you share the same passion, a thousand members mean a thousand different personalities as well. We all have different cultures, principles, situations and we have to be conscious about that. Always keep an open mind when asking for opinions, suggestions or recommendations. Dwell with yourself (or sometimes with your hubby since he’s your life partner) before making a final decision – whether you are buying something, asking for opinions what to do with an in-law, asking for medical advice, or taking recommendations for just about everything. Just follow your heart and trust your mommy instinct.

Social media is indeed a great tool for learning, connecting and socializing. But, it can also be a huge hindrance to being the wife or mom that our families need us to be. Remember that we can control what happens in our social media. It’s not social media that controls us.

Let’s live healthy from the inside out, Mommas! Cheers ❤

 

Since it’s my first post, putting down here what SAHM and WAHM means:

SAHM is the stay-at-home mom while the WAHM is the work-at-home mom. Both stay at home and both work, so I guess the WAHM is differentiated as earning income at home through being employed by others or working on a home business. Yeah, there’s some drama on being picky with the words but let’s not go there. – V