Friday, March 18, 2011

Turn the Page

We turn the page of a book or a magazine when we have skimmed through it...when we have read and absorbed everything we need to get out of it or at times we turn the page when we don't like what we read and we just want to skip that page.  We also turn the pages of our life story.  Certain stages in our life leads us to turn the page and go on to the next chapter of life.  It may be turning the pages of being single and moving to the next level- married life.  Having kids for the first time is another page-turner as we leave the me-myself-I attitude and nurture the precious baby in our arms.  But for my family, turning the page means moving out of the not-so-big-house and doing it on our own.

The original plan was to move all the way to Quezon City and stay in my mother in-law's newly built house, with my mother-in-law :) But after much prayer and counseling, we decided to be independent and rent our own place.  As much we want to build our own home, we believe this is not the year God wants us to do so.  Renting our own place would just be a stepping stone for our family and we believe that this would not be permanent.  God will allow us to build in his perfect time.  Stepping out in faith is what we are doing.  We want to obey what God says in his word that when a man marries, he leaves his family and clings to his wife.  We have clung to my parents for quite a while and this time we have to let go and clung to each other.  I know there will be a lot of changes especially on my part, because I will be doing it all by myself.  But I know God will give me the grace to make it through every day.

We are but a few days away from the move and I can't seem to get myself packing.  I think I am having separation issues :) This house has been my refuge, though at times in the past, I wished I was out this hell-hole (is what i would call it then).   It's not that we are moving far far away, our new house is still within the village but I feel it's so far away (its the drama queen talking now).  So to break the separation-anxiety/laziness syndrome, I picked up a box and started packing the kids' things.  I called them to help me pack and our eldest says he is excited to move.  Though he would be missing Lolo's house but he is looking forward to our new home--with stairs.  Kids just love the stairs!  So maybe I should take the cue from them.  I should be excited and besides it's just 15 minutes away from our old house.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To Multi-task or Not to Multi-task

Women, or more precisely, moms have been known to be great at the science of multitasking.  I for one has succumb to the call of the times to do hundreds of things all at the same time.  In my pursuit to juggle the daunting task of raising kids, managing a household, loving a husband, not to mention homeschooling and working from home, I am surely tempted to perform all these responsibilities at the same time.  I must admit that I have been a victim of this art, as some people describe it.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that multi-tasking is a crime.  Like I said, I was and still am (in some instances) a multi-tasker but I am able to let go of its hold on my life. defines multitasking as the concurrent or interleaved execution of two or more jobs by a single CPU.  Really? CPU? As in computers? I had to laugh for a while after seeing this definition.  Multitasking was originally referred to as a task of computers.  No wonder I find it stressful.  First and foremost, I am a human being created by God with feelings.  I am not made to last a millennium.  And second of all, I can REALLY only do so much.  Hey, even computers break down right?

When I began to juggle all my do-lists in one sitting, at first, I felt a sense of pride.  Wow! I was able to do complete my list, I must be very good.  This multitasking thing is great! I would unashamedly share the experience with other people who don't have the ability to do it... or so I thought.  Unfortunately, reality bit me and it bit me hard.  Yes, I could teach my son, work with my abstracts, take care of my little girl and entertain calls at the same time but it's just too stressful.  So, here I am doing three to four things at the same time but what kind of ME is in it.  I mean, I have to divide ME in all these tasks, so I only give let's say 1/4 of me in teaching, 1/4 in working, 1/4 in caring and 1/4 in calls.  Now is that giving my best? Where's the quality control here?  I am only giving a part of me, not the whole of me and the recipients are getting not only a portion of my time but the worst of me, the stressed-useless-angry-frustrated me.

Again, as I always do in my aha moments, God has always been the author of my realizations.  I cannot think of solutions on my own, He gives me the wisdom and I owe it to Him always.  So, as I tread on the dangerous (for me) journey, God has opened my eyes to the reality of the craziness I am in.  I am putting my sanity on the line and He  is not pleased with that.  Daughter, how about prioritizing things? Well, I do prioritize but I put them all in number 1.  I realized that there should be a hierarchy in all things.  I don't have to pull my hair every waking moment thinking of how I could accomplish everything I need to do.

So I asked God.  What do I do first?  What would my day be like if I choose not to multi-task but instead order things and do my best in each task I am set to do?  I tried slowing it down and it worked, really worked.

Here is how my schedule looks like while I was still multitasking:

Wake up stressed already.  Be on the computer requesting for work while having breakfast.  Wake up the kids and hurry them up, "Faster, I have to do a lot of things today".  After kids' breakfast, school starts with the frantic mom always in a hurry thus creating tension between the teacher and the student.  While teaching, I log on again and download work load for the day and constantly standing up to check on the progress of the download.  Not to mention the text messages I have to reply to (do I really have to). Just thinking about it makes me sick really.  Then the self-induced stress continues throughout the day leaving me exhausted to the bones.

Now, after realizing that I was spreading myself too thinly I decided to intentionally change the way I manage my day, my life.  I start my day with a conscious effort to read His word first and ask Him what He wants me to focus on for the day.  I leisurely take my coffee or tea for breakfast and listen to soothing music.  I check on the subjects we need to do for the day and remind myself not to put burden on our school time too much.  After giving 100% of my time to teaching the son and assisting my daughter in her writing, school ends for the day.  Right before lunch time, that is the time I turn on the computer, check my email and request for work load for the day.  While having lunch with the kids, I download the  files to save time.  After lunch and playing with the kids for a few minutes, I prepare my mind to write those abstracts.  Depends on the how much load I have, I try to finish it before 6PM so I could spend some time with the kids again and prepare for the arrival of my husband from work.  If the workload is light, I could squeeze some time in the gym for my boxing session.  At the end of the day, though exhausted still, I feel less frustrated, more grateful and looking forward to the next day.

I am not saying that multitasking is bad.  I still do multi-task but on a minimal level only like watching TV and texting or  meditating while taking a bath :) But that was my personal experience and if other people can manage it well, good for them.  I was just probably not wired to do it or just getting old :-)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Gift of Offsprings

When I started homeschooling our first child, Jacob Gabriel or Coby, I wanted to quit right away.  I  knew that it's not going to be that easy but I thought I could handle it well.  But I was wrong.  I knew my husband and I prayed about this but how come it's sooo hard! But as Jesus said, "If you want to follow me, you must carry your cross".  I am not saying homeschool is a burden, no it's not.  But I believe what the Lord is saying here is that if you really want to follow what He is telling you to do, then you must be willing to face the challenges, the frustrations and the pain needed for you to develop a Christ-like character.

So we completed first grade last year.  And we decided to continue again this year for Grade Two.  The frustrations were there in the first quarters but slowly, God has been revealing a lot about myself.  I knew that God's main reason to put me in this situation is to change me and mold me to the person He wants me to be.  Once I realized that I am not doing this to please myself, God has opened my heart to see a lot of things.  One major breakthrough I got is that my son's intellectual level is not equal to me.  He is only 7 years old so why would I expect him to comprehend things the way a 37-year-old would?  I need to lower my expectations.  I need to be patient and find out easier ways for him to learn and enjoy the lessons.

Since I am a stay-at-home/homeschool-/24-7-on-call mom, there were times I feel tired being around the kids all the time.  There were times when I just want to run away and come back when the kids are all grown up.  Since our eldest son is 7 and the youngest is 4, you could just imagine how I spend my day.  Setting up the table when they want to paint, cutting fruits for them, making milk and juice, act as a referee and judge too... pretty much what stay-at-home moms do.  I would always say to friends whose kids are grown up, I wish my kids were grown up too.  And they would counter me saying, Oh you will surely miss them when they're grown up.  They wouldn't want to be with you anymore.  But I want that even for just a day.  Just to be by myself and spend some me-time.

One night, I told them that Mama needs to have a break too.  This especially applies to my eldest because he would always talk to me about anything.  He would explain to me how stuff work, he would share what he read, he would just talk and talk and sometimes while I am resting or reading a book, I could not focus because of his constant need of attention.  So after freaking out that afternoon because of mom-stress, I talked to them about the importance of Mama having time for herself.  Coby understood.

Since then Coby would remind me that I need to have a break.  He would also tell his sister not to bother me when I am reading or having my break.  I attribute this to the benefit of homeschooling.  Our relationship has been more open because of our constant togetherness.  Our kids can talk about anything and ask anything and I am praying that this would continue until they are grown up.  Now, they would understand that Mama needs to go out sometimes and spend time with her friends and do not keep me from doing that.  In fact, they act excited when I go out and just happy that I will be out to have a break... or maybe they can do whatever they want when I'm gone hmmm (thinking thinking)

Recently, showing affection to Mama has become a competition for them, well not really a contest as in contest but every time Coby does  something nice for me, the younger one, Jianne would try to copy or outdo Kuya.  My son writes sweet love letters and I always hug him after reading all his letters.  But soon after the hugging ends, Jianne would show me her letter too but only she can read it.  Last night, though not yet officially homeschooled, Jianne was able to spell Papa and Mama correctly on her own while she was trying to write us a letter.

Daily surprises from the kids encourage me to continue doing what I am supposed to do and that is to bring them up in the knowledge, fear and love of God.  So far, because of God's grace alone, I am able to see the fruits of the the decision to homeschool.  Coby is always excited, well not all the time though, to study.  He would always connect the things around him to God.  Like  what he shared to me yesterday, he said that God created lakes so that  people and animals can drink fresh water when they are travelling.  You never learn this from school and I did not even taught him this.  But because of his exposure to God and His word in all the lessons it has allowed him to see that we are all here because of God.

There are a lot of other things to be thankful for.  But mostly I am thankful that the Lord is in our family's life because if we would only do the parenting, I know our kids would have hated us... I really hope they don't!

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a parent.  Grateful for the opportunity to mold a child the way God wants and offer them back to Him.  In spite of my inadequacies, failures and shortcomings as a person, God chose me to be a Mom and an undeserving of such a wonderful gifts.