Why Mother’s Day is Special

My mom and my mother in law have their own ways of keeping a home together. Many of the things I know about motherhood are things I observed from how they are as a mom and a homemaker. Their collective wisdom has saved me from a lot of stress and headaches, and I guess I will never be too old to listen to their pieces of advice. 

I’ve been a mother for 9 years now, but I know there is still a lot to learn about motherhood. I don’t think there will ever be a morning in my life when I’ll wake up and think I already figured out everything about being a mom.

However, this will not stop me to seek ways to improve myself as a mother, because I am never a mother to myself; I am a mother to my children. Times are changing and their welfare is always on the line, and I have to make sure I am prepared to be the mother they will need at a specific point in their life.

They say a mother is a child’s first teacher, but children are capable of teaching their mothers a lesson, too.

Today, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I wish to honor my children, the reasons why I strive to be better, and the reasons why I am called a mother.

Sabina, 3yo

Of the three, our youngest Sabina is the most strong willed.  

Today, I honor Sabina’s firmness.

I asked her the other day if she wants to eat hotdog. She said, “No Mommy, I want egg.” While my other two children have more submissive personalities to eat what I offer, Sabina would speak up about her preference.

As mothers, we may think that we know better than our children because we are older. Sabina taught me that it is not always be the case. I learned from her that I should also learn to listen to them, and to respect the things that they voice out. They may all be reared by the same set of parents, but they are individuals, with their own likes and dislikes.   

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I will give in to what they want all the time. As their mother, it is part of my job to make them understand why sometimes, they are allowed to do what they want.

Sabina is my everyday reminder that my children may have little voices, but they have their own mind.

Stella, 7yo

Stella, our middle child, is our moral compass.

Today, I honor Stella’s consistency.

A mother is known to guide and remind. In our home, Stella does this job so well that even her dad and I are on the receiving end of her reminders.

If there is one voice in the house that will constantly and tirelessly remind me to close the door and turn the lights off, it’s Stella’s. More importantly, Stella never fails to remind us about prayer time, and to ask us before we sleep what we are grateful for that day, as part of our family routine.

Stella’s reminders greatly show her heart. She does this not to boss everybody around, but to tell us that these little things she reminds us of are the very same things we once asked her to do; she considered them important and kept them in her heart.

Stella teaches me that the little things parents do for their children don’t go unnoticed.  

Seb, 9yo

If I would tally the number of questions each of my children ever asked me in this lifetime, Seb would definitely win, not because he’s the eldest, but he just never runs out of questions to ask.

Today, I honor Seb’s curiosity.

His curious mind pushes him to ask a lot of questions – and when I say a lot, I mean it! I actually reach a point when I get annoyed by the never-ending series of questions he has, but I had to remind myself that Seb has a strong thirst for knowledge.

As a mom, we feel like we have to provide answers all the time. Seb sometimes asks me questions I know nothing about! There are times when he would even ask me questions not because he wants to know the answer, but because he knows the answer and he wants to know if I know it too.

Seb loves learning. I am fascinated by the things he knows at his age. Most of the time, I’d feel like watching a show when he approaches me and begins reciting something he read with, “Mom, did you know that…”

My son knows a lot but he never kept these things to himself. In all those times he approaches me whether to ask or tell a story, he shares a piece of his mind, something I find very generous.   

Seb teaches me to never stop at what I already know. I must continue to learn and improve, and in the process, share these things so others can benefit from this knowledge, too.

Their strong points may be attributed to what they observe here at home, similar to how I learned from my mother and mother in law, but I’d like to believe that my kids have developed their own personalities – and I don’t take credit for the entirety of their good behaviour.

They are their own, and I honor their individuality. I celebrate my children this Mother’s Day, and I will choose to celebrate them every day, in every way I can.

The One with the Label Maker

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I’m sure some of you would recall playing on the streets with your neighbors after (escaping) the dreaded siesta, watching a cartoon in one of the local channels, riding the bicycle, playing patintero and piko, or collecting and exchanging teks or pogs. We all have that memory that makes us smile or laugh, and on stressful days, we look back and think of how amazing our childhood has been… we learned a lot through bruising our knees and losing some games, right?

As parents, we try to recreate that feeling of childhood fun and play with our children. As much as we want them to do well in school, we also want to develop in them a sense of balance by allowing them to be just kids. “The days are long but the years are short,” so they say. Before we know it, our kids are already teenagers, (something I am so not ready for yet!) so we want to give them the experience of playing only children their age can enjoy.   

Many parents nowadays give their children their own space in the house, a space where they can be just kids: to explore, learn, and discover on their own while having a lot of fun. Allow me to share with you one of the biggest playrooms we ever did as a #NeatProject, and the things I was reminded of while we were in it.

Before #NeatProject

This huge room is a feast to the eyes of children and adults alike. For a child, this room gives a feeling of overjoy, very similar to that of a feeling created by a toy store: the child would want to play with everything at once, but would want to scrutinize the toys one at a time, too. For an adult, this room triggers precious memories, back to those good old days when #adulting is not a thing yet.

With two girls sharing this playroom with their only brother, one would notice the collection of dolls and the number of dollhouses and play kitchen dominating the space. The boy on the other hand had legos and toy cars, and both had their musical instruments and art materials.

While we were planning for the new layout of the playroom, something caught our attention…

Look closely at the bins seated on top of the shelf on the left side of this photo. They are already labelled.

Those labelled bins are for the American Girl Dolls. Each of the accessories that came with the dolls had a separate bin – comb, clothes, shoes, tights, socks, bloomers! While sorting, we somehow felt like we were organizing a real-life closet.

On a side note, we also organized the kitchen (the real one!) after we worked on 1 ½ days in the playroom. Before we even worked on anything in the kitchen, everything was already neatly labelled in there too! Upon seeing the kitchen, I realized that since labelling is the system that works for the parents, this is the same system they want to instill in their children. No wonder there were labelled bins for the American Girls Dolls, and there were colorful bins for the other toys in the playroom.

Here’s my take on placing labels in the kids’ rooms, especially in the playroom:

When we place labels in our kids’ rooms, we don’t want to make stiff and rigid robots out of them. We don’t impose perfection and a hundred percent squeaky clean room through labels, and make them reasons to punish our children one day for not following rules and instructions.

Instead, we develop in them a sense of responsibility, so that they grow up knowing where to put things back where they found them, and ultimately, to not take things which are not theirs or without permission, in the case of toys being labelled with names of their siblings.

In addition, we also subtly teach them the value of taking care of what is given to them. By putting things back where they should be, the kids are trained to read, to be aware, and to take care of everything they are entrusted with, because in reality, they will not be given toys every single day of their lives… when they grow up, they will not be able to buy everything they want from the store. It is important that at a young age, they understand how taking care of what they have is much more valuable than wanting to have more.

Because of this, we can also teach our children to share.

With all these taken into consideration, we now transform a play area into a learning area: it’s not just a place where kids can be just kids, but a place where kids can be responsible kids.

Things take toll on us parents. At times, we get crazy with the idea of a messy playroom or living room. While it can be overwhelming, we can introduce small steps that our children can manage so that while we put our attention to more important things such as ironing their uniform and polishing their shoes for the next school day, someone else in the house would take care of putting the dolls’ clothes and shoes back where they should be. More beautifully, when our house help is doing something else for our kids, we can count on our kids to do this small task for themselves.

This post is not just for parents whose houses have huge playrooms. It doesn’t really matter how huge your playroom is. In truth, it doesn’t really matter whether you have a playroom or none. What is important is that we parents provide an area, a space, or an environment where our children do not just express their creativity and skills. It is important that the space we give them brings out their responsibility towards their own space and the things in it without making them feel that they are punished.

When we start them young, cleaning up and organizing, as well as being trustworthy and responsible, will not be foreign ideas to them as they grow up.

After #NeatProject

In time, they will tell about stories of how their childhood taught them to be nice and kind to themselves and to others too, because they learned these through taking care of what toys they have, no matter how little they are…

Stay Neat Everyone!

The Eve’s Drop

Neat Obsessions with Issa Reyes

An episode of The Eve’s Drop

“Women talk. And it gets real. There will be drama. There will be truth. There will be questions. There may be some tears and more laughs. This is what happens when women talk. Hosted by Delamar Arias, Francesca Tobias, and Gelli Victor. Produced by Jude Rocha.”

Listen to Issa Reyes as she guests in an episode of The Eve’s Drop with Delamar Arias, Francesca Tobias, and Gelli Victor

What’s in your Diaper Bag?

Having 3 kids, I’ve gone through a lot… a lot of diaper bags, that is. Having a 7, a 5 and a very new 1 year old baby led to a journey of bag discovery – the stylish but heavy and big Coach diaper bag, the very organized Jujube, the easy access Anelo.

From the mindset of “the entire nursery” inside the bag to just having the essentials… I think I’m now a “specialist”, not by design but by sheer trial and error in editing what’s inside mom’s most loved essential – diaper bags. 😅🙈

This particular skip*hop diaper bag is a combination of all my previous bags, it’s spacious, (super) lightweight, easy access, organized, fits right at the back and stylish (doesnt shout that it’s a diaper bag).

Finally, the one for me! ☺️ Swipe left to see what’s inside mine and why I need them. I’m saying “I NEED” because I salute moms that can go with their toddlers with just baby wipes in their bag, waaahhh how to be you, as in seriously, how? 😅♥️ #neatobsessions #ochits #octips #diaperbag