Saturday, November 22, 2008

Motherhood...just like a pro

“Motherhood...just like a pro”
Sun.Star Davao, Nov. 22, 2008

When I interview applicants for the family business what their mother’s occupation is, the most common replies are “housewife lang po” or “plain housewife”.

I gently remind the interviewees that there is nothing “plain” about being a housewife. In fact, it is one of the hardest jobs in the world! I know. I tried being a stay-at-home mom for one and a half years when I had my eldest child.

In an article, “Mothers Don’t Go on Strike (Some Jobs Defy Quantification)”, written by Carrie Lukas for the National Review Online, she cites that “according to the website,, a full-time stay-at-home mom would earn US$134,121 if only she were paid for her work”.

“These experts in compensation surveyed 400 mothers and found that the stay-at-home mom is part day care worker, housekeeper, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive and psychologist”, she adds.

And, let me add to that list...a mother also acts as the tutor, nurse, doctor and marketing arm (in short, “tagapamalengke”, as humorously described by Dr. Bing Veloso), name it, and the mothers will oftentimes try to find a way to perform these multiple roles.

Mommy Frannie

Last Saturday, I attended an enlightening talk entitled “Motherhood...Just Like a Pro” by Frannie Severino Daez, a Manila-based mother of seven (yes, seven children!) and author of the must-read book “Keep It Together: A Home Management Manual”. The two-hour talk was presented by the Lamdag Foundation, Inc. and organized by Blooms, a club for mothers.

Before meeting Frannie in person, I pictured her to be ‘losyang’ and haggard-looking (who wouldn’t be with seven children?). I turned out to be wrong.

Instead, I was introduced to this pretty fair-skinned chinita lady who looked younger than her 39 years. Having only given birth to her youngest Lucas, just a year ago, Frannie appeared radiant, fit, and with a very positive disposition.

A Psychology graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, Frannie previously worked as a career counselor, trainor for a bank and for an organizational development company. She taught managers and supervisors how to apply the principles of management to their corporations.

No plain housewife

After giving birth to her first three children, Frannie made the crucial decision to quit her job and become a full-time housewife.

“I thought that being a housewife would give me more time to relax and enjoy my children, but staying home didn’t seem to make my life easier....I felt that my day was just filled with unglamorous tasks. At the end of the day, I’d be tired, confused, and stressed out. I couldn’t imagine how women with children could work at the office all day and still raise good kids and keep a well-run home”, shares Frannie who is married to businessman David Daez.

So, Frannie consulted her old boss and good friend. The latter still maintained a successful career while raising well-mannered kids. Frannie confided in her and asked her how she did it. Her former boss replied, “Well, it’s just a matter of management”.

Motherhood...just like a pro

Her boss’ statement became an eye-opener for Frannie. It dawned on her that the reason why she was having quite a complicated time being a housewife was due to the fact that she was disorganized and couldn’t find meaning in what she was doing.

“Little by little, I started applying in my own home the corporate principles that I used to teach”, reveals the former college athlete whose children are Chinny (15), Sabrina (14), Martina (12), Yuan (11), Coby (9), Santi (5) and Lucas (1).

Frannie realized that “running a home is like running a corporation. We start out with a mission, a vision, and a set of priorities and goals. Then, we define our responsibilities. As work progresses, we organize. We streamline processes and procedures, check the quality of our work, and find ways to improve the system”.

“Depending on our needs, we may hire outside help. When we do, we have to train, coach, and counsel them. We help them organize and work to our standards”, she continues.

Slowly, Frannie transformed the “difficult, monotonous, exhausting and unrewarding task of managing the home into a meaningful and challenging endeavor. Her constant reflection on how to love her family better has inspired her to add creativity and freshness to her approach”.

Keep it together

Applying corporate principles to her home, Frannie created her own household how-to book, which eventually became “Keep It Together: A Home Management Manual”.

“Keep It Together” is envisioned to empower women who multitask as a way of life.

“As women, we find ourselves being so many things and doing so many things for ourselves and for others. This holds true whether or not we are married, have children, live alone or work full-time. We all end up with so little time to do everything we have to do. This is exactly why I developed my household manual and why I want to share it with you”, writes Frannie in the book’s introduction.

Frannie explains that “since every household is different and each household manager has specific needs, this manual is designed in such a way that it can become your own personal manual, which you can use to manage your own home and create balance in your life”.

The 145-page book published by Inkwell Publishing Co., Inc. is filled with practical household tips (e.g., Organizing the Home through the 5-S Philosophy), an eight-week menu, family-friendly recipes, comprehensive grocery and packing lists, scheduling guide, a lengthy discussion on how to create your house helper’s guidebook and many more!

Because Frannie has learned how to organize her household, she has now found the extra time to homeschooling her children (imagine!), working as a human resources consultant to Linden Tree Institute, giving workshops and seminars for adults and kids, doing volunteer work as founding member and president of the Catholic Homeschool Association of the Philippines (CHAP), and of course, writing the book, “Keep It Together”. Whew!

Indeed, the dynamic supermom Frannie has taken motherhood to a whole new level!

For orders of the book, “Keep It Together: A Home Management Manual” (P500), you may e-mail Ms. Frannie Daez at

E-mail the author at Visit

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