Saturday, May 8, 2010

Five lessons I learned as a mom

"Five lessons I learned as a mom"

Sun.Star Davao, May 8, 2010

“Mom, why do you always give us the best parts of the chicken?”, my eldest daughter curiously asked me two years ago. She noticed that every time we ate fried chicken, I would automatically give the most coveted drumstick, thigh or wing part to my children.

During another time, when our household help accidentally overcooked a pork chop, I served the properly cooked meat to my kids and kept the slightly charred piece for myself. Do you know what my daughter did? She thoughtfully exchanged her pork chop with mine and told me I deserved better.

I was so touched that I almost cried during dinner (so the drama!). However, I explained to her that a mother only wants the best for her family.

Whether as simple as serving a favorite dish or making major career decisions to be able to spend quality time with my children, selflessness and sacrifice are among the most essential lessons I learned as a mother.

I’m certain many moms out there have their own important nuggets of wisdom to share. So, this Mother’s Day, I asked seven Dabawenyas this question, “As a mother, what are the five valuable lessons you learned from your children?”.

Read on!

JEMELYN GO-ANG, mother to Joanna Danielle (9) and Dominic Jay (5)

1. Be patient. Since I am a full time mom, there are times when I almost regret being one. But despite all the pressures of taking care and disciplining my kids, I have learned that I need to be patient and forgiving at all times.

2. Learn to apologize. I have this usual "away-bati" relationship with my 9-year old daughter. As a parent, I can say that I am not perfect and I learned never to be too proud to say "I'm sorry” to my child when I've made a mistake. This had really made me become a better person and made our mother-daughter relationship even stronger.

3. The value of listening. There are times when we unintentionally ignore what our children want to say to us especially during times when we are too busy or tired. I have come to realize my shortcomings when I am ready to listen but my children do not seem to care and talk to me much anymore. I have learned that the more a child becomes aware of a mother's willingness to listen, the more a mother will begin to hear.

4. Acceptance. I have the tendency to always compare my kids to other kids their age, whether in terms of attitude, skills or habits. My daughter always tells me this, "Mom, this is ME, not him/her, we are not the same". Through this, I learned to avoid criticizing my kids, rather shower them with positive comments most of the time. Once I have read and I quote: "Nothing has a better effect upon children than praise". The Bible also says that "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up" (Proverbs 12:25). Children need more of models not of critics, therefore I try my best to teach them right and be an ideal parent to the best I can.

5. Children spell love as “TIME”. A quotation by John Shedd says "Simply having children does not make mothers". When my kids wrote in a card they made for me, thanking me for loving them and always being there for them, I realized that my love and presence are what they truly appreciate most. I agree with the saying, "Too much love never spoils children”. Children become spoiled when we substitute "presents" for "presence". The time I give to my kids will surely not be wasted, for being a full time mother is for me one of the highest salaried jobs since the payment is pure love.

ANNE FEO-MANINGO, mother to Ryan James (16) and Miguel Antonio (11)

1. You don’t need money to be happy. We are delighted with the best things in life like fishing, going to the orphanage and even praying the rosary together to watching our favorite TV show or movie.

2. Humor, honesty, drive and perseverance of soul are important. I even learned the art of compromise. My kids mended my broken heart with love and understanding along with lots of compassion, hugs and kisses.

3. My children taught me patience, forgiveness and love. They glow with love and I'm drawn to that glow. In their eyes, they never belittle or think poorly of others. I wish that I could have half of the patience they possess.

4. In my kids’ eyes, everyone has the best intentions even when the outcome doesn't show it.

5. My sons can become my "best friends" and even my fashion critic. All the lessons I've learned from them helped me develop my strong character as a person, individual and mother.

ROWENA TAN-MANAPAT, mother to Enrico Rafael (9) and Samantha Marie (5)

1. Learn to listen. Kids have their own concerns and sometimes feel stress, just as adults do. Learning to listen is probably the most important skill we can learn in life. As a parent, we should accept and respect our child's feelings by listening quietly, attentively and being non-judgmental. Try to listen when they reason out. It is important that a child's voice is valued. Pay attention when they are excited to tell you something. It will enhance their confidence when their voice and opinions are respected.

2. Value the time you spend with your kids. Time flies! Before we know it, our kids are all grown up having their group of friends and be out on their own soon. As a mom, you won't want to find yourself looking back, amazed at how quickly time went and realizing you missed something special as they have grown. More importantly, spending time with your child gives you a chance to shape his/her values more.

3. Patience. If there is one thing that moms wish they had more’s patience. As any parent knows, raising children requires a great deal of it. I realized that sometimes we lose our patience because we are expecting our children to behave in a way they are simply not capable of...let them be kids anyway.

4. Don't be too overprotective. Because of a mother's intuition, we become overprotective of our children simply because we don't want them to get hurt and we always want the best for them. But are we giving them enough opportunities to learn to make decisions and mistakes on their own? Or are we doing too much for them? I believe we need to give our kids enough rope to handle themselves. Meaning, they need to be kids, they need to be able to make mistakes. No matter how much we love and believe in our kids they need to get hurt in order to learn from their mistakes, in that way, you are giving them the chance to stand with their own feet.

5.Let your children help you. When children are given the chance to help out in the house, they will develop a sense of responsibility. By letting them to do simple things for you, this will give them the chance to show off their responsibilities and they can grow up more confidently. Always remember that they want to be like YOU someday.

SCARLETT DALISAY-HAO, mother to Austin Kim (8), Zachary Ben (8)and Lyle Marcel (5)

1. Love unconditionally...No ifs, no buts! My youngest son Lyle asked me "Ma, do you still love me if my fart is stinky?" I answered, "Of course!!! I love you even if you stink". We should always see things through the eyes of a child--how their lives are so simple and pure.

2. Accept and respect the uniqueness of each of my children. My eldest Austy and Zacky are fraternal twins. However, they are so different in many ways from the strand of their hair to the tip of their toes, color of skin, height, likes, attitude, etc.

3. Be patient and understanding no matter what the circumstance may be. We always teach our child to be patient and yet we don't apply it on ourselves.

4. Support my children in whatever endeavor they pursue. I never push them to do things that I want but instead I let them do what they want. The first time my son Lyle volunteered to join a school program I was so worried because he'll be singing in front of an audience of 1,500. He was still 4 years old then but he managed to finish the whole song. Lyle really likes to sing and he has a nice voice so I let him do voice and piano lessons in school.

5. Take care of myself for my children’s sake. We often neglect ourselves because we are too preoccupied with taking care of our family. We should not forget to take care of ourselves because if something happens to us, our children will be most affected.

DR. DEBBIE OCCENA-SABLADA, mother to Caitlin (5)

1. We all make mistakes. I'm not a perfect Mama, and Caitlin is not a perfect kid. We will make wrong choices, be impulsive, say the wrong thing at the wrong time, be selfish or self-absorbed but the key is to acknowledge, learn, and move on and hopefully, make less of the same mistakes.

2. Talking about the little things will open doors to talking about the big things. Caitlin and I have been having "chit chats" ever since she could carry on a conversation by the time she was two. And no matter how busy I get, I always try to make time for our “chit chats” which can range from the latest Pokémon characters she wants, the new puppy grandma has, how she has to have long hair because "Mom, have you ever seen a Princess with short hair?", to deeper, more soulful topics like God, why I chose to get married to her Dada, and why Mamas and Dadas always love their kids, even though they are naughty! I hope, 13 years hence, we still get to talk about anything and everything.

3.Moms have only so much time to do a zillion things... so we have to learn to use our time wisely. When I was single, it would be so easy to set aside time for the things I felt like doing. Today, making time for Caitlin, her needs, our family, my work, and my other commitments challenges me to try to be as efficient as I can. There are things I can't just find the time for, so I have to learn to prioritize, and to be content with what is within my reach!

4. I need to behave so that my daughter will. I think the key to discipline is to say what you mean, and to be consistent. None of "I said no.... I said no... o, sige na nga!". It gives my daughter boundaries to respect and to follow.

5. Look at the world through a 5 year-old's eyes. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in making a living that we forget about making a life with our families. Take time to slow down, smell the roses, laugh your head off at silly stuff, be spontaneous and allow yourself to be “mababaw". Life is an adventure and a wonderful one at that, and Caitlin, her Dada and I will go through it together... one wonderful gift of a day at a time!

ANN MICHELLE SAMONTE-ZANORIA, mother to Jemimah (16), Joshua Jeiel (12), Jasmine (10) and Jeremy (6)

1. Mothers should be role models or living examples that their children can emulate. Kids especially in their early years are great imitators. They follow what they have seen and heard in school and most especially at home. I believe that the Word of God is true. He said in Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” As a mother, I learned that whatever you have imparted and taught to your children will manifest in what they will become in the future.

2. We should teach our children even at an early age to pray and seek God in everything that they do. I believe that in doing so they will learn that all things will be given unto them according to God’s will and purpose. I learned that with this exposure, they became prayerful and also strengthened their faith in God. There was one time that I was sick and my kids all looked worried and gathered around me. My youngest son laid his hand over my head and asked his brother and sisters to do so and began to pray for healing. I also prayed in agreement with them and later that day, I was already up and about. Praise the Lord!

3. Each child is unique. Children have their individual strengths, weaknesses and gifts. I learned to treat each one differently. As a mother we must not compare our children, most especially to one another. Deal with each one with patience, understanding and love.
4. Let your yes be a yes and your no be a no. I learned to be firm with my decisions with my children. I do not promise anything that I cannot fulfill. My husband and I had an agreement that we should have one decision at all times.
5. All blessing comes from the Lord, may it be material, physical, spiritual and financial. My children would occasionally ask me to buy something expensive that they want. If I cannot afford it, I would tell them to pray and ask God to bless the works of our hands so that we can afford to buy it. In that way, they know that all blessings come from the Lord and when the Lord does bless, I always tell them to thank God for providing and answering their prayers.

JOY JESENA-MEMPIN, mother to Anna Francesca (21), Ana Isabella (17), Jose Miguel (14), Jose Enrique (7) and Ana Maria (5)

1. Dying to self can actually be life-giving. All the sacrifices we make for our children, sometimes to the point of foregoing our dreams, comforts and luxuries will eventually pay off when we see our kids grow up to be themselves, people for others, confident because we fill them with our love and attention.

2. It is never too early to teach them to make tough choices. I just had an incident with Maria recently. She refused to go to summer class, "just because"--one of those days. The day before, we had a Maria/Mama day and she begged me to buy her a doll house. I relented knowing that she seldom asks me for something, and this would be some sort of leverage for me to "buy" her obedience. She promised to behave and not give me a hard time each morning when it was time for summer class. So I reminded her about our "pinky swear". Choose, dollhouse=school or stay home=no dollhouse. I knew it was tough for her, but she understood and she made a decision. School! Yey!

3. Tough love goes a long way. We don't pamper our kids with material things such as the latest cellphones, toys and gadgets. If our girls want to buy clothes they take it out from their allowance. So, they choose the "wise buys", not the branded expensive ones. Miguel (3rd year high school) got his cellphone this month, the most basic cellphone! We want to instill in them the principle of "delayed gratification". They learn the value of hard work. I'm proud to say our kids are not spoiled and they know how to wait.

4. Laughing with your kids is the best "stress buster". After a hard day's work, a light moment with the kids always makes you forget your tiredness and your worries. All my kids are each gifted with a unique sense of humor. I am lucky to be able to share this with them.

5. Listen intently to your kids, they are God's little messengers. Enrique, our 7 year-old one night before bedtime reminds me, "Mom, we have not prayed the rosary in a long time”. Isabella, our second, sponsored our driver's daughters' school supplies from her allowance. Cheska, when she was in grade school, saw a dirty, poor old man beside the road. At first, we did not want to help him because he was smelly. But God was telling us, "Hey, this is ME in the poor man". Miguel, our middle child never fails to hug me and say "I love you, Mom". Maria, our fifth after 4 C Sections, is a living testimony that God is in control of my life. God is always teaching us something through our kids, checking us when our tempers flare up, reminding us when we are too busy to pray, makes His presence felt when we are too engrossed in our own little worlds or when we feel alone.

Happy Mother’s Day!!! Special Mother’s Day greetings to my mom Lolita, mother-in-law Ester and aunts Panching, Mila and Nene (who have loved and treated me as their own daughter)!

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