By Bai Iyah Sinsuat
WHEN I became a mother, I realized that pursuing my long over due dream of blogging will be a bit more difficult now that I have a clingy toddler that I have to keep an eye on 24/7. Once you become a stay at home mom, you’ll be surprised at how much you can do in 24 hours! Okay, probably a quarter of it is spent sleeping/napping. But thinking of something to post is a bit of a challenge when the moment you have peace and quiet, your little one is already running to you demanding for your boobies because it is time for nap. Not that I’m complaining (okay maybe a little), but sometimes I just miss those days when I have the luxury to just lie in bed all day watching movies, reading a book, or just plain daydreaming.
But don’t get me wrong.
Motherhood is still the best thing that has happened to me. I’ve never had anything in my life I felt certain of. And I may not know better than most moms before me, or most first time moms like me, but I can proudly say that I am confident in my decisions and I trust what I’m doing (when it comes to raising my daughter). I’ve never felt so sure of something in my life. It’s like being a mother has always been my dream, even though I didn’t realize it yet. Of course, there are times when I’m at a loss on what to do, like the time when my daughter got a bump on her head accompanied by cough and colds. I was sleep deprived, exhausted, ready to lose it. I admit it, I am the opposite of the calm, relaxed mother who got it all under control. No, most of the time, I’m a wreck. I worry too much. I think too much. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to be the best I can be. And I am still learning. Those occasional breakdowns, meltdowns, ups and downs, I believe, is an inevitable and is part of every motherhood. But I am fortunate to have the right kind of support from family and from online groups I am a part of, like Breastfeeding Pinays. Having people in your life who is going through the same struggles as you, who share the same values and advocacy as you is one of the most important things that will make life easier. It also probably helps that I’m a perfectionist and a little too cautious when it comes to raising my child/children. It’s not enough that I raise my children fine. The moment I became a mom, I was sure that I wanted healthy, intelligent children who will one day reach his or her full potential.
I wanted to raise future leaders.
And that’s how I became a breastfeeding advocate. I believe that the only sure way that my child will have a normal development physically and mentally was through breastfeeding. I believed that it is the only way. I also believed that it is the most normal way. I never thought of giving her other milk but my own. I don’t exactly remember when I made up my mind about it, but to me, it all came naturally.
After I got pregnant, everything was a blur. I remember a friend adding me to Breastfeeding Pinays. I remember my health practitioner referring me to prenatal classes held at The Pod by Ms. Alex Hao and then attending them. I remember that was where I got my formal education about how to kick-start breastfeeding successfully. I followed everything I learned from that class and everything I read from the Breastfeeding Pinays online group. Then I saw a post about a seminar on becoming a breastfeeding peer counselor. I signed up even though it won’t be conducted until a year later.
Fast forward a year later, a month before the seminar, I remember having doubts if I should attend, because we were suppose to go back to Cotabato that same day. But at the end, I convinced my husband to delay going home, and miraculously convinced him to book a room at Bahay Ni Tuding Inn where the seminar was held (super thankful for my husband for that). I completed the three-day seminar, got my certificate, and in the end met amazing moms and the Breastfeeding Pinays admins, who I admire. I went home feeling inspired and taking with me valuable lessons that will probably stay with me in this lifetime.
To wrap it up…
Being a stay-at-home mom sounds so boring to most people (what do they do all day?!) but for me and those who know better, it is indeed the best job in the world. I am at peace with it. You get to be a nurse, a business woman, a politician, a cook, a blogger, a photographer all at the same time, in the comfort of your own home.
You’ll find that there can be so many things to do when you have too much time. And then when you find yourself wanting to do everything, you realize that 24 hours a day isn’t enough! I look up to those who stay at home with no one to help them around. It’s a wonder how they do it. I am lucky to have a nanny to help with Raqiya, one helper to help around the house, and my husband, who I also share parenting duties with. With four hands helping me, I still find myself spending more time putting my toddler to sleep than doing other things. I give my hats off to Sahm, Wahm, working moms, single moms, who have it more difficult than me, but still have it together. They have my utmost respect.
To all moms in the world, I know it’s way past Mother’s Day, but let’s celebrate all our little accomplishments everyday. Let’s hold hands together, lift our heads up and believe in our own superwoman strength. Let’s all go through the challenges and difficulties together. We need each other’s love and support more than ever.
To anyone reading this, spend your time wisely. There’s 24 hours a day, 730 hours a month, and 8,760 hours a year. What you do with it will greatly affect your life. Do only things that strongly mean something to you no matter what anybody thinks, and throw the rest out of the window. It may be cliche but, just do it, and make it count.
(Bai Iyah Sinsuat finished Business Management at the Ateneo de Davao University. She lives in Cotabato City with her husband and year-old daughter, enjoys art, photography, writing, reading and homemaking. This piece first appeared in her blog https://moonlightandsunbeams.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/so-much-to-do-so-little-time/)