I was borne 8.8 pounds at a hospital in Manila on a February afternoon. There were no ultrasound machines then so my birth was not as joyous. My mom had a miscarriage before I was borne and it was supposed to be a boy. I was left in a nursery for a couple of months.
My earliest memory was when I was 3 and I was being punished inside a washroom of Little Green School. I was too talkative at 3.
My next memory was not passing the entrance exam of my first big school at age 4 because I cried in front our principal.
And so I studied a year of preparatory school, where I remembered having a tiny Chinese teacher who kissed me at the end of the school year and started my lifelong journey for learning.
My childhood is a gift of sorts. I had many people who loved me. First is my grand aunt, who reviewed with me each night and each morning because my memory was as poor as an 80 year old, at age 4. I had a grandfather whom I shared the love of “pandesal”(local soft bun), “bihon” (glass noodles) and “ube” (yam) ice cream with. And of course, I had my nanny, Manang Eyang, who was really a labandera (laundry lady), who pushed me to do my best in school by rewarding me with “Chippy” : )
My parents are both visionaries and hard workers. We were never made to feel less because we were all girls. My dad always believed we could achieve what any boy can, maybe even better. My mother was a critic like all mothers but she showed us passion. I have siblings with distinct personalities. Our family dynamics was intense. Every move was focused on the business. Every meal was a discussion on work.
We used to live in Quezon City, with my dad’s family. Many of my best memories are in our study room downstairs. At 4, I remember painting there one afternoon. I remember learning at Preschool that week to put some color on one side of the paper then folding it to create a mirror image. This began my journey for art and colors. That night I told my mom I wanted to be a painter. She told me I was going to be a lawyer businesswoman because there is no money in painting. From that day on, I wrote lawyer-businesswoman in all the slum books (I.e. a book where each person wrote their bio- data and interesting facts about oneself) of my friends : )
As you can see, I love stories and personalities. I look at each person and experience as yet another book to know and love. I love reflecting on each experience; and thanking God each day for these stories to learn from, and to transcend to people around me.
As I start to write this column about Parent Life, I hope to start at a premise that Parent Life starts with our own lives. Who we were in the past, and who we have become, bear great weight to our lives as parents today. In my coming articles, I hope to share with you the journey and insights of finding oneself, pursuing who we are, sharing our gifts with others; and truly expanding our capacities in the process.
I am a mother of 2 vibrant kids and a wife to an ever-understanding husband. I start the day early so I can bring my kids to school. I work for my dad and get to work with my younger sister, who is almost like my “firstborn”: ) I value my role as granddaughter and niece. I enjoy spending time with my husband’s family, who has been real siblings and parents to me. I have colleagues at work who share my drive and passion, maybe even more. I have great friends, old and new, from school, work and outside work, whom I foster deep bonds with.
For each role, there is “work” to be done. Work for me is never confined to four walls. Work for me has always been an opportunity to experience and learn. And above all else, work for me is its own reward.
Among all my roles above, I guess the hardest for me to learn and manage was to be a mom. This was quite a long journey for me since my eldest is now turning 10 this year. I have read so many books and articles. I have attended many talks from experts. Although there is still a lot to be done, the most important thing is I am happy where I am today, as a parent to two funny, inquisitive, resilient and warm kids.
I bring my kids to work whenever I can. One time I was in a meeting and when I came back, my office was rearranged : ) When I asked why? My kids said, “ We are pretending to be on an airplane.” My son was the pilot and my daughter was the passenger, complete with drinks : )
What I have always stood by is convergence and consistency in my role as a mother and an employee. I believe that, Motherhood is a gift to our craft. And our work is a gift to Motherhood.
Motherhood teaches us a lot of great values to be patient, fair and nurturing. Whether we like it or not, we are role models to our kids, especially in their earlier years. Because of this, there is great accountability to be assumed. We are responsible for a gift of life and how it can contribute to society one day. I bring these values in being an effective leader to my people.
On the flipside, the workplace throws us a myriad of tasks and experiences that hone our ability to efficiently manage situations. Strategic and long-term thinking methods have always proven effective in driving a company’s success. More than this, I learn as much at work so I can use these experiences to teach my kids. I share to my kids what my day was like at work and how I was able or not able to handle things.
I will share more of this in detail next time but the most important thing is not to think that we need to split ourselves. Work and motherhood is not a zero-sum game. It is a healthy commensalism where the grand prize is a better you.
(This article is revised from my column at Business Mirror) For any inquiries or clarifications, please email me at email@example.com.