Truth is, if you had told me a few months ago that I would be writing a health and wellness story right now, I would have answered you with a great big “Srsly? Well, here I am, seriously writing that health and wellness story.
I spent most of 2020 quarantined at home with my family in the Philippines, working from home while trying to keep up with all the cooking, dishwashing and laundry that needed to be done. Everyone at home helped out, sure, but we all know that doesn’t make any of this any less tiring, right? But a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, and so I did.
It was only towards the end of the year that I began to realize just how stressed out I had become. I was constantly hyper-acidic, my hair was falling out like crazy, and my eczema decided to join in the fun, too. I was also starting to become cranky, short-tempered, and really unpleasant at times. And it dawned on me – I was trying so hard to take care of everything else, that I had failed to take care of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I was (and still am) getting a lot of love and care from the people at home, but it’s different when you actually take the time to take care of yourself, too. Self-care is something that only you can give yourself, and it really does matter. I understand this now.
Enter 2021. I started the year determined to make some sort of change, though back then I had no idea what it would be. I started by upgrading my fitness tracker so I could start logging my steps, and monitoring my heart rate and stress levels. I began taking walks, too. Every once in a while I would go online to try and find some form of exercise routine that I could do (and not hate) at home.
Now, you need to know that I do not have the greatest relationship with exercise. I’ve never found it to be fun, and it’s one of those things that I have always tried to avoid. So of course I was rejecting every potential home workout I saw online. Until one day, I chanced upon the post of a friend on Instagram, and she was doing this poi-like, dance-y flow routine with a rope. It actually looked like fun. So I did some research, checked out our local rope flow community online, went ahead and got myself the cheapest flow rope I could find, and set out to learn the basics.
At first, I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to learn. I have some dance background, so my coordination is not that bad. And I played a lot of jumprope as a kid. Well, I was wrong. Rope flow challenged everything from my concentration to my coordination to the flexibility of my entire body. My non-existent stamina was put to the test, and I literally felt muscles in my back and shoulders that I never knew were there.
After weeks of huffing and puffing, and buckets of sweat, I could finally pull off three basic moves, not at all gracefully. There’s video proof on my Instagram in case you’re interested! I put in so much work, and progress was slow. But surprisingly, I was having fun.
Rope flow hour became my me-time. It was a chance for me to step away from the computer, get some fresh air and sunshine, and just de-stress, while spending time with myself. I got to dance along to music that I loved, and just be carefree for a few minutes each day. It felt fantastic. And my body was feeling fantastic, too – Less sluggish, more energetic, more focused even. A friend said soon I’ll be skinnier, too, but that, for me, would just be icing on the cake. I had already gained so much from rope flow, and that was more than enough.
Now, for the first time in my life, I have an exercise routine that I don’t want to quit! I’ve even gone as far as to share my progress on Facebook. And that’s when our founder, Jen, saw me rolling my rope, and asked me to write this post. As of this past June, I am 3 months into my rope flow journey. I now can do all of six moves, but am learning more each day. I’ve started joining spin classes, too, but that’s another story for another post.
I may not be the best person to talk about health and wellness because I’m not the most active, and I eat what I want, when I want to. But then again, maybe that does make me a good fit for this topic. Because if I can do it, anyone can. If I managed to take that first step, everyone can, too! Health matters so much right now, especially when we have our families to care for. As moms, we need to remember that we can’t take care of our family unless we take care of ourselves first. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to them, and we deserve to be healthy and well.
What activities are you doing to maintain your health and well-being?
This is an original post by Patricia Cuyugan of the Philippines.
Rope Flow exercise photo credit: Patricia Cuyugan.
When I was 15, I had my whole life mapped out.
I’d be married by 25. Within a couple of years, I’d have a daughter, and then a son.
When I hit 30, I’d go back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. By then, I should have already gotten enough writing experience, and gone through enough life experiences, for me to be able to fully appreciate the program. Then I’d go on to publish my first novel before hitting 40.
I was a little girl with big dreams who grew into a teenager with a plan.
In a few days, I will turn 33.
True to my expectation, I have indeed gotten married, but that didn’t happen until I was 28. The baby came first, when I was 23. And I had a son. I have no daughter, but that’s fine. I’m enjoying being mom to a boy.
My pot of life experiences is filling up fast, which is great because that means that life has been great. My writing resume isn’t too shabby. I know for sure that I’d be able to appreciate the Creative Writing Master’s program that I’m gunning for, if only I could afford it.
One thing that I failed to consider when I was 15 was how much it would actually cost to send a child to school, and how expensive a Master’s Education can be.
And then, there are all of these other things.
At 15, I had no idea how hard it was to be married. I didn’t know what it meant to meet halfway. I thought that there would always be a clear winner in each argument. I didn’t think that not going to bed angry could mean tearful discussions that would last until 3:00 in the morning.
I didn’t have a clue that parenting would be as challenging as I now know it to be. I thought that it would be so cute to have two children who are close in age, just like my brother and I. I didn’t realize that having one child is challenging enough already. I had no idea that I would someday find myself at the receiving end of eye-rolling and snide remarks that just happen to sound a whole lot like my 10-year old self.
I believed back then that if you were good at something it wouldn’t be difficult to find a job in your desired field. I never thought about how much of success comes from actual hard work, that luck actually plays a huge part in it all, and that being easy to work with sometimes matters more than what you can actually do.
I went from being a naïve teenager with a plan to becoming an adult with (at least a little bit of) wisdom.
I’ve learned a lot about life in between my 15th and 33rd birthdays.
I know that you should always expect the unexpected. And I mean, always. Life is full of curve balls and somewhere along the way things won’t go as planned.
I believe that the trick is to keep moving forward, and to always look on the bright side of life even when there seems to be no bright side. I understand now that the tough times are there to make the good ones shine even brighter.
Our hearts can handle infinite amounts of heartache brought about by people whom we truly care about. I know this for sure. I also know that these same people, if they love us as much as we love them, will be the same ones to mend those little breaks in our hearts.
I may have proven my teenage-self wrong on many different counts, but I do still believe in dreaming big dreams and planning for the life that we want for ourselves.
We may not be able to accomplish all that we want to do within the deadlines we set for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Things may not happen the way we want them to all the time, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop working on becoming the person we’ve always known we could be.
In spite of it all, and despite life’s struggles, the one thing that we ought to do is never give up on ourselves.
Based on the plan I had set for myself all those years ago, I still have seven years to get that book out. How that will go remains to be seen…!
How has your expectation differed from your reality? Are you close to where you thought you would be at this time of your life?
This is an original post for World Moms Network by Mrs. P. Cuyugan. Photo credit: Jurgen P. Appelo. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.
I watch my son playing with Lego almost every day. He’s currently using the Basics series, you know, the ones with little neighborhood scenes and people. Most times, though, he’ll create something new, something out of the box and different. He’s an imaginative boy, so I just let him be. Sometimes he’ll work for a long time on a project, not rushing it so that he can get it right (at least in his point of view).
At some point, my daughter eventually locates her big brothers’ work and, well, swiftly ends it. Her brother is five years older, but even then it’s hard for him to not take the attack on his Lego model as a personal thing. “She destroys everything,” he has often lamented, sometimes in tears of frustration. I have to explain to him that his baby sister never means anything intentionally. She is just doing what she knows (and at this stage, it’s to be the arbiter of destruction to her brother’s toys, my laptop and my husband’s coffee gear).
“You can always start again,” I’ve told Vito. “You already know how to build things. Just make something new.”
He sniffs, annoyed, frustrated and impatient all at once. “But she’ll just break it again.”
While stroking his head, knowing he is fighting back tears, I say,
“Yes, she will. But you can always, always build it again. You can make it so she can never break it again. And maybe you can show her how to build, too.”
My boy then walks away, in a mix of emotions, half in agreement, half in annoyance. It’s just a matter of time before he moves on to something else, creating again, imagining again, all the while mindful of what I’ve said.
Sometimes I’ve had to tell myself the same thing: “You can always build it again.”
In the past year, I’ve said this over and over many times. Because life has been kind, but it’s also had its harsh way with us.
We lost our home late last year. It was the first time in six years we didn’t have a home to call our own. “It’ll be OK. You can build it again.” While we can’t build a physical house (not yet anyway), we can make a home with what we have been able to make a new home for ourselves in a small place inside my parents’ compound (which is how many Filipino families live, in fact).
My husband lost his job. It’s been almost a year since my husband has been without a regular job, and since then he has setup a new business making specialty coffee and doing coffee pop-ups. It’s not stable, but it’s a start. “It’s going to be OK. We can build this.”
I failed as a mother. Several times, I can’t even count anymore. I’ve not been the best mom, and sometimes I torture myself over not being present enough for my kids. I totally failed being a work-at-home mom the last two years. It had me out of the house more times than I had imagined possible, and I’ve been beating myself up for it quite a bit. Then I see my kids, ever-forgiving, ever loving towards me. Of course, my children do not need to worry about these things that I deal with in my soul. All they need to know is that “Mom is here, she loves us, she takes care of us. We will be OK.”
Yes, my darlings. It’s going to be OK. I can build again.
And that’s really what I want to tell you, the mom reading this. You can begin again, build again. It may not mean restoring an old thing, it can be something totally new, something you haven’t thought possible before. I’m learning to be like Lego, you could say, and letting life guide the “build,” praying that whatever chapter we’re in, we as a family will learn the lesson, accept the season, and come out of it stronger than ever.
This is an original post by World Mom Martine De Luna, a writer from Manila, Philippines. Find her daily on Instagram @martinedeluna and @makeitblissful.
In the Philippines, we have a saying that the mother is “ilaw ng tahanan.” In English, it’s literal meaning is “the light of the home.” Beautiful thought, right? It conjures up images of a well-made home, filled with laughter and warmth and hope.
It’s nice and meaningful. In fact, I think it’s sometimes a far-fetched notion, because honestly most times I feel I am the polar opposite. It’s hard to feel like “the light of the home” when — like me — you feel like a looming cloud of darkness, failure and hopelessness. I know I’ve felt this way many times, especially in the past year when our family situation was shaken up from its very core.
We have had a tough past six to seven months in our family. When my husband lost his job at the end of 2015, we knew we were going to have to make some big changes as a family. Perhaps the most heart-wrenching part of this episode was saying goodbye to our rental home of five years. I remember my son crying huge tears for several days as he saw his bedroom being packed away little by little, and our house gradually emptied of its furnishings… and most of all, his memories. I felt as though we had let him down.
It’s a common setup in the Philippines to go to family when a situation has gone awry, and that’s what we did.
It just so happened that my mom’s guest house out back had been made available, and I humbly asked my parents if we could stay in that house until we could sort things out. “You can stay as long as you need to,” my mother said, and she meant it. It’s been six or seven months since we moved in, and every day she assures me of the same thing.
And there, I see what it means when a mother is the light of the home. Because for me, my mother restores my hopes each day. We’re still working to get back on our feet, and her encouragement for us remains constant. There is nothing but acceptance and love for myself, my husband and our two young children here in this tiny little home in our childhood garden and backyard. I’m reminded every day of the goodness of my parents, and the Filipino sense of family in which our people so pride themselves. A “light of the home” isn’t something whimsical or aspirational. A mother is a light to her home when she restores hope to a darkened situation or state. No mention of keeping a perfect house or a spotless kitchen!
Maybe you’re not feeling much like a “light of the home,” dear mama reading this today. It’s OK. Like candles, we all get snuffed out at times; we get burned out and we get spent. It’s times like these that we have permission to rely on our fellow moms: friends, our actual mothers, mother figures.
There is nothing more powerful than women helping women, mothers helping mothers. In a matter of time, our light can shine again, brighter than ever.
This is an original post by Martine De Luna for World Moms Blog. Martine is a Manila-based writer and consultant for women in digital (bloggers, online entrepreneurs). Find her regularly on Instagram @martinedeluna and on her blog, makeitblissful.com
As part of World Moms Blog’s collaboration with BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™, our World Moms are writing posts on maternal health around the world. In today’s post, Tes Silverman writes about the loss of a baby in the Philippines due to lack of access to medical care.
“Despite my difficult pregnancy, I consider my situation lucky because in many places around the world, heading to the hospital for life-saving remedies is not always the reality. I recently interviewed a woman in the Philippines, Pia Arguelles, and her experience of delivering a premature baby was, tragically, quite different.
Pia’s story began just like any mom who was excited to be giving birth to her fourth child. Since she never experienced any complications in childbirth before, she didn’t expect that this one would be any different. However, the baby was born prematurely after only six months with a weak heart, which led to a four-month hospital stay to try to prevent complications.”
Read the full post, “Could Pia’s baby have been saved if she lived somewhere else?“, over at BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood™!
I’ll tell you a secret. In the weeks leading up to the Philippine presidential elections, a lot of people asked me who I was voting for. My default answer was always, “It’s a secret. I don’t like talking about it.”
But the truth is I had no idea. I remained undecided until a few days before voting day.
Why? Because I knew that I wasn’t just voting for me.
I knew that whoever would win wasn’t going to be just my president, but my son’s president, too.
He or she would determine what kind of country my son would be living in over the next six years, and these are important, formative years. Within the next six years my boy will become a teenager. Within the next six years he will go through middle- and high-school. Within the next six years he will begin to turn into his own person.
This president is someone that he will remember. This president should be someone he can look up to.
Well, Election Day has come and gone here in the Philippines. The candidate that I have finally chosen did not win. On the upside, none of those whom I was certain not to vote for made it either.
As the dust settles, and we look ahead, I want the best for my country and I will remain optimistic.
This new president is not part of any prominent political family. This is such a welcome change, especially since political dynasties are so common in our country. Will this mean a greater potential for actual change? Time will tell.
While my son knows that the new president wasn’t my first choice, I have explained that he was chosen by our countrymen and that I will give him a chance. I tell my child that no matter what, I hope that the new government can make this country a better place.
I love this country, and it was never an option to leave, no matter who assumed the presidency. But I love my son, too, and I want for him to live in a country that he can fall in love with, flaws and all, the way that I have.
Here’s hoping that the new president, even though he wasn’t exactly the one I chose to be my son’s leader, turns out to put the people of the Philippines first. Here’s hoping that the country that I love so dearly has chosen well. Here’s looking towards a better future for us all.
Tell us some things about the leader of your country. How is he/she like? And how is this leader suited for the kids/teenagers and adolescents in your country?
Post Edited 11:04pm EST May 18, 2016.
This is an original post by World Moms Blog contributor, Mrs. C. of the Philippines.
Photo credit to the author.