Just like me, Rochelle Santos’ task-filled day starts before sunrise. The 40-year-old stay-at-home mom of four gets up early to go through the motions of preparing for her children’s day which includes cooking breakfast and organizing their things both for school and training.
Her kids: Cello, 21, Roch, 17, Éclair,13, and Chelsea, 11, are athletes. They spend a few hours each day training to compete. This means Mommy Rochelle has to juggle household chores with accompanying her kids to competitions or driving them to their training sessions on a daily basis.
Read: 10 tips on how to teach your kid about sportsmanship
Mommy Rochelle’s kids are trained swimmers who often compete.
Some working moms think that SAHMs have it easy. And we often dream of spending our days with our children in our imagined lala land instead of slugging it out in the workplace managing offices, beating deadlines, crafting policies, shaking our fist at the ever-worsening traffic situation, among others.
But read on to find out, as I have, that working moms have much more in common with stay-at-home moms than people would like to think or believe. We both do everything for the love of our children. We both sacrifice and persevere to help our children have a better future. Amidst the dizzying schedules (which we both have) the best part of our days is when we get to settle down with the most important people in our lives.
Find out more similarities between the life of a working mom and a SAHM on the next page.
Tell us something about yourself:
Rochelle: I’m a full-time housewife and mom. I enjoy every minute of it. I’m a very simple and practical person.
Loraine: I’m a working mom of two. My eldest is turning 4 and my youngest just turned one. I manage an office in a university and teach print media on the side. I also write articles on weekends.
How old were you when you first became a mom?
Rochelle: I was 19 when I became mom.
Loraine: I was 29. I was working full-time as an editor for a magazine. Actually I wasn’t ready to be a Mom yet since I was working towards a promotion. But my Doctor advised me and my husband to go for it since I was starting to have problems with my reproductive health.
What made you decide to focus full time on the children/ juggle family life with a full-time job?
Rochelle: When I had my first born, I went back to college to finish my degree, it was a struggle leaving my baby with a yaya and meeting the deadline of school work while breastfeeding her for almost 8 months. I had to sacrifice my dreams to be with her; she needed me most, so I decided to embrace motherhood wholeheartedly.
“I embraced motherhood wholeheartedly.”
Loraine: It’s an opportunity to help provide for my kids. And I guess when I gave up my full-time job and tried being an SAHM for almost 2 years, I realized it wasn’t for me. Some moms are not wired that way. We’re all different, but at the end of the day we’re all just doing the best for our children.
What’s your day like?
Rochelle: On a summer day like this, my day begins at 5am to prepare breakfast for my 3 children who are into competitive swimming. They train in the morning 6-9am and 5-8pm Monday to Saturday.
Watch: Heartwarming video for stay-at-home moms
I bring them to the pool and fetch them religiously. In between, I do household chores— cooking, a short trip to the grocery, bank errands. But we take a long nap altogether in between. We have our dinner usually late since we have to wait for all of our kids to come home from training.
During school days, my day starts earlier.There are also days when I need to wake up way too early to attend to my husband who has an early flight. He’s a pilot.
Loraine: I wake up at around 5am to breastfeed my daughter before I get up to prepare my things for work. Then I would spend time in the kitchen to write a meal plan, give ‘assignments’ to our helpers like what they would cook, or feed the kids etc.
I then set the table so my husband and I can have breakfast together. When my son gets up I feed him and give him a bath. On school days I would help my son dress up for school and then I drive him to school before 7 am.
I get back, give instructions to the other yaya for my baby and get ready for work. I work from 8:30 or 9:00- to around 5:30 or 6 depending on the workload. While at work I check on my kids regularly and the yayas are trained to text me in case they have questions about the kids or the chores.
At work, I start the morning by checking my email, signing documents and checking on my staff. They’re my second family so we talk about home matters and personal matters sometimes.
I teach once a week and my students often come to the office to consult.
When ever I have a speaking engagement that’s scheduled on a weekend, I make it my personal policy to bring my kids with me. That way they get to see what Mommy does when she’s away.
When I get home from work, I usually take over from the nannies. I prep the table so we can all have dinner together. I feed my son and daughter and help them get ready to go to bed.
I breastfeed my daughter to sleep and then I read books to my son before bedtime. By 9:30 pm I’d be knocked out unconscious from exhaustion.
What’s the best part of the day for these moms? Read about it on the next page.
What’s your favorite time of the day?
Rochelle: I would say that my most favorite time of the day is when we get to nap all together, all of them in my room, it’s the best for me! Everyone is around.
Loraine: Before the day ends and I get to sleep beside my kids. Actually they’d be all over me. I’ll have my daughter breastfeeding cradled around one arm and my son would be sleeping, resting his head on my tummy. My mom says I look like a Mommy cat with new born kutings! That’s my fave part of the day! Oh and my husband would be somewhere around, like sneakily holding my hand from the other side of the bed.
How many hours of sleep do you get?
Rochelle: 5-6hrs straight a night is enough, the long nap compensates for the less sleep I get at night time.
Loraine: 7 hours. But I wake up in the wee hours of the morning a couple of times to breastfeed.
Describe your ‘me time’? (How do you unwind?)
Rochelle: I love to read (any reading materials) and watch movies, it’s my way of updating myself and keeping up with the world.
Loraine: What’s that? Kidding! These days since my office is right beside the chapel I squeeze out a little time to go there to pray to help me calm down especially when I’m stressed.
What does a typical lunch look like for your kids?
Rochelle: Since I’m dealing with my athlete-children I exert extra effort to prepare a good meal for them, its protein-carbo loaded usually.
Loraine: We depend a lot on our Ates (our nannies) to take care of our children while we’re away.
My mom helps take care of the kids and supervises the kasambahays when we’re not around.
We also seek the help of my awesome mother and my in-laws who come over to babysit or supervize the ates.
I often ask them to prepare crushed broccoli with rice for my daughter and sopas or anything with soup for my son.
A working mom’s secret weapon is a nanny she can trust. Meet our awesome Ate D!
As a parent, what has been your:
• Biggest regret:
Rochelle: My biggest regret was not able to look after myself, my health while taking care of them, I was not mindful that I was gaining too much weight that resulted to health problems.
Loraine: Come to think of it I have been so busy that I haven’t been taking care of myself a lot too. I don’t have time to exercise or cook healthy meals or just unwind. Maybe I should think about doing that before it becomes a regret for me too.
• Largest triumph:
Rochelle: My largest triumph is witnessing my children realize their dreams and achieve their goals.
Loraine: Being able to juggle a full-time job, part-time job, and freelance work with taking care of my kids, my husband and managing our household. We’re doing okay so far.
How has parenthood changed you?
Rochelle: Parenthood changed everything about me, I became selfless, my family became my priority. I learned to be more patient, understanding and responsible with my actions.
Loraine: When I was in my early 20s I didn’t want to have kids. I thought I wasn’t wired to be a Mom. Motherhood changed everything. I have never been this happy. Motherhood has given me this sort of peace and happiness to serve my children that I have never felt before. And yes I have become a lot like my mother!
Read about their SOs on the next page.
What are your fears for your children as they grow up?
Rochelle: My greatest fear is that I wont be with them all the time to protect them from all the harshness of the world.
Loraine: I’m a working mom which means I don’t get to be with them physically the whole day. So I’m often scared of what I see in the news. They’re so little now so I can’t imagine them growing up yet.
How involved is the husband in raising your kid/s?
Rochelle: My husband is more of the disciplinarian. He rarely speaks but when he comes to the scene, it means, ITS SERIOUS!
Loraine: He is very involved. I don’t know how he does it. He’s super busy with his full-time job yet he finds time to babysit.
He rushes home right after work to be with the kids. On weekends he’s on full Daddy mode. He plays with the kids, he accompanies me to the kids’ doctor’s appointments (he sets the appointments too!) He cooks when the helpers are not around. He’s amazing!
What’s the sweetest thing your kids have done for you?
Rochelle: They always find ways to make me happy, they use their humble earnings to buy simple gifts for me. They give me DIY stuff that really melts my heart.
Loraine: My baby is so small so no grand gestures yet. She just screams in delight whenever I come home from work and rushes in to hug my leg. My 3 year old gives me flowers! One time on my way to work he rushed to the car to give me a flower and said that since he can’t go with me to work I can take the flower instead. The flower dried up already but it’s still displayed on my dashboard.
What’s the best part about being a SAHM or a WM for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest from theAsianparent.com Philippines!