I never imagined myself being a mother of three boys. Like my husband, I was exceedingly committed to my career in public relations, working hard to give our children a good education and a stable future.
Often I put work first. There were times when I missed several school activities, which naturally left me feeling guilty. However, I saw work as a necessity—as a means to support my family. That was my justification.
Corporate mom in stilettos
Everything seemed close to perfect. My career was at its peak, and promotion was in the process.
But more than bringing food on the table, work gave me a sense of accomplishment and pride. I felt privileged to have a career that wasn’t just a job but something I loved. I fancied wearing corporate suits and stilettos. I enjoyed meeting clients and presenting pitch decks to them.
Best of all, I cherished the perks of traveling within and outside of the country. Whenever I returned home, I would have a bag full of pasalubong for my boys. And they would all be excited about it—or perhaps I only saw what I wanted to believe as my way of spending time with family.
But for years, it went on like that. Until I learned about my fourth pregnancy.
The lost pregnancy
Pregnant with my fourth, I still opted to work and travel. But then reality hit me. I had suffered a miscarriage and I wasn’t even aware of it until my next doctor’s appointment.
Our doctor advised us that she would perform dilation and curettage to expel all the fetal tissue. Despite my family’s hesitation, I opted to miscarry naturally. I didn’t want my baby to be all blood. I wanted to see his face and at least hold him dearly. I carried him for more than a month until he naturally slid from my cervix.
The second chance
A year after, I got pregnant again. This time around, there was no confusion about my pregnancy and career choices. I decided to drop the career I loved so much and chose to stay at home.
It was like a second pregnancy to me. Though unplanned and not something we waited and prayed for, I still welcomed the new life inside me with excitement.
I watched my body take shape into a familiar form as it housed another human being. My tummy stretched to accommodate the growing fellow inside me, while my hips and legs supported my increasing weight.
A renewed sense of purpose
I saw myself embracing motherhood and saw it as a second chance to become the ideal mother. I was obsessed with every pregnancy-related milestone and documented each week. I closely monitored the second heart beating inside of me.
On my 37th week, part of me was excited for my other three boys to finally see their baby brother; however, another part mourned the idea that the special bonding would be almost over. God must have heard my yearning to continue caring for a baby inside my tummy because soon after the fifth, I became pregnant for the sixth time.
And it was during this last pregnancy that I felt the value of time.
In the blink of an eye
While caring for my boys, I often wondered to myself: My three boys are all grown up. When did that happen? Where was I?
I realized the importance of time and of rebuilding the relationship with my older children while still taking care of a toddler and a baby. I came to understand that like a garden, family members needed water to grow and bloom.
So now, as much as possible, I spend quality time with each of my boys. We have date nights and family bonding activities. My husband and I try to listen to the boys’ thoughts and concerns, whether they are petty or big, scary or funny. In every family decision, we consider the wellbeing of each member of our big unit. We always act, speak, and decide out of love. Our head of the family always reminds us of this: Do things that move you to love and everything else will follow.
No missed opportunity
Staying at home for three years now, I see happier, more grounded teens. They aren’t afraid to ask anything from their parents. They also love their two little brothers and help their parents in managing both the house and the family needs.
As for our two youngest children, this mother is always present in every moment for them. There is no longer that tiny voice in my head nagging me about a missed opportunity, only pure delight at being able to spend quality time with my family. I no longer wait for the weekend to spend time with the kids. With no work to attend to, I can give my littlest ones my full attention. I also get to spend more catching up time with my three grown-up boys.
Now, I understand time better. I am committed to embracing every moment, laughter, and tears. As much as possible, I spend more time with my babies from morning to evening, even during bath time and play time.
Embracing motherhood the second time around
One of my favorite bonding moments with our Fourth and Fifth sons is the “I love you” massage I give them after bath time and before going to bed at night. Our Fifth would always smile at me and show his appreciation by letting me massage his legs and whole body. I also love how he intently looks at me, as if saying, “I love you, too, Mom.”
I also do the same with our toddler. I know he appreciates the time I spend with him as I massage his body. He can be patient and wait for his turn. He never feels jealous of his younger brother. He would even give his baby bro sweet kisses.
Embracing motherhood the second time around is giving mundane day-to-day tasks like bath time and massage time significance. This new attitude helps me to accept the big changes I’ve made for myself and to realize that I am strong and can endure all that life would throw my way. I am thankful for the second chance to transform myself into a more sensitive and loving mother, one who owns and embraces everything.
Trusting my instincts
I’ve realized that the decisions I made before are what made me today as a mom. There is no right or wrong way to be a mom—only my way. My experiences have taught me to trust my instincts. As a mom, I instinctively know what’s best for my children—pretty much like how I trust Baby Dove to deliver real care for my two youngest boys’ skin. No one told me about it or convinced me to use it. I simply tried it once on my youngsters and I saw, felt, and was impressed by the results. So since then I have trusted the brand.
I don’t mean to say I should have stayed at home from the very beginning when I gave birth to my firstborn. While I believe that my decision to continue working may not have been carefully made, that doesn’t make it a flawed choice. After all, there are no perfect decisions and perfect moms, just real ones. I’m so glad that Baby Dove is an advocate of the same message!
As a mom, I want to share with other mothers that we should never feel pressured to be perfect. Different priorities don’t make us bad moms, only different.
Looking back on my motherhood journey, I now appreciate time more. And with time, I am able to listen to myself and trust my way, as doing so allows me to fully experience and relish motherhood the second time around.