Her super powers started at a young age of 22. She was working as a public high school English teacher in our hometown when she met and married my dad. Almost a year after tying the knot, they had their first child and her wonderful, amazing, drama-filled adventures as a mom began and became even more exciting with 3 more children. 🙂
Meet my Super Mom. 🙂
A Hard Working Working Mom
My mom is a natural go-getter. She finished her studies with honors at 19 and started practicing her profession right after passing the board exams. Maybe because their family was not well-off and as the eldest among the 6 children, she knew she had to graduate soon to help my grandparents with their finances. Why she got married young is another story. 😀
This achiever attitude coupled with her passion for teaching motivated my mother to continue working despite having kids. I believe this led to her being the breadwinner of our family and my dad as the house husband. 🙂 I found this set up in our home somewhat weird and deviant as a kid — a dad cooking our meals, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, attending PTA meetings at school instead of a mom which was the common case among my classmates — but I had gotten used to it eventually. 😉
Anyhow, back to my mom. To further her career, she also took up and finished a master’s degree at a college in our province while being a high school teacher. Though if I remember it correctly, there was a time that she had to take a long leave from work to finish her studies. And at some point in her grad school, she also accepted a teaching stint among college students every Saturdays at the school where she studied her masters. I honestly don’t know how she did all of those things while being a hands on mom! Maybe Super Moms really do exist? 😀
Apart from being a very hard working teacher, my mom was an equally hard working mother to us four of her kids. She made sure she attended to all our needs despite her full schedule. Since we didn’t have a helper or yaya (oh, my dad was! Hehe!) because we were not rich to begin with, my mother was the one who gave us a bath when we were much younger, prepared our baon when we were in preschool, covered our books and notebooks for school, reviewed us our lessons, helped with our school projects. And the list goes on. There may be school activities that she missed but when she was at home, she made us her priority.
I also remember a story that she recounted showing her Super Mom powers in action, literally. I was I think more than a year old and there was no one to look after me at home because my dad had to run important errands so my mom brought me to school with her. I fell asleep in her arms so she taught in front of her class in heels cradling the sleeping toddler me. My heart melted after hearing that story. Tissue please. 😀
My mother’s hard work paid off when she got promoted until she became an Education Supervisor leaving the confines of a classroom onto a bigger role with wider scope and responsibilities. The career woman in her further pursued PhD and was granted a scholarship at DLSU which meant having to travel 3 hours to Manila every week to attend her classes. That was how determined and hard working she was. She was on her final requirement, a dissertation, when she had to discontinue her studies because of her tight schedule and financial concerns so she was not able to finish her PhP until her retirement last year.
She continued working and building her career but she never neglected us even until we have become older. When we were in college studying here in Manila, my mom and dad would always visit us every week if they could or at least once a month to check on us, bring some food, cook meals for us, do the laundry for us (especially my dad. hehe!) and just spend some time with us their children. Even when we all have started working, they would still pay us a visit once in a while like they did when we were in college.
My mom did not only work hard in establishing her career. More importantly, she worked hard to shape responsible and independent children in us. Since we didn’t have any househelp, our parents especially my mom taught us how to do household chores — washing the dishes, doing the laundry, pressing our clothes, cleaning the house. My dad took charge of the kitchen because he likes cooking so I didn’t get to learn much about that. 😀 This equipped us to become independent growing up. I’m personally thankful that my mother taught me all these which I now apply in my married life. I always tell my husband that I’m not at the mercy of our helpers in case they decide to leave because I can take care of our home (except that I would need to quit work 😀 ).
While she and my dad always visited us during our college years, she made sure we know how to handle ourselves given that we were miles away from them. My brothers and I learned how to survive college until we started working, all by ourselves. Though I lived in the same apartment with my brothers during my college and working days, there was a point when I had to be by myself because of certain career decisions that my brothers had to make. During this time, I wasn’t scared to live far away from my parents and siblings because of the foundation of independence that my mom instilled in me.
A Respectful and Submissive Wife
She had a good career and was the breadwinner of our family. But my mother never forgot her role as a wife. If there is something that I admire the most about my mom, it’s how she treats my dad — full of respect and with submission.
Despite my parents’ switched roles, my mother never made my dad feel he was incapable. She never bossed my father around even if she very well knew she was the one earning for the family. She never shouted and degraded him nor spoke ill of him in front of other people. Instead, she appreciated all my dad’s efforts to take care of our home and look after us while she was working and gave him the respect that he deserved. She was gentle and kind-hearted towards my dad. A wife respectful of her husband. That’s the kind of wife she was and is until now.
With my mother’s respect to my dad also comes her submission to him. When I was single, I couldn’t understand why my mom wouldn’t make a decision without the knowledge of my dad when she was the one who provided for the family anyway. In my mind, “She has the right to because she works hard.” But this made sense to me when I became a wife myself and learned about God’s command for wives to submit to their husbands.
As a submissive wife, my mom would always seek the opinion and/or approval of my dad in every decision she makes especially if it concerns our family — from the renovation of our home, purchase of an appliance or furniture to giving us permission to go out with friends. During my teen years, whenever I would ask my mom if we can go out with my friends or go somewhere, she would always tell me, “Ask your Daddy.” I knew my chance of being allowed to leave gets slim because my dad was strict. 😀 But the point is, she acknowledges the role of my dad as the head of the family even if she was the one working.
A WOMAN OF PERSEVERANCE
Growing up, I’ve seen how my mother strove hard to provide for our family and at the same time, fulfill her wife and mommy duties. As a mom, I could imagine how difficult it is for her spending more days at work than with her children but she endured being away from us instead of personally taking care of us to be able to provide for our family’s needs. And to take on the role as the provider that is normally fulfilled by the father is no joke. It’s like carrying the whole world on your shoulder because of the bigness and gravity of the responsibility. But my mom persevered to raise our family of six.
My mom’s perseverance is also evident in her marriage. We all know how it takes a lot of hard work to make marriage last because of the individual differences in attitude, values, beliefs and outlook that a couple needs to deal with. My mom and dad’s marriage was no exception. I’ve witnessed them disagree and fight even on petty things, usually stemming from my mom’s love for shopping/window shopping and my dad’s abomination for it, and many other instances. Their reversed role as home maker and provider also became a source of their dispute at times. But despite all the challenges that they faced, my mom stood by my dad’s side and never gave up even if there were times when one who’s full of pride would think that the only option left is to pack up and leave. Thank God for His grace because my parents have been married for 44 years now.
A Loving Lola
As a teacher, my mom was known for being strict. But this mellows down when it comes to her apos except when they become difficult to handle especially the first 2 who stayed with my parents for a couple of years when their dad left abroad to work. 🙂 Ms. Minchin in Sarah the Little Princess comes out! Haha! She’s old already so her patience has become shorter. 😀
Kidding aside, my mother loves spending time with her grandchildren. Even if she got “stressed” in taking care of my nephews from my eldest brother because she was practically raising kids again, she enjoyed being with them. She helped them with their homework, reviewed them on their exams and attended to their needs even if she was already tired from work. I guess their mere presence gave her joy probably because all of her kids are already old. Plus they had errand runners whom they asked to run to the nearby sari-sari store to buy quick household needs. Hehe! 😀
When a new baby apo, the Big Boy, came after I think 10 years, my mom got delighted and excited once again. Who doesn’t like babies especially if they are your own blood? 🙂 They give a fresh look in life I believe. So whenever my parents are in Manila, my mom would always pester my dad to drive to our place to see the Big Boy and now, the Little Princess as well, even for just a short period of time. It’s the kids who they visit now, not me anymore. Huhu! :p
My mom also has her own way of “spoiling” her apos. She doesn’t give in to what they want but she always buys them clothes and shoes. My mom likes shopping, remember? 😀 And being her only granddaughter (just like how I am her only daughter), the Little Princess served as her Barbie doll buying her clothes and footwear she would find cute or pretty. 😀 So the Little Princess modeled all her outfit from her Lola everyday. Ha! 😀
Miss Minchin, I mean, my mom, as a strict teacher, is always thought to be serious. Partly true when at work but when she has gone beyond the walls of her class/office room, her amusing side comes out! She likes celebrities and is a solid Vilmanian! 🙂
At home during weekends, you would always see her watching showbiz talkshows catching the latest chismis about celebrities. 😀 In fact, she and my dad fight over basketball and talkshows on television until now. Haha!
If you happen to be a visitor in our home and became interested to browse our photos, you would find an album of her pictures with celebrities she encountered at an event, a seminar, at the airport, anywhere! 😀 Of course she has photos with her favorite Vilma Santos! 😀 And she’s not ashamed to approach a celebrity to say “Hi!” and make a small talk when we are out much to our embarassment. Hahaha! We always tease her that she’d make a good talent manager. LOL! 😀
(Sorry I don’t have any copy of her pictures with celebrities with me now that I can share. :D)
MY PRAYER FOR MY SUPER MOM
After working all her life, my mom has finally decided to retire with the encouragement from my dad primarily because of her health. She has diabetes and hypertension and has suffered from mild stroke twice. Finally, she would be able to enjoy the fruits of all her labor without worrying about us and live life stress and worry-free. She had been working since she was 19!
However last year, a few months after her retirement, the unexpected happened. She had another stroke attack while at the mall with my dad and my brother, much worse than the first two that it paralyzed the left part of her body. This was one of the most difficult times of our family, seeing our very own Super Mom who was very independent and always full of energy, suffer, crippled in bed and incapable of doing things by herself. It was most difficult for her, physically more so, emotionally.
My prayer for my Super Mom is for her to be continuously fueled by the Lord with physical strength and good health given her condition. But more than her physical needs, I pray that she will be filled spiritually — that she may get to know Jesus on a personal level and have a relationship with Him. That she may discover and experience the overflowing joy of being one with Jesus, that even her physical limitations won’t matter anymore. That she will always see God’s beauty and goodness amid her situation. That she will be blessed and be a blessing to others. That she learns, and lives by, that being a Super Mom is not because of our human capacity but because of the strength coming from Jesus.
P.S. This blog post is supposed to be a Mother’s Day entry in honor of my mother but even though it’s more than a week late, I’d like to continue honoring my very own Super Mom on this blog. 🙂