I have been asked many times kung ano ang trabaho ko. I usually answer with a straight face – ” Housewife”. I can’t believe the varied reactions solicited from my one-word reply. Ito ang ilan sa mga halimbawa:
1. “Ows.. talaga.. housewife ka?” (Looking at me from head-to-toe) Then may follow-up question – “Graduate ka ng college?”
2. “Oh my God,really? Bakit? Anong nangyari?” (Wala pong namatay, ate. Nagkataon lang na nasa bahay ako at nag-aalaga ng anak at asawa.)
3. “Sayang ka naman, nene.” (Feeling important naman ako. Thank you po sa awa.)
4. “You let yourself go, girl. Put on some lipstick or something.” ( Can you at least offer some help, girl? Girl-girl ka dyan. ) And my favorite reaction of all time –
4. “Ano’ng ginagawa mo maghapon? Boring pag nasa bahay lang.” (Dyuskupo, kung ‘di ko lang kasama ang mga anak ko baka nakurot ko nang pinong-pino si “friend”. )
In fairness, I can’t blame them. I was just like them at one point sa buhay ko – judgmental at feeling great.
I remember one time sa MRT papuntang ako sa first job ko sa Ortigas, I saw a mommy with two young kids. Two screaming kids sa MRT during rush hour. Imagine. I promised myself at that point na I will never be like her. I will be gentle and quiet. I will be calm and collected. Most importantly, sexy pa rin.
Fast forward to Year 2014, I now have two kids and I am 20kg heavier. Most of my friends are working since naka-graduate ng college. Ngayon, they are at the peak of their respective careers earning many peso-pesoses. To give it all up for a career in floor scrubbing or dish washing or toilet maintenance is utterly unimaginable and sabi ng iba – downright stupidity.
“Hire a maid.” they told me. Well, I didn’t take your advice. I am proud to say that I am one of the few remaining martyrs alive (huwaat!). I traded my Ferragamo shoes with a tsinelas, my usual Starbucks meetings with tubig-lang-please. I decided to trade up and stay at home to look after my family.
Absolutely… merong regrets sometimes. There are moments that I need affirmation that the choices that I made are worth it especially when I have cleaned the kitchen floor for the third time that day or stayed home with my two sick children. There are moments na I cry my heart out to God asking for divine forgiveness kasi I was a terrible mother. “Maysakit na naman po sila. Patawarin n’yo po ako. Ako… ako po ang nagkulang. ‘Di ko po sila pinakain ng gulay. ‘Di ko po napainom ng vitamins.. ‘di po ako nakapag-breastfeed…waaahhh.. Patawarin n’yo po ako..(singhot, singhot)”. The drama of my life. But affirmation comes pouring in buckets when you’re in the Mom-job. Let me count the ways:
1. What used to matter tons, now matters less.
Dati, ang importante ay maipasa ko ng on-time ang mga reports sa boss ko. Ang mga reports bukod sa on-time, kailangan flawless ang grammar with matching pie charts, bar graph. When presiding over a meeting, dress-to-kill ang attire. Terno dapat. All black or all blue. Dapat may matira sa sweldo ko kase may bibilin akong bagong sapatos na nakita ko sa Glorietta or kakain kami ng friends ko sa Itallianis. Ngayon, suddenly the greatest desire of my heart is not to please the boss or myself but to put a smile on someone’s face. “Sarap ng ulam ah. The best.” sabi ni Mister sabay ngiti. I never imagined how unbelievably happy I would feel pag masaya ang mga anak ko. Pag nakahuli kami ng tutubi or nakapag-palipad ng saranggola. Ngayun ko lang nalaman na ang ngiti, tawa at halakhak ay pwede palang pagsabay-sabayin – straight for 10 minutes. Your world suddenly becomes bigger and wider at an unprecedented rate starting from the first time you found out you’re pregnant.
2. Life is never boring
You wake up early in the morning and sleep late at night and in between, you juggle all your usual household chores such as laba-sampay-tiklop-plantsa, luto, hugas ng pinggan, linis ng bahay. Your daily routine is punctuated by calls from the husband asking how you are, i-love-yous, i-miss-yous and some naughty whispers at 2’o’clock in the afternoon. You have to be an accountant by day and an auditor by night. Keeping a list of all your expenses and then checking it against your financial forecast spreadsheet. San ka pa. Doktor ba kamo? Look no further. “Lagnat? Ilang araw na? High grade or low grade fever? May sipon? ubo? Tempra sa lagnat, Loviscol sa ubo.” kabisado mo na ang sasabihin ng doctor. Part-time Nutritionist ka rin kase sa palengke, you make sure may bibilihin kang gulay, prutas, karne at isda. Bawal ang softdrinks. Teacher and tutor ka rin. Homework, test review, helping your kids find their voice in a very noisy world is in itself a full-time job. And yet, we do it along with 5 or more roles simultaneously. So tell me, isn’t life exciting?
3. You are important
Sa dami ng roles mo – the best one is just being the best Mom ever. (sabi yun ng bunso ko kanina. parang lumundag yung puso ko sa tuwa.) and being a gorgeous wife to an equally gorgeous man (wag daw akong mayabang, sabi ng asawa ko. Please edit daw – gorgeous AND handsome man.. haha). There is no greater joy than knowing that you are needed and someone’s life will never be the same without you. Paano-na-kami-kung-wala-ka moments are best remembered when you feel like giving up. Bigla kang lumalakas pag naiisip mo na there are a lot of people depending on you. Three persons, to be exact.
4. Life is rewarding
The reward is not a salary increase or a promotion or a free trip sa Europe. It is my daily dose of kisses from my husband whenever and wherever (wink!). It is the simple joy of hearing my 3-yr-old introduce me to her playmates as ” This is my good Mommy”. It is when my panganay declared, “What will I do without you, Mom?” (I didn’t save the world, mind you. It was just for the piece of cake I gave her while she was doing her homework.) It will take years before I see any results of the time sheets I “clocked in” during my stint as a plain housewife. But as of now, I am at peace. I am content. Somehow, I know that no matter how mediocre my life may seem to some; I am confident that I did my best in pursuing God’s sovereign plan for my life. I know in my heart that, tonight as I sleep, that is exactly where He wants me to be – beside my husband after a long day of being a plain housewife.