gibberish · the mom life

To Us

To that tired mom staring off into space, finding herself questioning every life decision she has ever made — I see you.

To the moms who traded in their Type-A careers to stay at home and raise the kids they have brought into the world. To the moms who once navigated the challenges of the workplace with effortless calm and precision, but now are grappling with the often irrational whims and moods of infants and toddlers — I see you.

To the fiercely independent babes who once backpacked alone and swung off to solo adventures in their previous lives, who now find themselves planning virtually every nook of their day to day around what may least trigger their kids to be uncomfortable or unruly — I see you.

To the fellow moms taking a rare, peaceful break from the insanity on the exceptional moment that none of the kids need to be consoled, fed or changed at this singular point in time — here’s to us.

May we survive (as we always try to do), and still be happy with whatever version of ourselves we find once we finally stop grasping for air, and are finally just able to breathe.

gibberish · the mom life

Ways How Taking Care of a Baby is Like Waiting at the Airport

It’s 10 am and at arm’s reach is my newly-opened bottle of (alcohol-free) Corona beer (it’s been a whirlwind week, so cut me some slack). The only other times I could remember when I would think that beer this early would be a good idea are, (1) when I’m lounging on the beach while on vacation, and (2) when I’m killing time on a layover at the airport. I couldn’t help but think of this tweet:

Now that this tweet’s stuck in my head, I also couldn’t ignore all the other ways this stay-at-home-with-an-infant life is so similar to how I’ve usually acted in airport terminals. For example:

  • I don’t care if it’s dirty, I’m going to wear the most comfortable pair of shorts I own. Like every single day.
  • Time passes as I’m on a sleepless daze, just waiting for the moment that somebody announces that it’s time to board now (yay!) and I could finally pass out and doze off in my airplane seat.
  • One of my fears is my phone running out of battery, so I’m always on the lookout for a chance to charge (if you’ve ever been held hostage by a sleeping baby on your lap, then you probably feel this one).
  • A lot of time is spent just sitting, sitting while dreaming of all the productive things I could have been doing.
  • At some point, I lose track of what time and/or day it is, and I don’t know whether I should have a beer or coffee.

Anything else to add to the list? 🙂


Everyone’s Favorite Topic: Politics

My husband (born, raised and living in Germany) and I (born and raised in the Philippines, now living in Germany) have had variants of the same heated discussion several times: it would typically start with a short news piece on the radio, and then he’ll go and complain about what nincompoops they have in their government. An outraged me will then reply that if he thinks that this is what idiocy in governance looks like, then he’s ungrateful and has no idea what suffering under a dysfunctional state means (I mean, how could he not appreciate Mummy Merkel?!?). He’ll then respond that it’s not fair to expect him to just shut up whenever he’s unhappy with leadership. In fact, if there’s one thing he gained from all their WW2 history lessons, it’s that he shouldn’t hold back on criticizing the government, no matter how negligible others may think matters may be.

I haven’t felt the gravity of his reasoning, at least not until now. I’ve labelled him as a whiner, perhaps because I wanted him to see how he won the place-of-birth lottery, as compared to my fate where governance was mainly symbolic: a big circus, where you never really expect any output except maybe for scandals and entertainment. I wanted him to see that he was stressing out about nothing, that he has an amazing security net, in comparison to my place of birth, it was every man for himself.

But now, more than ever, I realize that he was right all along: I shouldn’t tell him to complain less; if anything, I should have complained MORE. Their culture of holding their leaders accountable, no matter how trivial you think the issue may be — maybe if Filipinos had that, maybe we wouldn’t be in the sorry mess we are now. A famous quote from Lee Kuan Yew points out that the Filipinos’ downfall was that we were too quick to forgive and move on, that we spared harsh punishment in the name of virtue, a habit of amnesia and leniency that generations to come will pay for dearly. I used to think that if I myself couldn’t do a better job, then I am in no place to complain. Now, perhaps, I should adopt his way of thinking and hold people to a higher standard, and to never underestimate what people are capable of delivering.

gibberish · the mom life

All The Difference

When I first became a mom, I found myself often mourning the loss of my old self, of my old freedoms. I guess it’s quite common — unless you have an extra pair of hands to watch over your kid, you’ll find yourself saying goodbye to impromptu trips to the mall, sports events, the gym, anywhere where it may be overwhelming to try to do your own thing but at the same time, give your full attention to a small child.

Continue reading “All The Difference”

A Random Post About Roaches

In a few years, I would have been living abroad longer than I have lived in my childhood home. Whenever I return to the Philippines, there is that tiny, nudging feeling that agitates me whenever I think of spending the night sleeping in my childhood bedroom, and I think I’ve FINALLY pinpointed one big factor why: COCKROACHES.

I don’t remember being particularly morbidly afraid of roaches. Unpleasant as they are, they were a common sight in the house, and then there’s the occasional flying one. As if that wasn’t enough, every now and then, you would catch the whiff of what is unmistakably a dead rat stuck that got stuck somewhere behind all the furniture. I abhor these pests, yes, but not enough to lose sleep over them — not until now. When I moved abroad for the first time to Singapore, I discovered that you could actually live in a house and not actually have to worry about disease-ridden insects crawling all over your stuff. Once you go roach-less, it’s a bit hard to literally go back.

I’ve always thought that our pest problem was because of how our childhood home was situated — a house built in the 70’s with a growing pile of discarded junk in our backyard. I thought that this state was unavoidable — or is it? Is it actually only our home that was this way? The thought of asking my friends how it was growing up with roaches in their own homes never crossed my mind. If you’re not bewildered and disgusted yet with this random post and would care to fill me in, please do enlighten me.

gibberish · the mom life · travel

It’s in the Bag

Back in my previous life as an oft-solo backpacker, I almost had packing down to a precise ritual. A typical packing list for a weekend getaway would look like this:

  • At least 1 pair of denim shorts
  • 2 tank tops
  • A dress, if space permits
  • Small notebook and pen
  • Kindle (or a compact book)
  • My handy-dandy wrist wallet
  • Passport
  • A shoelace (just in case I need to tie anything)
  • A pair of flip-flops
  • Plastic bag for dirty clothes
  • Underwear
  • 2 pairs of swimsuits (the bikini tops are to be used as bras)
  • Deodorant and travel-size bottle of shampoo (to be also used as body wash)
  • Very light shawl (to double up as the flight blanket)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Phone and phone charger
  • Small accessories (earrings, necklaces, or bracelets)

And that was it. Everything would fit in my impossibly narrow but somehow spacious carry-on backpack. My mantra was to pack as little as possible, and improvise for whatever I left behind.

Continue reading “It’s in the Bag”

Digital Detox for the Girl Who Can’t Step Away From Her Phone

Drug Dealers and IT are the only people who call their customers “users”. – Daniel O’Leary

It is quite impossible to dodge all the foreboding articles lamenting that people nowadays spend too much time on their phones. All this time online is supposedly going to bring our society to ruin, melt our brains, turn us into slaves of evil robots — pick your Armageddon ending. While I do concede that having too much of anything can turn out badly, is all screen time bad though?

Continue reading “Digital Detox for the Girl Who Can’t Step Away From Her Phone”
gibberish · north america · the mom life · travel

Lessons Learned From Our Baby’s First Long-Haul Flight

It’s every flyer’s dreaded sight: that parade of babies through the priority boarding queue, threatening to crush any dream of peaceful sleep during the flight. I confess, I used to cringe whenever I would see a family with a baby settling within a 10-row radius from my seat.

Now, I find myself on the other side, the bringer of the ominous boarding infant. I braced myself long and hard, and obsessed with every detail to prepare ourselves for Tobias’ first long-haul flight. I even dressed him up in an adorable tiger onesie, to make it at least a bit impossible to stay angry even if he makes a scene. Continue reading “Lessons Learned From Our Baby’s First Long-Haul Flight”

gibberish · travel

Creative Ways to Learn a New Language

Have you tried every app, book, site or workshop out there, and still feel like you’re butchering your target language whenever you speak? I’ve been there, feeling like I should apologize to every native speaker for forcing them to listen to my atrocious interpretation of their own tongue, even after months of taking classes.

So you’ve hit a plateau. This might actually be where things get interesting. If the old formulas no longer work, then it may be time to set your sights on the unconventional, to take approaches you’ve never tried before. Reframing your mindset might just be what you need to send the gears whirring again, to rewire your brain to finally make that new language stick. I’ve got a few ideas — shall we start rewiring?  Continue reading “Creative Ways to Learn a New Language”