The filipino term, "Pagbabago," when translated to English means "Change."
Change happens everywhere and everyday. And yet, not many people are as accepting of or open to it. This is perfectly understandable because why change something that already works? Why veer-away from the tried-and-tested? Why change your routine or lifestyle? Whether you like it or not, however, there WILL come a point in your life when change is inevitable, and you will be compelled to make a decision that will impact your life in a way you never expected. To deny this reality is to deny yourself the opportunity to grow as a person in a fast-paced society and in an ever-evolving world.
My favorite bakeshop, Goldilocks, is one of those who continue to move and respond to the signs of the times. Recently, they underwent another brave makeover. I, personally, love their more modern look! But despite their "look new," they have maintained that certain brand of familiarity about them that patronizers, like me, never get overwhelmed by any changes they make. The new Goldilocks logo is simple yet elegant. Clean and uncluttered. The brand name, using a new font in pastel-blue color, blended really nicely with the yellow background. Though I miss seeing the girl cartoon with the curly locks, I do believe that replacing it with just the letter "G" (in the original font used then), made the brand logo stand out more.
Just like the Goldilocks company, I also underwent a life-altering experience that turned providential, for it eventually gave me purpose in life. You see, I was once employed in one of the premier development banks in the country. I gained enough credibility as a recruitment specialist, then business analyst, then pioneering member of the company's remittance business. Looking back, I can say that my "life", then, merely involved getting up in the morning, commuting to the office, working 8 or so hours, coming home and sleeping. Sometimes there was traveling, both for pleasure or business (mostly the latter). Recreation, to me, mostly involved Friday night-outs with office friends - dining, drinking, staying out really late. Eventually, I started to enjoy having weekly massages and body treatments at the spa. As a single lady, I bought jewelry, clothes, shoes and bags with my salary. I was, essentially, in the "me-myself-and-I" mode during all those years as a working girl since there was nothing else that was worth my while.
Then I met my husband-to-be. We dated, continued to enjoy "the good life", then somewhere along the way we realized that we were ready to share our lives with one another. So we tied-the-knot after a year-and-a-half and knew right away that we wanted to start a family. My OB-Gyne gave me the required vitamins and started me on a complete work-up. Then, work started getting really busy. It demanded that I work 12 hours and even during weekends. I come home to husband, late and irritatingly tired. He sometimes ended up cooking dinner for me, instead of the other way around. Other friends were getting pregnant. My sister, who got married after I did, got pregnant just like that! I started getting really depressed. I cried almost every day. I cried myself to sleep. I started getting sick a lot and not reporting for work. My husband and I had a series of really long talks. During those "down times" he ordered A LOT of Goldilock's Classic Sansrival cake (or sometimes Choco Sansrival, for variety) just to cheer me up (he knows that I LOVE their sans rival). I believe we ordered one cake for each week...and it was just us, two, at the time! Anyway, we eventually decided, as a couple, that it was best for me to file for early retirement and concentrate on our goal; and if things did not work out, then I can go look for a job and build another career. It was either that, or we start considering adoption.
Turning 35 then, I was aware that my biological clock was starting to tick. Time was of the essence, I thought. My bosses would not allow me to go on sabbatical leave. I knew what had to be done. But it wasn't, at all, an easy decision to make. The thought of not working scared me a bit, for I have been doing it since I graduated college. Plus, we knew that we had to give up A LOT in the process. What made it even more difficult was the amount of explaining I had to do as to why I had to retire...to my boss and superiors, to office friends. But what I didn't expect was finding it even harder to explain to my own family. You see, my family believed then that "People who work, have a drive. And those who do not have drive, do not work." Every female member of my family worked. My grandmother worked as a teacher. My mom is a career woman and known figure in Personnel Management. My aunts and female cousins from my mother's side are all in the workforce. My sister was a civil servant (I wrote "was" because she has since followed in my footsteps...hehehe).
When I let my family in on my decision, it became the hot topic of discussion at my parents' house (even their househelp, my own yayas, debated on it). My dad was quiet. My siblings asked repeatedly if I was sure. My mom, struggled with the idea of me becoming a permanent household fixture. She may deny this now, but it came to a point where she told me that she "will not allow it" and called on her "contacts" to find ways to "freeze" the process somehow. She kept calling me at home, saying that even her friends think it was a bad idea. And that I will regret my decision. I remember telling her that I was not asking for permission, that I was just simply informing them of my decision because they are my family. I also reminded her that I am a married adult in my mid-30s, and that it was a decision made by my husband and me. She said some hurtful words (which still make me teary-eyed just remembering them). She was obviously disappointed. I was disappointed too. Come to think of it, even my own mother was resistant to change! But I honestly understand her and where she was coming from. I knew even then that she was only concerned about my future. But I stood my ground and then retired after 13 years of service.
For a time, I didn't talk to my mom. My sister and yaya would often call to check up on me. My dad would ask why I haven't been calling the house. I know this all seems like a scene taken from a pinoy telenovela. I'm sorry, but it all really happened. But after only 2 months, I finally got pregnant! I sent my family a photo of my pregnancy test kit and that's what opened the communication lines between me and my mom. And as it turned out, my pregnancy was just a tad too delicate. I had some spotting in the initial stages. I experienced non-stop morning sickness (it shouldn't be called morning sickness then, should it?) starting from my 2nd month and throughout the 5th month. And it was really weird because I was losing weight so fast (20 pounds in 2 weeks' time) yet my blood sugar levels were on the rise. As a result, I was required to not only pay a visit to my OB-Gyn but to also consult with an endocrinologist. They asked me to eat enough to ensure my baby's health, but also told me to watch out so I don't end up with gestational diabetes. Wasn't it bad enough that I could only tolerate eating paksiw na hasa-hasa, yet I still needed to prick myself with a glucose monitoring device and lancet 3x a day?! It got so bad that my parents insisted that we live with them for a little while. Fortunately, things eventually calmed down midway into the pregnancy and I carried my baby to term.
I'm now a full time, stay-at-home mom. And I realize that it is HARD WORK! Having cared for my cousins' kids from time to time, I thought I knew everything there is to know about taking care of babies. But having kids is different from taking care of your very own and, more so, raising them right. I vowed to make the most of my "stay-at-home" status and learn all that I can about parenting. I ran the gamut of available resources -- from books, magazines, hospital and clinic pamphlets, old psychology textbooks from college, various parenting websites on the internet and subscribing to their newsletters, as well as from other moms. It is during this quest for helpful knowledge that I gained new and valuable insights into positive parenting. It has also paved the way to new friendships! I'm proud to say that I am gaining a reputation (at least, in Twitter! hehehe) as a parenting or family support advocate. I've become twitter-friends with respected parenting figures from the United States; as well as with the foremost authority on parenting and child development matters, and contributor to The Today Show, Michele Borba. To note, I follow them, and they also follow me. It's so cool, right?! By this, however, I do not mean to imply that I now know everything or that I have the perfect child. If anything, it means that, as a parent, I am a work in progress and that I am willing and eager to learn. I try my best to make my child feel loved and cared for, and in the process, empowered. I have also come to view other people's observations and suggestions, not because they want to dampen my parental efforts or to put my child down, but more as things that I will consider and then use to improve on.
I'm also not saying that I have the perfect set-up. Being a stay-at-home parent is not always a bed of roses. There are times I get bored. There are moments when I feel like I regret quitting my job and wish I can help out my husband more. But my husband always assures me that we're okay, for now (smile!). That what is important is that our baby is healthy, happy and properly stimulated. You see my daughter, at one time in her life, showed some slight delay in both her social and language skills. But the developmental pediatrician we were referred to said that he couldn't tell if something was "different" about Maia and told us that it was still too early for any diagnosis. In the meantime, we followed some of his recommendations for early intervention such as enrolling our daughter in playschool, and having her undergo high-resolution chromosome analysis (which came out normal). And, because I am home with her, I am the one responsible for teaching her things, reading to her, playing with her, essentially monitoring her progress and providing much room for learning. These, I happily took on which is better than having our yaya do it, right? We've even taken her to the zoo, to out-of-town trips, and the like. Slowly but surely, she is beginning to come out of her shell. Hopefully, by the time we go back for a follow-up appointment with said pediatrician, he will also see the improvements in Maia, or at least, diagnose her properly so we can proceed to the next steps. But with Maia's improvements, it seems that my life's purpose is also unfolding and taking shape before my very eyes. Nowadays, since Maia turned 2, there are moments when she can be a little "testy." But, again, I welcome this change in her because I know it is part of her toddler years and part of both our learning experiences. Overall, she is still very much easy to manage, cautious, very sweet and demure, and in love with me and her daddy.
So you see, not all change should be feared. And not all change is drastic. Some require a bit of time to take full shape. Nevertheless, change is required of life, if only to make us grow as unique individuals and strengthen us as a person. It makes it even easier if you have a support system in place. I am very fortunate to have such a kind, understanding, wonderful and dependable husband who gave me my dream of motherhood, and unselfishly allowed me to carry on raising our daughter the best way I know how...that is, to shower her with love, respect, and then empower her. I was also fortunate enough to have had Goldilocks Sansrival cakes as comfort food (literally!) during the lowest time of my life. Thank goodness, too, that their Handa Line 888-1-999 was very efficient and coordinated well with their Makati stores that my husband and I never had to wait very long for those cakes to arrive at our condo.
So, here's to positive change! And here's to Goldilocks for always being there, through all the good and the bad!