Friday, November 28, 2008

from WM to WAHM to SAHM

that's 'from Working Mom to Work At Home Mom to Stay At Home Mom' to the uninitiated public.

Whew! This past year has certainly been full of surprises! This blog alone, just one facet of my life, has been testament to the major changes that affected all aspects of my existence.

Today i was just supposed to write about the last of my weekend rantings but the more i thought about it, the more i realized it was more than just a mere rant. it's practically a transition from one mode of living to another. You see, in the same long week/weekend that my pc contracted its ongoing disease, my arm gave up on me and my last project almost never saw the light of day, our yaya since oona was born, up and quit.

A lot has happened to warrant her leaving us. Suffice to say that apart from the little things snowballing into big things, she was a great yaya to our little girl up until the day she left. She was conscientious about oona's welfare and well-being, kept oona clean, well-fed and healthy. When oona gets sick, she'd be diligent about medicine, keeping her nasal passages clear, applying hot or cold compresses, hydration and the other million or so things babies need that rf and i were clueless about. She knew how to take care of infants and kids, being the mother of a sickly child herself. She had a lot of good suggestions and insights gleaned from a lifetime of experience being a yaya. We were lucky to have her for as long as we did. However, being human, she was not perfect and neither were we. And there lies the rub, as they say.

To make a long story short, respecting boundaries became an issue in the family. She's become too familiar with us that she increasingly forgot we were her employers. Us, for that matter, found it increasingly difficult to gently deal with her as her attitude was really an indelible part of her. it wasn't that she was evil, it was just that thing when character traits rub people off the wrong way. since we've had her long, she's let her guard down more so she's more kampante. di na pumopormal, like my mother would say. Treating her as part of the family worked only to a certain extent (ensured her dedication to caring for oona), since her behavior towards us frequently crossed the line.

Don't get me wrong, she's really a good person. Strong, knowledgable, caring and would fight for oona to the max should something threaten oona. but i share most of the blame. i should have been more firm with her, more employer-like and less friendly. well, less friendly doesn't mean less kind anyway. it was also my fault for not putting her more firmly in her place whenever she'd cross the line. she comes on too strong kasi, and her opinionated views are more often than not inflicted on everybody non-stop. it's a challenge keeping up in volume and in content when she starts talking. and lately, she forgets that she's talking to her elders and her employers, treating orders as suggestions, pretending she doesn't hear or conveniently forgetting what we say. she would go for her own preferences rather than ours and basically make choices for us.

we did talk to her a bit about these things when it wasn't as bad as it got recently. she reasons well, so sometimes it boils down to a he-said-she-said thing that would just blow things out of proportion if pursued. you know those types of conflicts? when democracy isn't the answer? well, i learned it too late: too much latitude is too much latitude. while it is true that we had our failing as employers, it shouldn't be my burden to try to please her constantly either. i guess i was also afraid that should i show any displeaure, she might vent her ire on my poor little girl. anyhoo, she left only after she herself felt that things were not working out between us all and it was time to go. she said her goodbyes, packed her bags and tried not to cry when oona threw her a flying kiss.

of course, our little girl was terribly upset over the abrupt change. we knew it was something she couldn't name or understand, all she knew was something wasn't right in her ordered world. for a week, her separation anxiety manifested itself in temper tantrums and crying spells. she would be visibly upset if someone said goodbye or anyone left her line of sight. She seemed pretty determined never to be a victim of a broken heart again. I don't blame her, yaya lavished her with much affection and care. The way she cried and clung to us kinda freaked us out so much, rf, me and mamang (rf's mom who lives with us), that we each did our own tradition of warding off usog, loosely translated as unwanted vibes. You know, just to be on the safe side. More than that, we kept oona occupied and comforted whenever she'd feel bad. We took her everywhere we went, including her in all our activities, no matter how mundane. She kept her dad company while he got ready for work, toddled around after me while i did housework (getting in my laundry, 'helping' me clean house using her bib, etc.) and accompanied her grandma on her walks around our condo building.

So far oona's adjusting pretty well now. She's established a new routine, with us filling the void her yaya left. Soon, she'll forget to miss her. It's sad, yes, but these things happen.

As for the rest of the household, we're more relaxed. There's little to no tension among us three. We didn't even realize just how uneasy we've become with each other until she left. All the more that i felt it was really time for this change. You know what they say about people coming into your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime, right? Well, yaya was for a season and it was time to let her go and march on without her. Mamang and my mom for one, are happier since they both think she was fast becoming un-disciplineable. No one was going to talk back or give us, especially mamang, lip.

For rf and me, we decided that we weren't going to have another yaya again. Maybe a maid if i get pregnant with kid 2, but definitely not a yaya. We're doing the raising ourselves since we've proven during these past weeks that we could do it and we spent very little time worrying about oona than when we weren't the ones watching over her. I personally feel more like a mother being hands-on like i am now.

Speaking about personal feelings, i told rf that i felt i was really okay making the transition to being full-time with oona. Not that i'm only a mom when i'm with oona, but since the universe was pointing me in this direction, it was definitely time to give up working at home. Sure i could still do rakets, but it must be workable around the times when oona's asleep or she doesn't need me around. I can't do jobs that require me to ignore everything else just to reach a deadline so animation and video editing's out. At least i'm left with writing and a little graphics (when i find the time to get my poor pc fixed), so i won't really starve for creative expression.

Grabe, from assistant studio director of an art studio to full-service freelance graphic artist to my sole lifelong career as mommy to oona, my world got increasingly smaller and my task proportionally all that much harder. But like i told my friends, i'm exponentially happier and satisfied with my life.

I can't ask for anything more than this peace i am so definitely rockin' now!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker


Ari from said...

I wanted to stop by and thank you for running my ad for Parental Instincts today. It looks great, and I'm proud to be appearing on such a high-quality blog.

Have a good day.

Laya Isabelle Garcellano-Florendo said...

@ari...thanks for dropping by :) you got a great site going. i've been dropping by too :)

Joanne MV said...

Hi sis! Time to show ur "current" photo - :)

Cyra Miles Valdez said...

Hi Laya... I do agree.. your blog is really high quality and sensible stuffs are posted.. cheers

Laya Isabelle Garcellano-Florendo said...

thanks cyra! :) hi joanne! i'll do that photo thing later :D