(Note: I used to do well in College, acing most of my exams, topping most of our subjects. And honestly speaking, in school we were taught to climb a corporate ladder, not to create our own stairs. That’s why I had that misconception that being corporate means you are above the rest. I wanted to meet other people’s expectations that I can make it big, that I can be successful.)
After giving birth to 2 lovely kids, I continued working from home. However, I felt I was not improving myself. I thought that my College – degree was put into waste. I needed to do something to know my self – worth.
“Can I still compete in the corporate jungle?”
“Can I still mingle with people in suits and leather shoes?”
“Can I still pitch a great presentation?”
These were the things that linger inside my head and I needed to know the answers.
My daughter was barely a year old when I decided to look for a corporate job. Fortunately, I was able to get back my old work and position. I thought, maybe this is where I belong – Maybe.
For those of you who do not know, I worked in a Travel Management Company. Modesty aside, it is considered one of the best and largest in the country.
I accepted the offer because of the fact that it is a huge company. Plus, I will be working with my previous superiors. These superiors are known to be one of the smartest in the company. I was hesitant at first but I gave it a shot. I convinced myself that it was the best choice.
Quite frankly, some of my relatives and friends were not so fond of that idea. They believed that my kids were too young and that as a mother, I needed to be with them. Besides, they knew I can earn given my skills and profession, even at the comforts of our own home. But I was hard – headed and defended my choice. I told them that I needed to get back in the game. Otherwise, my market value will just depreciate considering that there will be new graduates year after year.
They kept their mouth shut.
FEELING LIKE AN ‘OFW’ OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKER
My parents were kind enough to give me a ride to my new boarding house. Of course, the kids were with us.
When they were about to leave, I felt the world over my shoulders.
You know those movie scenes when someone waves goodbye and the car slowly moves away from the camera? And then a melodramatic musical background starts playing and invites you to cry even more?
That night, it wasn’t a movie.
It was me and my son.
It was hard. But I just said to myself ‘You are doing this for their future’.
The first night was hell. I did not have my own room because I had to save money. The more practical choice was a bed space.
My dad used to pay for my rent in a condominium when I was younger. Of course, I wouldn’t want that same setup, now that I have kids.
Unfortunately, the only available space was a bunk bed and I had to sleep on the top. Not that it wasn’t comfortable or anything. But it didn’t help in easing my emotional burden either. I thought, “Eto pala ang feeling ng OFW”.
I cried silently, wiped my tears using my kids’ clothes (which I brought intentionally). I fell asleep with a very heavy heart and a pillow soaked in tears.
I’M BACK TO MY WORLD
When I was younger, I saw myself working behind the desk, doing reports, analyzing corporate crises in my sexy blazer and heels. So when I got back to that same world, I thought I was on track.
The first few months were great. I was full of energy, suggesting initiatives and working overtime. I was also meeting a lot of friends, old ones and new. After all, being stuck at home for a couple of years would make you hungry for a social life.
Everything was going smoothly. But for some reason, the bright lights and fast – moving lifestyle was eating me alive. I was forgetting one thing…that I was also a mother.
I SPENT MY WEEKENDS, SLEEPING
Since I had an 8 to 5 job, 5x a week, I was only able to spend time with my kids every weekend. My work was a 2 – hour –drive away from our home.
Wait, did I really spend time with them, or did I spend more time in bed? The latter, I would say.
I would always be so tired to play with them so I would rather charge by means of ‘zzz-ing’.
I was with the kids physically but I don’t think we spent quality time during those periods. I was just there, sleeping.
No one complained, (except my brother) so I thought it was ok. But there will come a point in your life when something hard will hit your head and you’d have realizations.
TWO PLACES AT ONCE
I defied the laws of science.
I was at 2 places at once. I was working in front of my report- filled desk. And miles away, my mind and heart rested at home.
I failed to see some of my kids’ milestones.
I can’t remember my daughter’s first word. I was not there when she was able to walk without support. I was not there when she learned to make a terrible mess.
As for my son who is now in school, I didn’t know the names of his best pals. I had no idea that I had to sign his report card. I didn’t know he won a spelling contest. I didn’t know he had a fight with his classmate.
I barely knew anything.
For a time my kids thought I was their sister. Yes, it feels great when other people think that you are your kids’ sister. But coming from your son? That’s a different story.
I was never a mom to them.
WAKE UP CALL
I would regularly receive calls from my mom and dad saying that my kids were sick. There was even a time that we all thought we would bring my daughter to the hospital. I was lucky though that my daughter felt better.
And then there was mom. She was always sick. It’s either her head hurts like hell, or her blood pressure shoots up. It was rare that she felt ‘normal’.
I could help them.
I COULD, if I was there. But I wasn’t…
My attitude towards work was suddenly changing. Everything was half – baked. I will just do what has been told. No extra effort. I didn’t smile like I used to and I would drag myself to work.
I WANTED TO LEAVE PART 1
It was May 2014 when I felt the urge to go back home. I wanted to resign and I was very open to my boss and teammates of my plan. Of course, I didn’t want to leave without giving them enough lead time. I didn’t want them to be caught off-guard. I was about to give my resignation when I received an important email. That message made me stay.
The company would send me to Osaka, Japan.
Holy cheese and rice! Japan? Like the J-A-P-A-N! For free!
I grabbed it, packed my bags and enjoyed my vacation.
I thought it can permanently change my thoughts about leaving.
After my travel to Japan, things at work were doing pretty well. I was back doing my reports and initiating small projects. Maybe I just needed a breather.
But my heart knew what it wanted. It wanted to go home. I tried to fight that personal battle and decided to stay.
After a couple of months, I became even more depressed. I was literally cursing every morning because I had to go to work when all I wanted was to go home. It’s not that I hated my work. To this day, I still love it. But you see, I wanted to fulfill my duties as a mother. Besides, my mom was always sick and we had no helper. I needed to make a choice as soon as possible.
I WANTED TO LEAVE PART 2 and FINAL
I am not really good at saying goodbyes so what I did was to send an email to my boss telling my sentiments. That was not my resignation letter. It was, how do I call it, an introduction to my plan. You do get what I mean, right?
We talked and I poured my heart out. Luckily, she was very understanding. They gave me time to think. But I guess, I really made up my mind.
I gave the letter, spent days to endorse my job and left. It was sad, nevertheless it was one of the best decisions I made.
I WAS STILL SLEEPING ALONE
My kids were used to sleeping beside their grandparents. That’s why I slept in my room on my own. What do I expect? That’s the price I had to pay for leaving them behind. But that doesn’t mean I’m Ok with it.
I thought, if I wanted to be closer to my kids, I need to exert extra effort. So, that’s what I did.
THEN MY SON SLEEPS WITH ME NOW (most of the time)
How did I do it?
It wasn’t an overnight success. It started from preparing their food and giving them baths. Weeks passed by and they would stay in my room for a couple of hours. That was good enough for me.
I was also not scared of disciplining them. If I had to make them face the wall, I would. They needed to know that I am their mother. It was hard at first. Every time I would discipline them, they would call their grandparents. Good thing my parents didn’t butt in. Otherwise, it would be harder for me.
Oh, just so you know, I read a book about raising toddlers. If you want to have it, just let me know. The book served its purpose to me. Maybe it’s about time that I hand it over to someone who needs it. I’ll give it for free.
Little by little, I believe they realized that I am their mother. They looked for me even when I am just having a quick shower. They started to play with me. But most importantly, I felt their respect.
I was also surprised when my son said he wanted to sleep in my room. I hugged him tight and I was so darn happy about it. The first night he slept in my bed, I just stared at his face for several minutes. That was something that I used to do when he was still a little baby.
Now, the next one is a topper. There was a time when I played dead just because I was too tired to get up. My son cried the whole time. He said, “Mommy, don’t die. I am alone. I don’t want to be alone. Mommy , I love you. I’m scared.” I was laughing silently and at the same time, my heart was being tickled.
I just got up when he said (out of his desperation), “Mommy, I want to wiwi.” Of course I didn’t want him to pee in my bed. It was hilarious. He didn’t pee. He just wanted to wake me up! Smart kid.
Right now, I am still trying my best to catch up with them.
I’M NOT TELLING YOU TO LEAVE YOUR JOB
This post is not to encourage you to leave your jobs. I perfectly understand that you need it for practicality reasons. I understand that there are people who are really for the corporate world. I have nothing against that.
This is just me, ok? Let’s be clear about that.
I have learned a lot from my corporate job. I learned how to make intricate and brain- freezing reports. I was able to face high – ranking people in different companies. I was able to resolve issues within limited time. I was able to discipline myself. But there is one lesson that made me change path.
Being in the world of suitcases, leather shoes and blazers don’t exactly mean that you are successful.
Success is subjective. I may have stopped my battle climbing the corporate ladder. But I still believe I am on my way to being successful.
To date, I write for an international website as my full time job (work from home), got a part time job from my old company (hopefully I’d start on February 1) and I am also practicing my real estate profession.
Above all, I am becoming a mother to my kids. Now tell me, isn’t that a paved road to being successful?
Last words – Remember your priorities.
To be honest, I went back to the city of lights and tall buildings because my priority was to find myself and to increase my market value. I was so hungry for that corporate title that I completely forgot I was also a mom.
Getting pregnant twice was not my biggest mistake. It was prioritizing myself before my kids.
BA is a young mom of 2 wonderful kids. She has high ambitions and would like to touch hearts. If you wish to write her a message, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org