24 July 2012

{Super Mom} Eliza Santiago-Ypon - The Painter's Wife & Gymboree Teacher

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13
Being a mom, wife, daughter, and being able to work eight hours (or more!) a day, maintain a household and still find time to do something you are passionate about is not easy.  As a first time mom, I am still adjusting to my new role.  Juggling it with all my other roles require discipline, commitment and A LOT of love!  The key, according to Stephen Covey, is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.  Super Mom is a Cruisin' Mommyhood's blog feature where I interview moms who can give inspiration and empowerment to working moms like me. 

Life does not come with an instruction manual.  We hear people say that often, right?  I'm okay with that.  I believe that we are always given a second (even third, fourth, fifth) chance to do better.  That (the acceptance of the unknown) sort of changed when I became a mom.  There came a point that I was obsessed about the "right" way to raise my daughter.  Knowing that her character and values will depend on how I parent her overwhelmed me.  I became so uptight that conforming to what parenting books say and what other moms do were my only options.



I was glad that the old me as a mom is gone.  Well, I am still uptight (paranoid, I think is a more appropriate term) about some things.  But, generally I have learned to embrace the responsibility with ease and confidence.  How?  First, I made God the center of our family and I trust that He will bless us and guide us.  Second, Don and I attend marriage and parenting seminars to know the different ways to strengthen our marriage and different parenting styles to raise our daughter.  Third, I have a very loving and supportive husband.  Lastly, I stumbled upon The Painter's Wife.  Aside from her baby wearing and breast feeding advocacy, she made me realize that though books, blogs, seminars are very helpful, parenting is something that we need to learn WITH our child.  It is okay to be different as long as it addresses the needs of both the mommy and the child.  Though our responsibilities as a mom can be intimidating, it can be fun as well.  As she said in one of her blog posts:  happy mommies = happy babies.




Belle
Describe your typical day.


Eliza
Nothing special, really.  Wake, prepare breakfast (or lunch depending on what time we wake up), clean, clean, never ending clean, run errands, prepare dinner, and go to bed.  I vary my household tasks per day.  Once or twice a week, I have to go to Gymboree and teach.  Sometimes Basti and I go somewhere to have fun, like a mall, a park, wherever.  The Painter only comes home every other day, sometimes not at all for as long as 3-5 days, depending on what he's working on at the moment.  During those days, Basti and I go to his studio to bring him a snack or hang out with him while he works.



Belle
Basti is an active toddler.  Now that you are back to teaching at Gymboree, how do you manage your time as a mom, wife, blogger and teacher?


Eliza
Honestly I have no system.  I roll with the punches.  I think I've mentioned this before:  I am a practitioner of productive procrastination.  I let go of what can be done tomorrow for tomorrow and I don't sweat the small stuff.  It could be clothes that need to be put away, a messy playroom, even blogging.  A huge advantage is that I've been teaching Gymboree for so long that it's practically part of me.  I don't really need to prepare much for my classes.  I basically show up, read the lesson plan and go.  When I need to be somewhere I can't bring Basti along, I call on my support system:  lolo and lola!  They're more than happy to have him over when I have no-Basti days - meetings, training at Gymboree, a salon appointment, even just for a lunch with my girlfriends.  Otherwise I've made bringing Basti along a part of my logistics.  It's all part and parcel of choosing not to have a yaya or maids.






Belle
You are an advocate of Attachment Parenting.  You are active in promoting the benefits of breastfeeding and babywearing.  How did this advocacy start?


Eliza
I think I was an attachment parenting mother before I even knew such a term existed.  I chose to breastfeed and babywear not because I chose the attachment parenting path.  Breastfeeding and babywearing were choices I made being the person I am, wanting to be this kind of mother to Basti and wife to Orley.  It was all heart, then my head followed.  I saw how support was really needed and voices needed to be raised for breastfeeding.  It's such an integral and important thing to share to the world.  It actually saves lives and I couldn't just be a breastfeeder and not want it for other families.  I couldn't keep all the goodness to myself.  I had to share.  It was the same with babywearing.  It was just so much fun and such a sanity-saver that I wanted to share it to the world.  I think it all boils down to my natural teaching instincts.  I've always thought of my teaching abilities as a gift and when I became a mother I naturally applied them to breastfeeding and babywearing.  So how did the advocacy start?  Simple.  I became a mom.


Belle
What do you love about being a mom?


Eliza
This child I'm raising is a gift.  Knowing I'm responsible for his well-being overwhelms me.  It makes me ecstatic and deathly afraid at the same time.  I love that it's brought a whole side of me to the surface that I never knew existed.  Being a mom has made life just better.  I'm a better person, a better teacher, a better daughter, a better friend.  Having Basti made me better and put me on a totally new path of self-discovery.  Everyday is a gift.






Belle
As a mom, what frustrates you?  How do you deal with it?


Eliza
I frustrate myself.  I actually have quite a temper and I'm easily irritated.  Having this toddler create havoc in my life is really a challenge to my nature.  The first thing I learned to do is forgive myself for my shortcomings.  When Basti was younger, I went through a stage of self-pity.  At some point, I took myself out of my victim nook and said, "Shut the heck up, you're no martyr."  I've learned to take care of myself as well, to put my needs on the same level of importance as my family's.  To go through motherhood full of bitterness for what you don't have or can't do is no way to live.  I learned to look at the flipside and appreciate what I have.  Of course there are things I want to go back to, but I'll have time for that when my Basti is older.  I had 35 years of my life to myself, what's a few years to devote to someone else?


Belle
Any tips for working moms?


Eliza
Enjoy it!  Being able to provide for your family is a blessing and something to be proud of.  Never apologize for the opportunity.  Don't tell your children, "I'm sorry sweetheart, mommy has to work."  There's nothing to be sorry for.  Instead tell them, "Oh sweetheart, I know you miss me.  I miss you too!  But mommy works.  It's one of the ways I love you."  I think it's good for children to understand that working is important and something that their parents value.  Hopefully, they'll carry that for themselves and grow up knowing the importance of working for a living.

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