[yellow_box] The month of October has been set aside as Moms Know Moms motivation month. If you’d like an opportunity to share your mommyhood perspective, there’s still time. Click here for the original post and more information. Come back TOMORROW for another great Moms Know Moms interview.[/yellow_box]
ICEBREAKER: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a little girl, I had always dreamed of being a professional dancer. I took up ballet and jazz (so retro), and I would always be on stage in school or be one of the cheerleaders, or the choreographer of a dance number back in the day. Just thinking about it gives me the chills!
Q: When did you begin crafting/sewing and why? What is your favorite creation to date?
A: Crafting has always been with me since I was little. I was the “artistic” one in the family. I would make my own greeting cards, design my own clothes, and make my own scrapbooks in high school. I have also painted some, did some mosaic projects, but sewing is a newfound love. Though my Mom had taught me simple hand-sewing techniques for hemming or mending, I never had a chance to work with a sewing machine, so I borrowed a friend’s old machine that’s been sitting in her attic for years. After a few hits on Youtube on how to make it run (it didn’t come with a manual), a few pattern downloads, and some support from the sewing community on the internet, I said to myself “I think I can hack this.” One dress after another, a couple of pants for my son… before I knew it, I was addicted!
Just recently, a close friend asked me if I could teach her daughter how to sew by hand. Through this experience, I got introduced to the idea of teaching kids how to sew, and for some reason, THAT got me excited. Now that I’m equipped with the basic sewing skills, I want to teach it to young girls. Part of my personal advocacy is to get kids to enjoy working with their hands and get their faces out of their electronic gadgets. I am very excited about this.
My favorite sewing creation to date is my Pinafore Denim Dress from Angela Kane. I got so many compliments for it and my friends are asking me to make one for them! This dress is special because I almost died trying to figure out how to add pockets where there shouldn’t be. But I survived!
Q: What are some of your other creative outlets?
A: As a graphic designer, it’s hard for me to draw the line between work and other “creative outlets” because they all involve being creative. An outlet for me is a good swim, really, or shopping or going to the movies. We are all surrounded by art and design whether we know it or not, and because I am part of that side which does the design, I am well aware of them. I am disturbed by any kind of design whether good or bad, and whether it be a piece of furniture, a shirt, a sticker, a car, a road sign, an ad, anything. It sets my mind to work in an instant, and there’s always a struggle in my head why the designer decided to use this font, or this color, or this shape. I find myself saying, “why didn’t I think of that” or “now, that’s how NOT to do it”. The good thing about it is that my work becomes a creative outlet in itself when my client and the project I’m working on is so in line with my design style. It’s more like play for me than work, I love it!
Q: You’re a mom of 3 super fantastic boys (I’ve never met them, but I’m sure they’re fantastic). Your youngest is 6 and your oldest is 17. What do you believe your boys have learned from you that they probably wouldn’t get anywhere else?
A: Wow, that’s a tough question. Respect. I’m not saying they have it down pat, but that’s what I find myself constantly teaching them. Aside from the usual “Respect yourself and mankind… take a bath and brush your teeth!”, their ears bleed from lines like these:
- When you go to a friend’s house, the first thing you do is find the owner of the house (and it’s not your friend but his parents) and present yourself as a guest.
In the Philippines, it is a must that we greet people with ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’, and if it’s a relative or a close friend, then we have to greet with a kiss/hug or what we call “mano” in Filipino (take the older person’s hand and bring it to your forehead as you slightly bow).
- When in someone else’s house you can starve to death but you will wait to be invited to eat.
- You do not take your cellphone at any dining table.
- You do not bring your ipod to ANY social gathering.
- As long as you are with your family, no wires will be plugged in your ears.
- You open the door for a lady. You pull a chair for her.
- You make sure your hands are not empty when your Mom’s are full.
- When Mom/Dad have to go, drop everything and say goodbye. When they come back, drop everything and say hi. (Believe it or not, they do this even if we go in and out of the house several times a day, and they don’t realize it.)
- When you are called, you never, ever, answer with “WHAT?”
“You make sure your hands are not empty when your Mom’s are full.”
These things (and more… I could go on) they don’t get from anywhere else.
Q: Your oldest son is in his first year of college. Are you finding that you have to mother him differently now that he is experiencing a new level of independence?
A: Yes, and more deliberately. I have to remember that I can no longer tell him what to do, but instead let him make his own decisions (even allow him to make mistakes) and just remind him to watch his “walk” as a Christian especially when no one is looking. I thought I could now let him go and focus more on the younger ones. I was wrong. I see the need to seize every moment I have with him so that he does not slack and lower the bar. But I have to make sure I don’t deal with him the way I do my 14 or 6 year old. It’s a totally different ballgame, and I find myself learning along the way. I’m just glad that he still comes home everyday. In the Philippines, there is no pressure for kids to move out when they turn 18 unless college is in another city far away from home. So for me, it is a great blessing that he is still at our dinner table everyday to share highlights and lowlights of his day.
Q: You are from the Philippines, and it’s obvious from your writing that you have a soft spot and deep respect for your country. Please share a little bit about the Filipino culture and how it has impacted the way you’ve raised your boys?
I feel a bit embarrassed when you point this out because while, yes, I have deep respect for my country and pride in being Filipino, my boys constantly complain that we did not raise them with Filipino as a first language (we speak English at home), so that they struggle with this subject in school. Believe me, we’ve been punished for this decision by way of Filipino homework that we’ve had to translate for them, but that’s okay.
We Filipinos grow up in closely-knit families and respect is a rule that hovers in every home. Older brothers are called “kuya” (koo-yah) and “ate” (ah-teh) for older sisters. The same is applied even for non-relatives, like for members in our church family. For older people (like or uncles/aunts and close friends), we call them tito (tee-toh) or tita (tee-tah) as long as they are friends of our parents. It’s tedious to explain, but it’s something that operates automatically for us. It’s weird when we have American friends and they would be called “Tito Noel” or “Tita Kelly”. Having said this, this particular Filipino value has deeply affected how we are raising our boys. It goes beyond calling people with proper references. It includes how we speak, how we act or react, how we conduct ourselves in relation to another. After all, it is our relationships that matter in eternity. I think with good practice of respect ingrained in my boys, they can flourish anywhere and gain the same from anyone.
Q: You have a rich heritage. In what ways are you ensuring that this wonderful legacy of love and pride for country is instilled in your boys and hopefully carried on to the next generation?
A: Next to love of God, love of country is the foundation of who we are as a people, and from it we can build our confidence when we face others. If we do not feel proud about our country and heritage, it is difficult to conduct ourselves with character and integrity. I believe these are the two big rocks (together with faith) that men should stand on, and these we strive to establish underneath my sons.
To demonstrate this, we try to uphold all things Filipino, cheer for the great Filipinos who represent our country in other places, talk about being Filipino, and stand in respect of the national symbols of our country. When we can afford it, we visit local places that we have not been to so that we can appreciate how beautiful our country is. We discuss among us how good life can be in our home country so that we will not grow up thinking life is better elsewhere. We also try to expose them to the poverty around us and the ill effects of greed that is upon our people so that they can be aware and find it in themselves to strive to make an impact for change when they grow up.
Q: In this digital age of Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and gaming, where spending quality family time has become secondary in many households, is there anything specific that you do to maintain balance within your home so that family time is a priority?
A: Oh, there’s another tough one. It’s difficult because I work from the house and I do everything on the same table, including kids’ homework. While I stay away from Facebook, I have my blog to keep me even busier (great), along with a bit of Twitter (I don’t even know what that is for—I mostly talk to myself). Add my work and it goes without saying that I am constantly in front of my computer. My boys tease me and say, “Mom, you tell us not to have Facebook and stay away from the internet, but now you have a blog??” I tell them, “You better straighten up or I’ll blog about you!” Nooooooooo!!!!! (hahaha)
I try my best to be purposeful with my posts. Many of them are discussed at the dinner table before I write, which I mostly do in the middle of the night when they’re all asleep and I have my thoughts undivided. I find it quite enjoyable exchanging ideas with my boys about things I feel strongly about. And when they read my new post (they have no choice), they see it from my point of view (of course they don’t bother with the recipes and sewing stuff) and how people might react to it.
My blogging has actually become a venue where my boys can know me as a person and not just their Mom. When I asked my eldest son what he thought of it, he said it’s cool that I’m able to talk about my life and our country to people around the world, and share what I love to do and what’s important to me. That warmed my heart. But I just need to make sure it doesn’t take over my schedule because that is a tendency. One post a week is all I can do for now.
Q: How has being a mom challenged you? How have you overcome those challenges?
A: Being a Mom has challenged me to walk the talk because my boys are watching me closely. I realize it is not so much what I say that will impact them, but it is what I do that will leave a mark. A mother’s role is very delicate, involving a lot of humility and dying to self. If I care about how my kids will turn out, I need to be careful with what I model to them. But I am not perfect. I have to constantly pray for God’s wisdom so I can make wise decisions.
“Being a Mom has challenged me to walk the talk because my boys are watching me closely.”
Q: What is the best mom advice that you’ve ever received? What is the best mom advice that you can give?
A: My Mom used to tell me, “Don’t ever by shy. As long as you have your underpants on, there is no reason to be shy. Speak up!” It’s funnier when said in Filipino. : )
Here’s my own Mom advise:
“Pray for each of your children everyday. A mother’s prayer has great power.”
My advise to other Moms? Here’s a thought:
“Your kids love you, no doubt. But it’s better if they like you, too.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
A: Here at home teaching my grandchildren to love God above all and then teaching them how to sew. And they call me “Lola A”. : )
Thank you Anne!
[yellow_box] If you’d like to learn more about Anne or just say “Hello”, follow this link to her site A Little Bit of A.
Little Kids Grow is on Facebook now![/yellow_box]