How I was raised by my mother

My mother recently celebrated her 70th Birthday.  So I find it fitting that I write something about the most important woman in my life.

My mother got married at the age of 22 to my father who is 10 years her senior.  They came from the same province and growing up, my mother came to know my father because her sister married my father’s brother.  Technically, they became family through their siblings.

Nine months after they got married, she gave birth to their first baby boy and for the next six years, three more boys followed. I was born seven years after the last boy.

My mother stayed home for 16 years and during the 60s, 70s and 80s, staying at home to raise the children was a normal thing.   They did it because it was expected of them and working outside the home was not the norm that majority of women  followed.  My mother had help of course,  taking care of four boys and one girl was not an easy task.

During those days, it was quite normal for a family to have more than four kids.. Some even have as many as a dozen!  Mothers back then can find as many help as they wanted but oftentimes, they raised their kids on their own.    It was not easy but they managed.

Nowadays, having  one or two children is sometimes more than enough.   Very seldom will you hear that a couple has more than three.  And those couples who have more than four children are considered as super parents.  Why super parents?   Everything is expensive these days.  Giving birth, immunization, daily expenses. Let us not forget that you can’t just put them in one corner, you have to teach each child, watch over them and make important decisions for them. Sending your child to a school that will provide quality education is not as cheap as before.   Finding help is not as easy as before.  With today’s technology, lifestyle  and work schedule, raising kids have become harder.

Some may wonder how my parents, particularly my mother, did it…  raising five God-fearing children who all have college degrees…

I think its about knowing your priorities and knowing how to balance ones time without sacrificing your time with the most important people in your life – your FAMILY.

Like I mentioned earlier, my mother stayed home for 16 years after getting married.  She devoted all her time to raising her children while taking care of the home and making sure that my father will have a happy and comfortable home to go home to.  She started working when I was two years old but she was always there, she still spent most of her time with me and my brothers.  Her work did not require her to be in the office the whole day, hence, she can easily adjust her day to make sure that before she goes to work, all our needs were taken care of.  I guess we were also lucky because at that time, we live in our ancestral house with my uncle, aunt (my parents’ siblings) and their family and my aunt was a stay-at-home mom who was always there for me and my brothers.

I remember in grade school, my mother never failed to pick up my father from his office every single day.  Some days, she’ll bring us along but to my recollection, they would always go home early, and always together. She also likes bringing me to Central Market in Manila (famous during my time) to buy whatever we needed – food, clothing or anything for our home.  There were no big shopping malls back then and so, if we needed something we went to Central Market or Quiapo.

In high school, my mother and I would often go out on shopping dates.   She would always pick me up from school then we would go to a mall near my father’s office or to our favorite shopping mall in Greenhills.   She would refer to our dates as “window shopping” dates for the reason that we would not always buy but would just check out the items being sold in case we have money to buy them in the future.    If we don’t have a date, I would always go home after school with my friends in tow and my mother, whenever she’s home, would make sure that we are all fed and taken care of.  She was a friend, not just to me, but to my High School friends as well.

Throughout the years, my mother never failed to make her presence known in every aspect of our lives.  She would be actively involved in whatever her children are interested in.  My father was always busy at work but during weekends, he would make up for the lost time.  Sunday was always family day – Church and lunch or dinner out.

I would not deny that my brothers are all Mama’s Boys and I am a Mama’s Girl.  Our mother will always be the most influential person in our lives.  My father would often joke that if ever they get separated, only my 2nd brother would go with him and that is because my 2nd brother would feel sorry for him.

Now that I am a mother, I appreciate more the choices my mother made to make sure that all her children grew up to be responsible individuals.  My brothers and I are not perfect and we will never be but our parents taught us lessons that we hope to impart to our children.   

Lessons on love, devotion, sacrifice and the importance of being present in your children’s lives – no matter how old they may be.

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