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Inspiring Filipino Moms Across the Globe

 

As Mother’s Day approaches, we take a look at three inspiring Filipino mothers from across the globe who, in their own unique way, are raising the bar for for parents everywhere. Ria Navarro, a senior manager of corporate affairs at a local business, is an expectant mother who lives with her son, Roque, and husband, Aye, in Muntinlupa City; Mia Fernandez lives in Madrid, Spain with her two daughters Cybella and Lucia, and her husband, Dito; finally, we check in on Reiann Espiritu-McGrew, a 31-year-old customer service specialist who lives in Sunnyvale, California with her one-year-old daughter, Matilda, and her husband, Jeff.

 

Despite being scattered across the globe, these three women have one unifying thread between them: motherhood and all the wonderful adventures and challenges that come with it. Read on for their take on how to navigate this wonderful, and often crazy, journey called being a mom.

 

In what ways has your life changed since becoming a mother?

Ria and Roque

 

RIA: My priorities have definitely changed. Everything now hinges on Roque and what he wants to do, what activities will be beneficial for him or he will enjoy. When shopping, I buy first for Roque, only after do I spend for me or Aye. My decisions are based on Roque and what’s best for him, first and foremost. Gone are the days of spontaneity; everything now has to be planned and well thought of.

 

MIA: You become very responsible and patient. Your kids and their necessities always comes first.

 

REIANN: Oh, my life has been lovingly turned upside down and inside out! I have learned how to not sweat the small stuff. It took me a while to adjust to my new reality, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I used to enjoy 12-hour workdays and almost living in my office. Now I've learned how to prioritize and pick my battles, with Mattie being my #1 priority.

 

How are you able to balance raising your child with having a career and a social life?

RIA:  I try by scheduling and planning ahead, I guess. Again, I try. When I get home from work it’s all about him, dinner and bedtime. On weekends it’s all about Roque; yaya goes on day off on Saturday or Sunday but both days, the focus is just on him and his activities. As for social life, it’s my last priority. If there’s spare time after all the things I do with Roque and I still have energy then I can have a social life. Also, we invite friends over most of the time so it’s easy to spend time with both Roque and friends.

 

Mia with Lucia and Cybella

 

MIA: Having a system that works! It’s very important to have a job that’s the same schedule as your childrens’ school. Making work a second plan and your kids first. A social life is tough when you have kids. Family gatherings and home-hopping on weekends to friends’ houses with the kids is the best plan.

 

REIANN: You have to accept the fact that something's gotta give. In my case, the social life had to take a backseat. If in the past I had something going on with my friends multiple days in a week, now I plan things once a month. I'm still learning how to find the ideal work-life balance, although I'm not sure if there is such a thing as work-life balance in the Silicon Valley start-up industry.

 

What's the toughest part about being a mom? How do you make it work despite all the challenges?

RIA: Not being there and knowing you cannot control everything. Take everything with a grain of salt. I make it work by trying not be so hard on myself, hoping for the best, and trying to stay positive.

 

REIANN: For me, it’s losing your sense of self. You have to constantly remind yourself that you’re not only a mom/wife/daughter/sister/friend/etc. Giving a piece of yourself to the people you love and the things you do is so very rewarding, but it’s also exhausting. I’m not an expert, and I do a lot of guessing. You need to remember that it’s okay to ask for help, and that you do not need to do every single thing. You need to trust your spouse, family, and friends. You need to take sanity breaks, otherwise, all the challenges will take over and you’ll turn into a hideous monster. Sometimes though, the challenges are all in your head and you get so worked up about all the things that you need to do, and then you look at your child and she’s so chill.

 

As someone who's raising her child abroad, what sort of advantages/disadvantages do you think it presents?

MIA: The advantages raising children abroad is they become very independent and responsible quickly. They learn to do everything on their own. The disadvantages are not having all the time you wish to have to be with your kids.

 

Reiann and Matilda

 

REIANN: I love the fact that we're raising Mattie in the Bay Area where she's exposed to many different cultures. I am grateful that the neighborhood we live in has excellent public schools, and that we can walk to a park where she can play and make friends. That said, I want to instill a strong sense of Filipino identity within her. Before giving birth, I had planned on only speaking to her in Tagalog, because I thought language will be the strongest link to my culture, but it’s easier said than done. Having to translate things to my husband more often than I had planned, or having to talk to him in English, then switching to Tagalog with her has been insane. I want her to be proud of her heritage, and I want us to share this cultural bond, and how I’m going to do that is, like most things, still a work in progress.

 

 

What's been the most rewarding part about being a mother?

RIA: Seeing my son happy, seeing him learn new things, and when he does what you've been teaching him.

 

MIA: Being a mother is the most rewarding thing in the world as you are so needed by your children. Their world revolves around you. You are their main source of stability, happiness and protection.

 

REIANN: Oh all the craziness is worth it whenever I look at Mattie. She’s just learning how to talk in sentences now, and is already showing a love for reading! Seeing her personality develop, and watching her persevere through her own toddler challenges is just so amazing.

 

 

Are there any aspects about motherhood you wish you knew before having a child that could've prepared you better?

REIANN: That you just need to do you, and be you. There are a lot of best practices and advice from baby books, relatives, titas, and your very own parents, but each kid is different. You do not have to take everyone’s advice!

 

How do your monitor your kids’ health and how do you keep them healthy?

RIA: Monthly checkup with doc. We make sure he eats three full meals and snacks. We give him vitamins. For snacks I limit his intake of processed meat, junk (chips) and sugar (chocolates and cookies) as much as I can. I give him yogurt, though, and Dutchmill so that’s the sugar he gets na for the day.

 

I let him eat bacon and corndogs sometimes, just so he’s not so deprived, but I would rather make him eat real food first; luckily for me he loves fish and soup and rice.

 

REIANN: We make sure that she eats well, and gets adequate play time. We make sure that most of our meals at home are made from scratch. We still keep it fun with the ice cream and cookies on special occasions, but most of the sugar that Mattie eats come from fruit, either fresh or dried. My husband and I do not really overthink it.

 

We live within walking distance to our neighborhood park, so Mattie gets her daily dose of outdoor play. It has been a necessity as she gets very cranky if she is not able to get out of the house. Now that it’s getting warmer, we’ve begun to plant low-maintenance vegetables and flowers in our backyard, and have gotten Mattie involved in the process. She loves playing in dirt, and getting all gross and sweaty makes her happy, so I guess that’s good because, you know what they say, “a happy child is a healthy child.”

 

 

We’re sure you have your own inspiring mothers in your life. Share those stories with us in the comments section.

 

2016 Resolutions for Kids

 

As the fireworks hit the sky on New Year's Eve, we’re reminded to look back, be thankful, and create new milestones for the coming year. This is the perfect time to plan healthy and positive resolutions with your kids. It’s a great way to teach your 7 to 12 year-old children the advantage of always aspiring to be better. Just remember to keep them simple, easy to do, and fun! Not sure where to begin? Hey Mom lists several suggestions that will help you and your kiddos get started.

 

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography from www.flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

 

1. GET UNPLUGGED

In today's techie day and age, we often spend too much time with electronics that we forget to appreciate things around us.  Children nowadays have their own personal TVs, game consoles, cellphones, tablets, and laptops that they’re no longer familiar with the local games we used to play as kids. Set a goal of at least spending one day of the month (or a week!) without gadgets. Enjoy the outdoors and teach them your childhood games such as piko, patintero, and tumbang preso. You can even make use of this day as your “camping day of the month” where you and the little ones fire up the grill, play board games, and star gaze.

 

Photo by Amanda Tipton from www.flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

2. LOVE CHORES

Kids hate chores, but letting them do it teaches them responsibility (plus it also means less work for you-know-who).  Adding a twist and a little friendly competition can spice things up. They may actually be up for the challenge! Put a scoreboard that every family member can see. For every chore that they make, they would earn points depending on the difficulty. At the end of the day, the winner would get a simple treat. You can also hold weekly semifinals and add bonus rounds so they can double their points if they finish the tasks on time.

 

Photo by Michel Bish  from www.flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

3. EAT HEALTHY

Eating healthy is a family commitment because kids will always follow your example. Try replacing several junk foods for healthy options instead. Examples are replacing potato chips for baked apple or banana chips; going for whole grain, nutty, and fruity cookies than the usual choco-chip variant; combine plain yogurt with sweet fruits for an ice cream replacement; or mix soda water and fresh fruit juice rather than serving carbonated soft drinks. You can also make it a habit to creatively mix vegetables in their meals, like adding carrots to the spaghetti sauce or pureeing cauliflower with their mashed potato and gravy. You can even go the next level and let you kid help you prepare bento meals! You can check this previous article for the step-by-step: http://heymom.com.ph/experienced/blog/166

 

Photo by pat138241 from www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

4. EXERCISE

The good ol’ resolution to exercise more can easily be overlooked for most of us, but when the entire family is involved it becomes so much more attainable. Make fitness fun and easy by doing family activities that get you moving. Have time to go bike riding or walking the dog around the village. Learn a new sport every month and play as a family. This might spark their love for sports and will certainly create a different kind of bonding for the family.

 

Photo by Phaitoon from www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

5. READ AND LEARN

Healthy and positive New Year resolutions should involve feeding our little ones’ knowledge, too. Although the TV and computer are just a click away for new information, inspire your children to learn the old school way and give them books to read. To get them started, bring them to libraries and bookstores where reading is encouraged. Let them enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and share with them the books that sparked your imagination. Make them join a book club or encourage them to start one with their friends. They’ll be hooked on books and enjoy learning from them in no time.

 

So what are you waiting for? The New Year awaits! Grab a pen and paper and jot down your healthy and positive family resolutions with your kids. It may take a certain level of commitment to follow the plans but if they’re created with love and in a fun way, you’ll see that your kids will soon reap the benefits. Happy 2016 mommies!

Importance of GI Health in Kids

 

In today's era, children are exposed to fast food; canned and processed goods that are full of sugar, trans fat, and preservatives; and ingredients that are hard to pronounce.

These foods are missing nutrients that we can only find in all natural 'whole' foods. What we consider healthy now on the supermarket shelves are the ones that have 'sugar free', ‘gluten free’ or ‘zero fat’ written on the package, although they aren’t necessarily so. The sugar content and additives added to these foods can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset and increase the stress level to our body.

Hey Mom discusses why we need to stay away from packaged foods and go back to the basics. It's time for your little eaters to taste the real goodness of food from Mother Earth and nourish their bodies with all natural nutrients to care for their GI health.

 

Photo by arztsamui from freedigitalphotos.net

 

WHY IS GI HEALTH IMPORTANT?

The function of the GI tract is digestion and absorption of nutrients. It turns food into something useful to the body. A healthy GI tract means that we can get it to function at its optimum level of digesting foods and absorbing nutrients, which increase brain function, boost the immune system, and increase energy levels.

 

The digestive tract acts as a first line of defense for possible pathogens that your child might ingest. Having abundant good bacteria or healthy flora protect the body from external harm and help the body produce certain nutrients and enzymes that are vital to the immune system.

 

Photo by tiverylucky from freedigitalphotos.net

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AN UNHEALTHY GI TRACT?

-       Diarrhea or increase in normal bowel movements

-       Constipation or hard stools that are difficult to pass

-       Pain caused by bloating or complaints of sore tummy

-       Flatulence, nausea and vomiting

 

Photo by kdshutterman from freedigitalphotos.net

 

HOW CAN IT AFFECT MY CHILD?

Due to the symptoms, an unhealthy GI tract can cause fatigue, anxiety, food intolerance, allergies, eczema, poor immune system, and lack of concentration in school that can lead to learning difficulties for your child.

 

Photo by arztsamui from freedigitalphotos.net

 

WHAT CAUSES A POOR GI HEALTH?

If your child consumes a lot of processed foods with high sugar levels, and an abundant number of junk and processed foods that contain trans-fat and preservatives, then you know what the culprit is. Poor diet and some medications such as antibiotics and paracetamol greatly affect the normal flora of the digestive system and causes an upset stomach as well.

 

Photo by tiverylucky from freedigitalphotos.net

 

HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY CHILD'S OVER-ALL DIGESTIVE HEALTH?

Eat a balanced diet. Provide a wide variety of whole, unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, whole grains, and nuts.

Serve something interesting. Bring colorful, exciting, and appetizing recipes to the table such as homemade spaghetti with meatballs incorporated with carrot bits and tomatoes served with freshly squeezed orange juice and a slice of seasoned fruit for dessert. A colorful meal brings joy to the tummy.

Read between the lines. Learn to read labels and ingredients on the packaging. Marketing strategies of companies lure us by adding words such as 'fat free', 'anti oxidants', 'natural extracts', and 'zero sugar', but remember, if it's processed, it still contains preservatives.

Control liquids. Remove excess sugar coming from sodas and artificial drinks from your kids diet and opt for water, fresh fruit juices, and fresh fruit shakes and smoothies with no added sugar instead.

Healthy snacks. Avoid food that contains refined sugar or high amounts of sodium. Choose the healthy option by making cheese sandwiches, serving whole grain cereals, nuts, home maid carrot bars, veggie cupcakes, and homemade fruit snacks (sliced fruits, dehydrated fruit chips, etc.)

 

 

Boost their GI health. For optimum Gut Health, providing supplementary aid such as giving GI Pro Tec ™ to your little one is an advantage.

GI Pro Tec 1+ ™ is composed of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, a probiotic that is widely studied and best for toddlers 1 year and above. It helps manage and shorten diarrhea, maintains the gut’s normal flora, and provides overall GI Health balance, thus improving the immune system.

GI Pro Tec 7+ ™ contains probiotics and fiber and that is excellent for children 4 years old and up. It enhances proper digestion and supports in the treatment of irregular bowel movements or constipation.

These are conveniently available in individual aluminum packets, affordable, natural, and best of all, tasteless! GI Pro Tec™ can be easily be consumed by your child by simply mixing it with food and drinks.

 

 

Remember that optimum health of your child starts with the gut. Planning and consuming healthy natural meals can bring wonders to your child's performance and daily activities. A little creativity with food and the right supplement will greatly benefit your child's digestive health and wellness.

 

Good news! You can purchase GI Pro Tec™ for 30% off in our Hey Mom online store!

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