MAY 10, 2020

What a time to be a mom

BY JACQUE DE BORJA AND THE PASYAL TEAM
ART BY VISUAL HABIT DESIGN

Ten wonderful women describe motherhood in the time of corona.

This pandemic is a resounding reminder of how truly heroic mothers are.

As we compiled the many colorful stories so generously shared with us in this article, the diversity of motherhood experiences in quarantine truly astounded us: a new mother who gave birth alone because of pandemic protocols, two moms stranded in their vacation spots—away from home’s comforts, moms who continue running their businesses while in quarantine and mothers who are basking in the growth of their children right before their very eyes.

Today on Mother’s Day, we present ten wonderful mothers (you just might know them!) who were accommodating enough to share their stories of navigating motherhood during these crazy times. Their stories truly remind us about what matters most in the midst of all this uncertainty: love and family.

Moms, we salute you for all that you do! Now more than ever, you truly are the light of each home.

Georgina Wilson

Co-Founder of Sunnies Studios

What’s motherhood in quarantine like? One of the best things to come from this lockdown period is that I’ve been able to refocus and spend time with my boys. I love, love, love watching them grow up.

It’s definitely been a huge difference for me as a full-time working mom but, I’m just taking in as much as I can and I’m loving every second of it.

How has your relationship with your children changed? I think a mother and child’s relationships are constantly evolving—moment by moment, growing in such a beautiful way. I see my son Arch as my best friend and I call [my youngest] Alfie our little “gift.” At the moment, Alfie just responds to “Gift Burnand.”

I put Archie to sleep every night now –– I never used to do be able to do that, between work and our different schedules. My favorite thing now is getting them to promise me daily that they will never leave me and get married!

I have to admit, I don’t have any least favorite parts because I have an amazing husband and our nannies Nikki and Nhea who make raising kids a joy! 

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? I live on the internet, so I love reading things online (read: shopping) and I have made a daily habit of exercising for an hour every day. It’s been great. I bring the boys to watch me exercise and they love watching me box!

Tricia Gosingtian-Gabunada

Blogger and entrepreneur

What’s motherhood in quarantine like? My daily routine as a new mom in quarantine is exactly how I imagined my first few weeks to be — home and breastfeeding 24/7. The first two weeks went by so fast as I was also recovering from the whirlwind that was my emergency C-section.

Time will probably never be as slow as it once was pre-baby. There’s always something new every day. Babies grow so fast.

How is it like coping with a pandemic while adjusting to motherhood? It has mostly been a mental exercise for me. It started when I was approaching full term. Eventually, I had to give birth alone and spend the first 12 hours of recovery alone due to pandemic protocols.

I kept telling myself that I needed to be strong because it was just going to be me and the baby. Mind over matter!

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? It happens when I have pockets of free time, which isn’t a lot when you’re dealing with a newborn. I try to have fun by playing video games (Animal Crossing, anyone?) and watching Netflix while the baby naps in between feeding.

Isabelle Daza

Actress and entrepreneur

What’s motherhood in quarantine like? I’m in Hong Kong right now, so we are in semi-quarantine—but I am still with my son Balthazar 24/7. I miss when he would go to school for three hours and I had more time for myself.

The biggest difference? I have to prioritize him before myself and it’s been difficult. When things were normal, I had my sister there to take care of him or our Yaya Luning.

Photography by Regine David, makeup by Noel Incino, and hair by Suyen Salazar

How has your relationship with your children changed? My relationship with Balthazar evolved into a stronger bond. He is definitely more dependent on me for thing like putting him to sleep, taking baths, reading story books, going to the bathroom, brushing his teeth, wiping his butt, baking banana bread, making art –– you get the idea.

Also, I’ve been scolding him much more. When things were normal, I could go to work for a couple of hours or work out, so my patience wasn’t tested as much. But now my priorities have been forced to change to accommodate his needs. 

My son is in the terrible-twos stage and sometimes, I’m this close to handcuffing him to his room! But when he’s fast asleep right next to me, I miss him so much. It’s a bizarre experience.

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? You mean, my “recess”? My me-time still includes Balthazar because even when we bake or do other adult activities, he still wants to be included.

Sweating it out for an hour is my recess, and when he sees me working out, he goes ahead and does squats [beside me] –– I can’t escape him!

Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio

Content creator

What’s motherhood in quarantine like? We are actually stranded in the United States because we left for a month-long vacation right before they declared the pandemic last March. It can get stressful when I think about how much junk food and lounge time we are doing— even parks aren’t open now, and I left our learning materials in Manila thinking we were not going to be away any longer than a month.

Since my husband’s job calls for a graveyard shift, I almost always single-handedly take care of the kids in the cause he’d be working a lot at night and sleeping all morning. So motherhood’s been more tiring than usual for me—I have an active 10-month-old and his kuya who is always asking me all sorts of questions.

But at the same time, I do want to say that this is a very special time because I a get to spend a lot of unhurried time with my kids. It’s what I’ve been dreaming about — never having to leave them and always having the time for everything I wanted to do in the house: cook, care for my kids, and more. 

How has your relationship with your children changed? Not much. I think we’ve always been this close because I am mostly a stay-at-home mom.  But maybe I relaxed a bit on some of our rules since this is not a normal scenario in our family life.

Someday, I’d like for my kids to look back and say that this was a memorable time in our life, when God gave us the gift of time with their Lola, uncles and aunts who live in the U.S. 

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? I just trust that God will give fresh mercies and energy [to me] every morning. Something also happens when I accept that this is indeed a season of prioritizing the kids and putting aside so many things I want to do, because their ages call for almost everything of me. It won’t be like this all the time.

When I feel too exhausted and in dire need of a breather, I tap out and ask my husband for extra hours of sleep, or a few hours of me just reading, watching, and learning whatever I want to for the moment. 

Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga

Model and businesswoman

What’s motherhood in quarantine like? Our quarantine has been a lot different than most people’s because we got locked down at the beach. We were supposed to spend just four days here, so we didn’t get to pack for what was to come and we didn’t bring everything we usually need to keep the kids entertained.

We have been relying on our creativity to keep them happy. We didn’t bring toys or books, so…it’s been quite fun to see my kids exploring and using their imagination and discovering how rich the environment is around them. We’ve been so appreciative of God’s creations. So far we’ve made toys out of coconut, coconut leaves, and soon we are going to make accessories made of the shells we have been collecting.

My daughter has been asking me why she can’t see her cousins and grandparents a lot and that has been a big adjustment for us. 

How has your relationship with your children changed? Even before ECQ, I would be with them every day. I think the every parent-child relationship [involves] constantly adapting to the stages and development of our kids.

Our bond has grown stronger and I have definitely become a lot more to them than before, now more than ever, I’m a source of encouragement and entertainment that they can rely on. 

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? I have a toddler and a one year-old, so I only get a break from time to time. I take advantage by catching up on some movies and meditating on my Bible. I usually start taking care of myself in this order: spirit, mind, and body.

To address the spiritual part, I pray and read the Bible to build my confidence and trust that everything will be okay. I relax my mind by enhancing the reasons I have to be grateful, remembering the good times and keeping a positive perspective over things.

Physically, I try not to be so caught up on how I look, but rather take care of what was given to me with respect and gratitude. I try to exercise, make sure I’m not ageing faster than I should and try to eat well more for the purpose of longevity than aesthetics. 

Divine Lee-Go

Entrepreneur

What’s motherhood in quarantine like? I’m a super type A [kind of person], so I still stick to a schedule. I wake up, the kids take a bath, I work out, we home school, I check what I need to fix for the house (such as online groceries), and when the kids nap, I work.

When the kids wake up from their nap, I play with them, and at the end of every day, get on a Zoom meeting with my staff. The kids take a nighttime bath and when they get to bed, I watch my Koreanovelas. 

How has your relationship with your children changed? I’ve always been hands on. After their evening bath, the kids are without the yayas—it’s all me and my husband Blake at night.

I used to be out a lot for work before quarantine, so inevitably I miss some [of the kids’] milestones which saddened me. Now, I’m with them all day! Every new word, new turn — I’m with them. 

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? I stick to a schedule and keep myself busy. I try to have a positive outlook — think that everything I do outside, I can do better at home with the people I love and am comfortable with.

A few days ago, I just mounted a safari-themed birthday party at home for my son. 

Rissa Mananquil-Trillo

Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Happy Skin Cosmetics

What’s motherhood in quarantine like? The first 40 days, we were together 24/7. It was so important we were with them during their vulnerable times. They would always ask when the virus would be over and would wish for it to go away. We explained everything that was happening and why we had to stay home.

Nights were spent watching old movies playing cards and game boards. We are naturally close as a family and the kids would sleep with us often so it never felt like a big adjustment. But as a mom, the most precious gift is to see them closer than ever. I know they will always be there for each other and at a time like this, it has never meant so much. 

How has your relationship with your children changed? I feel like my daughters grew up literally in front of my eyes while in quarantine. I know other parents felt some level of pressure to keep children busy with educational videos and activities. But just like adults who deal with anxiety differently, children need to cope and don’t have to “make the most” of a global pandemic.

I love how we’ve rediscovered little mundane activities like sewing, watching the sunset, feeding the birds, chasing the kittens, and reading the little love letters and notes they make.

Kids are a reminder we don’t need to look far to find magic. My children gave me a second chance to see the world for the first time through their eyes. 

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? To me, self-care isn’t just about indulging in a long bath, a glass of wine, or a Netflix binge. Self-care is the ability to know when [you] need to take a step back—it’s being kind to the entirety of your self. I realized that the less you are able nourish your own life, the less you are able to give value to the lives of those around you.

I make sure to stay informed but stay sane by limiting my time on social media. I’ve also redefined what productivity means to me—it’s no longer just about hard work but a balance of time off, exercise, healthy eating, and sleep.

Let’s recognize that taking care of ourselves is a form of productivity, too. We can’t deny that fixing up even just a little makes us women feel “normal” again—a swipe of a Happy Skin lippie and a winged eyeliner always works wonders to make me feel I’m ready to face the day. 

Jessica Tan-Gan

Entrepreneur, Owner of The Egg Fairy

What’s motherhood in quarantine like?

Honestly, I love it but it’s been more tiring. I have “two under two” so their ages make it impossible for us parents to “turn off.” I love being home because I get to be with them throughout all their development milestones—it’s one of the most fascinating things in the world.

While being with my kids does not stress me out, the heat and lack of restorative sleep is difficult to adjust to. I am breastfeeding so sleep is always interrupted. Thankfully, my infant has a yaya so that is a weight off my shoulders. The biggest difference is having to cook all meals for the family and having my husband home during the day to share the workload. I no longer push myself to exhaustion because an exhausted parent is never a kind parent.

At 6 a.m., we go down for breakfast and play outdoors when it’s not so hot. At around 10, I have to start prepping for lunch. After lunch, we put my son down for his afternoon nap. I work on my business and schedule egg pick-ups from our village gate—life with young kids means planning life around their nap times.

Once I’m done with the egg pick-ups my son is usually awake, and I give him a “potty opportunity” (we practice Elimination Communication) and we make a snack and prep dinner together. We have dinner at 6 so in between nap and bedtime we walk to the gate and do errands like deliver eggs to neighbors.

How has your relationship with your children changed? I don’t think it has changed a lot for my son because after giving birth to him it was very difficult to go back to the office. I was always with him. When my daughter was born it was easier for me to let go and go to work, but ECQ happened—so I’m back to being 100 percent with my kids.

As much as it is a scary time, I will cherish this time that we could be 100 percent parents.

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? Having a few days a week to allocate to my business, The Egg Fairy helps me keep sane because it allows me to connect to other people physically and make new friends. Seeing friends while they pick up their eggs helps me feel connected even if it lasts for just a minute! If I didn’t have The Egg Fairy I don’t think I would know the date or what day of the week it is. It gives me rhythm versus just being on mom mode nonstop.

I’ve always loved DIY and trying new things—thanks to YouTube, I’ve learned a lot of new dishes during this time. Connecting with friends and neighbors doing things “together” like baking bread or trying something new always helps. My friend Tricia Centenera got me on the ‘rice water for
hair growth’ bandwagon. My hair was falling a lot due to postpartum hair loss and the rice water really works!

Other things that keep me sane is being invited to do a Facebook live with
publications such as Celebrity Mom and a podcast with Unlock Philippines. I’ve learned that connecting and helping people is really important to me and being able to do this online is amazing.

Liz Uy

Stylist and entrepreneur

What’s motherhood in quarantine like? I spend 24/7 with my son Xavi! He’s my little shadow and goes everywhere with me. We do everything together––painting, gardening, singing, dancing, baking, you name it. Quarantine has been all about nurturing our quality time and getting to know him more each day –– and for him to get to know me!

How has your relationship with your son changed? Everyday, there’s always something new to discover with Xavi: his mood, what he likes, his favorite songs, his favorite dessert and what he loves to read at night –– I’m taking the lockdown as an opportunity to really get to know my son and I’m living for every second.

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? “Me-time” changes everyday, really depends on my mood. It’s a lot of getting to try things I’ve always wanted to get into: ikebana, learning new recipes from chef friends, making fresh pasta and fresh pizza dough, baking, and so much more.

I’m also getting into K-dramas for the first time ever—I’m on my 4th show already! I can’t say I’ve stepped away completely from work, but the lockdown taught me to go back to basics: working on social media and content for my brand and re-learning to produce shoots as a one woman team again. It’s exhausting but so, so, so fulfilling.

Samantha Godinez-Valenciano

Social media marketing manager

What’s motherhood in quarantine like? This quarantine gave me more discipline. Before quarantine I already had a routine, but this time I had enough time to do trial and error [on my current routine], and got way more organized. Since I also was able to fix our entire house, it was easier for me to plan our days and activities for my daughter, Leia. 

How has your relationship with your children changed? I’ve always been close to Leia, but I guess because of the quarantine we got to spend more time with each other. I also play other roles in her life now, like “teacher,” “coach,” and “workout buddy,” since I used to only workout in a gym. So she gets kilig.

How do you keep sane and take care of yourself? I only went through some anxiety in the beginning [of ECQ]. I worried about my parents’ health, that my husband Paolo might catch something while doing supply runs, and the possibility of bringing the virus to our home. Then eventually, I [started to think] I had it as well! Every little thing would freak me out—heartburn, headache, and even Leia’s one cough. 

What really kept me sane was keeping busy. Exercising, working, joining online Bible study, and talking to family. Taking online classes and learning new things also helped—just reminding myself that we aren’t crippled by this crippling time.