Tell us about your proudest moment as a parent.
There had been countless times when my son made me feel proud, but the ones I treasured the most were those when he showed kindness to others. The most recent was when we were shopping for a toy. We were done paying and were about to head home when he stopped by a snack bar to pick something. I probably looked a little perplexed then looking at this snack he bought because it was not necessarily his favorite, so he said “for Yam.” Yam had been our house help for five years now and had always been kind to us, and cares genuinely for my son. I think that he would like to return the kindness she has shown him through the years.
How do you develop close relationship with your son?
Since I started working from home, I believe that my relationship with my son gets better everyday because I have learned to listen more and talk less. I used to insist all the time, thinking that I know better, that I can be of better help, or that things will be easier, if he would just listen to me. But this way of thinking is not the best if we aim to establish good relationships. I always aim to let him know that he can trust me, and that I trust him fully.
Why, in your opinion, is parenting so hard?
Parenting is hard if we operate in the illusion that we parents know better. Good intentions are not enough. We may be knowledgeable in some areas as we are 20-something years ahead of them, but this does not validate our incessant suggestions on how our kids should live their lives. Until we give them the freedom to decide, then ponder on the things that they have decided upon or done, parenting will always be a case of power struggle.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in parenting? How do you deal with them?
Letting go was the biggest challenge I had recently. If my son wants to try something that I thought was inherently dangerous, I tend to give the disapproving look. Lately, however, I deal with this by calming myself before we even start discussing. No matter how surprising the topic will be, I try to stay calm and so it becomes easier to send the true signal. The true signal is that as his mother, I care for him, and that I wanted him to be genuinely happy. It is when our good intentions are clouded by doubt, then manifested in hurting gestures that we send the wrong signal. A calmer me allows him to speak his mind. And when I ask questions, I try to lean on his perspective, and help him understand why the topic interested him in the first place. This has worked for us since.
Who influences your parenting style?
My style is derived from personal experience, as well as listening in to what matters at the very moment. I love that my father lets me know that he trusts me even as an inexperienced child, but always reminds me of the possibilities of what I'm trying to do. My paternal grandmother does the same, always giving me opportunities to know how to think for myself. My mother is a very practical person, so I have the best of both worlds to pick from.
What advice do you have for parents who have kids of the same age?
My son is nearing teenage and I am giving my all to guide him through this somewhat dreaded stage by mainly listening to him even more. He will go through different kinds of changes, and I want to let him know that all his questions are valid, and that his dad and I are ready to help gather answers. Although I think being a conscious parent in all stages of our kids' lives is imperative, teenage life is rather the most crucial stage. Let's listen closely even more.
With the COVID-19 virus raging out there, how do you deal with working from home with the kids around?
As someone who has been working from home for the past five years, my business operation is pretty much the same except that I cannot ship my physical products, and shopping for craft and art materials is not possible at the moment.
My husband and son are now at home all the time because of the quarantine, but we do our own things in separate rooms so I am still working as usual. I allocate some bits of time adding inventory to my physical products. I also try to do enjoyable hobbies (painting and gardening), and catch up on accounting. But most of my time is devoted to designing and creating digital products as they're the only products I can sell as of this time.
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Proud father of two lovely kids, who at times pushed me to seriously consider editing out the word “lovely” from this sentence. (I am not alone in this.)