Intentional at 37

I turned 37 last January. I know it is already months late, but I’m drafting this blog while waiting for my turn for a doctor’s appointment. (I started writing this post back in March before ECQ was announced. I do hope I get to post this before 2021 ends! Hahaha!)

The truth is, with an empty hallway of St. Luke’s BGC, this has been the most quiet place I’ve ever been for a very long time. My family has been taking the stay-at-home order very seriously. To date, this is just the 5th time that I’ve been out of the house since ECQ was announced March of last year. We don’t have a nanny, so Zayne is waiting in the car with Tatay to limit our exposure. I already lost count of how many times I planned to write something, but I always end up either too tired or just staring at my laptop with brain fog. The truth is, I am just like everyone else who struggled during the past year. With all my health scare and mental health issues from 2019, I actually felt like the past year was a walk in the park. The park is just messy and filled with thorns. I mean, at least I’m walking in the park, right? I must admit that I was on autopilot mode during the first few months of quarantine. Things became more challenging when I almost lost my job April of 2020. My husband’s company is also going through a major merger, so there were definitely a lot of uncertainties in our heads. Just when I thought that we were finally getting the hang of quarantine life, things became more difficult when Zayne started school. I blogged about how I felt like COVID-19 forced Zayne to grow up. She really struggled because she was looking forward to going to a real school. Because of exhaustion and all the drastic changes that we had to face, the walls of our house witnessed all the screams coming from two very tired adults and a kid who was probably more tired and more frustrated than us. Suffice to say, it took a toll on our relationship as a family. I am embarrassed to admit that there were a lot of yelling, throwing things, and negative emotions in our house. We knew we needed to do something about it. This is why looking back, one of the very important lessons I learned during this pandemic is being INTENTIONAL.

With all the bad things that happened even before the pandemic hit us, I’ve learned to practice INTENTIONAL gratitude. The fact that I almost lost my job made me value it even more. I may not love my job 100% of the time (because I really believe that only hypocrites do, haha) but I acknowledge the fact that it puts food on our table. My husband and I are very lucky to have jobs that let us work from home. We’re all exhausted from work, online school, and household chores, but we appreciate that we get to be together 24/7. I know people who lost their jobs and businesses, so keeping our primary source of income in the middle of a pandemic is such a big blessing. I also know people who can’t afford to work from home because of the nature of their jobs, so I’m just very grateful that despite all the craziness and exhaustion, our little family still gets to enjoy the best of both worlds – keeping our jobs and having more time with each other.

My husband and I became INTENTIONAL in spending time with Zayne. At the beginning of quarantine, we noticed that Zayne’s attitude drastically changed. I remember crying almost every single day because I felt like I’m slowly losing my gentle and happy baby. I also felt like I was becoming a really bad mother. We were following a routine just like what experts suggested, but we were still failing big time. My last string was when I saw Boyet, who everybody knows as the most chillax guy in the universe, also getting frustrated. There were days when he would easily get triggered and resort to shouting. The three of us sat down together to talk about what was happening. It was an eye-opener when Zayne said, “I want you to spend time with me.” We could not understand why she would demand us to spend time with her when we’re all together 24/7. “You’re always working. You’re not being good parents.” Boyet and I looked at each other. I felt like an iron fist punched me in my chest. We both knew that Zayne was right. Just because we were together day and night doesn’t mean we are spending time together. People who are working from home know that it’s a struggle to set boundaries. Our computers are within our reach. People can set meetings anytime. Our minds trick us that we should be working more because we’re at home anyway. We should be working more because we might lose our jobs because of the pandemic. When Boyet and I acknowledged this, we made drastic changes. We became INTENTIONAL in giving Zayne our undivided attention. I wake up earlier than the usual to prepare Zayne’s bento box. She looks forward to this even if she’s just at home. We go online before our shifts because we usually help Zayne in preparing for school. As much as possible, we go offline on time. When one of us needs to extend, the other makes sure to spend time with Zayne.

Having a routine greatly helped us with our dynamics, but we became INTENTIONAL in being lenient on some days. Even before the pandemic, Saturday is Zayne’s “free” day. She can watch YouTube, eat chips and chocolates, and play games on our phones. We realized that the rules we made before the pandemic need to be bent at times because all of us are going through a lot. We now let Zayne skip her nap time every weekends. Eating in the living room was a big no-no before the pandemic, but we threw that rule out of the window. What helped us was letting Zayne get involved in our decision-making. She has already mastered the art of negotiating!

We became more INTENTIONAL in addressing Zayne’s needs as a child. I’ve always felt that my child is being robbed of her childhood because of this pandemic. Her first experience of being in a real school, not counting the one-week trial she had a week before ECQ was first announced, is in front of a computer. She struggled at first in making friends, but we’re glad that she adjusted after a couple of months. We could not go on vacations or even simply go to the mall, so my husband and I are making conscious efforts in being more resourceful and creative in making sure that Zayne will still have a very memorable childhood despite being stuck at home. We’ve been doing picnics in our living room. We order food online and pretend that it’s from the hotel room service. Zayne and Tatay are currently building a DIY dollhouse made from cardboards and papers. We had a treasure hunt at home. And the list goes on.

I’ve always been frugal, but the pandemic made me more INTENTIONAL in building our wealth. I used to frown upon the mere mention of the word wealth. I didn’t want to get rich as I feared that money would “change” me. I simply want to be debt-free, to help our parents, to secure Zayne’s education, to save for our retirement, to be able to extend help to those in need, and have some extra to travel and enjoy life. But I recently watched a YouTube vlog which changed my mindset in building wealth. It made me realize two things: that building wealth is not bad and that I can’t get something that I’m not willing to receive. Now that we’re working from home and saving money which used to be allotted for gas, parking, eating out and travelling, I decided to become more stringent in building our emergency funds. I also have a couple of side hustles which have been helping me “finance” my essential oils and Boyet’s Shopee budol. 😂 (We also became more INTENTIONAL in doing home improvements which is the best explanation for my husband’s Addtocartitis. 😂)

Zayne has really been feeling so isolated because she is an only child. We had 4 (I think) failed cycles of fertility workups in 2019. We were supposed to resume the following year, but the pandemic happened. We waited for the cases to go down and for my doctor to go back from her medical leave. We resumed this year and had our first cycle at the beginning of March. It looks like it wasn’t working. We decided to stop again because of the unbelievable rise in COVID-19 cases once again. I’m really sad as I think that I’m being robbed of the fighting chance to try having a baby again. I can risk it, but aside from trying to be on the safe side, I realized that I need to make a sacrifice to make more room for at least one person who needs to go to the hospital more than I do. I’m 37 years old, and though I know deep in my heart that it still has a lot of room to love for another child, I’ve learned to become INTENTIONAL in letting go of the things that I cannot control and surrendering to God’s will.

I know that I’ve been neglecting this blog and also our YouTube channel. I really want to keep both alive, but I’m also trying to be INTENTIONAL in taking a rest. My mental health has not been at its best since 2019, so I’ve been taking conscious efforts in dropping things to make more time for myself and my family. Nevertheless, I will forever be grateful for the small community that I’ve built through this blog. I’ll see you soon. We’ll get through this pandemic sooner or later. Keep safe.

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