In marriage, anything can happen (even if you thought it wouldnt)

I am not 100% sure I am ready to share this story but somehow, writing down has been one of my great forms of catharsis. This is one time I am extremely grateful I chose to remain anonymous on this blog.

I think I have mentioned this on a previous blog post. Before I resigned and got married, our attorney from the legal department began barging me with what-if questions: what if my husband cheated on me, hurts me, becomes violent, turns homosexual, leaves me? Things like that. What would I do? I was defensive – kept telling him he would never do that. I was fast losing my cool and just kept saying answers he wanted to hear. Turns out, he just wanted for me to say that no matter what happens, I will love and accept my husband. Because if I did, then he’s gonna say I am indeed ready [to get married].

It was a pointless exercise that time. I was very much in love. I was high with all the happy hormones and our mishaps were all considered minor. I didnt know back then what exactly I would be facing in the long run.

Then it happened.

Yes, we did have arguments. We had shoutfests in the car while I was ready to give birth at any moment, and on his birthday. But that’s not the worst that could happen.

One day, my husband came home early, looking very somber. My last words when he left after lunch sounded irritable so I gave him my sweetest smile at once. He asked me to sit down on the couch – we needed to talk. He started by asking me for my support and understanding.

He then told me about this one girl at the office. One single guy at the office asked him to be some sort of a wingman – that guy had no direct way of getting to know the girl, or work together. My husband merely said okay and started getting to know the girl.

Let’s just say the girl is a bit naive, probably doesnt know exactly how to behave around guys, but she’s well meaning. When they got to the part where my husband is telling her about this guy who is interested in her, her way of turning it down is by saying she is sort of exclusive with someone already. Of course, to be an effective wingman, my husband then tried to probe and downplay the role of the said guy in her life. She, then, told him that they’ve known each other since childhood and are now in an intimate level of relationship. The curiosity of my husband got the best of him – he asked how intimate they are. And, this naive girl, explained in detail.

He wasnt thinking, or maybe thinking with the other head, so he then did something unknowingly – he touched her leg. Leg? Thigh? I dont know. He said leg, but thigh made more sense. He was suddenly very touchy of this girl on more occasions; hand, shoulders, whatever. Nothing too sensitive but totally unwarranted.

He apologized after some time for his behavior to which the girl accepted. He stopped his wingman job. Then this girl submitted a complaint about my husband. Apparently, on work related instances, he scolded her a couple of times. She thought he was intentionally being hard at her because of what happened. Maybe because his advances werent returned or accepted that’s why he’s taking it on her personally.

While hearing all these, my face was slowly forming a frown, while bowing down my head. Why?? I asked him why kept it from me – how can I support him when he’s keeping secrets from me? It felt so surreal, like I’m just waiting for a punchline or a kick to wake me up.

Here I am. An advocate against sexual harrassment – I actually did a #metoo post some time ago. I studied sexual harassment at work too, attended seminars as well. And here we are: my own husband committing the exact thing I am fighting against. It doesnt need a sexual act or even exposure to sexual parts; a person in higher position who is getting too close for comfort, which includes asking very personal question, can already qualify as harrassment.

I was so ashamed. I didnt dare tell this to anyone, not even my closest friend. This taught me a lesson on keeping marital issues between the two us. It was embarrassing. I didnt think it would happen to me. He was loyal and faithful. Even if girls were offering themselves to him, he rejected them. I didnt think he’d get interested with anyone at work because he had such high standards – in fact, the girl before me was a model. Then there’s this girl, who’s not even pretty nor charismatic. Didnt seem very smart either.

It was natural for me to blame myself, for not providing his physical needs. How could I? I was a stay-at-home mom, without help, nanny, cook or relatives. I was still recovering from giving birth – and very slow at it, I was actually 12lbs lower than my pre-pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding makes me aversive with sexual encounters. I had all these reasons, yet I still felt it was my fault.

But, deep down, my husband still is a good person. He didnt blame me, even though I kept on avoiding sexual for 6 months (that was the time it happened). He got scared because he didnt know himself anymore. He then realized all the good I’ve been doing all along.

But the damage has been done. I’d say it was a big relief when he stopped wiggling his way out of his very few chores, and stamping when I make him do it inspite of his exhausted excuse. He started appreciating everything I’m doing for the family. He wanted to make it up to me for the rest of his life. At some point, it was exhausting for me as well because he was saying he wants to die, kept saying he is shit, and was not performing at all at work. See, I’m the one wronged here but I’m the one struggling to uplift his spirits.

Things have been pretty much back to normal ever since. While he no longer complains with chores, always asks what he can do to help me, and has been talking to me more than watching youtube, I still feel the pang sometimes. The chocolates have been eaten up, the roses have dried up. We still havent gone out on a date ever since and I still have to be the positive one here to keep the balance.

And it makes me wonder, we’re at a very early stage in our marriage. What other unexpected circumstances will we face later on? My past has given me enough strength and wisdom to face this, but it scares me to think of what horrors lie ahead of us.

In light of what transpired, I no longer want to have another child. When I was still unmarried, I promised myself to be a wife first before a mother but it’s easier said than done. It would be harder the second time – all these hardships again with a bigger child. How in the world would I do better? How can I be sure it wont affect him again? Who knows what he’ll end up doing?

The tables have turned – he’s now the one wanting a second child, even prefering a girl. But I do not want to create another situation where temptation can crawl in again. It will still find its way, of course, but I want to keep that route shut forever.

I am just trying to forget what happened and try to get positive outcomes from the situation. But of course, some part of me has already died inside. I will keep on moving forward. It doesnt stop me from thinking though that a monster would jump at me at any moment. It doesnt matter how hard I’m trying to keep it all together – it would just happen.

Advertisements

Disney Junior programs review – a mommy’s take on the shows

I know, I know. Limit screentime of babies buuuuuuttttt….. Have you ever been a stay-at-home mom with a baby without help, yaya (nanny), or relatives? I need the TV to be able to do anything around here – and I’m not talking chores; just a bath, toilet break or quick snack.

This channel is the exact reason why we had cable installed: I need a channel wherein I dont have to avoid inappropriate shows. Whatever time it is, the show is baby appropriate.

I know every show on this channel now. Here’s my review of each:

Furchester Hotel

This is the very first show I’ve shown my baby. It was at noon time.

This show isnt a household name – I wouldnt have stuck with it if I havent seen Elmo. This happens to be the British spin-off of Sesame Street, but shorter and without the humans. Catered to younger audience. Interestingly enough, according to a study of Sesame Street, while their intended audience were preschoolers, their viewers were actually getting younger. That’s why they opted to make the shows shorter and focus instead on Elmo – red, high-pitched voice, cute.

I. Love. It. So does my little girl. It is very similar to Sesame Street in which it revolves around a certain situation (or problem) then they do all they can to resolve it. Same brand of humor can be expected as well. And if you’re a fan of Cookie Monster, he works here! Big Bird and Count guested as well.

As expected, Elmo is the star here. This is my baby’s favorite show because of him.

And oh, our favorite character here is Mr. Harvey P. Dull.

Elmo’s World

When Barney and Blue’s Clues arrived, Sesame Street viewership went down. From their research they found that their audience were already as young as 10 months so came Elmo’s World. It started as a segment at the end of the show until it became a show in itself.

Like Sesame Street, it focuses on one object/concept that Elmo is wondering about. The whole show revolves on finding out more about it. The show was revived but as a short. It now involves asking Smartie (a smartphone) to find out more about the topic. The show ends with Happy Dance (Elmo’s happy when learning new things, it makes him want to dance).

Oh the joy this short brings to my baby. Which is why her first birthday party would have an Elmo’s World theme.

Sofia the First

Waaaaaay before meeting my husband, I already knew who Sofia is. Upon watching the show have I learned to like this little girl.

She has a good heart. Sure, she gets in a rut every now and then, but she’s never naughty. She makes mistakes too but she owns up to it. A village girl at heart who just happened to become a princess.

I like that the fact as well that whenever she decides to go against the rules, they show exactly that she takes the consequences. She never gets away with it. This is definitely good role model material.

Unfortunately, my LO isnt such a fan of Sofia. She only watches when they’re singing. Then again, she’s still a baby. Let’s see when she grows up.

PJ Masks

This is usually what’s on when we watch the TV. Also, my little cousin likes this (and has a complete set of action figures) so I thought this might be good.

This show raises so much questions: if they go into the night to save the day, when do they sleep? Who funded them? How did they get their superpowers? Why is their headquarters so visible in plain view? Why are there only 3 villains who does nothing but steal others’ toys/stuff? Why is the only adult here the teacher? Why is the town completely empty at night? Are the police (or parents!) incapable of keeping Romeo, Luna Girl and Night Ninja in check?

Also, the personalities of the heroes are inconsistent. They always take turns in making a booboo ending up sabotaging their mission. This is what makes Sesame Street great: you know all Cookie Monster cares about is cookie but he can always come up with cookie-related solutions.

Then, when the saboteur realizes his/her mistake, he/she will do the right thing and say “It’s time to be a hero.” Okay? So what have you been doing since the start of the show?

And, sorry, Gecko is just so not likeable.

Vampirina

This is one of the shows I got to watch first since it’s after Furchester Hotel. I thought at the beginning that the concept was pretty cool. The moral lesson is to be accepting of anyone, despite their differences. A lesson in diversity. Hence the lyrics:

Woooh, Vampirina

I may be blue with pointy teeth

Woooh, Vampirina

But I’m not so different underneath

Until I’ve seen several episodes. I know we want to stick with the concept but it’s turning out to be the 2 poor humans (Poppy and Bridget) trying to discover and fit in Vampirina’s monster world, not the other way around. V’s so insistent with the Transylvanian ways.

Also, Demi (the ghost) tries to be cute but most of the time, I’m not amused.

Mission Force One

Miles Calixto heads this youngest team out to accomplish TTA missions. This is more of a boy’s show, someone a bit older than my girl, so I get why she doesnt care about this show much.

I think they can get creative with resolving their missions. Only thing that bothers me is that they have never failed a mission. We should also teach kids that, right? And maybe have another TTA team help them out so the kids would also understand it’s okay to ask for help. Something like that.

Anyway, my husband doesnt like this. I’m neutral.

The Lion Guard

Ooh, it’s adapted from The Lion King so this must be good. It is exactly what we think it is: a Lion King based series for babies.

The Lion Guard headed by Simba’s son (can be confusing at first because we know he has a daughter) goes around the pridelands protecting it from hyenas and ultimately, the circle of life. But sometimes I think they can get too intrusive when they save zebras from predators or prevent the crocs from hunting.

And the roar? What sorcery is this?

Elena of Avalor

The first time it was shown, the episode covered all the backstory of how Elena was imprisoned in time blah blah. I said, “Do they really expect a child to take that all in? This is Disney Junior!” Fast forward, I’ve enjoyed episodes but I still think this should be at Disney channel, not Junior.

I like the whole Spanish vibe and whanot. But what really, really, really, bothers me is how they say Elena. I dont really watch, just listen to the shows in the background while doing my thing, so I thought initially it was Alaina. Then I saw the teaser during a commercial break. Seriously??? Ugh! That American accent!!! EH-LEH-NA! It’s simple! I wanted to punch the TV.

Goldie and Bear

Who doesnt know Goldilocks? And, frankly, all the characters in this show? It’s so creative on how they managed to put together so many fairy tale characters, living in one place called Fairy Tale Forest.

They did tweak storylines a bit, like Big Bad Wolf; instead of eating Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma, he chases Red for the muffins. Kid-friendlier, I guess.

While the concept is cute, we are not fans of this one. Goldie is still as naughty as th original version and they always get into trouble. And kept on looking for a moral but there’s none. Just cute that Goldie plays with Red and Humpty.

Mickey and the Roadster Racers

I like Mickey Mouse as a character so I do have a few plushies and merchandise of this classic Disney character. I bought one at Hong Kong Disneyland which was reslly meant for my future child. It was also the first toy we handed over to our little girl; it was brilliant because the first colors baby can see are red, black and white. She loves her Mickey Mouse toy (actually a car plushie with a hanging silicon stick on given to me by my subordinate a few years back).

But, honestly, Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Daisy and Goofy are better off as mascots and toys and merchandise. They’re quite a bore. I thought she’ll like too because her toy is on TV but she never sticks to this show. You’re probably gonna watch is only you love Mickey that much.

Puppy Dog Pals

I dont think this gets the attention that it deserves. It’s unpopular. No merch. No action figures. I wouldnt even have watched this hadnt I left the TV on. Also because I’m not a dog person.

This show is cute and hilarious! The two cute pups are always on a mission to keep Bob happy, even if it means going halfway around the world to find the stolen Mona Lisa.

One of my husband’s favorite episodes is when they brought sheep for Bob to count because he couldnt sleep. They are cute, innocent, and doing everything they can ro make Bob happy. Indeed man’s best friend. Bob is one lucky guy to have Rolly and Bingo.

Doc McStuffins

I liked this one when I first saw it. What really got me is the “Time for Your Check Up” song. It teaches kids what a check up is all about and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. There was one episode as well that said the best accessory is a life jacket (for safety). So mommy-approval worthy.

Until they made it into a toy hospital. It was cute at first when Doc was just solving simple toy problems at their backyard, at times with the help of her mom, a real life doctor. It was simply like a play pretend set up. The toy hospital made it so complicated and yet again, I have questions:

How did she get her knowledge on being a doctor? If yes, it did come with the magic stethoscope, how come her toys are her med students? What authority does she have over them given that she’s just a resident doctor? And why is the hospital (and the whole town!) named after a resident doctor??

And Stuffy is one annoying character. In Filipino, he is KSP (kulang sa pansin) – which is how someone behaves when, well, they’re a fame whore.

Still, an okay show for kids. Tells them that a hospital and a doctor takes all the ouchies away.

Cleo

My baby likes this short. It’s so funny as well because this puppy really wants to have colored braces!!! Well, if anything, this tells kids that hey, braces are cool after all – you’ll have a rainbow smile!

Hi-5

I had high expectations for this show – I remember our bosses (I’m talking VPs here) taking their kids to Hi-5 concerts and mall shows, so it must mean it’s good. But no! Omg. What the hell is this? It’s just like 5 babysitters in a studio trying to make-do with whatever props they could find. Storylines are too shallow that they are worthless.

And the singing parts? Look closely. It’s like the kids jumping and following the actions were bribed by their parents to follow the babysitters doing their thing. No. No. Just no.

Muppet Babies

Muppet Babies are Disney Junior’s thing now. It’s on almost all the time! Morning, noon (replacing Furchester Hotel! We’re mad!), afternoon and late night! What the hell???

Aside from bumping our favorite show out of its very convenient timeslot, we are not liking this one. My baby was laughing at it the first time she saw it, but now she’s crying when she’s left at her chair with this. I mean, yeah, muppets, but there’s nothing extraordinary with the story. You can easily replace the characters and you’ll still have a show. Just a bunch of babies at the daycare who are playing pretend.

And this one episode I saw where Miss Piggy was being a sore loser, UGH. That is why I’m avoiding Peppa Pig! And we have another maldita pig on this channel!

No. Sorry Disney. Please take that away. If this show is your flavor of the month, just switch its timeslot with Furchester. I beg of you.

=======

There you go. I didnt include the other shorts but generally we like all those (especially the Sesame Street one involving healthy eating and exercise). Overall, I still love Disney Junior (over Nick Jr!) and believe a huge majority of its programs are mommy-approved.

6-9 months must haves

During this time period, I dont recall buying much. Expenses were all related to food. She did grow up a lot, but mostly vertically. She was still wearing her 3-6 months sized house wear that I bought when she turned 2 months old. She also didnt seem too interested in toys – she’s more curious with what we are holding – so I didnt bother buying new ones.

So here goes.

Things I love

1. Happy Baby Organic Probiotic Oatmeal

Being in an agricultural country, you would have thought I fed rice to my LO as her first ever food, right? Wrong. I gave her oatmeal instead mixed with breastmilk. This particular one has all the healthy words you could ever find: oatmeal, organic, probiotic, happy!! Seriously, it’s versatile as well. When I ran out of mango (our mangoes are the best, turns out to be her favorite too), I mixed the little that I had left with this. Voila! I now have a meal.

2. Happy Mat placemat and plate

I did have a few bowls with me but she always just throws them all! I could have bought a bowl with a suction but this baby right here is specifically divided for the exact toddler’s needed food proportions. Nifty, right? She can peel it off her tray but she only does so once it’s empty – it does stay in place while she’s eating. It helps also that she has a complete visual on what I am serving her so she can inspect before eating. Only regret is that red and purple arent in stock.

3. Munchkin 360 cup

Lo and behold! My LO does not like drinking water from a bottle (for the first week of solid food, I thought she didnt like water!). I got desperate so I ended up with the dropper method and saw her drank a lot. I then experimented with a cup (cap of her Avent classic bottle) and a straw. She liked cup the best. I could’ve bought Avent’s 360 cup (which could make her qualified to join SM’s baby search – it needs a certain amount of purchase from Avent) but I liked Munchkin’s design more – plus it was featured on some articles as one of the best transition cups. From breast to cup 👍🏻

4. Munchkin Love-a-bowls

I am really starting to love the Munchkin brand. I use these bowls to store baby food – ref or travel. What I love about these is that they are spill-proof, freezer safe and microwave oven safe. I only wish I had more.

5. Waterproof bibs with removable catcher

There are plenty of these available but most are one piece in silicon. I didnt care much about the catcher but this one was a gift from one of our neighbors. This thing really works! The amount of mess I have to clean was reduced dramatically since I attached this baby. I could also get the food that she dropped in here back to her plate which made it possible for her to actually finish what I served her.

6. Fisher Price Rock-a-Stack

I’ve been checking this out since I was pregnant. And this toy isnt a classic for nothing. I love that the ring on top duals as a rattle. She can now take out the rings. She has yet to learn how to stack them. This definitely would be a toy for the long run.

7. Milna Rusks

I did an experiment one time and gave her this while in the car on the way home. I thought it would make her appreciate eating even more when she gets to do it herself. She did. Ate up the whole cookie I gave her (made a big mess too but it’s part of our parenting journey). I would pack one of these cookies when we’re going out – all I have to do is to dissolve it in water and poof! Baby food. There came a time when she absolutely refused to be fed and of course, she was still incapable of using a spoon so this one right here is a life saver. Plus, she loves the flavor. She can finish the serving in no time.

Things I’m not a fan of anymore

1. Carrier

OMG, my back!!! It was good while it lasted but at this point, I am ready to succumb to the bulky, heavy and expensive stroller.

#MeToo: I was a victim too

So I was reading an article from Cosmo PH about real stories of street harassment at night. Wow… Something happened to me a long time ago that I’ve forgotten about, and now I feel icky because yes, I was a victim as well.

I had 3 experiences. I’ll share in detail.

Mall 

A day before our class Christmas party during second year highschool, me and my seatmate went to the mall to shop for our party outfits. She’s kind of part of the popular kids because she had a cute, dimply smiley face, and a sweet attitude that all teachers love, BUT she’s way too baduy – zero fashion sense. She’s not my super duper friendy friend but I lend out a helping hand anyway – we were seatmates for half a year already and of course we have formed some sort of bond.

Since she has no idea what looks good, it was easy enough to find something that she likes. We were done with shopping way early than expected. Great timing, Regine Velasquez, a local diva singer, was having a mall show at that same day. We went up at the highest floor to get a balcony view since we didnt have tickets for the patron seats. We stood there for an hour or two, waiting for the show to start.

As expected, the crowd was getting thicker, with the regular mall goers trying to catch a glimpse of the stage. I felt I was being pushed hard against the rail – my 14-year-old self thought that this must be how it feels like to be in a jam packed concert. It was kind of annoying though that the main pressure was targeted at my butt. I turned my head and saw a man in late 30s or early 40s behind me. He was holding on to the rail as well.

I didnt know that it was wrong but I knew that I was uncomfortable. After a while, I excused myself from my friend and walked around. I found a security guard. I felt kind of safe though I did not really approach him – I just made a mental note of where to find him. When I got enough breathing space, I went back to my friend.

Oh no. He’s doing it again! I couldnt take it anymore. I whispered to my friend that I couldnt take the pushing from behind anymore and asked her if we can just go home. She agreed.

As soon as we got out of the crowd, the people started asking me if I was okay, mentioning they noticed the guy behind me was indeed pressing his groin on my bottom. He walked out right after we left our spot.

Neighbor

We moved into a new neighborhood when I was 1st year college. My parents knew most of the neighbors because the lots were offered at their office – so they made a collective decision to purchase. My dad’s officemates went ahead and built a home there right away, while our first house was on another lot my parents bought.

Our house was at the annex portion so there were no tricycles passing by. I would have to take a special ride in order to alight right in front of our house. Otherwise, I would have to ride with others that would pass by the annex block, then I would walk all the way home. It was maybe a half kilometer long walk, which I didnt mind because there was always a cool breeze there. Plus, as a college student, I had to maximize my allowance.

One night, as I was taking my usual walk down the hill, a car stopped by and called me out. He seemed to know me. I pretended I knew him too – I have a hard time recalling people’s faces – thinking it was just one of our neighbors and a friend of my dad’s as well. I got into the passenger seat – no biggie, the ride home should only take about 30 seconds.

I was surprised when he extended his arm, brushing my chest brashly, to lock the door. Why would you lock the door? It was a very short ride. He started asking me questions like my school, my usual schedule and such. The road at the annex formed a loop, similar to a cursive small letter “L” – so I was taken aback on why he took the road towards the loop and not straight ahead, which was where I, and my dad’s friends, live.

I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Good thing his car’s lock was the type you push down or pull up, not controlled via the driver’s side. I then started devising my escape plan, at the point completely ignoring everything he says. When we got to the intersection where the straight and loop met, I quickly pulled the lock, jumped out of the car, and ran all the way home.

I realized what a dangerous situation I was in and texted my bestfriend as soon as I got inside my room.

The walk

On the same road going home happened the most intense harassment. You’d think I’m silly for not learning, but you see, this happened at 10AM.

I was on training at a call center under a US account, meaning my working hours were 12 hours later than normal. I was on a 10pm to 7am sched. My friends and I had breakfast that morning and went home at past 9. Three of us were headed south so we chose a jeepney that ticks off all our stops. I wasnt in a hurry as well so I opted to wait for passengers and walk, despite the heat.

As I was going down the steep road, I saw a man on top of the hill which was at the right side of the road. At around 10 meters away from our home, he managed to come down and catch me. He asked me where I lived; I simply answered there then quickly walked away.

To no avail. He grabbed me by the neck. Thanks to my quick thinking, I figured he was trying to cut off my oxygen and make me faint. I was a swimmer, and I have always known that movement in the water is more difficult than on air. So I held my breath, as if I was swimming, and put up a fight. I was able to get out of his grasp and run. He was able to catch up – he grabbed my hair and slammed my head on the cement road. The hit did not affect me, save for a huge bump on my forehead, then I screamed.

I did not scream for help, just screamed the name of our neighbor.

Conclusion

It can happen to anyone.

I wasnt even wearing revealing clothes. All those time I was just wearing a shirt, jeans and sneakers. At one point, it was midday, when the sun was way up in the sky (which is why no one was outside). All three men were dressed neatly.

While I admit I had lapses in judgment and could’ve reacted better, there was an opportunity as well for the people around to call it out. Also, I was smitten by embarrassment – I was ashamed to admit I was being harassed.

This should not be the case. This is wrong on all levels. Harassment should not even happen – boys should be taught how to properly treat women. I shouldnt have felt shame with admitting. No one should be afraid as well to intervene. We all have the right to feel safe in our surroundings.

I did drove my own car as soon as I could so I never experienced harassment again. Due to threats of robbery, my dad would always open and close the gate for me without me having to go down from my car. My midshift also limited me time to go out in public.

Now that I have a daughter of my own, I want to be able to teach her how to protect herself. I was not harmed with all three instances, though I still cant shake off the yucky feeling, but I want her to be free from any instance of harassment. Let’s raise awareness. Let’s call out violators. Let us empower women to speak out.

What I want to tell my sister

I dont know if I’ll get the chance to say this to you. But as someone who deeply cares for you (and as a mother myself), I want all the best for you.

It saddens me that yet again, you and our mother had a falling out. Again. I still remember the last time that happened; I begged you to stay, even though you were wrong. I scolded our mom for letting this happen again. We’re too old for this. I thought we should be getting wiser.

I am still waiting for your side of the story, but I agree – she started it. Adding fuel to fire. We all know she’s very much against your relationship but she didnt have to show it on social media for everyone else to see. Everyone heard her loud and clear. Me and Daddy told her to stop doing it already. But she didnt listen. That’s why this happened again – she never learned.

But you see, I understand her. You are a mother yourself, I thought you would’ve understood. But I guess it’s different because you have a son. And yet again, you’re very much carried away by your emotions – that you will fight for your love til death.

I get it – he’s smart, he makes you happy, he doesnt mind your past. We would accept that he’s ugly, he has a kid of his own, that he still lives with his parents and that he just started working. But being STILL MARRIED is something we would never accept.

Dont tell me that the times now have changed; being legal never runs of style. You lose, all the time. What can you do if the wife charges you with concubinage? Your fight-til-death attitude would not make you win that battle.

Look. I’m not being a hypocrite here. I will acknowledge the fact that yes, once upon a time I also had a relationship with a married-but-separated man. So did our other sister. The fact that we both hid that relationship so well says a lot: we were ashamed of it. We both were desperate for someone to love us that we got ourselves into that mess. And after that experience, I realized I had no self-respect. And also, that I hated sharing and being second-rate.

The society is actually not accepting of that set up; they are tolerating it. It is one perfect example of something everyone’s doing but doesnt necessarily mean it’s right. I, for one, am tolerating you because I hold no authority over you. And you did not ask me as well if I’m okay with it. My answer is no; you deserve better.

I feel like you’re stuck in a rut again. You feel that no one’s ever going to love you so take whoever shows attention and affection, like it’s your last chance to receive love ever again. Let me ask you, how did the last one turn out? It was exactly like this, right? At least, that one wasnt married.

I’m not being old-fashioned here. You know what’s society’s accepting nowadays that is considered right? Single parents. Many become single parents for plenty of valid reasons. Like yours. So dont stoop so low just because you have a child. You are worthy of love, from someone great, someone who will accept the both of you even without a child of his own, someone who can give you and your son a better future.

If he really is the love of your life, I hope you consider as well what he can bring you. All I see is him bringing you to a deeper despair. He is giving you exposure by making you vulnerable to concubinage. He doesnt even have valid grounds for annulment. Heck, he could have simply waited for divorce bill to be passed.

What kind of life is he giving you? A life that makes you turn your back on your parents? A life where he turns to you for monetary support? I know you; we all know you. You have a knack of giving everything for your partner, even your hard-earned money. Even NOT your money. You may say otherwise but you have a very tainted record.

Dont do this. Dont drag your standards down to rock bottom because you deserve more. A few failed relationships, including a child out of wedlock is nothing to be ashamed of. You’ve pulled yourself together and now have a better life. Dont go there anymore. That dreadful place is a thing of the past.

I may not have been a mother long but I can tell you this: for parents of daughters, all we want is to ensure that our little girl finds someone to take care of and love her as much as (even more than) we do. That has become our life mission. Once that happens, our work here is done and we can die peacefully anytime.

You’re lucky you have a son. As long as he can stand up on his own, you’re done. Also, I’m happy you dont have a daughter because you make a poor role model. Just try to imagine my little girl in your place. Would you have wanted that? Would you accept that? Or would you told her that there’s someone else better, that she just needs to wait?

Brighten up your perspective. You may gain small and short-lived wins with that relationship but chemistry runs out after a little while. What happens then when you ran out of money because of trying to support that guy? What happens if there’s no plan ever of undergoing annulment and divorce bill doesnt get passed? What happens when the wife suddenly tries to assert her position? How important is your happy companionship with him in the grand scheme of things?

I hope you realize all these sooner on your own, because I know you wont listen to any one of us. Look at us, your sisters, we have both gotten ourselves out of that despicable set up and found ourselves a great partner – uncomplicated. We’re happy, we’re settled (well, our sister almost is). You’ll get there too, if only if you stop settling for whatever crap’s available.

For the last time, you are not crap. Not second hand goods. Not worthless. You have the right to raise the bar. It’s okay to ask for more. Because you deserve it. I hope you finally learn that.

On judging other people’s style

It seems that I keep on getting into a row with this particular friend. On our group chat, she mentioned that one of our high school friend’s wedding video was too ugly – it hurt her eyes and she closed the window after only about 10 seconds of it. She had every right to critique as she was a creative director after all, one of the top rated in the country.

Another friend who also is kind of on the artistic side agreed. It was horrendous and it seems it was just made on windows movie maker. She couldnt believe someone would pay for that.

So, even though I made a pact I’ll be quiet on all platforms, I joined in the fun and watched the video. Yes, it was a nightmare. My 17-year-old self made a much better slideshow on cyberlink. The song choice was much too cliche. They were wearing roman or greek costumes and they shot on a location much like the ancient Greek ruins.

Tacky is the word. But my husband reminded me of our conviction; we shouldnt look down on other people’s wedding because, maybe, that’s only what they can afford or else, that suits their taste (oh, how unexposed could they get). With that thought, I was able to finish the whole video.

I then aired my thoughts on the said group chat. I agreed that yes, it was horrible. Then I immediately followed it up with a defense that maybe, that was all they can afford. And so I can downplay my devil’s advocate a bit (oh I’m the one?), I said that if they were actual videographers, they had no business asking payment for that crap. I ended up by saying that in my personal opinion, I think a friend of the bride (who was clearly very provincial) offered to make their save-the-date video because she thinks her knowledge on movie maker is enough.

She then retorted back that if ever they couldnt afford to have one, it was better not to get one at all. And being provincial wasnt an excuse because their messenger hailing from the northern tip of our country had a tasteful one. Also, recently, one lifestyle blogger documented her own wedding that costed only P300k, less than half of my own. That lack of budget wasnt an excuse.

She had very valid points. But I also think she was too wrapped up in her world. She lived in the creative world, where people come up with bright new ideas day in, day out. (Also the same person who didnt believe in marriage because she was surrounded by people with workplace affairs.) She failed to notice the world existing outside her. Not everyone’s creative. Not everyone’s exposed to styling tips. The urban lifestyle is much too small compared to the rest of the country.

For all we know, the bride’s family is already marveling at the fact that they have a video presentation, that they had a photo shoot in costumes. Those didnt exist during their day. The only video that they know off is the uncut coverage on VHS or VCD/DVD, mishaps and all.

And with this I am reminded to raise a well-rounded child. I will do my best to give her the best things life can offer but I want to expose her to life’s realities. How her normal is not the same as everyone else her age. I want her to have an understanding how the world works, so she will know how to appreciate what she has and have a mindset to always try to relate. I do not want to have a sheltered child. She’ll grow up more understanding to others this way and less angry with the world.

I do hope my friend widens her perspective a bit and not see me as someone who’s just trying to contradict her. Of course not. I hate to be the one to burst her bubble but hey, someone’s got to do it.

Mommy’s time off: Hail Nails and Nuat Thai

I’ve been praying for someone to help me out since who-knows-when so when my mom asked me to go home so I can rest to my heart’s desire, I couldnt get my mind off it. I’ve been daydreaming about lying down in bed, napping 4 times a day, getting up only just to eat and pee. Ahh. I miss my single life.

So one day, I relayed this thought to my husband, including 2 of my dilemmas: baby looks for her daddy before she closes her eyes at night and that there would be no one to take care of my husband if I stay at home. Of course, I kept other points to myself such as lack of aircon at my parents’ place, the trash that wont be brought down because I’m not around, and the amount of money that would be saved because I’m sure my husband cant be bothered to do grocery shopping.

To my dismay, he said no. He didnt want me to leave. He wants us to go through this together and that he’s willing to take up more chores. Sigh. He still doesnt understand. I need someone with me all the time, not just so I could be free from chores, but so I could pee in peace if needed, eat whenever hunger strikes and nap even if the baby is wide awake.

Maybe in his guilt, he offered me a time off. I took it. I wouldnt pass up this chance because who knows when I’ll have this opportunity again. He asked me where I’m going – I told him I’ll have a much needed foot spa.

I scoured for nice ones near me which has stress-free parking. Lo and behold. I didnt even need to step out on a major road to find a good one. This made me happy.

Hail Nails

At first, I was anxious because I might find myself waiting for a long time; after all I was going to walk in on a Saturday afternoon. I figured, in case the wait time is long, I’ll just list my name down and head down to the carwash first.

I parked nicely in front of the building. The stairs were just in front of the parking area, and the place was the first establishment at the second floor.

The place wasnt that big but it looked so neat. Judging from their Facebook page, it seems it has been around for a couple of years but the white paint still looks new, no fading from the blue sofas, chairs, ottomans and bench, and the decals all neatly stuck to the wall.

The menu was placed nicely on their counter, but I didnt bother browsing. I just asked for a foot spa with pedicure and polish, plus manicure.

I sat on one of the chairs closest to the split type aircon. I attempted to take pictures discreetly, but since I’m the only one there (until I was done), it was hard to do so. Excuse the bad angles.

Tufted luxe sofas on either ends, a bench as waiting area, 5 accent chairs, and ottomans for all seats – all in the same shade of navy with bronze metal footings

Blue and gold colored throws on each seat. A navy colored blanket was provided to me as well (maybe because I was wearing a mini skirt)

One of the nail polish selections

I like the girl who serviced me. She would ask me if the foot spa was too hot or if the scrubbing hurt but she would act based on my smallest jerks. She has light hands and took her time to ensure she did a good job.

They were playing mellow 90s and 2000s pop music. I could hear chatting of other staff behind the back door but nothing too instrusive. She didnt engage much on small talk and let me be even if I suddenly slumped and stared outside because my phone died and I had nothing to do.

Overall, I’m happy with their service. The whole shebang costed me around P680 – a bit more than my budget but not that big a deal. Although I have to say my big toe kinda hurt because she scraped my callous a bit too much – she mistook my dry, hard skin for callous.

Nuat Thai

It was raining really hard after my mani-pedi session so carwash was definitely off the list that day. While I was parked very near the bottom of the staircase, which means I’ll only get wet for about 3 or 4 steps, I couldnt sacrifice my new nail polish. I headed the other way and saw the massage parlor was right beside Hail Nails.

I tried Nuat Thai before at Zuzuareggi (I had a review for it as well) so I was kinda skeptical. Heck, this was very near our place so I might as well check it out.

The place was very small; upon opening the door, you’ll find yourself at a small corridor with a bench leading to the counter. I asked for a brochure and head out the door.

Upon glimpsing on the flyer, my eyes immediately darted to this particular entry: Back massage (30 mins) P150. Wait, a P150 massage? I turned around and told the cashier I’m getting the P150 massage (for everybody’s reference, that’s just around $3).

The cashier confirmed if I wanted the 30 mins or 1 hr and asked if I wanted oil or just dry massage. I went for the 30 mins dry massage.

Again, I was the only one there. On a Saturday afternoon. Damn. Northern folks dont know how to chill. Down south, you’re a nutcase if you dont secure an appointment for spas and salons during weekends or after working hours.

The cashier was intuitive enough to notice I just came from Hail Nails so she told me we’ll be skipping the foot bath.

A sliding door revealed a small massage area. It had space for around 6 cubicles and an area for 3 reclinable chairs. I settled on the second to the last cubicle. It had just enough room for a single mattress placed on the floor. A hook with a hanger was on one side, a pair of shorts and a face towel on the bed. Just a pillow, no hole on the mattress for your face.

The term back massage is a bit misleading. I thought at first I’ll just sit down and someone does things on my back. But the back of my arms and legs and my nape are also included.

The masseuse asked me if I wanted it soft ir moderate. Moderate, of course. Boy, did the staff at Zuzuareggi branch deceived us; she told us that the Thai massage was just stretching exercises so we added a hundred pesos and got the Swedish massage. No! The stretches were the bomb! The sound of all my back bones clicking are music to my ears.

That, by far, was the best cheap massage I ever had. I couldnt wait to get home to tell my husband he should try it. He didnt want to visit that branch because it was too close to home; the last thing he wanted was to run into his bosses while trying to relax.

I’d definitely go back to both Hail Nails and Nuat Thai. Especially since there’s no one there! I just hope they dont close due to lack of customers.

I had a pampered 3 hours. Just in time for Mother’s Day.