On Being an Artist and a Mom

As an artist, I'm well aware of the demands of each and every artwork in progress. Aside from ideation, planning and the great effort, there's the need for Time.

As a mother, I'm even more aware of the demands of my child. It's not something you can ignore, especially with a verbally communicative toddler.


There will always be conflict between your artwork, your little one and you. At times, no matter how driven you are with passion the momentum gets interrupted, if not severed completely, because the little guy wants you to see this mystical bottorplie in the garden. And catch it with him.


See bottorplie rendition below for reference:



It's heart warming... scenes like that, but not on certain occasions. Definitely not while at work. Then there are times when you can't, no matter how much you urge yourself to, release all that talent and ideas on the darn judgmental paper. Even with all the freedom you have at the moment.

WHAT'S THE LITTLE TOTTY BOSS' PROBLEM?

When things don't seem to go your way, and maybe chipping at your artistic flow, there are still some things you can do to change the situation. First, you need to know what the boss' problem is. For me, my toddler interrupts me while I'm drawing for three reasons:
  • He needs something that only I can give
  • I'm spending too much time on something else besides him. . . and he wants me back as his waiter.
  • He's curious about what I'm doing and wants to know what's it about.
In any case, he'd grab at my pencil or pen and push away my hand from the artwork. I get occasional "accident" lines over my drawings, and some run really deep over the paper, but there's not much I can do when it's done.

GIVE IN TO YOUR TODDLER'S NEEDS... NOW!
So when I figure out what my kid's problem is, I am obliged to give him the solution he's waiting for. If he needs to show me something, I go see it. When he keeps pulling me away from work because I've been there for hours, and I feel I've spent much time "away" already, I follow his lead.

The harsh truth is that you can't outlast your toddler. He's at the age where he can't control his emotions and desires. He'll keep nudging at you when he wants or needs something because he can't control his urges yet.

He's also quite impatient. If you ask him to wait 10 minutes, he'll wait 10 seconds, with the first 4 seconds as complete patience and the following 6 seconds divided into 3 portions of "Mamaaa?"  which means, "Are you done now?".


My point is that if he can't help it, neither can you. At least not while he's at this age; them terrible twos if you really have to name it. My advice is: Give in and give them your time, no matter how much you want to finish that drawing. A 30-minute break can do your wonders, believe me. It helps me stretch out the crankiness and straighten up the heavy curve that's building up on my back... which, apparently, is my back.

WHAT TO DO IF HE'S CURIOUS
Give him a crayon and a ginormous piece of paper and let him draw right beside you. Kids love to explore and they love to learn through imitation, especially toddlers. When my son gets curious about what I'm drawing, I tell him what it's about first and when I see that he's trying to imitate me by using my pencil to draw, I get him his crayons.



Other times, when he doesn't feel like drawing, I give my son a homemade clay I made; which I just realized I'm supposed to write about like 5 months ago. Yes, I am sooo "active" in blog posting. Here are some of the most fun artwork ideas you can introduce your child to, that he can do beside you while you're drawing or writing:
  • Homemade or Toddler-safe Clay
  • Non-toxic Crayons and Paper
  • Doodle Magnetic Board
  • Homemade or Edible Chalk (for outdoors)
  • Stickers to stick everywhere
  • Homemade Paint or Watercolor (and a giant plastic sheet to support all that mess)
  • Rainbow Sensory Bin



I hope this is a useful post. I am just sharing what I am going through as an artist, and hoping it's not just me who has issues like this. I also just want to share things you can do for your kid and yourself.

You both need to do what you need to, but it doesn't mean you always have to sacrifice one thing for the other. You just need to find a way around it, there's always a way, if you make one.

My #MerrySMChristmas Gift Hunting Tradition!


A Merry SM Christmas for me means gift hunting with my family, it's a tradition in every Filipino family, I think. Here's how SM has become a big part of my family's Christmas:


OUR EXCHANGE GIFT and GIFT HUNTING TRADITION

Every year on Christmas, my in-laws hold an exchange gift party at their home. It has become a family tradition, aside from the obvious gift-giving. We buy random gifts for the exchange like squeaky toys that light up and bounce, or slimy things meant for 8 year olds but sometimes awesome things like color-changing mugs. It's fun because you don't know if you'll get a real gift or a joke.


The minimum value for our exchange gift ranged from 150 to 300 pesos, but lately it got stuck at 150 php. Money don’t come in like it used to before, so the past 2 years every December we set out to look for the most cheerful gift that’s just within the budget. Our “suki” place for our budget but booming gifts is no place other than the SM department store and mall!

(Disclaimer: the photo's not mine, I grabbed it on geoview.ph)

For one thing, our moms love the place. My mother in law loves watching in the cinemas there with the whole family. SM Sta.Rosa is our favourite SM Mall, it‘s where we bond on several occasions. Family bonding would not be complete without the movies at SM. As for the gift hunting, there's no better place to find the best for less.

WHY SHOPPING AT SM IS FUN

I believe that the average Filipino has experienced at least one SM mall in his lifetime. Let's admit, not all SM malls or branches are fancy, but they all somehow appeal to the public. They are homier than the other malls you can go to, and they’re almost always 30 minutes away from key places. I remember that as a college student SM Manila was the place to visit for a quick year-round gift.


The vibe of the place is always cheerful, and there always seems to be something happening: events, singing, celebrities visiting or food fairs at the activity center. I know you understand what I mean by this. Check out this video to see what SM is usually like. Even celebrities enjoy going and there’s always something to look forward to and find! See this video of Cheska and Kendra Kramer at SM!


For me, an SM Christmas is for the average Filipino family; as it has been for mine and many countless others. Christmas would not be the same if we didn’t come by and spend time at SM; be it at Sta. Rosa, Ayala or Muntinlupa. SM is for every kind of family; everyone is welcome and everyone gets happy.

THE THRILL of GIFT-HUNTING and GREAT GREAT FINDS!

Going back to our #MerrySMChristmas gift hunting, searching for gifts is not the real challenge. If there’s any challenge in finding gifts at SM malls, it’s the challenge of choosing which one to buy. There's countless items on sale that make me tear at my hair and grind my teeth sometimes. You go crazy over shopping! Don't mind the price, in fact there's plenty of 99 php and 149 php worth of goodies to go around. If you want to dish out, you still get to save more because of discounts.

Which is why I encourage you to visit SM for the thrill of shopping thrill, come on, it’s never far. While you’re at the task of hunting for gifts, you might want to check out their cute and cuddly SM Cares' Bears of Joy. I think it’ll be a wonderful gift for expecting nieces, daughters and granddaughters everywhere. Personally, I feel it’s a beautiful gift for a newborn baby girl. I remember teddy bears as always being warm, they're always  nice to hug.



CLICK ON THE PHOTO for more Details or HERE

What's even better is that for every bought care bear you buy, similar ones will be given to children from various orphanages in the Philippines. All this is possible through the SM Cares Program, a division of the SM Foundation Inc. 

GREAT HOLIDAY EVENTS for the FAMILY!


There is no place better to shop for the perfect gift for me than SM. Whether it's a budget gift or an expensive one, you'll always have the opportunity to get it for less. In addition to that, you'll never run out of things to do and experience. I am always either a happy shopper or a happy window shopper at SM, and I like my holidays that way. If you feel the same way as I do you’ll definitely love SM’s Official Events page HERE. Or click the banner below to visit the page.

You can learn about promos, upcoming sales and events that are especially made for the Holidays. Go on and schedule your visit and don’t miss on the fun Christmas events that your family, especially the kids, can enjoy. And don't forget, the ultimate Christmas gift is just around the corner of SM!



I hope this treat makes your holidays extra special. As for me, I am certain I’ll have a #MerrySMChristmas this year!


Prepare for Motherhood! Be Responsible and Be Strong!

         One thing about being a mom for the first time is that you're never sure when you'll be free to do things that you like. Cross that, you're not even sure if you still have the privilege to pee at times. You need to prepare for this overwhelming fact.

         Yes, sometimes it's that bad, but of course there are lighter moments. They go hand in hand, like many things in life: the good and the bad moments. It's just the same in being a mom but with just a few more challenges than you're used to. If you're familiar with the feeling of cramming for school, then you should be prepared enough for the saboteurs of motherhood. I'm not saying this as a scare tactic to push new mothers into alertness.


I'm saying this because:

  1. It's the Truth.
  2. Being twice prepared for it will save you tons of energy.
  3. There's no other way to put it, really. If I cover it in sugary kindness, it'll be like sending you out to buy eggs in a snowstorm without boots.

Being a mom is not the same as owning a dog. I am saying this because a lot of people seem to think that taking care of a kid is somewhat similar to taking care of a puppy. I am telling you now, in big bold letters: NO. IT ISN'T.


If you want me to go crazy here and rant about how immature that idea is, I could, but I wouldn't. Instead, I am going to tell you why it is not so.


A puppy grows fast. It becomes an adult dog after 1 full year.

       A child takes years to raise; if not most; all of your life to care for.

You can discipline a puppy or a dog through scare tactics and even occasional punishment. You will get dark looks from PETA freaks and animal lovers if you hit an animal, but you can freely do it without guilt if you see it fit.

      You cannot discipline, harm or scare a child in the same way. A puppy might grow up to become an obedient master-fearing dog but a child will grow up rebellious, disturbed or depressed because of you. If you are ever found out for child abuse, it's the prison for you.

You can leave a dog tied up or locked in a cage while you leave and go about your life to work, search for your soul or find love. They will eat, pee and shit when they like however they like and you don't need to clean up after until you get back.

      You don't have the luxury of "being away" when shit happens around a child. That is your baby, and when he or she messes up you are the one held responsible not the child. You will clean up asap and there is no excuse in the world valid for not being there when he or she needs you.


A puppy may be quite like a baby; small, innocent and growing. But a baby or child can never be like a puppy or any of your beloved pets. They are more sensitive and you are more responsible and obligated to care for them. They do not come from pet shops or a surprise gift from someone.


Nobody gave birth to or created your child but you, and so nobody has more right and more wrong to that child than you.

Suck up what ever fear you have for your own future, because this is what you are NOW. Right now, no one is in more need than the baby you have in your arms and no one is more capable of giving that safety and security than You. Be the savior that you could never find in others. Be the strength that you had always held on to when you feel like giving it all up. Don't condemn or blame a child for a life unlived. There's always a way around responsibilities, believe me. I've going through it now. You just need to stay positive and learn to set priorities.

Don't be afraid. Be strong. If you are, so will your child and this will help him become independent. The more independent and strong he becomes, the more time you can gain back for yourself. It takes a lot of time, you will sacrifice much but they will all be rewarded sooner than you think.