Archive for August, 2004
Reggie was being too hard on his brothers today. Ryan wouldn’t wash the dishes at night and Reggie was just at him. Then later on, Ryland wanted to eat something after dinner and Reggie told him that he couldn’t. Ryland came running upstairs to me crying.
I bought the book “The Way the Crow Flies” by Ann-Marie MacDonald, who is a Toronto-based novelist. I have wanted to read this novel since it came out last year, but the book was just too expensive. It was recently released on paperback at an affordable price. Yeah, that’s me, cheap. But I have no choice because raising three children can be very expensive. I’ve tried the library before but sometimes they don’t have the books that I want to read. I am interested in coming-of-age stories with a tinge of mystery.
On “Balance” at CTV, motivational speaker W. Mitchell talked about how he suffered and survived two horrific accidents (He suffered burns due to a fiery motorcycle accident and was paralyzed after an airplane crash) in his book “IT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU, IT’S WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT.” He also quoted “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” www.wmitchell.com
He sure has a positive outlook in life. Instead of dwelling in pain, he turned his loss into something useful, talked about it and inspired others who must have gone through some kind of loss and pain.
This is similar to what I have in mind, the reason I want to someday publish my memoirs.
Last day of band camp. I was worried when RG didn't come home on the same time that he usually did. He missed the bus and waited for the next one. I worry too much.
The "campers" had a recital at Jubilee Place tonight. We all went to watch, including R. In the past, R never went to his kids' school concerts. The first one he attended was RG's spring concert, where RG had a flute solo. He also went to RG's grade 9 graduation. He didn't attend his grade 6 graduation.
My niece A, Ma, Auntie D and Sparky also went. A said that she saw Auntie D fell asleep during the performance. Ma said that when they went to another Folklorama pavilion the other night, Auntie D also fell asleep during one of the performances. Sparky said that the performances at the recital were very good.
Reggie took the bus by himself on the way home from band camp for the first time. For the last 3 days, I have been dropping him off and picking him up in the afternoon. I still can’t let him go by himself in the morning because he has to cross the street on the highway. But he doesn’t have to cross to wait for the bus home. His classmates Paul and Emmanuel were on the same bus (without parents) when we went home yesterday. So I thought that he could manage it on his own. After all he’s already 14. I see kids younger than him on buses by themselves. It’s just that this was his first time. We were lucky to live in an area where their schools have been walkings distances from our house. I don’t worry if he walks to school or go to his friend’s house walking. But commuting is different. Well, I am the over-protective mother! I just worry about him.
I still remember when I had to travel by myself for the first time. I must have been in Grade 1 or 2. We were without a maid and were looking for a new one.
“You will have to go to school by yourselves,” Papa told me and sis.
“But I am scared to go ride in the jeepney all by ourselves,” I replied with a long face.
“Oh, I am not,” sis said. “I know how to ride the jeepney all by myself.” She was only five years old.
Papa then said firmly, “You are big enough to go to school by yourselves, ok, Irene” And so we went to school all by ourselves.
First day of my two-week vacation.
Reggie started band camp today at Jubilee Place. He received a band scholarship from Junior High. He was awarded this scholarship for his excellent performance in Band and diligent attendance in the flute choir and jazz band. Yesterday was registration and audition day. 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. One-week camp started today, from 8:45 am to 3:30 pm. We got up early, dropped off Ryan and Ryland at my sister’s place and then I dropped off Reggie at Jubilee Place. I couldn’t let Reggie on the bus by himself since he had to cross the highway and the cars and buses go very fast there. Besides, there are no traffic lights on that stop, only a crosswalk where you push a button that turns the lights on to alert drivers that you are crossing the street.
It rained almost the entire day.
Auntie D and Sparky came from Minneapolis. They will be staying here for one week. We went to Folklorama – Pearl of the Orient Philippine Pavilion. The show that we watched was almost the same as the one we watched last year. The wedding dance, the tinikling, the binasuhan. The show was still fantastic. The mayor was in the audience. Auntie D wanted to watch the next show, the one with the Igorot dance. I did too, but the kids were already tired. Oh maybe next year.
When the idea of a Work-at-Home Project started to surface at the company where I work, I was very excited. My prayers had finally been answered.
At that time, my children were 10, 6 and 2. My youngest son, Ryland, attended a daycare centre and the costly fee was putting a strain on our family budget. I was contemplating on cutting back my working hours just so that I would qualify for government subsidy and reduce our daycare fees.
Would I be able to work at home while at the same time looking after a two-year old? I doubted it.
One year later, the Work-at-Home Project came to fruition. Ryland was three. He was a little older, was capable of playing by himself, not quite potty-trained yet, but I thought I could handle working at home. I signed up for the project and felt lucky to be chosen as one of the 12 Work-At-Home Staff of our department.
I set up my workstation in the spare room that we have upstairs. My children used this as a playroom. There was a TV in the room and I decided to put my desk by the window. Ryland could watch TV or play while I worked.
The best part of working at home is not having to get up at 5:30 in the morning. I don’t have to drag the children out of bed. They can sleep until 7:00 a.m. I prepare a hot breakfast for them. They can take their time. I don’t have to worry about catching the bus and making it on time at work. Fewer temper tantrums are thrown and I am a less-stressed mom in the morning.
I can go to doctor’s and dentist’s appointments with my children during the week without missing any time from work. I just have to manage my time more effectively during these days. I am able to look after a sick child and still work. I, myself, was sick one winter and I still managed to work. I was very pleased to receive Perfect Attendance Rewards for two consecutive years. It was a prize that I was unable to attain when I was working in the office.
These are just some of the perks of working at home. Though it may seem very easy, it also has challenges.
My computer is connected to our company’s mainframe system, which is up only from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The biggest challenge I have to tackle is to try to complete a seven-and-a-half-hour work day within that time and attain 125% productivity in processing claims with a margin of 1 error/1000 claims. (The Work-at-Home Staff has a 25% higher requirement than the Office Staff. The company believes there are lesser distractions at home. If they only knew.) That’s very easy to accomplish, you may think. Not really if you have a three-year old to look after; even three years later and with him in morning kindergarten class.
I start work when the children are gone to school at around 9:00 a.m. or sometimes I wait until 10:00 a.m. It depends on whether I have to do some laundry, update my personal website, or do some writing. When Ryland comes home at noon, we have lunch together. I take a one-hour break and cook supper.
In the afternoon, Ryland watches TV, draws and colours pictures, or plays with his toys. Sometimes he sits on my lap while I work on the computer. That’s when I know that it’s time for another break and spend some quality time with him.
Unless I am expecting a phone call from my supervisor for our quarterly review or an important issue, or from my Team Leader for a question period, I am hesitant to answer the phone. Most of the time, it’s a telemarketer on the other end of the line convincing me to buy their product or a charity asking for donation.
One of my responsibilities (in my job) is to obtain missing information on the (document) by calling the supplier or provider of service. Before I attempt to do these phone calls, I ask Ryland to be quiet, or make sure he’s not in the washroom ready to yell, “Mommy, I’m done. Wash my bum.” (It wouldn’t sound very professional when the person on the other line hears that in the background.)
The most challenging part of the day, or rather I should say, most stressful, is when everybody comes home.
“Mommy, I need help with my homework,” Ryan, 9, said one afternoon as he barged into my workstation. “I’ll help you later,” I replied. I saw his lip pointed towards the ceiling when he turned to leave the room. I had no choice but to drop the document that I had been analyzing for the last 15 minutes, and help him solve that mind-boggling math problem. When I picked up the document that I had put aside, chances were that I had made an error in assessing it.
The blaring sound from my husband’s stereo, the notes from Reggie’s flute, and Ryan and Ryland’s bickering, sometimes all of these happening simultaneously, used to drive me nuts. Now I just close the door, put the earphones on, and listen to my favourite CDs.
In spite of the distractions and small sacrifices, I enjoy working at home. This opportunity has given me the chance to spend more time with my children and I savour every minute of it. Not only that, I now find time to do the things I love — reading and writing.
Originally written on July 14, 2004
Updated on May 23, 2008