Celebrating Life Part 1: Happy at 29 for life, finances and motherhood

by - 9:18 PM

I turned 29 last February.

I am 29 years alive.

I am now older than my younger sister, who is technically a twin for 20 days.

I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and a lot of things in between.

I am now a little bit different from who I was before.

And hopefully, wiser.


On life...

A month ago, I had a chat with a friend over postpartum depression. She mentioned how she felt like she needed to build herself the way she was before.

Here was my reply:

Sorry napakwento ako. But I just wanted to say that you don't need to build the you that you were before. That you was single. No kid. No husband. if there is anything to build, that's a new and better you right now. The you that's a mum. The you that's a wife. The you who is so much stronger, being everything all at once.

Being missus and being nanay: one of my many roles in life
I had a crazy life when I was younger. I used to hear schoolmates saying I was weird because I don't really move so much. Why? Well, I don't usually talk about it, but I fell into depression when I was in 2nd year high school and had to see a shrink. You know, there's a stigma over here where people think you're crazy just because you're seeking a doctor's help, but I'm coming out in the open now hoping that times have changed. Mid-year, my migraines became so frequent that I had to see a neurologist and found out that a part of my brain was swelling. It was a step away from becoming a cancerous tumor. And if that wasn't enough, towards the end of 2002, just a few days after Christmas, I was rushed to the hospital because I couldn't breathe, and became stiff. I was diagnosed with a heart ailment. I can tell you that life was pretty hard.

In college, I think for the most part, I managed my academics, personal, and social life quite well. I partied, played online games, had a boyfriend and managed to graduate in flying colors, still. I remember reading the dean's list at the school bulletin when a girl from the lower batch talked to me and said while pointing at my 1x1 photo, "Ate, ikaw yung di ba? Nag-aaral ka pala". (That's you, right? I didn't realize you're studying well.) 

I had that aura.

There is so much of who we were that's worth missing: the energy, the freedom, the parties we could go to. Heck! I even miss the skin I had before the stretch marks and the pimples when my hormones went ballistic on me. I realized, though, that no matter how carefree life was (except for the part that I got sick), the person I am now is who I love most. I may no longer be the young, free-spirited and happy-go-lucky Janina that I was, but I am definitely a loving, more mature and grounded woman, wife and mother. I'm not saying that no one has the right to miss the old us, but we're already here, and we surely cannot go back to that, but we can always make a fresh start.

So, build the you that's a wonderful person, still, even with the many and new hats you wear.

On finances

We may not always have a lot, but we always have enough. 

That's my mantra in life. Contented? Maybe not, but I am happy having enough.

For the most part of my life, I was well-off. We weren't rich, but we were able to afford little luxuries here and there. After graduation, I left home to fend for myself. I paid my own rent, utilities, and groceries. I was able to afford to spoil my mum with clothes and food, and even pay for my grad school fees.

When I got pregnant, I had to resign because the environment stressed me. I was in customer service and I ate complaints for lunch, snacks and dinner. Losing my salary was a big blow to our finances, and when I resigned, my husband had to shoulder our regular monthly expenses with the addition of saving for childbirth.

But I think it did us well because we learned to live with my husband's salary alone.

We learned to save. As we are a breastfeeding and cloth diapering family, we save 100% on milk expenses and 50% on diapers (because we use disposables when go out). We also co-sleep, so we didn't spend money for a crib and the accessories that come with it. We don't own a single credit card and we don't pay for a helper's services.

We have ventured into entrepreneurship, freelancing and work-from-home, and now that both of us are earning, I am proud to say we still live by my husband's salary. Sometimes, it's tough. 2016 had given us a lot of financial difficulties, but we were able to push out of it because we knew how to live within our means.

Our SocialGen Family. This is my first regular job as a WaHM, and I am extremely thankful to have found them.

On motherhood

On my son's 1st birthday, this was an excerpt of my birthday message:

I can wish you a lot of things like be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer or the president of this country, but mum only wants you to be a good man, and I pray that I will always find the strength to raise you as one.

You will one day be a student, an employee, a boss, a husband, a father… And Mum’s only wish is that whatever path it is that you will pursue, pursue to be good and happy at all times.

I may not be able to give you the world, but you will always have the best of me.

Crazy days with my baby.
At 21 months, he has become extremely active and loud. I am not restrictive of him. I let him climb things. I let him walk on his own. I let him play with grass, soil and fallen leaves. I want him running around in beaches, rolling on the grass and playing with bubbles. Why? Because when he feels free, I hear his laughter, and I need that memory to keep me sane because it's such a tough job to be a parent.

I've had people in my life laughing over and questioning our decisions to breastfeed, cloth diaper, babywear, homeschool and co-sleep, but we always stood our ground. Every decision we make will always be informed ones.

I've learned that we have different ways in how we raise our children, and it is painful to hear when people are telling you that you're not doing it right. Perhaps my parenting ways aren't as attractive to other parents, but it is to us.

I take care of my son. Occasionally, he falls and gets bruised, probably small cuts too. He's going to get some more in the coming years, maybe even a broken heart in a decade or so. But one thing I'm sure of is that I'm going to be there to pick him up every single time.

Becoming a mother was something I have wanted. Now that I am here, I can't begin to tell you how much irony there is to it. Motherhood is bloody hard, but it is worthwhile. I had been kicked, bitten, peed, pooped, and drooled on. A few times, he had thrown his toy car straight to my forehead and kicked my monitor while I was in the middle of work. But a lot of times, we run around, laugh, eat, dance, sing and read together, and every day he smiles at me. And to me staying and just being with him in these early years had always been enough.


What are your recent learnings? I'd love to hear from you. :)

More personal learnings coming up on marriage and faith.

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  1. I love this post! Sometimes I also catch myself missing the past, but I wouldn't give up who I've become and what I've accomplished to relive the past.

    1. I miss a few things, too, like my friend. But yes, what we have now is better. :)

  2. I understand why people feel so nostalgic about the person they were before. I think it is more about the life they had than the person they were. They have changed coz their life changed but nothing prevent them to introduce things of their previous life in their new one, know what I mean? xx corinne

    1. I do, I do. :) I do miss the time and energy that I had back then. The travels, the late night outs and still have the energy to go to work the next day. My husband and I can't even date like we used to. Ha! My parents are coming over for a few weeks and they volunteered to babysit our son. Thank God for that. :)

  3. You've had a good life so far! We also save in this house and work with only one income. I earn money from my blog too, but not as much as my husband, but we've learned to balance everything out.

    And yes, always stand your ground on parenting decisions!

    1. I always hear that, "My child, my rules". I'm applying it on a daily basis. :) I was able to get jobs online, so it's better now, but we're dong well with saving because our simple lifestyle.

  4. I have definitely learned how to be more patient and to live in the moment. As I get older I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin.

  5. Love this post! As a mother you forget a lot of the time that you are more and have always been more. Rhonda Chavez

  6. What a wonderful, thought-provoking post. I miss the me I was back then and I fight, all the time, to try to get back to it. I should just stop and learn to embrace who I am now.

  7. I love that message to your friend, that's very positive and inspiring. A lot of changes will happen once you become a mom and the best you can do is improve who you used to be. Happy 29th to you!

  8. You definitely learned a lot and it's nice that you're very happy and content with your life. Asking for too much or wanting too much will just lead to unrealistic choices. Stay happy!

  9. I receive a lot of stories coming from my friends that life really changed when they got married and when they become a mom. Cheers to you and your motherhood!

  10. I think two incomes is great but when you can learn to live off and save from only one income it's even better. Then if you were ever to go back to working later on you could put your whole income into savings.

  11. Wow. This is a nice reading. I feel you on the motherhood part. For my weeding we decided to go different that the traditional way, and we would hear all sort of stuff. I;m happy you guys are doing it your way.

  12. Being a part can be crazy at times. And it's certain that they can hurt you in so many different ways and far worse than anything else can. But they can be bigger and better for you in so many ways than anything else can.

  13. This was such a nice reflective post. It's nice of the things you realized and come to terms with. I did a similar post for my 24th birthday.

  14. Oh hun you are definitely not crazy and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise. Thank you for being so open and honest about your battle with depression. I have it myself and try and be honest about it when I can x

  15. Great article. It is great to open up and discuss depression. I think we all suffer it one time or another unfortunately some worse than others.

  16. I had a great time reading your blog. Well, I just learn to spend more time of my family, there is this temptation to be so busy about anything else and spending less time with my boys, I am now changing my course of direction!