Written by Guest Blogger: Trix Clasara
They say we can never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. Perhaps the statement rings truer when it comes to our children. I know firsthand, as a work-from-home mother of two toddlers, what that feels like.
The most common misconception about stay-at-home moms is that we sit around all day doing nothing but playing, laughing and singing with our kids. But the reality of life is, without a helper or a nanny, we do everything else – cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, picking up toys, in addition to taking care of the kids and playing with them. To add to that, I also work, so it’s safe to say that it never really stops.
With all the chores and responsibilities come an unwelcome consequence: divided attention, and so, even though I am physically present, I hate to admit that I also miss out on so many things that my kids do. Yes, I am there for the big milestones – the many firsts, but not exactly mentally and emotionally there for all the little, seemingly insignificant at the time (but actually very significant!) thoughts they want to share with me.
In a way, I sometimes take for granted all this time with them that I don’t even realize it until I start browsing through phone pictures and see how much they’ve grown before my eyes! This then makes me look back at my own childhood.
Childhood and Parenthood
Growing up, my parents were at work most of the day, both with 9-5 jobs. My sisters and I were always with a nanny, a neighbor or our grandparents and aunts. My husband grew up in the same type of household. His mother was an overseas worker and his dad was always working as well. But no matter how busy they were on weekdays, both our parents made sure we had family time during the weekends.
Weekend lunches and adventures were a must. My dad loved to drive us around anywhere and everywhere. I especially loved car rides so I have many great memories with him in the car, getting lost and discovering new places. In a way, although they weren’t exactly emotionally present parents, I remember a lot of good and fun memories from my childhood that I still hold dear today.
However rich in valuable memories my childhood was, it is also the reason why I chose to stay at home with the kids, giving up a blossoming career as a chef. At the end of the day, I wanted to be present – physically, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually, for my kids. It was so important for my husband and I to instill our family values to our children even at a young age.
And although I went the opposite direction of how my parents raised us, my husband and I still keep some of our own family traditions and try to pass them on to our kids – such as going on car ride adventures, even if it’s just a quick car wash or a grocery run or something as elaborate as going out of town. We also take them out on dates like I would take my eldest to watch plays and the ballet while my husband would spend time with our son and vice versa.
In a sense, this is our special way of showing our kids not only how to make great family memories but also how to value every moment with each other. In the end, we only hope as their parents to be able to instill that in them until they are grown adults with their own families.
Parenting in the 21st Century
As a millennial parent, I am fully aware of the power of social media. I actively use it to document my kids’ growth and milestones (yes, I am an Instagram mom with endless pictures of her children). Heck, I even have assigned hashtags for each of my kids. I figured it would be the equivalent of having assigned photo albums like the ones my parents had – for my older sisters (not for me, because I was the youngest, and you know the rest of this story… :p).
I have fully embraced technology, I have managed to weave it in my kids’ lives and unlike some parents, I have no issue with it at all. But no matter how big a role social media and technology play in our lives, we still like to keep some things private.
Not because they are classified information, but because we hold conversations with our kids sacred.
This is why I started to write my kids handwritten letters. When Ily, my eldest daughter turned one, I got the un-fanciest notebook I could find lying around the house and began to write to her, not everyday, but when something significant happens in her life and I have not stopped since. She is now three. I did the same thing with my younger son Aman who just turned one last February.
There is something so special about handwritten letters and I hope someday they will be able to read it, look back and say, “Wow, Mama was really there for everything that mattered.”
On the other hand, it is not entirely the most practical way of jotting down memories. For instance, I am always out with the kids and to remember everything that has been said or done during the day, I still pull my phone out and jot them down so as not to miss anything.
This is why when my friend introduced me to Memfy, I was really excited to know that my handwritten letters had a techie equivalent. Even better is the fact that Memfy just released an Android app so with unlimited data and my phone practically plastered to my hand at all times, remembering every single moment is made easier and more convenient.
Since they’re no longer handwritten, you may ask, are they of lesser value? No. Why? Because they are still written by me and they’re still set to private and for my children’s eyes only, much like the notebooks I hide each night at the back of my closet.
Besides, who says it has to be only one or the other? The amazing thing about being a parent today is that we can freely choose – with more options, I might add, how we raise our kids. There are no longer strict rules when it comes to choosing what is best for our children – even when it comes to making and keeping memories that we will hold in our hearts forever.
childhood, childhood memories, diary, family, family memories, Family Traditions, family vacations, journal, Journaling, making memories, parenthood,