Make sure to make time for fun family activities. ( Photo from Agie Sepillos)

They said it takes a village to raise a child, but what if one parent must go nautical miles away for work? Paano pag wala si daddy, at working mom pa si mommy?

My husband’s contract stipulates six weeks on, six weeks off. That’s six weeks that I take on the role of both mommy and daddy. It’s difficult, considering I’m a full-time working mom.

I used to do everything—take care of the kids, house errands, everything! It gets draining… KAPAGOD! Emotionally, physically tiring. But now I have come to rely upon that village to help raise my kids.

Here are some tips that have helped us in our daily life. I would like to encourage other seafarer wives out there: it gets easier it gets better.

Ask for help

Don’t hesitate to ask for help—from your parents, your in-laws, your other relatives. We are very blessed to have Apah (lolo) and Lala (lola), who stay with us.

Learn to delegate

In our house, we all have our roles. While our house helper takes care of most of the cooking, I prepare the breakfast and the baon of the kids. Apah takes the girls to school. Lala fetches Ate, and Yaya fetches Adi, since they have different dismissal schedules. Can you imagine if I did this all myself?

Look for a trusted yaya or nanny

I know this is difficult these days, but believe me, there are still a few good ones out there, who will stay longer. Get referrals; our yaya of almost five years was referred by my Mama’s friend. I feel lucky that she chooses to stay with us (How? That’s another story). I also have friends who got their yaya  from agencies, and that is working out for them as well. 

Be consistent

Set a schedule, establish a routine. This not only teaches your child how to manage their time, it also teaches them to respect others’ time, and how to be responsible for their every action.

Prepare activities for the kids

This is best for the younger kids who don’t go to school yet. I have both indoor and outdoor activities for my youngest daughter.

Indoor: I let her choose the book she wants to read, and we sing and dance.  I print worksheets or coloring sheets. We also do some activities that help develop her fine motor skills: we play with slime, Play Doh, and Lego.  

Outdoor: bike or ride her scooter or just take an afternoon walk before the sunset.  My youngest enjoys walking around the community, exploring what she can see outdoors then asking questions about what she sees and what seems to new to her.

I do allow my children screen time. They can watch two YouTube videos and have one hour of TV daily. If you do allow your children screen time, make sure that you give instructions to their caregivers to be strict and consistent about the limits. Also, please don’t give screen time for kids below two years old!

Plan a weekend getaway or activity

It doesn’t need to be an expensive activity. Bring them to the park and play with them; this always sparks joy with kids. Our family loves Circuit Makati grounds. We play, then eat our baon (no need to spend a lot!). But if you have extra budget, some of our recommended play areas around the metro are Kidzania, Kidzoona, Fun City, Mind Museum, and Dreamplay. Visit our YouTube videos for some of the kids activities.

KIDZOONA (Century Mall) 

FUN CITY (Ayala Circuit Makati) 

Keep constant communication with Daddy

You should have a constant communication with daddy. It is very easy nowadays because of Technology. Thank you, Technology! You can do voice calls, send email, and video chat. Don’t forget to tag daddy when you post pictures or videos on social media.

Invest in parenting seminars

My husband and I attended seminars like Positive Parenting 101. Now, even if you we’re apart we still are on the same page on what parenting styles apply to our family. Two of the most important things I’ve learned are:

“In parenting, it doesn’t matter how many kids you have or the differences in their personality, what matters most is you, the parent, and how you apply all the tools in parenting you have learned. One parenting tool maybe effective for one child but not for the other, keep on trying.”

“Consistency is the key.”

Hope this helps.

Aja!

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Agie Banawa Sepillos

I am the loving wifey of Ejhaye and the mom of the tresorelle (three sisters) Mriska, Eunice, and Margaux. I'm a Telco engineer by profession. Travel addict, fashion enthusiast, makeup junkie.