Donita Rose: Motherhood is one tough balancing act
Growing up in a relatively small family, I have always wanted to have more kids. I want my house to be filled with the sound of laughter and stories from my little ones. But taking it from my mother who has raised me and my three siblings, she said, “It’s easy to be a child of four, but it’s not easy to be a mom of four.” Cliché as it may sound, but no child will understand it until she becomes a parent herself.
As a mom to my only son, JP, I’ve struggled with the transition of being a bachelorette to being a mother. Fourteen years later, I’ve come to realize that the secret to parenting is finding the balance: be it with their health, school and maturity.
It’s all about proper nutrition
Finding that balance starts with their good health. I’d like to think I’m not obsessed with being clean in avoiding viruses that might infect him. I’m not one of those germ freak moms who follows their kids with sanitizers. In fact, I’m okay with JP getting dirty outside, because it’s how he’s active with his lifestyle.
Nutrition is something that I try to watch out for more. We’ve been trying to get rid of junk food, artificial juices, sodas and sweets, but I allow him to have at least 2 bags of chips for the week. I teach him to try alternatives like fruit juices and smoothie bowls – and he’s kind of into them! It helps a lot because we also do slow juicing daily to get rid of body toxins. Juicing raw ingredients is our main source of micronutrients that have a lot of benefits– cancer-fighting, anti-biotic, and anti-fungal.
We consult with a homeopathic doctor who supports us in getting immunity from alternatives, but there are things that I don’t compromise on like vaccines. Growing up in the United States where vaccines are mandatory, I see its importance in reducing health risks in the family. My son has always been updated with his vaccines even until now. One thing I’m really happy with about JP’s health is the fact that he hasn’t been admitted in the hospital for any severe medical treatment yet.
Funny how I say a lot about my son’s vaccination, when I myself is vulnerable to diseases when I forgot to get mine. I usually get my flu shots, but then I never got around it this year. Just this March, I caught the flu! I missed a few days of work because of it and that’s when I realized it’s really hard to get sick nowadays.
I try to know everything there is about health and incorporate a lot in our lifestyle. Lucky for us, we are in this age where information is just around the corner, and I can easily look for pieces of advice online.
It helps also to have nutritionists in my circle who would help me with my family’s health. Aside from the tips I get from them, I sometimes just look at how they live, and it gives me ideas on how to improve our way of living. After all, they say it takes a village to raise a child.
Education and open-communication
My son’s health is just one of the many things I juggle, and the act continues in school. I’m proud that he’s a straight-A student who performs well in class, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t push him to study hard. When I feel like he’s not exerting enough effort on his studies, I encourage him to do better. But when I know he’s really frustrated over a subject he’s not good at, I become his support system, cheering him all the way and telling him he’s doing a great job.
The thing is, communication lines should always be open. You want your kids to talk to you even about things they don’t normally discuss with their parents– be it grades or the things he struggles with outside of school. JP and I have a strong relationship like we’re best friends. There’s no one he’d rather talk to, even more than his best friends, but me. I’m his go-to and I’d like to maintain that.
Parenting is not an exact science
My parenting style is balancing my negotiables and non-negotiables. I try to make JP understand that as much as I am a friend who can adjust to what he wants, I’m still his mother who knows what’s best for him. There are times when he could really be difficult because he would insist on what he wants. Usually, a parent’s instinct is to scold the child and point out his mistakes, but sometimes it’s not the right time for that. Sometimes, all you have to do and all they really want from you is to listen.
Again, finding the balance is key. There is no exact science in parenting because it’s different for every child. I thank God for blessing me with an obedient, thoughtful and loving son, who’s making parenting easy for me. In every aspect of my journey as a mom, I weigh in the things I want for my son and the things I let him do for himself. While it is not always an easy task, it will all be worth it once they become the best versions of themselves.