New breed of stay-at-home moms emerges
(FIRST OF TWO PARTS)
Marnie May Tamag could not fully describe the happiness that she felt after she gave birth to her first child, a beautiful and healthy baby girl, five years ago.
But time seemed to have flown so fast and the next thing she knew, her maternity leave was up and she had to report back to work at one of the call centers in Cebu City.
While working, Marnie swore she heard her baby crying. “Mura ko’g nabuang (I felt like I was going crazy),” she said.
This is called the Phantom Cry Phenomenon. It is very normal for new mothers to think they hear their babies crying even though the babies actually didn’t.
For Marnie, however, the phantom cry of her newborn baby was too strong that she literally walked out in the middle of her shift to go home to her daughter. She never went back to the office after that.
Instead, Marnie joined the new breed of stay-at-home mothers who are also bringing in a hefty income without leaving the house.
Today’s technology allows mothers to spend more time with their children without having to sacrifice their income and without having to be financially dependent on their husbands.
Working From Home
Ivy Marie Sandiego, 34, a close friend of Marnie, already had three kids before she decided to dive full-time into online work.
Before quitting their regular work, Ivy and Marnie already dabbled as article writers for extra money. They got jobs from oDesk, now known as Upwork — “a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely.”
They remembered being paid as little as $0.20 or about P9 per 300 words.
Marnie said she thought this kind of work wasn’t stable. But seven years later, Marnie has changed her mind. Now at 32, Marnie works as a virtual assistant for two
Australian companies and one US company from her home in Lapu-Lapu City.
“I do billing stuff such as reconciling accounts and invoicing, social media management, and real estate valuation,” she explained. Sometimes when she needed to make or answer a call, Marnie would bring her laptop with her to the dirty kitchen because it was enclosed and background noise was minimized.
Ivy now works as a virtual assistant for a band of musicians with members hailing from different parts of the world. She books hotels, flights, car reservations for the musical ensemble, which performs at music festivals, performing arts centers, progressive Jewish organizations and universities.
She works at the family area of her family’s house in Cebu City. Her three kids already know not to disturb her when she has her laptop opened.
Jilda Aying, 34, was four years into her work-from-home stint when she gave birth to her first child. She feels fortunate that she never had to leave her kids at home to go work in an office. A Mass Communications graduate, Jilda found her niche in the call center business. From her bedroom, she works as an operations manager for a US dental network. She oversees supervisors and agents who also work from home in different parts of the country.
While fulfilling these professional responsibilities, these mothers also work hard to ensure their kids are properly taken care of and their homes are in tiptop shape.
Jilda personally brings and fetches her four-year old son from school. She enjoys watching educational videos with her sons. She finds time to take her kids to parks, playground and the beach. At the same time, Jilda also cooks for her family, clean their house and do grocery shopping.
Marnie’s two kids don’t go to school yet, so her normal routine would be to get them to shower in the morning, cook their meals, play with them, teach them songs and dances, draw and color with them, etc.
“I do these things while I am working. Multi-tasking is the best way around it,” Marnie said.
She also cooks and cleans, but she leaves the laundry to her husband, who is also a freelancer.
Working from home also allows Ivy to attend all the school activities of her three boys aged 12, 9 and 4. She enjoys bonding with them after school, eating snacks and chatting about school. With three energetic boys, keeping the boys’ three clothes cabinets organized is a hard chore, but she makes sure her kids have something clean to wear all the time.
The three mothers do not foresee themselves going back to regular office work anytime soon and perhaps maybe never.
Jilda said the main factor that led her to quit the corporate setup was the commute from home to work. She found it very draining especially with the traffic.
Marnie cannot imagine herself working at an office again. She remembers being pregnant and commuting to work. “Dako kaayo akong tiyan unya lisod kaayo isakay og jeep (My tummy was big with child and it was so difficult to get on and get off of a jeepney).”
Ivy, who experienced working for a year in Dubai as telesales officer then project coordinator, said being with her family is very important. If she can earn like an
OFW and still be with her kids, she’d take that option any day.
(To be concluded)
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