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For someone who grew up surrounded by a household staff, Lorena Abano had no domestic bone in her body—until she and her family moved to Canada and she was thrown head-long into domestic life. How do people in her situation domesticate themselves posthaste?
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and a half ago, I was in an office, sitting at my desk, attending meetings, or
running around at work events in crisply ironed shirts, pencil skirts, and stiletto
shoes. This was back in my home country, where I was a working girl on weekdays
and a wife and mother on weekends.
a good part of my life at the office and having a maid and two nannies
basically rendered me clueless when it came to domesticity. Sure, I played with
my kids and read to them and took them on playdates and out of town trips, but
I never had to clean them up or feed them. I left that to the nannies.
when the time came for us to move to Canada, I was thrown off-kilter. I was
forced to face the fact that I needed a crash course in domestic life.
the onset, we already decided I wasn’t going to work when we got to Canada and
my husband would be the sole breadwinner. For one, daycare is expensive, Two,
we weren’t comfortable with the idea of leaving our kids in the care of
strangers. And three, my little boy didn’t take well to people he didn’t know,
so I didn’t want to traumatize him.
course, my decision to take leave from the corporate world, after 12 years of
being in an office, was met by raised eyebrows. I could read everyone’s
thoughts: You? Stay home and take care of
the kids? You love to work! You’ll get bored and your brain cells will die
being stuck with two kids all day, every day. So into unchartered territory
I tread, dreading the anticipated boredom.
have I been anything but bored.
wash dishes. Make me scrub toilets and bathroom floors. Allow me to iron
clothes. But please don’t make me cook. That’s right. I’m not a foodie and I
only eat to survive. So I have absolutely no interest in concocting dishes.
Heck, I couldn’t even boil water. But what’s a wife and mother to do? Letting
my family starve was not an option. So armed with determination and loads of
dread, I tried learning some dishes before we migrated.
started by whipping up pasta dishes. Simple, no-brainer stuff that thankfully
turned out decent—oh except for that one time I emptied the entire contents of
the pesto bottle into a small serving of noodles. It was too thick and gooey
and my husband had to force himself to swallow it down. Oops!
I’ve sort of gotten the hang of it. A
year into our stay in Canada, I follow a recipe book, but only stick to the
simple stuff. Yes, pasta is still my default dish because it’s fast and easy to
make. Of course, like any responsible mother, I have to make sure my
ingredients are healthy. Organic fruits and vegetables, whole wheat stuff,
nut-free snacks. Grilled and baked, never fried.
believe in moderation and too much of something can’t bode well. So on days
when I’m too exhausted or can’t think of anything to cook, we indulge in the
occasional fast food meal. I figured, if I don’t expose my kids to junk food,
their deprivation might get them addicted when they discover it later in life.
As long as they don’t consume it on a daily basis, I don’t see any harm in
exposing them to it every so often.
knew of washing machines and dryers in theory. Why? Because our maid hand
washed and dried all our clothes for us every day. So when we got to Canada, I
was totally clueless as to how to operate the two machines. How much detergent
should I put? How big should my laundry load be? I’d always end up pulling my
clothes from the dryer half-wet because the load I had put in was too big or I
didn’t set the timer long enough. One year and many shrunken clothes later, I
think I’m learning. Now, it’s my husband who does the laundry and I have the
easier task of folding and storing. Teamwork at its best!
first got here, having no nannies was probably the most overwhelming experience
I’d ever had. I had no choice but to put my act together and attend to the kids’
needs all on my own. Good thing all my years in the corporate world have made
me a master multi-tasker. While feeding one kid, I’d be running to the bathroom
to wash the other one’s butt after pooping, then dressing all three of us up.
Oh, dressing up during winter can be such a pain! All those layers to put on,
only to remove them when you get to your indoor destination, then to put them
back on before heading outside again. We’d occasionally have a missing mitten
or hat or button, but nothing that would leave us with frost bite or
hypothermia, thank you very much.
a reason I was never a teacher. I never had one shred of patience with kids.
Playing with them, yes, but teaching them? No way. And that’s why patience is
now the toughest part of my job as a mom. Whether it’s toilet training my
two-year-old or wracking my brain for answers to my four-year-old’s ceaseless questions--most
of which I don’t even know, by the way—I’m sometimes tempted to take the easy
way out by going back to the corporate world and dumping my two kids in
those are just the bad days. On good days, I’m glad to have free reign on my
kids, ensuring their proper growth and development, which I believe is done
best by their mother and not some caregiver. Our kids are only young once. In a
few years’ time, they’ll be wanting to hang out more with friends and less with
their boring, old parents. So I’m grateful I’m around them almost all day every
day, now that their world still revolves around me.
those who said I’d get bored or lose brain cells because I don’t have a corporate
job for mental stimulation--you have yet to be at the receiving end of my precocious
four-year-old’s nosebleed questions!
Lorena Abano is a former marketing professional in the banking industry and is currently a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom. She is married with 2 sometimes naughty, but most of the time sweet little ones. Writing has been a passion of hers ever since she was 10 years old. She also loves reading, traveling, singing, and dancing.
love your article Lorena and i subscribed! waiting for the next one.. you are doing good as a Mom…super mom-nanny…congrats!
Posted by user_8835 on Oct 18, 9:39 p.m. |
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