Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Bye-bye Time for our Stay-in House Helper

Today is the last day of our house helper.  She's been with us two months before my eldest was born in 2002 but left us after she got pregnant in 2006.  After a year she went back to us to take care of my second child.  She is the only one who stayed with us for long.

Actually I'm not used to having house helper at home but when I got married and had our first child, I have no choice but to hire one because hubby and I are both working full time.

Our house helper is a distant relative of my husband, she has been staying with them in the province since she was in elementary because my mother-in-law sent her to school.  After high school she was enrolled in college but later on she stopped because she wanted to work and that was the time when we needed someone to take care of our daughter while we are working. 

At first I don't have any problem with her, she knows a lot of household works and she knows how to take care of children but later on she has some qualities which I don't like and what I really hate is that she lends things to our neighbors without our knowing and accepts visitors while we are at the office ... maybe that explains why she got pregnant even though she didn't take a weekend off that much.  I learned about what she's doing when some of our neighbors told me.  I never said anything to her then because she was already preparing to go home at that time.

In 2007, I was assigned in Japan then when my husband told me that one of our two house helpers told him that she wanted to go back to the province ... we had already our second child then so we really need to have two house helpers.  Hubby also told me that our first house helper texted him and asked if she can work again for us ... leaving us with no more choice, I agreed thinking that we have already transferred to a place where security is tight and visitors can't just come and go and besides my aunt was staying with us at that time so our house helpers can't do what they wanted to do for I have someone staying in the house watching them.

Before I can finish my assignment in Japan, my aunt who was staying with us passed away so again my children were left to the care of our two helpers without someone watching them while my husband is at the office.  So far, there were no problems and I was able to finish my assignment in Japan and returned to our local office here in Manila.

After few months, our other house helper left leaving us with our original house helper.  We were looking for someone to replace her but we can't find one so I just asked our original house helper if she can cope up with our two children and she said yes ... so I increased her salary and told her to just concentrate on the children, the household chores can be done whenever we're home.

As always, things worked out fine at first but there you go again, after several months, I started receiving texts from my neighbor of what our house helper is doing while we're at the office.  Our place becomes her siesta place with other house helpers of other units, she washed clothes for other units using our water and washing machine, selling items such as Avon, Natasha ... you name it, she has it.  I reprimanded her of using our water and washing machine to wash clothes for other units ... I have proof when my water bill at the laundry area doubled and she said that she won't do it again.

Since then, the idea of staying at home and living without a household helper already entered my mind and it took me two years to realize it.  So today is her last day and in spite of all the headache she gave me, I still have a lot to thank her.  Just like everyone else she also have her flaws but what is important is that she have taken care of our children while hubby and I are working.

As a sign of our gratitude to her, we gave her a separation pay.  I told her to stay with her daughter at the province and just start a small business there but I think she really want to stay here in the city and I learned that she will be transferring to a new employer just a few blocks away from us.  Well, it's her choice and we can't do anything but just wish her the best.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Weekend Everyone

My daughter folding some clothes
It's weekend once again and for the Philippines it's a start of a long weekend because Monday and Tuesday are declared as holidays.  The long vacation gives us time to have an out-of-town trips but the weather just don't want to cooperate.  Typhoon Mina is currently hitting the northern provinces of the Philippines and although Metro Manila is not at the center of this typhoon still we experience bad weather today.  It's just no good to go out unless you really have an important commitment to attend to.

Despite this bad weather I still have a lot to thank for and be happy this weekend because it's time for a family bonding right here at the comfort of our home. We can have a movie marathon, do some household chores together and play board games ... monopoly is my favorite but should only be played once CJ, my 5 year old son is asleep otherwise we can't play seriously.

For all of us who still have the comfort to enjoy this weekend, let us give thanks to God for all these blessings and let us not forget to pray for our brothers and sisters who are currently being hit by calamities both natural and man-made.  May our Almighty God protect and keep them safe.

Have a nice weekend everyone and God bless us all.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Change Membership Status with the Philippines Social Security System

The latest revision of SSS RS-5 form
The benefits of being a member of the Philippines Social Security System or SSS is one of the things I want to continue enjoying even if I'm already out of the corporate world.  Any employee of private companies who are not yet 60 years of age but decided to stay-at-home just like me can still continue to be a member of SSS and enjoy its benefits by changing the membership status from "employed member" to "voluntary member".

To change one's membership status to voluntary member, simply fill out the SSS RS-5 form which is available in any SSS branch office or download it from their website then just pay the total monthly contribution (employer and employee share) in any banks which are authorized to collect SSS payments.  The payment will be automatically credited to your account ... no need to submit the receipt of payment to SSS office for validation just like the way years ago.  You can always check your contribution by registering to My.SSS.

Just remember that the deadline of remittance for voluntary member's contribution is on or before the 20th day of the month following the applicable month or quarter. 

For the schedule of member's monthly contribution, please click here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Money Lending as a Business

After more than a week of being absent because of sore eyes, my son is already back to school.  I was the one who brought him to school and the lady caretaker of the school saw me.  She asked me why I was the one who brought my son to school (they are used to see my house helper accompany CJ to school) so I told her that from now on I will be the one to bring CJ to school because I already resigned from work.  She asked me what I will do so I told her that I will personally take care of my children and do some business on the side.

Upon hearing of the word business she immediately told me that lending money with a small interest is demand for employees of that school.  She told me that there is one person giving out loans for them but sometimes she runs out of fund because of the demand.  I told her that I will think about it but actually it's not the business I have in mind.

Personally, I'm not into this money lending business because I find it hard to collect payments and most of all I feel bad knowing that the person who wants to take a loan badly needs the money and here I am, takes the opportunity to make business out of this person's need.  I don't say that those who engage in this business is bad it's just that it's not my cup of tea.  Maybe I can help if it's really for emergency purposes but not in this way.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

To Raise Disciplined Children ... Be Their Role Model

It's been a week since I started staying at home.  I never stayed at home this long and I can say that being with my kids most of the time is very much different than being with them only on weekday nights, weekends and holidays.  Now, I have the time to observe their behavior on most of their activities ... mealtime, study time, play time, etc.

I'm happy because at last I'm personally taking care of them but sometimes I get frustrated because they misbehaves most of the time.  My eldest daughter, now nine years old is a little hard headed, she wanted to do things her way.  It seems that she loves to do the opposite of what I am telling her and most of all she has a little patience with her little brother.  My son, only five years old is very energetic, loves to climbs chairs and tables, runs everywhere, it's just so tiring to run after him all the time.  He also has the tendency to throw things on his sister.

I know their behavior is just typical of children their age but as a parent I want them to know the difference between right and wrong as early as possible.  If I won't do anything about their misbehavior, they may think that what they are doing is okay and they will continue doing it as they grow old.

I noticed that whenever my children misbehaves, shouting at them or pinching them doesn't do any good (well sometimes it settles them for a while, maybe one to ten minutes), they just tend to misbehave more ... trying to test my patience.  At first, I just can't stop yelling at them but I got tired and one time, after my son did something not so good, I just took a deep breath, did not say anything and I just looked at him.  Sensing that I'm angry, he just sat at a corner of our sofa.  After a few minutes, I sat beside him and talked to him in a very calm voice telling him that what he did was wrong.  He said sorry and behaved after that ... oh well there are still times that he misbehaves but at least he did not repeat what he did that made him say sorry.

I found this "staying calm and not saying a word" to be effective in telling my children to stop and behave so from now on, I'll try my best to be calm and practice more patience with my children.

Now I realized that my daughter's little patience with her little brother is what she observed from me, sometimes I really see myself in her whenever she gets irritated so I think I have to learn to control myself first ... behave myself the way I want my children to behave ... I am their role model and whatever they observe I'm doing, they will follow.  I know this is very difficult but because I love my children and I want to raise them to be a responsible individual, I have to try.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Viruses are Getting Tougher Nowadays

My little boy is still playful even if he has sore eyes.
It's been a week since my son CJ had conjunctivitis or sore eyes.  An ophthalmologist already checked his eyes and gave him a mild antibiotic but until now his left eye is still red and swelling so we went back to the doctor yesterday as per his instruction.

The doctor again checked on CJ's left eye and he told us that it seems that a tougher strain of virus infected his eye.  Normally for children it takes only a week for the sore eyes to be healed but in CJ's case it's different so he prescribed additional eye drop which contains steroid. 

The doctor said that he don't normally prescribe drugs with steroid to children unless it is really necessary and right now CJ needs it so we bought the additional eye drops.  There is actually an antibiotic eye drop which already contains steroid but since we still have the original prescription which does not contain steroid, the doctor just prescribed the additional eye drop with steroid.  It's a little inconvenient since I have to apply one eye drop after another.  I'm just glad that CJ is cooperative and the eye drops with steroid doesn't sting so he doesn't mind the additional drop.

I hope that this time CJ's left eye will get well soon so he can go back to school and play with his friends again.  Right now I don't let him play with other kids yet so I am his official playmate.

This week is their examination week and he missed it, anyway he can always take the special exams.  Small kids are so hard to control and it would be easy for the virus to spread so it's better to not let him go to school yet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Preventing the Spread of Conjunctivitis or Sore Eyes

Last Thursday my son's left eye was irritated and it swelled a little that we have it checked by an ophthalmologist.  The doctor's diagnosis is conjunctivitis or sore eyes and she prescribed Fucithalmic, a mild anti-bacterial eye drop.

Conjunctivitis is contagious that the doctor advised us not to let CJ go to school for one week, she gave us a medical certificate in case the school would need it.

Contrary to what I know, conjunctivitis or sore eyes cannot be transmitted by just looking at the infected eyes of a person so wearing sunglasses offers no protection for others.  Instead, the infection can be transmitted through direct contact with tears or eye discharge of the infected person.  Nasopharyngeal secretions can also transmit the infection through coughing or sneezing.

To prevent the spread of sore eyes, my son was advised to always wash his hands with soap and water and we were advised not to share pillows, towel, cell phones and other things that are possible for a direct contact with the tears and eye discharge of CJ.

Since CJ is only 5 years old, he needs assistance in wiping his tears and eye discharge which makes us very much vulnerable to sore eyes so we just make sure that whenever we touch his eyes, we immediately wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water and as much as possible we don't put our hands on our eyes.   Kissing and embracing him is also limited.

I hope CJ's eyes will be healed soon so he can go back to school, play with his friends outside and most especially we can kiss and embrace him again.


Monday, August 15, 2011

It’s My First Day Being a Stay/Work-At-Home Mom

Today marks another milestone in my life … the start of my new career being a stay/work-at-home mom.  I thank God for giving me this opportunity and I know He will guide me all the way.

Being a morning person, I woke up early today and did a 30 minutes jogging/brisk walking around the neighborhood while my husband does some cooking.  My husband cooks better than me but I’ll try to learn some good cooking in the coming days.  Our house helper is still with us (she’s due to leave at the end of this month) so I still have no problem with the laundry and some house cleaning.

I helped my daughter prepare for school … I dried, combed and tied her hair.  I don’t have the luxury of time to do this when I was working.  I also helped my son finish his breakfast and convinced him to eat a little of broccoli.  Feeding little kids need much of patience and time.  My children are so picky on foods especially on vegetables that when I’m in a hurry I just give them what they want so as to cut their whining short.

My son is not feeling well because of his sore eyes (conjunctivitis) so he won’t be going to school today and I’ll be his official nurse, cleaning his eyes and applying the eye drops prescribed by the doctor.  Oh, it feels good taking care of your children personally.

For the first time in many years, I am not stressed early in the morning … no shouting just to make my daughter move and prepare for school, no waiting in lines or running after public utility jeepneys just to get a ride and be at the office on time. Well, it’s still early to tell but today I did great and I’m happy about it.  I’ll just take each day at a time and enjoy the gift of being a stay/work-at-home mom.

Have a great day everyone.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Back Format for Philippines Bank Checks

New back format for Philippines bank checks
I received a letter from my bank a few months ago about a new back format for checks.  I did not paid much attention to that letter until I saw an announcement at our condominium’s management office that they will only accept checks with the old back format until August 31, 2011.

I still have two booklets of checks with the old back format so I called my bank to confirm until when can I use the checks with the old back format and she confirmed that those checks will be acceptable until August 31 only although I can still use it after that date but it might incur some charges from the clearing house … I didn’t really understand her explanation regarding the charges and the clearing house issue but one thing is sure, it’s time to request for a check booklet with a new back format.  I asked if I can swap my unused check booklet but she said that it is not possible so I have no choice but to order for a new check booklet and pay 165.00 pesos for each booklet.  Haaay banks … they always end up gaining for all these changes.

So if you issue checks for payments, be sure that you have now checks with the new back format.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Exit Interview

As part of our company’s regulations for resigning employees, an exit interview was conducted on me by one of the personnel from HR department.

First I was requested to answer an exit interview questionnaire which is just asking whether I agree or disagree on the given statement and after that the interviewer based her questions from my answers on that questionnaire. 

The interviewer explained to me that the exit interview is a chance for them to know more the reasons why an employee resigns so that they can try to upgrade the company’s system especially on matters of salary and benefits which are always the reason of employees’ resignation and transfer to other companies.  This will be very hard for employees who resign because they will transfer to other companies … surely they will be asked as to how much is the offer they get from another company and what benefits they will enjoy.

In my case, since I won’t be transferring to other companies, the exit interview became a friendly talk between me and the interviewer.  She even shared her own experience of having been a full time mother for one year but eventually she went back to work because she got bored and because of the pressure of her parents telling her that she just wasted her time studying to get a degree because she is not practicing it.  But she said that her children (now adults) tell her that the most memorable part of their life is when she became a full time mom to them.

It was a relaxing exit interview that I have and the interviewer even asked me to consider returning to the company if ever I change my mind and decided to go back to the corporate world again.  Well, that’s also what my department manager told me but as of now, that's still out of my mind.

Monday, August 8, 2011

It’s My Last Week at Work

This is my last week at work and I’m excited but at the same time a little anxious and sad.

I’m excited because at last my dream of staying at home has come true.  I will be with my family most of the time, no more deadlines for drawings to be submitted and most of all I won’t be enduring the hardship of commuting every day.

On the other hand, I feel a little anxious because this is my first time to stay at home after working full time for more than eighteen years.  Although I spend time with my family every night, every weekend and every holiday, being with them every day is definitely a new experience for me.  I really don’t know what I will be expecting being a full time mother … I have read stories and experiences of other stay at home moms and so far they give me the idea but every family is different just like as every person is unique so I still have that little anxiety running through my mind.

Lastly, I also feel sad because with my eighteen years of working full time, eight years of which is with my current company, I have made friends with a lot of my officemates, friendships that blossomed for years and now we will not be seeing each other that often.

Anyway, all these feelings are normal for persons going through a transition in life and I am not exempted from it.  I know these feelings will pass and reality will take its place … life wouldn’t be easier because I will be a full time mom but with God’s guidance and blessings I believe I will be living a great life.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


In as much that I want to make my resignation from our office as silent as possible, it can’t really be avoided that news of my resignation have reached some of my officemates from other departments that every time they see me they ask me if what they heard is true.  Well, there’s no need to deny it.

The first question that my officemates ask me once I said yes is “Where are you going?”.  It’s always the common question asked to resigning employees here because in our line of business, the manpower demand had been rising lately.  Aside from local competitors, the demand abroad had started to rise again after a few years of slowing down. 

Whenever I tell them that I’m going nowhere and that I’ll be going to be a full time mother, it seems that they don’t believe me.  Well, if they won’t believe me, then it’s not my problem but I can’t also blame them, we have some officemates who didn’t tell the truth when they resign … I can’t get the reason why some people has to make up stories when they resign … the company will try to persuade you not to go on with your plan but if you are really decided, they can’t do anything but to just let you go.  As long as you follow the company’s rules on proper exit, the company has no reason to hold anything against you.  So, just tell the truth.    

The second question usually asked is “Are you sure you won’t get bored at home?”  Though I can’t answer it now still I’m optimistic that I won’t.  Who will be bored raising two energetic kids?  Maybe stressed … but not bored.  Even if my kids would be at school, I have a lot of work to be done at home that I know I would be occupied with.

The third question asked is “Are you financially ready?”  Well, we have been preparing for this for two years and I can say that “we’re ready!”.  This is not just a spur of the moment decision, we have planned for this so I believe that we will be fine.  Living a simple life together with my family and with God’s guidance, I’m sure we will be doing great. 

Others may not understand why I chose to leave the corporate world despite the financial rewards that I get but I don’t have to explain to them.  All I know is that, this decision will be healthy for my family especially to my kids.