On Calling Little Girls "Sexy"

Yesterday, I was bothered by a post that I saw on my news feed. It was a picture of a little girl, about 3 years old, in an outfit and posed in a way that on an adult female, would be considered provocative. The pictures were captioned "sexy", and it was posted by the little girl's father. I didn't make much of it, but it bothered me enough to stay on my mind for the rest of the day. Because it was really bugging me, I showed it to Big C when he got home that night and asked if I was such a prude for being weirded out by the picture. He took one look at it and said, "No, that's just wrong."

So I had to sit down and think about it. Why was it bothering me so much?

I guess it was the fact that she didn't have to be dressed that way, but she was. The picture was taken during a school activity where the kids were asked to dress in a particular theme. I saw that while the other kids were dressed in a way that was cute and appropriate to the theme, this little girl's outfit was specifically modified to show more skin than was necessary.

It bothered me because back when I was still teaching, one of the biggest challenges I faced was educating my female students on sexual behavior. At that time, some six or seven years ago, many of them were already engaging in meaningless sexual relationships, treating sex so casually and suffering its effects afterward. I've seen teenage girls, aged 14, 15, or 16, display alarming behavior, acting angry all the time and unmotivated in school. With some probing, I found out later on that it stemmed from incidents where they slept with a guy and were devastated when the guy moved on to his next conquest. I've had girls ask me, distressed and teary-eyed, "what if he only likes me because I have big boobs?" More than once, I've had to dispense advice on safe sex and teenage pregnancy, and each time was one time too much.

Drawing on those experiences, I am always disturbed when I see little girls dressed up in a way that is designed to draw compliments that focus on how sexy they look. I feel that people fail to see how these actions and comments affect the girls later on, when they hit puberty, and being "sexy" (which includes dressing revealingly and acting sexually forward) has more dangerous consequences.

Maybe we have failed to teach our young girls the importance of respecting their bodies, of not putting it on display, of dressing attractively, but modestly. Maybe I'm a prude in this day and age, but I feel that my body is a private thing, only for me and my husband to see. Like many women, I want to look good, but I want to look good in a way that will still require other people, especially other men, to treat me with respect as a woman. I am also very aware of the fact that my sons will be looking at me as an example, as a standard for when they choose their girlfriends, and later on, their wives.

I've heard the argument that telling girls not to dress provocatively is oppressive, and places the responsibility for proper sexual behavior on women, instead of placing it on the men as well. They say that men should respect women regardless of how they are dressed. In some ways, I agree with that line of thinking, but I do feel that it's a bit flawed and utopian. I used to tell my female students that in a perfect world, we would be able to dress however we wanted with no worries. But the thing is, we don't live in a perfect world. In this world, to get respect, you have to show the world that you're deserving of it. That starts with how you package yourself. Isn't that also true?

There seems to be a belief that claiming your sexuality is a sign of female empowerment, or that engaging in sexually forward behavior is modern and enlightened. I say that it shouldn't be that way. For me, female empowerment is rooted in what makes me feel good about myself as a woman. Why does female power have to stem from the fact that now it's more permissible to sleep around just like men do? Why can't women feel empowered because they're smart, or because they help make the world a better place? Shouldn't we work on changing the perception of what empowers women? Doesn't that start with what we teach little girls?

So that places the burden on us as parents. As mother to two boys, my task is to raise men who will respect all girls and women, regardless of what they're wearing or how they're acting. To the best of my parenting abilities, I will raise boys who will see women as more than objects of sexual desire, but as people with individual and intrinsic value. That in itself, in this day and age, is hard enough. The greater burden is on parents with little girls.

To parents of little girls, please, I beg you. Let them stay little girls, even for just a little while longer. Keep them innocent, and help the world see them as innocents. Don't dress them up like little Bratz dolls and raise them to think that being sexy is what they should aspire to be. Raise them to place value on themselves, to regard their bodies as treasures that should only be revealed to a deserving person. Teach them to present themselves properly, but modestly, not gauging beauty based on how much skin they show. Teach them a new way to measure themselves, not based on how attractive they are, or based on how others find them attractive. Teach them to show the world their worth, their intelligence, their kindness, their generosity. Maybe, just maybe, we can raise a generation of TRULY empowered young women.

I do apologize for the long post, but I would like to hear the thoughts of fellow parents on the subject. That's it for now, and happy weekend, all!

On Parenting and Oversharing

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Today, I read an article published on Smart Parenting's Facebook page, about things that parents do online to violate their child's privacy. I have to say, I'm more than a little bothered by it, and based on the reactions of many parents on the thread, so are others.

First thing, I'll come right off the bat and say it. I'm one of those annoying parents who loves to post pictures of her kids on her social media pages. I also post little anecdotes about them, the funny things or the sweet things they say, the little accomplishments they have. I do have to say that I am as careful about it as I can possibly be. I avoid posting pictures of them without clothes, or compromising things that I feel would be embarrassing for them later on. I absolutely avoid posting information that could compromise their security. I find the practice of "checking in" especially abhorrent. In addition, my posts can only be viewed by my social media friends, and the friends on my list are people I actually know. It's not 100% secure, but like I said, I'm as careful as I can be. So when I share things about my kids, I don't think I'm violating their privacy. I really AM just sharing, with friends and family, and not with the general public.

While I agree with some points (like posting nude photos of children and sharing too much information), the article came across as a bit much for me. It calls parents out for posting about their kids' small accomplishments, numerous photos of the little moments that make up a child's life and for talking about their kids. While I felt that the article's intention was coming from the right place, the way it was written came across as very scathing and bitter (to me, at least). It felt very angry to me, and I don't know who the author is or where she's coming from or what she was feeling at the time that she wrote it, but I felt that she turned something innocent into something very negative and dark and unhealthy and wrong. I don't like that.

Anyway, this isn't the first time that I had to think about my sharing habits online. I read another article before (I can't find it anymore, but if I do, I'll update this post with the link) which says that people curate the stuff they post to present a skewed version of their life. If I remember it correctly, the basic gist of the article was that people tend to feel bad about what they see in other people's social media updates and feeds. They feel jealous, or envious, and wonder why their life possibly can't be that great?

After I read that article, I had to do some soul-searching, and ask myself. Do I try to present a picture of myself that isn't real? A picture that makes other people feel bad about their lives?

The answer to the first question is no. Do the posts and the pictures show every detail of my life? No, they don't. I don't post about the bad stuff, because those things, I prefer to reflect about on my own, or discuss with my sisters or a close friend.

Does that mean bad stuff doesn't happen to me? No. Of course not. Bad stuff happens to everybody. But I don't like focusing on the bad stuff. I like focusing on the good. Does that mean to say I hate on people who post emotional, heartbroken status messages? No. If I feel they're too negative for me, then I simply unfollow them, or remove them from my feed, so I don't have to deal with the negativity anymore. Everyone has that option. You don't like what I post? Remove me from your feed. I don't really care. As Mommy Jo-An said on the thread in reaction to the article, walang basagan ng trip.

But the great stuff, the good stuff, the stuff that makes me smile? Yeah, I'm a bit trigger happy with that stuff. Because that's the stuff I want to remember. See, to me, my social media page, is more for me than for anybody else. It's really like an online diary, a way for me to keep memories and remember the times when I felt happy or when good things happened to me. I like to think that my social media page as a way to keep track of my life, and when I look back through it, I like that all it will help me remember is the good parts. But you know what, everything on that page is real. It's not posed or contrived. It's things that happened to me. Things that made me smile. Things that made my day brighter. It just so happens that most days, those great things have to do with my two boys.

When I see other parents posting pictures of their kids or stories about their kids antics, it makes me happy for them. For example, just after I read that article, I saw a post by a fellow mommy who posted her daughter's perfect exam scores. Did I feel bad about it? No. I was happy for her. I was happy for her daughter as well. She did great on that test. And if my sons got perfect scores in all their tests, I'd be damn proud and happy too, and I'd probably post it on my social media page.

Seeing these posts also makes me feel connected to these other individuals because we are all going through the same experience. And people may say that a connection through a social networking site isn't a real connection, but hey, who are you to judge?

Parenting is hard enough. If we choose to focus on the crap, then we're screwed. I'd rather look at the parts that make it worth it. The fun memories, the happy smiles, the silly quips, the occasionally funny toddler tantrum, the milestones they reach.

So do I brag about my kids on my social media pages? Maybe I do. I'm proud of my kids. In my mind, they're the two best kids in the world. Like me, every parent feels that way about their kids, so they also post pictures and anecdotes and accomplishments about their kids. That has to be okay. As Mommy Kizzie posted in the Smart Parenting thread, there's already too much judgement on parents going around. Let's not add to it. Let's not turn parental pride into something wrong or bad.

So do I feel bad if what I post online makes other people feel bad? Yes. I feel bad that they feel bad. But I will not apologize for choosing to focus on the great things in my life as opposed to the negative or the bad. I choose an attitude of gratitude. I will not highlight these sad parts or the things that don't go my way just so people wouldn't feel bad about their lives. That's on them, not on me.

I know that not everyone would agree with me, and that's okay. It seems to be a pretty hot button issue for parents, and everyone will have their opinion. We will all just have to agree to disagree. Again, to quote Mommy Jo-An, walang basagan ng trip.

That's all for now!

* Quotes from the mommies in this article are found in the Smart Parenting FB page, under the link for the article.

School Kiddie Party Tips

Happy Monday!

A Team Umizoomi Party!
The "-ber" months are officially here, and with them comes birthday season in our family. September kicks off almost weekly celebrations that stretch until the end of the holiday season. If I'm counting correctly, in our family alone, we have 8 birthday parties coming up before the end of November. We're not even counting the birthday parties that are coming up in school. With all these birthday celebrations, no one is more excited than J, who will be celebrating his 4th birthday in a few weeks. He has already made his requests for his school birthday party. He wants blue balloons, including a blue number "4" balloon, a blue cake, and Team Umizoomi invitations. So far, all I've got are the Team Umizoomi invitations. I'm trying to see what I can do about the rest. I think that so long as I splash a whole lotta blue around, he'll be happy.

But anyway, if you're thinking of throwing your little one a birthday party at school, here are some basics you'll need to take care of.

1. Food. This is pretty basic. The most convenient way is to find a nearby McDonald's or Jollibee near your school and have them come deliver food for your kids' classmates and teachers. They're tailor-made for kiddie parties and you can't go wrong with spaghetti and fried chicken. Last year, for J's birthday, I decided to go with Amber's because like I said, there were a lot of birthdays in October, so for a change, I went with something else other than McDonald's. We had the same food though, fried chicken and spaghetti. But Amber's also has a lot of other choices that would be a hit with kids, a variety of noodles and fried finger food.

This year, I'm trying something new. As early as March, I had already been in touch with Kat, a mommy who makes these adorable bento boxes for kiddie parties. We had originally agreed on a Tomica cars theme, but J is super in love with Team Umizoomi. Thankfully, Kat will be able to work with it. You can check out her FB page here.

2. The cake. Aside from J's and KK's first birthdays, we haven't had one of those pretty fondant cakes. Instead, the boys love the oldies-but-goodies Red Ribbon or Goldilocks cakes. They're budget-friendly, nice to look at and pretty yummy too! Candle-blowing is a pretty big part of birthdays for kids, especially those aged 3 to 6, so the cake is a very important thing to have. For the school party, we sliced up the cake we brought and distributed it to the kids, and left the rest for the teachers to snack on.

3. Giveaways and other stuff, like balloons. While most parents do provide giveaways for the kids, I'm a bit on the fence on that for this year. I think McDonald's and Jollibee have kiddie party packages that include giveaways. Other options are small art kits, or the ever-popular loot bags of candy. Some parents make personalized bags and fill them with treats, and some pick practical items like name stickers or bag tags. I'd like something more unique though, and since Team Umizoomi isn't popular here, I'm still thinking of how I'll be able to integrate it into the giveaways if I do decide to have that.

4. Invitations. Last year, the parents were pretty consistent about giving out invitations before the party, to give the other mommies time to prepare a little something for the celebrant. This year, parties popped up everywhere with no invitation, so in those cases, what I usually do is send in a birthday gift after the party. I say this as a mom of kids who are not the celebrant, I appreciate the advanced notice, so I can find a gift. If not, I'll have to add "buy gift TODAY for (insert birthday celebrant's name)" to my long list of things to do.

5. One last tip. It might be prudent to provide a plastic bag or some sort of container that holds everything that the child might bring home from the party. Trust me on this. This is a lesson learned from painful experience. Imagine simultaneously trying to keep a Happy Meal container from falling apart, holding a cup of orange juice, a cupcake topped with a mound of sticky frosting, a giveaway bag and a balloon on a stick. Is that it? Wait, I'm forgetting something. Oh yeah, my kid!

After several birthday parties a.k.a. juggling acts, I decided to provide covered containers for the cakes and tetrapaks of juice for the drinks. The tetrapaks are easy to stuff into bags, especially if the kids hadn't started drinking from it yet. As for the cake, you don't have to worry about dropping it on the floor, or getting icing on your clothes, your hair and god knows what else. This year, I'm looking into providing huge plastic bags where you can just stuff everything so all the parents or caregivers who will be picking the kids up won't have a hard time carting everything around.

So there you have it! Happy planning, and I hope your child's school party turns out wonderfully!

Mid-week Bake Break

Hello, all!

Last week, J and KK had a long mid-week break. Thanks to QC Day, Ninoy Aquino Day and the PTC day scheduled in between, my little ones had a nice long hiatus at home.

As expected, by Day 2, big brother J was bored already and asked me to bake with him. Nothing too complicated, one of our usual baking mix concoctions, but it's always a fun time for J. For KK? Well, the fun is in the finished product.

We usually make banana bread, but we were all out of bananas. The only box mix left in our pantry was a Maya Kitchen brownie mix, which is a new one for J, so he was really excited to try that out.

What I love about using a baking mix is that it's pretty simple. Just a few extra ingredients and you're good to go. Plus, there are simple, graphic instructions in the back, which J can decipher for himself, and makes for a great lesson in counting and following procedures.

My handsome assistant, holding the extra ingredients we need.
The first step in the instructions called for using creamed butter, not melted, so if you're hankering for some brownies, make sure to leave the butter out before you start baking to soften it a bit. In our tropical climate? Ten to fifteen minutes should be enough to get your butter all gooey.
Busy greasing the pan, while Mommy was mixing the batter.
Greasing the pan is one of J's usual tasks, because he likes to pretend that he's painting. I, on the other hand, was so busy talking to him that I forgot to take a picture of the batter. Anyway, it ends up a lot more viscous than the banana bread mix, so it gets a bit heavy after a while. Here's a picture of the batter all spread out in the pan. The instruction called for a smaller baking dish, but this was all I had, so our brownies turned out a lot thinner than expected.
Gooey, chocolatey goodness!
We loosely covered the dish with foil and popped it into the oven, but silly mommy forgot to make sure the dish could fit in the oven before pouring the batter into it. Of course, it was too big for our oven, so we had to bake it for twice as long because the oven door was left open. It still turned out pretty well though.

The finished product, as it cooled down on the kitchen table.
Sadly, I wasn't able to get pictures of it all sliced up, but it was good enough for my picky little eaters, who had it for their snack. Because we used a slightly larger baking dish, our brownies ended up a bit crispy on the outside, but still soft and gooey on the inside, which for me, is the perfect combo.

Best part is, aside from the baking dish, this is all we had to wash after we were done.

Clean up was a breeze!
I have to say, so far, Maya Kitchen mixes have yet to fail me, so they're a staple in our pantry. Pick one up on your next grocery run, so when the sweet tooth craving hits, you'll be ready.

That's all for now!

Cleaning Out The Closet

Hello all!

Thanks to a sudden lull in the deadlines for work, I found myself with some time on my hands during the long weekend. Of course, I jumped at the chance to check off one of the things on my never-ending to-do list, which is to clean out the closet.

A few weeks ago, my loving husband C sent me a gentle reminder of this task when he pushbullet-ted (yes, pushbullet is now a verb for me, just the way google is) me an infographic on how to, pardon the term, unf**k your closet. Now, I just want to clarify, that this is actually the name of the infographic, and not some profane term I made up, although it is very appropriate. Anyway, here's the infographic.

C got this from Life Hacker, but the credits on the photo say
And here are the before pictures of my closet and dresser drawer.

This is my dresser drawer, which contains mostly shirts and shorts.

And this is my closet, where I keep dresses and all the things that need hanging.
One of the main reasons why I kept putting off this task was because it seemed like such a gargantuan thing, you know, where I expected that half the day wouldn't even be enough to get things done. But surprisingly, with the help of the infographic, I was done in a little over an hour. Unless your closet is the size of a movie star's, I'm guessing it will take you right about the same time to check this task off your list.

So here's what I came up with.
The "donate it" pile
The rest of the "donate it" pile
The maternity pile
The first thing I did was to take everything out of the closet. Then, as advised on the infographic, I made piles for each category. The infographic identified three categories: hang it, toss it, and donate it. But in my case, I added one more pile, which is maternity. See, because I was pregnant or nursing for what felt like four straight years, I had accumulated quite a stash of maternity/nursing friendly clothes. I was actually proud of the fact that some of the clothes I had were so basic that I was able to wear it through three pregnancies. I have to admit though, by the time I stopped expressing milk for KK, I was dying to get a whole new wardrobe because I realized that I'd been wearing the same set of clothes for almost four years! But anyway, I digress. Once I finished, I realized most of my stuff was in pretty good condition, so there was nothing in the "toss it" pile. Almost all of the clothes were in the donate it pile.

Another tip to make the task faster. Don't remove it from the hangers, just in case it goes in the "hang it" pile. I only removed it from the hanger when I decided to toss or donate something.

The finished product? Voila! I managed to free up around 25% of my closet so, yay for me! As for the dresser drawer, those are the clothes that I wear on a daily basis, when I take the kids to school or run casual errands, so most of those clothes are in the keep pile.

My clean closet!
My dresser drawer.
Side note. I couldn't find the infographic anymore, so I had to google it to give credit where credit is due, and I stumbled across this wonderful tumblr account called Unf*ck Your Habitat. It's a tumblr account that shows you before and after pictures of people who applied the same method shown in the infographic to declutter their homes, and I have to say, I was inspired. Once I get this post out, I will be working on the black holes that are also known as my desk drawers. I'll take pictures and let you know how that works out.

Till the next!

Mom-and-Me Activities for Gloomy Days

Hello all! The weekend is but a few hours away. With the monsoon rains pouring, it's been a gray and gloomy Friday for us, and I'm hoping the coming weekend has brighter days in store. If you're like me, who turns sluggish with the rainy weather, here are four pick-me-up activities you can do with your kids to inject some sunshine into this otherwise sullen day.

1. Whip up something sweet in the kitchen. It doesn't have to be complicated. J and I usually make homemade banana bread, which we make with overripe bananas and a box of Maya Kitchen Banana Bread Mix. Just follow the recipe in the back and you're good to go! I would suggest substituting butter for the oil in the recipe though, which makes the flavor richer, and fills the house with that yummy freshly-baked-goods smell. This is great because J loves to help me out in the kitchen, and the tasks for this activity are perfect for a toddler helper. Clean up is quick and easy because you're using very few ingredients and tools. Plus, the results are surprisingly yummy.
Since I was unable to take pictures of any of our products, I had to grab this photo from, who also tried out the Maya Baked Mix and loved it, according to her review.
2. Build a fort. Or at least as it's called in our home, a tent. When the weather is nice and cool, we flip Daddy's TV chair over and drape it with a ton of towels. I give big brother J free reign on how to build the fort, which encourages him to get creative. I love seeing what he comes up with, and KK is always a fan of his brother's structures. The two kids crawl inside and giggle themselves silly, which instantly brightens up my day. They love it when I pretend to knock and ask, "May I come in?" I have the best conversations with my son when we're in his tents. Most of the time he tells me about school and his classmates. At the moment, KK isn't much of a talker, but I'm hoping someday soon, I can have tent conversations with him.

3. Get artsy. It doesn't have to be something worthy of Pinterest. All you need are some sheets of scratch paper and various coloring materials. I keep a box of art materials here at home, complete with a ton of coloring books, sketch pads and scratch paper for the boys to scribble on. On lazy days, or when the boys get restless, we just grab a bunch of stuff from the art box and it will occupy them for quite some time. Once they're done, we post their work on our closet doors for Big C to see when he gets home. But I would advise investing in Crayola washable markers, because in my experience, they're the easiest to wash off from furniture, walls, clothes and little boys.

4. Blow bubbles. I don't know what is it about kids and bubbles, but after the first stream of bubbles float out from the wand, my boys are already laughing and screaming like crazy. It doesn't matter whether the boys are the one blowing the bubbles, or I blow bubbles for them to pop, they always have a great time. On rainy days like today, we blow bubbles in the garage, where the roof keeps us dry and we can enjoy the breeze that comes with the rain.

So there you have it! Happy rainy Friday to us all, and here's to a sunnier weekend!

P.S. This is a non-sponsored post. I actually do love to use Maya baking mixes and Crayola art supplies. :)

Settling into the School Groove

It's been a busy few months for us, so I've been remiss about posting. Today though, I find myself with some time on my hands and more than a few thoughts in my head.

The past two days have been a bit overwhelming, mostly because I now have two kids in preschool. J's in Nursery and Little C, who we now fondly call KK, is in the Pre-Nursery level. While that doesn't seem very complicated in itself, I, the queen of crazy, have chosen to do it sans yaya.

Apparently, that's not the sane choice, at least according to my mommy friends. One of them, upon seeing me on the first day of school trying to pick up KK (who was refusing to be picked up), said in a very concerned voice, "D, magdala ka na kaya ng yaya." ("D, maybe you should bring a yaya.")

Sometimes I feel like I make things difficult for myself, but the decision to not bring a yaya to school with me was not made lightly. First of all, because we live quite far from the school, I wait for the boys to finish instead of going home. If a yaya came with me, it would mean at least 2 hours everyday where the yaya will sit idly, doing nothing but texting or chitchatting with the other yayas. Since I am not a fan of wasting time, seeing her sitting around doing nothing for most of the day is guaranteed to annoy me. Every day. Leaving the yaya at home would mean 4 hours to finish all the chores that need to be done by the time the boys and I get home, which, for me, is a better way to spend the time.

But even more than that, my choice to go yaya-less in school also comes from my desire to foster more independence in the boys, and ultimately, our family's independence from household helpers. With J, it has worked wonders. In the past year, he has gotten used to having just me take him to school, and I've noticed that he's a lot more behaved when there are no helpers around. I think it's because he senses that he shouldn't act up because Mommy will have a hard time. In this sense, it's made my son more considerate of me. As for KK, it will require him to step up and learn to behave. At the same time, it forces me to pay attention to my son, to really spend time with him, and to enforce some discipline.

The past two days have given me even more respect for the moms who do it all for their kids. It's only been two days, and it's been two difficult days. But I know that it's early days yet, and the boys and I need to adjust. We still have to work out all the kinks in our routine, and believe me, there are a lot. But like I said, early days, and we have a lot of time to get it right.

J has been a tremendous help. Seeing how I have my hands full with our wriggly not-so-little KK, big brother J no longer argues with me about playing in the playground and goes straight to the car after his class ends. He straps himself into his car seat, so that I don't have to do it for him, which allows me to focus on getting KK in the car properly.

On the other hand, KK sill needs a bit more time. It's his first time in this school, and while summer classes have helped prepare him for the school part of it, he and I need to work on his behavior while waiting for J's class dismissal. Because J gets out a full hour after KK does, I have my hands full keeping KK occupied. Being the naturally curious and active kid that he is, he loves to run around everywhere, which means Mommy has to run after him. The playground in the school helps. The hot, humid weather? Not so much when you have a sticky, wiggly, sweaty, HEAVY little boy in your arms. (KK is a bit of a bruiser, so it takes all my concentration to keep him in line.) I can't even use a sling or a carrier because it's so freaking hot.

Side note though. Today, I was carrying KK in my arms while waiting for J to be dismissed. He was all sticky and sweaty, and thanks to the horrible Manila heat, so was I. We were literally a mess all around and my sticky, sweaty, heavy, wiggly boy just kept smooshing himself on me and burying his face in my neck. It was both the grossest and the nicest feeling at the same time. 

You see, by 11 am, I feel like the most disgusting person on the planet. My hair's a frizzy mess from the humidity, and I'm so sweaty it doesn't even bear thinking about. Let me tell you, it's not the dewy, glowy kind of sweat. We're taking industrial-strength, I-think-people-can-smell-me-from-a-mile-away grossness. But it was nice, because KK didn't really care and was just happy to snuggle.
Yes, ganyan na ganyan ang feeling. Hahaha!
So my takeaway from all this?? Hats off to all the moms all over the world who do it by themselves. I don't know how you do it. Many of you have more kids than I do, and when you get home, you still have a ton of stuff to do. I'm lucky because when I get home, I get to hand off my kids to their yayas for their lunch and nap and do the things that I need or want to do (like take a nap). But you inspire me. If you can do it, so can I!