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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Natural Parenting and the Working Mom

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We're all home schoolers
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
At 33 months, Naima has been in school for almost 1 year. She started just before she turned two and regularly attends morning classes. Happily, with the help of my yayas, Naima's learning doesn't end when she comes home from school.
In the Philippines, we have "yayas" or nannys to take care of our children. Whether you are a working mother or not, among the major concerns of a Pinay pregnant mom is being able to find a good yaya for her unborn child. In fact, this has resulted in several local books including I Love You Yaya and The Yaya Manual, all geared towards helping moms find the perfect yaya addition to their household.

In my case, both of my daughter Naima's yayas came from Southern Philippines and were recruited by mom. I was lucky enough to find yayas who were easy to train especially since I am a full time work out of home mom. I've heard of stories about yayas watching noontime shows all day long, with their wards watching the same show with them. However, my yayas don't watch TV during the day and instead takes time to teach Naima all sorts of things.
Being in congested Metro Manila, where space is precious, we opted to live in a high-rise condominium building. Common entertainment for condominium dwelling kids would be TV, playstation or nearby malls.
Because of my yayas, Naima was able to get entertainment from educational activities.
For instance, we were fortunate to have a balcony in our condominium unit. So during weekend markets, I buy small herbs that Naima transfers to bigger pots in the balcony. Our mini herb garden now includes spring onions, ginger, java mint, basil and is still growing. Every afternoon, Naima is tasked to water the plants (with yaya's supervision, of course) and she gets to see how Yaya "harvests" the herbs to be used in our food.
Aside from gardening, the yayas have also involved Naima in meal preparation.
Whenever we have fresh fruits, Naima helps prepare fruit shakes for the family. She also helps bake cookies and various snacks which she brings to school.
Aside from gardening and kitchen duties, Naima also helps me in my business. I'm a mompreneur and usually spend some time after office packing orders made during the day.
Naima likewise packs shipments along with me. I also bring her along when I go to events e.g. breastfeeding lectures, LLLI meetings, where she gets to meet kids of other like-minded moms.
Since my husband is a photographer with flexible schedule, he is also able to spend quality time with Naima.
Some afternoons are spent swimming, with Stan teaching Naima how to hold her breath underwater and generally not be afraid of the water.
Other afternoons are spent with Naima learning how to assist Stan in his home studio (especially when they are photographing items for my business). My budding little photographer is practicing and enhancing her skills under the watchful eyes of her dad.

You might ask how "natural parenting" can fit in the life of a working mom. Admittedly, as a working mom, one of the top worries was how I can "parent" Naima, especially since I am away from home at least 9 hours a day. Given my circumstance as a working mom, I'd like to believe that natural parenting need not be limited to parents facilitating the learning but would also include the learning experiences of my daughter with her caregivers or yaya and our extended family (aunts, uncles, grandparents). Through the help of her yayas and my husband, I am happy to say that Naima's days at home are filled with various learning activities - ranging from housework (gardening/baking), business and creative professional.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated September 14 with all the carnival links.)


Ceres said...

So interesting to hear how you negotiate home-based learning and attachment parenting as a working parent! I have worked almost my son's whole life (on a part time basis) and have had a lot of help from the extended family in this regard. I try to see it not as a limit placed on the time I have with him, but more as an opportunity for him to broaden his horizons with relationships with other adults in his life.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Jenny that is fascinating! I love that there is another adult in the house - several of my friends and I always talk about starting a "commune" (or something like it), just so our children could have more adult involvement and we could have the support.
~Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! I totally agree that your child benefits from and learns so much from all her caregivers, including her yayas and her school. And that your choice of caregivers and guidance to them helps you be a part of her day and her learning, even when you are away.

So nice to get a glimpse into your life!

Unknown said...

What a great view of not only life in a different culture, but the always "questioned" life of attachment parenting and being an active part of their learning while also being a working parent. I love the idea of a terrace garden! We live in an apartment, I think we may need to implement this idea!

Anonymous said...

I am sending my partner to read your post! He's always concerned with how to remain an attached, involved parent while holding down two jobs and you seem to be doing it beautifully.

Unknown said...

Wow, thank you for sharing your story--I learned so much! It sounds like your daughter has full and enriching days with her yayas, and then with you when you get home. Wonderful!

Anonymous said...

What a great story! It reminds me of things that I can do as a parent, even as I try to be as hands-on as possible. I'm envious that you've found a good yaya (that's still on my wishlist). Cheers!

Eliza said...

Thanks so much for this. Basti is only 4 months old but I'm already reading up on homeschooling to prepare myself for the years ahead!!

Lauren Wayne said...

I totally agree with your perspective. I think children can and should attach to other adult caregivers who are a consistent, loving presence in their lives. Since we work, I've also had dreams of hiring a nanny, but since we work from home in a small space, it would be awkward, not to mention the high cost here. I really think it can work out well, though, if your caregiver has many of your same values and a lot of energy for the children, which it sounds like your yaya does! Thanks for sharing.

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