Earlier this month, we wrote about a study that showed women who voluntarily stayed home and those who willingly worked outside the home had higher satisfaction levels and were the most psychologically healthy. If they were forced into their status, the women were — no surprise — unhappy.
We posted the link on our Facebook page, and the comments section quickly filled up with stay-at-home moms and working mothers who were right where they want to be and those who needed to work or stay at home, voicing their sentiments on the piece.
"My ultimate dream is to become a full-time mom. It'll make me happier. I just can't. Kasi kailangan magtrabaho," Lea Claire Maestrecampo Nonales wrote.
Mary Rose Bunagan Leal suggested the root of the issue is really about money. "Financial struggle is equal to unhappy mom. I am so grateful that I am hands-on to my daughter. She's growing so well and happy, but the stress is still there."
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Many moms were happy to give up their careers for their kids. "I'm one of those [moms] who was forced to stay at home. It's really hard, yes! Pero 'pag nanay ka na at walang ibang mag-aalaga sa mga bata, i-set aside mo na lang ang dreams mo para sa mga anak mo," wrote Charlotte Ysobel.
Some moms are happy to be present in their kids formative years, but will still soon go back to work to help bring home the bacon. "[The] financial struggle is real. Soon mag-work na uli ako, and I am sure mami-miss ko...na magkasama kami lagi ng baby ko at sumalubong sa pag-uwi ng asawa ko," Rhea Francisco-Alaurin shared.
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Other stay-at-home moms say they want to work just to get a break. "It’s not always a financial issue needing to work or needing to feel fulfilled like you are contributing to society. Some mothers want to work to give them a break from home," user Lisa Dbl added.
Madel Perlas agreed. "Good household help doesn't come easy, so I need to stay and take care of my son. I just wish I can home some few hours or just a day of rest to take a breather and relax."
One mom, Lotus Mahalimuyak, suggested that moms would be happier if their partners supported them more. "A very good emotional, spiritual and psychological support from a husband will make things better. Most of the time moms don't get enough support of all sorts from their partners. It's hard and sad when being 'nasa bahay' means 'walang ginagawa' [for other people]" she wrote.
Several moms offered words of encouragement and tips to fellow mothers, whether they're staying home or working, to improve their financial situation.
Jo Tan said, "[I] am also forced to stay at home, but I can still be productive also by selling some items online. catching up with some friends and still be able to do my responsibilities as a wife and mom."
"Find a home-based job, mommies, or a small business in your home (like an online business). May online courses naman if you want to pursue studies. I did, and it's fulfilling," shared Shiela Advincula-Jornales. "There are ways for us to balance everything for our family. As a person, women should find their own fulfillment also, for their personal growth. It's not being selfish. However, be happy whatever your choice is. Happiness is a choice," she added.
Twinmom Melay stressed, "That's why its important that before you go into marriage and have children napag-usapan nyo ng mag-asawa kung ano ang plano nyo. If ayaw mag-working mom o ayaw mag-stay at home. Pero kailangan din syempre flexible ka lalo na ang mga babae kasi wala naman tayong maggagawa minsan ang mga anak na natin ang magdidikta kung kailangan na nating i-give up ang career."
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"Whatever we decide to do as a mom, the key is balance. Have a 'me' time, still do things you love to do. And, of course, having a kind and supportive partner/spouse totally helps to be a happy wife," Jasmin Gale wrote.
Julia Kurose-Linsangan suggested, "Either full time, overseas or working moms have downfall days, and it's normal. Let's avoid looking at things negatively, mga momshies. Always look up. Our sacrifices will be worth it."
The fact that the results of the study resonated with many Filipina moms points to what we all need: more child care options, better work opportunities for both moms and dads, a good work-life balance, and some much-deserved pampering, rest, or relaxation. It's hard not to have everyone agree on that.