We’ve all jokingly (or not) fantasized about living and looking like a celebrity. But if you’re a mom, you know that real life is far from being glitzy. In fact, you might even say it’s unglamorous.
Not for Grace Baldomar Delos Santos, though! This stay-at-home-mom of four finds beauty in the chaos (literally, if you’re taking care of three toddlers and a teenager!), and she’s found a way to “copy” celebrities’ fancy lifestyles — and inject it with a hilarious “mommy” twist. She uploads the photos on her family’s Facebook page, ‘AJ’s and Me’ — and it’s slowly made the funny momma popular not only in the Philippines but in Canada as well where she and her family reside.
Her favorite celebrity to imitate? Heart Evangelista. “Nag-simula ang lahat nung nag-viral ang ‘corned beef’ video ni Heart,” Grace tells SmartParenting.com.phin an email interview. “Meron akong mommy group na sinalihan kung saan nagkaron kami ng mga challenge na gayahin si Heart. Nag-post ako nung video ko sa group at nagustuhan ng co-mommies ko kaya naisipan kong i-post sa timeline ko. Maraming FB friends ko ang nagsabing i-try kong i-public ‘yung video at ‘yun na nga — nagustuhan ng mga tao!”
Grace’s friends encouraged her to create a Facebook page, so she can post her “good vibes” photos and videos to show celebrity poses and their outfits juxtaposed against photos of her in similar clothes and fulfilling mommy duties.
“Nag-b-browse ako sa Instagram tapos kapag may nakita akong post ng celebrity, bigla ko na lang maiisip, ‘pag nanay ka na, ganito [naman] ang mangyayari sa OOTD (outfit of the day) mo. Hahanap ako ng kaparehang damit at gagayahin,” she explains.
The funny photos are also an excuse to wear the clothes she buys but doesn’t get to use since she’s just at home most of the time. “Mahilig talaga akong mag-OOTD. Ang dami kong damit kasi mahilig akong mag-online shopping kahit alam ko namang hindi ko rin magagamit. Madalas wala naman talaga akong pinupuntahan,” she says.
Grace has four children — Adam Jacie, 13; Ace Jacob, 4; Abram Jared, 2; and Aaron Josiah, 1. Her husband, Albert Joe, 40, has been a caregiver in Canada since 2007, while she and her firstborn were granted permanent residency and moved to the country in 2014.
(Yes, her husband and sons all have the initials AJ, which is why her Facebook page is called “AJs and Me.” “We are the De Los Santoses and we are the jologs version of The Kramers!” says their page. LOL!)
Life with four boys can obviously get hectic, which is why Grace distracts herself with her creative shots. Despite her followers doubling over in laughter with every photo she takes, the 41-year-old mom doesn’t see herself as funny.
“Mas happy siguro ako kaysa funny,” she says. “Nagiging funny ako sa ibang tao kasi siguro nag-re-reflect lang ‘yung pagiging happy ko sa mga post ko. Masayahing tao kasi talaga ako; ginagawa kong positive ang mga bagay na negative para sa iba.”
Her photos are relatable because it’s what most moms go through, and it’s a far cry from the seemingly perfect snaps of a celebrity’s life. From cleaning up after her kids’ mess, folding mountains of freshly laundered clothes, giving the kids a bath, and cleaning the bathroom, she does all these tasks in her best outfits — because why not, right?
“Pagod. Emote. Hugas. Laba. Vacuum. Alaga. Then sleep. And then repeat,” she captions one of her photos. It’s exhausting to be a mom, so you cling to the things that make you happy.
After getting married, Grace admits she became dependent on her husband, and it took a toll on her well-being, especially when they first moved to Canada. “Nung bagong dating ako dito sa Canada, akala ko masisiraan na ako ng ulo,” she shares. “Dumating ako sa punto na umiiyak ako na bakit ganito ang naging takbo ng buhay ko. Nakapagtapos naman ako ng pag-aaral pero bakit nakakulong lang ako dito sa bahay at nagpapakaalila sa asawa at mga anak ko.”
Grace could not help but compare herself to friends and acquaintances with seemingly better lives. “Ang sasaya nila at ang gaganda ng career nila, bakit ako hindi?”
She admits that even her husband and sons could tell something was weighing on her. “Ang bigat-bigat ng araw ko ‘pag nag-d-drama ako,” she shares, adding that why she started taking funny photos in the first place.
Soon after her photos gained a following, Grace experienced a change in perspective. “Narealize ko na hindi ko dapat hinahanap ‘yung wala sa akin. Wala man akong magandang career at hindi man ako nakaka-travel goals tulad ng mga nakikita ko sa mga post ng social media friends ko, may masaya at buong pamilya naman ako,” she shares. “May mga anak akong kinagigiliwan ng marami at may asawa akong hindi man ni-li-like ang mga post ko ay responsable at higit sa lahat ako lang ang maganda sa paningin niya!”
If there’s one thing that Grace has learned, it’s that happiness is a choice. And she wants to spread that message to all the stay-at-home moms like her.
“Gusto kong makita nila na kahit anong hirap ng sitwasyon, magiging madali basta tatanggapin nila ang lahat ng magaan [sa kalooban]. Piliin nilang maging masaya. May mangyayari ba kung lagi silang aangal sa sitwasyon na meron sila? Hindi mo mahahanap ang happiness mo kung naka-focus ka sa mga bagay na wala sa buhay mo,” she shares.
“Gumawa ka ng paraan para maging masaya ka — hanapin mo ‘yung happiness mo. Mahalin at yakapin mo kung ano man ang meron ka ngayon. Kapag naging kuntento ka na, makikita mo ang happiness mo,” Grace says.