A Broke Mom’s Game Plan to Stay Afloat in 2019 – Part 1

A Broke Mom’s Game Plan to Stay Afloat in 2019 – Part 1

BROKE. That’s me. My meager monthly income after salary deductions (to pay off loans), can barely keep my family afloat. Thank God for hubby’s income from his small veterinarian practice, we do get by. But only on a day to day basis. We have no savings, no emergency fund. We are barely able to do repairs around the house. This destitute reality hit me hard when my kids got sick and we had to get a loan so that we could provide medical attention.

That was just a low point in my life. It sucked to be helpless, and I wallowed in self-pity. I felt that I failed my children. I failed as a mother. One, for failing to keep them away from sickness and two, for not being ready when sickness comes to them.

I was so worried sick when Lucas was diagnosed with pyelonephritis (googling about it made it worse) and Joachim was having on and off fever after getting a viral infection just less than two weeks ago. I lost my focus at work and I became a nervous and emotional wreck.

I vowed to myself that when this storm passes, I will do my best to protect my children and be more hands on and strict. And most of all, to be financially ready for this kind of emergencies. After assessing our lifestyle and spending pattern, I have created a game plan with the goal of living off with our humble family income and being able to take aside something for savings and the emergency fund.

Here’s part 1 of my game plan:

No more toy purchases.

Now this is very hard on the kids, I know. However, I am frustrated on how much money we have spent on buying toys, and when it adds up, the money could have been spent on more important things or saved. It also doesn’t help that the kids are not mindful of their toys and does not seem to care for it after a few days when the novelty wanes.

Recently, I made a decision to buy Joachim a toy set worth 1,000 pesos. On a previous visit to Toys R Us, he saw this toy set with a hard plastic backpack, containing a road track and mini soldiers. He asked me to buy it but I declined seeing that the toy cost one thousand pesos. It is just expensive for a toy. I could see that the wanted it so bad. After a few weeks, we went back to the toy store, just after Lucas’s checkup, without Joachim. I had this impulse to buy him that toy. Truth be told, I wanted to see him happy when I finally hand him the toy. Also, I was a bit guilty that we left him at home and wanted to make up for it.

When we gave him the toy, he was ecstatic. But soon enough, I observed that he wasn’t taking good care of it and was not conscious about losing the small parts. I realized that at his age, he still cannot understand the monetary value that comes with the toys that we buy for him. 

To compensate for the “no buying of toys rule”, I will be introducing crafts to my boys using available scrap materials around just like cartons from packaging, dried leaves, stones, twigs, old magazines and other stuff lying around the house. This is a good thing for the kids as their creativity is nurtured while bonding with mom and dad. I also told them that they can buy toys when they earn money from selling used plastic bottles to the recycling station. That way, they may learn the value of hard earned money.

Pay with cash.

One thing that has been dragging our finances is my credit card outstanding balance. I am guilty of online shopping and using my card for dining out with family. I have also used it for groceries when I was cash strapped, only to have the amount swiped earning interest every month because I wasn’t able to pay it off. Not a good way to use the credit card. It will send you down the rabbit hole of debt.

A better option would be terminating the credit card, however, I acknowledge that the credit card is very useful if you know how to use it. It was a lifesaver when I had to buy the IV antibiotics for Lucas’ medication when we were out of cash. I am keeping my card but I am determined to pay off my credit card debt as soon as possible. And that means I have to pay cash as much as I can.

Only buy what is needed.

I have bought make-up that I have never used, bike helmets for the kids when they don’t have bikes, bottle steamer, expensive cloth diapers, breast pumps and other baby stuff that I didn’t use as much.  I also bought a lot of children’s books when the kids’ favorite bedtime stories is less than 5.

The money spent on things you don’t need adds up. And like money spent on toys, it could have been saved or used to buy the essentials.

I acknowledge that I’m a bit of a hoarder and I’m determined to overcome it and become more conscious of what I buy. I pledge to buy only the things my family needs and that means those “things” will be used frequently.

Turn down energy consumption.

When our refrigerator, rice cooker and the remote control of the TV broke down, our monthly electricity bill was reduced by 50%. I was amazed at the cut and paying our monthly electricity bill was always light on the pocket.  It’s been 5 months since the ref broke and we are pondering on going ref-free or purchasing an energy efficient refrigerator. For now, we have survived without the ref so I guess, we can survive without it. However, there are times that we miss the convenience of having it, so let’s see how this goes.

It is really cool that the savings adds up and the extra money can be used for other things. Right now, I am looking for other ways to save energy, and I am taking advantage of the cooler weather so that we may minimize the use of the electric fan during night time.

There you go, my top four on my game plan to “survive” the “broke” spell. I’m just a broke mom, but not broken, so I’m hanging on! Stay tuned for part 2 of this post. If you have tips on how to survive the broke spell I am in, please do share in the comments section. I would love to hear it!

XOXO

The Promdi Mommy

Winning In Weaning: 6 Things I Got Back After My Toddler Weaned From Nursing

Winning In Weaning: 6 Things I Got Back After My Toddler Weaned From Nursing

I have been lactating for 5 years. 2 kids and 5 freaking years (5 years and 8 months to be exact)! I just have to give myself a pat on the back for that. My first child Joachim, weaned when he was just a little past 3 years old. I had a newborn then and while I dreamed of tandem nursing, the nursing aversion which I had whilst pregnant with number two, didn’t go away.  I was jealous of the mothers who were tandem nursing. In the breastfeeding community that I was in, tandem nursing or even “triandem” nursing 3 kids!) nursing was just GOALS!

 

I was able to tandem nurse for just about 3 months. It didn’t work out with us because the aversion was just making it hard for me. So I had to wean my first child, Joachim. It wasn’t the first attempt though because when I was pregnant with baby number two, Lucas, I experienced Nursing Aversion that became unbearable during the third trimester. During that time, I had to push Joachim who was 2 years old then, away from nursing from me. Aversion plus guilt plus toddler meltdowns plus pregnancy hormones are one combo that mom and child should never have to experience. But sadly, sometimes, this is what happens to mom and child in their breastfeeding journey, especially when the mother is pregnant.

 

With Lucas, we made it to three years. When he was a baby, I brought him with me to work every day until he was 1 year and 6 months. When I finally left him at home, I started to pump at work and leave my expressed milk for him to consume during the day. However, after just two days, he stopped drinking the expressed milk and would just wait for me to come home to nurse. I wasn’t worried at all because he was eating food well. So I stopped expressing at work. When he was 2 years and 6 months, I have noticed that my breasts were getting flatter by the day.  And I don’t hear my son swallowing anymore. So I figured that my supply was almost gone and he was just comfort nursing.

 

When he turned 3, I knew that it was time for him to wean from nursing. After two to three times of declining his demands and by firmly but calmly refusing, he finally accepted the fact that mommy is done. He wasn’t happy about it so I made sure to make it up to him by giving him extra cuddles, hugs, kisses and carried him every time he asks.

 

So, Lucas was finally weaned! And here are a few things I’ve reclaimed since my little sport weaned from nursing.

 

1. Freedom to travel

 

If I have to stay overnight out of town, I was always worried. The first time I went out of town away from Lucas, my husband called me in the middle of the night because Lucas was crying and inconsolable. It broke my heart to hear my son crying for “Mommy” for almost an hour on the phone.

 

2. Sleep

 

Lucas would nurse repeatedly throughout the night. When he finally weaned and slept through the night, I was so happy! For the first time in almost 6 years, I received the gift of sleep again. So grateful for it, I could cry.

 

 

3. My Sex Drive

 

I’d never thought I’ll get it back! If you ask me five months ago what I would prefer, sex or sleep? I would say “sleep” in a beat. I had zero desire in making love with my husband and we had occasional rifts because of that. But now? Let’s just say me and the hubby are on our second honeymoon. Wink wink.

 

4. Some Pounds

 

Breastfeeding is a calorie buster. Since I’m not making milk anymore, the calories have decided to camp in my tummy. Yes, they have grown bigger.

 

5. Flatter Chest

 

And while my tummy went bigger, sadly, my breasts returned to their normal state of puniness. When I got pregnant, I was delighted when my breasts grew bigger. And you can just imagine how I felt when my breasts are engorged. It was a bittersweet moment. Bitter because of the discomfort. Sweet because they looked lovely! Lol!

 

6. More Freedom

 

I have been drinking more coffee, not worried about too much caffeine in my system. I have been able to travel, knowing that my son will not be waking up in the middle of the night crying out for me. I have been indulging in my sport, Ultimate, pushing my body to the limits, knowing that even if my body is tired, I won’t be worrying about my supply going down.

 

I’ve read a lot of breastfeeding mothers being sad when their nurslings weaned. Although our weaning was mom-led, my child was able to wean after three to five instances of meltdowns with me by his side, explaining calmly and firmly, that it is time to stop.

 

And I’ve never been happier. My son may not have wanted it to end yet, but it was time for mom.

 

 

Here’s what’s interesting, because we have stopped nursing, there has been more cuddles, more stories, more playing and more talking. When he was still nursing, when I come home from work, he would immediately pounce on me so he could nurse. We couldn’t do any other activity aside from his constant nursing. And to be honest, I felt tied and bored which later turned into annoyance.

 

Yep, he’s weaned alright. But, there is a BUT. He still holds my nipples from time to time, especially when he goes to sleep or when we cuddle in bed. And squeals and giggles when he sees my breasts. LOL! So much for weaning! My two nurslings both have the same reaction. Maybe they are reminded that when they were new earthlings, they clung to their mother and her breasts to survive their early years in this world. Nothing can take that memory away from them.

 

And in other news in the struggle to normalize breastfeeding: Finally! There is now a breastfeeding emoji on Facebook! This certainly made my day! Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg! Do check it out and use it, it is so cool!

 

How about you mommies? How was your experience when your child was weaned from nursing? Was it child led or mom led? Share your stories in the comments. I would love to hear them!

 XOXO

 The Promdi Mommy

How To Get a PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) Birth Certificate

How To Get a PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) Birth Certificate

The Birth Certificate is a common pre-requisite to a lot of documentary processes not only here in the Philippines but around the world. From enrolling in school and to a Driver’s License application, a Birth Certificate is essential to the process of registration being a valid proof of identity. Most of us have the original of our Birth Certificate, the one from our local registrar, and if you think a photocopy of it is enough, think again. A lot of institutions will require a Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Birth Certificate printed in their special paper called SECPA or security paper with their logo. One example of which is the Department of Foreign Affairs, in the case of acquiring a passport. So, whether we like it or not, in some point of our lives, we will be required to get a PSA Birth Certificate.

In my case, I have to get a PSA Birth Certificate for my son Joachim because I applied for his passport with the DFA.

So, how do you get a PSA issued Birth Certificate? Just follow the steps I outlined below.

Walk-in Application for Birth Certificate

  1. Fill out the PSA Birth Certificate Application Form. You can either go to your local PSA office to get the form or download it online (edit: the downloaded form is not accepted in the local PSA branch here, I had to fill out the same form that came from them) https://www.ecensus.com.ph/Secure/Files/Birth%20Application%20Form.pdf
  2. Pay 140.00 for one copy at the PSA cashier.
  3. Wait for the release of your Birth Certificate, in my case, it took 3 business days. This is because our local PSA branch forwards all applications to the regional PSA office for the printing of the Birth Certificate. If you apply at their regional office, you get it after an hour.
  4. Claim your Birth Certificate at the PSA Branch, bring your receipt and valid I.D.

Online Application for Birth Certificate or E Census

If you are far from a PSA branch, you could apply online and they will send it out to you. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to https://www.ecensus.com.ph/Default.aspx
  2. Click on Step 1 and you will be directed to another page. Take the time to read the notes, then click “click here to request now.”
  3. You will be directed to the Terms and Conditions page, read up and click “I accept” at the bottom.
  4. Next will be filling out the Contact and Delivery Information.
  5. Confirm your details.
  6. After which you will be directed to Requests Summary, click on Birth Certificate.
  7. Fill out the name on the Birth Certificate and other details. If married female, use your maiden name. Click “save” when done.
  8. Confirm the details.
  9. You will be directed to the Requests Summary page. It will show the amount to be paid, the delivery address and contact details. You have the option to add another request such as Marriage Certificate, Death Certificate and CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) in case you want those documents processed together with your current request.
  10. After clicking “submit” you will be directed to the Acknowledgement page where your Batch Request Number will be shown. This information will also be sent to your email.
  11. The next step will be the payment. You have the option to pay through Unionbank or BDO either thru any of their branches or thru their online payment facility if you are enrolled in their online banking. For further information, here’s the link to the FAQs regarding  https://www.ecensus.com.ph/Secure/FAQs.aspx

Birth Certificates DO NOT Expire

In a PSA press statement dated June 30, 2016 , they unequivocally denied the prevailing notion that birth certificates are only valid for a year. According to PSA, they may change their SECPA or security paper but the previously issued birth certificates are still valid regardless of the date issued. I have also talked to a DFA personnel in the Tacloban Regional Office and was informed that they do not require for the Birth Certificate to be issued not more than a year. As long as the PSA Birth Certificate is not torn or mutilated, they will accept it. She also clarified that the requirement for not more than a year issuance was for supporting documents such as the PSA Marriage Contract.

 

Lazada Philippines

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