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Motherhood Mondays: Chely Esguerra of ChannelGood, Inc. and MamaHeart on Finding Balance

 

When I gave birth to my first child, I found that juggling all my responsibilities as a wife, mom, employee/business owner, daughter, friend, etc. became a thousand times harder than when I was sans-child. Mommy guilt set in pretty quickly and it took me some time before settling on a schedule that worked for our family. For this series called “Finding Balance”, I thought it would be interesting to hear from moms with different jobs and their experiences on finding their own work/life balance.

Chely is a consultant and founder of a communications outfit, ChannelGood, Inc. which helps advocacy-driven organizations and projects tell their stories and reach their target audience. She is also the blogger behind MamaHeart, which is filled with powerful and enlightening stories of women and their joys and struggles through motherhood. She lives with her husband and two sons, Adi who is four years old and Andres who is turning one. Here’s how she attempts to find balance…

 

Why did you start a blog?

I’ve been blogging since dial-up internet felt like the most progressive thing but I hopped online homebases more times than I can count. MamaHeart, my most recent adventure on the world wide web, is something I’d like to be ‘for keeps’ but I’ve been told by a teacher that believing that anything is permanent can be a source of suffering so I’m enjoying it for what it is now. It took me over half a year to setup this blog because the want to blog again struck during the height of my Post Partum Depression (PPD) and writing without sounding like the world’s worst whiner took a million ctrl+alt+del to get to. The reason I pressed on is because I find that there is healing that comes with the celebration of collective strength vulnerability, something I’d like to keep writing about with the help of fellow moms. 
 
What’s your work schedule like?
My work schedule is something I’m not so proud of. Weekdays: let’s just say I try to be up by 4am, out of the house by 5:30am to avoid traffic, and fighting my best to get back home by dinner. I’m working on my time management and ability to prioritize because all too often, I find myself having to deal with work tasks that spill into the wee hours of the night. Sometimes, I end up napping in the car in random parking lots just to get my brain together. Like I said, I’m not so proud of this and am determined to get this sorted this 2015.
Did you ever feel jealous of your yaya?

Not really. The dominant feeling was more of guilt — that I’m not able to spend time at home. I started seeing a life coach and she helped me deal by taking me through a schedule that allows me to spend quality time with my kids everyday. 

 

When do you typically spend time with your kids?
When I’m good with my timekeeping, I’m home evenings of weekdays and all weekend. Since my work schedule is also sometimes flexible, sometimes I get to bring Adi to school and spend the day working at home. 
What do you like best about your current setup?
When all deadlines are met, we get to declare easy work days at home.
What do you find tricky/so-so/really bad about your current setup?
To be completely honest and the risk of sounding like I’m ranting, what we have now isn’t my favorite setup and my prayer is that I figure out and stick with one that works with my family as key priority and not like I’m just trying to find time to squeeze them in. The great news is I think this isn’t impossible and can happen.

 

How do you and your husband fit marriage into the balance?
We don’t have a set time-together formula but during the week, we find time to spend with each other even if it’s just going to and from work together. Sometimes, we take advantage of avoiding the traffic by going on dinner dates. When we can, we set deliberate time aside to just be together and I must say, these opportunities are previous. Another thing that I wouldn’t exchange for anything is the conversation that we try to constantly have: whether it’s just about the most random funny things or the things that we’re standing with each other in prayer for. 
Do you have any time for yourself?
I used to have unrealistic expectations of “Me Time” but now, I find pockets of these when I can, so yes, I do. I’ve also learned to acknowledge them when they’re happening. Say for example, a quick workout, reading a chapter of a book, squeezing Instagram time during traffic, enjoying a new soap during shower, lunch alone on a workday, or just having coffee and staring into space before our household wakes up. 
What advise would you give to other moms to achieve work-life balance?

I’m not going to speak for every mom but I’ve come to admit that there’s no such thing as work-life balance, haha. I’m also not the most successful at managing time but an advice I would invite you to explore is working at our schedule the other way around: schedule “life” in our calendar first then work next. I know there are bills to be paid and the situation can feel like work needs to consume our soul but take a moment to consider how we may just be in charge of all these and that we can work our way to a setup that lets us enjoy our one and only life with what matters most to us.

 

Thank you so much, Chely.

 

How do you juggle your own time? What struggles do you face in your journey of finding work/life balance?
 

Wife and mom of 3 based in London. Born and raised in Manila. Blogging about motherhood and fitness.

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