Trying to do it all

 

 

We just got back from a month-long vacation in our other home, Toronto. Travel is such a great opportunity to learn and be inspired. I’m so glad that our kids see it that way too. However it can also create so much imbalance in your real life, if you don’t take care of business.

Example, my kids and husband were on vacation mode, but I, on the other hand, still had to deal with writing deadlines and product concepts. Because my work is digital, I could be anywhere in the world and still publish. The key to enjoying your vacation, is to make sure to get all the work out of the way early so you don’t have this dark cloud looming over you. And that I did. Check out our recent visit to Toronto.

 

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Toronto’s skyline has changed so much.  It has been experiencing a condo/skyscraper boom! I can no longer see the landmarks I love like the ones by Mies van der Rohe, Royal York and the gold building.

 

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In Toronto’s Casa Loma.

 

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We maximised our park and playground time.

 

There are many things I try to look forward to after the end of a fantastic vacation. Instead of getting sad about missing family and the spontaneity of life during travels, I use this time to get myself excited about my work, my regular life, and my home. Though as a mother to three kids, I can’t exactly just focus on my work and myself. I have to organize my kids’ lives first – especially during the school year. It’s a crazy balancing act that works itself out somehow.

It gets overwhelming when I think of all the things I have to do in different segments of my life. It’s not like I can compartmentalize each segment. They all flow into each other. I have a home office that doubles as the kids’ study room. I have a kitchen that doubles as my blog office. And my closet has become some sort of supply room from all the samples sent to me. I manage my home, with the help of very good staff. But I’m still that person who has to think of menus, grocery lists, baon, doctors’ appointments, driver’s schedule while trying to meet deadlines, negotiating at meetings, and doing my job as a corporate emcee and host. I cook, I give my kids baths, and I make sure Patrick and I have lots of together time.

Here’s what the balancing act looks like —

 

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My work table at home.

 

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Prototypes of DAPHNE & National Book Store in my kitchen — because my kitchen doubles as an office. I love the light here.

 

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In my professional life, I emcee high-profile/corporate events, and I’m a TV presenter. I do not miss the days of producing and hosting a weekly show by myself. Now my time is more flexible. And I get to do top quality work of my choice. This was when I hosted a benefit for Typhoon Haiyan with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian.

 

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When I hosted the anniversary event of Etihad, with CEO James Hogan.

 

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When I hosted the grand launch gala of City of Dreams.

 

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Hair and make up time, also doubles as time to catch up on emails and some writing.

 

I often get asked at interviews, “How do you do it?” The truth is, I do not know. Everything just happens. I do not have a concrete system. I basically just make lists and try to tick off as much from that list as I can during the day. I spent a lot of my 30’s making do with very little sleep. That is something I am not very proud of. Whether you are a mom or not, please, do not scrimp on sleep. Your body needs to heal and recharge. Get enough sleep.

Here are a few tips on how I keep myself in top form in order to run my little enterprises, manage my home, take care of my family, and make sure I am healthy.

1. I avoid getting sick by keeping my immunity strong. The rainy season has set in, and the common cold lurks around the corner. No one wants to be set back by a cold, flu, or other infectious diseases. The most important habit I have (and have instilled on my kids) is to wash my hands with soap and water all the time. It is one of the best ways to stop the spread of diseases. And to top it up, I boost my immunity by taking multivitamins every day.

 

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Remember when I took that trip to New Zealand and brought some Conzace with me? It helped keep my immunity up in the cold winter weather.

 

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Multivitamins can help you fight off possible viruses and infections. I make sure to shield myself from catching a cold by taking multivitamins.

 

2. No matter how busy I am, I have committed to doing pilates at least twice a week. I do this in the morning before I start my day. My advice is for you to find the time that works best for you. My afternoons are unpredictable, so I prefer to get it out of the way in the mornings. Do not underestimate the power of a clear mind and strong body to uplift your spirit and productivity.

 

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Pilates at Options Studio.

 

3. I avoid processed food. We still have fast food whenever it’s totally unavoidable, but this happens very seldom. I prepare healthier snacks and lunch for my kids (will have courage to share soon), and I usually make a bit more for my husband and me. I also have maintained my commitment to green-juicing. I have a cold presser and I religiously juice – cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, carrot, ginger, green apple and whatever greens I find in my fridge and the grocery.

 

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Green juice gives me a jolt every morning. I take a glass daily, first thing in the morning. Then after twenty minutes, I have a regular breakfast. I don’t believe in skipping meals.

 

4. I do not work at night anymore. I used to write during those precious quiet times when everyone was asleep. I’d still have to wake up when the whole house woke up so I ended up being very sleep-deprived. Not a good thing. I stopped that. Now I sleep, sleep, sleep. Wake up early. Get things done. Working from bed is also very bad for your neck. More on that later.

 


No more working in bed.

 

5. Daily quiet time helps a lot. I start and end my day in prayer. Sometimes the busier I am, the more I need to unplug from the digital world, hide from the real world, and just sit still. I have a favourite chapel that I go to. I also make sure to connect with nature. There is a lack of public parks and open spaces in the city. We knew this decades ago. So my husband and I worked towards making sure we always have access to nature – beach, mountain, farm. That’s where I find stillness and calm.

 


I love sitting in chapels. We all have our way of praying. I find that being in a quiet space helps me find my centre and strengthen my faith.

 


City life can take a toll on us. I make sure we make time for fresh air in our little rural plot.

 


My happy place. This is home to us. We come here to get recharged so we can do what we do.

 

I’m curious to know how you keep it together. How do you balance your work, passions and family responsibilities? How do you keep yourselves healthy? Are you as conscious about immunity as I am?

 

 

Leave a comment

  • Jessica Jaye

    Great share here! Being a working mom myself, I always check articles like these to learn something & maybe share sentiments about the juggling act we do. The exercise, i’m missing out on – i should do that. and the working late into the night – i should stop that too. And thanks for mentioning about the multivitamins. Glad you advocate that as I have a lot of friends who don’t want to take multivitamins our of fear of gaining weight. But i say, we cannot possibly get all the vitamins we need with the food we eat. Looking forward to more articles on working mommy tips. :-)

    • Anonymous

      I will be sharing some exercises you can do from your chair while working…. Even if you don’t have time to exercise, take a few minutes to move around.

  • Karla F. Santos

    I love this post! Thanks for the reminder to take care of ourselves and to pray :) Im a very busy mom (of three girls!), im involved in the parents group of the school, and I work full time with the businesses. Yes, women are multi-taskers! I know what you mean about balancing everything and that there is no clear cut way but we all manage. I have *tried* to integrate exercise/aerobic activity more often (I bring my kids to school and walk home as much as I can — that’s a daily 40minute walk, if I can manage) and now that I am hitting 40 soon, I know I need to take in vitamin supplements, more fruits and veggies in my diet too. Of course, trying to really spend more quality time with my girls. And I agree with prayer. It makes one calm, focused and secure. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Anonymous

      Wow Karla, I know how busy you are! And you are so active in your kids’ school! I forgot to mention that this year I also took on a position in my girls’ school. So that’s another thing I have to add to my commitments. Haha. But it’s all good. It’s all for Him and because of Him. Grateful always.

      • Karla F. Santos

        Oh wow! Good luck to us! (Im also looking forward to your recipes! 😀 )

  • Marian Usman-Ocampo

    Wow…thanks Daphne for sharing, indeed an inspiration for a
    working mom like me.

    I am also person with multiple hats – mom, wife, sister,
    daughter, friend, IT professional, individual. And I guess what keeps me steady
    and going aside from malunggay pills, a lot of reading, prayer and everyday
    dose of happiness from my family especially the kids.

    • Anonymous

      Nothing beats a daily dose of happiness.

      Yay to keeping our immunity up.

  • Joanne Benitez

    Great blog today Daphne! I’m getting a lot from these tips here. Thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for dropping by!

  • Mieke Zamora-Mackay

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. I am sure your fans got a kick out of that glimpse into your life. Vitamins are a must, especially for us here.

    • Anonymous

      Aww, thanks for reading my stuff Mieke. See you soon.

  • Bituin Callanta

    Great post! Thanks for sharing how you keep in tip-top shape :) I try to include all these things in my daily day flow (because our family schedule can get erratic), especially having quality/quiet time with myself. Oh, and yes to try being excited to go back to your usual routine after a vacation!

    • Anonymous

      thanks!

  • Elna Smith

    Lovely post. Daphe, you’re a super mom! I have great admiration for you and everything you do (as a mother, UNICEF Ambassador, etc.) Huge hug from London. ??

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Elna. You are a sweet friend. Hope you are well.

  • http://theweekendtraveller.com Dheza – The Weekend Traveller

    Beautiful post Ms. Daphne. I have been missing these kind of blog posts from you. Great tips as well. I totally agree with enough sleep, exercise and finding your happy place. Balance is key to everything. When I realized I am working too much and was just always stressed about it, I started changing by making the bedroom off-limits to all mobile devices. It’s not very nice to end and start the day overwhelmed by what’s on your phone (and that’s usually everything, from work to social life).

    • Anonymous

      Yes that is a great tip. I’m still trying to learn that. Haha.

  • Anonymous

    you are awesome!

    i relied on my phone calendar but in my recent travels, it screwed up the dates. and when i got back i actually missed some appointments. so I’m back to moleskine.

  • Anonymous

    thank you!

    you can do it!!

  • April San Pedro

    I really love reading your blog Daphne. Especially when you give us a glimpse of your everyday life. I also ask the same question to my mommy friends. I am not a mom yet and sometimes it’s just so hard to balance my day already. That is why I look up moms like super moms because it’s not easy but you guys were able to do it.

    I do boxing and yoga to keep the stamina going. I also take vitamins everyday. Although, when you said startin and ending the day with prayer most especially during busy times, I got inspired with that. I wanna learn how to do that as well…

    Thank you for sharing this Daphne…