Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Good Way to Meet other Moms

I was looking for a music school for Kimi about 2 weeks ago when I came across Kidspot. It is a website offering mothers different articles on being a mother, a wife, and a woman. It has loads of information from pregnancy to the different stages of baby development - toddler, preschool, and school age. There are also several tools that you can utilise such as pregnancy journal, ovulation calculator, due date calculator, kid's activity finder, baby name finder, etc. And, of course the feature that attracted me most making me go back and regularly visit the site is the Kidspot Social. It gives me a chance to communicate with other mothers who share the same passion and think of what is good for their babies.

The groups inKidspot Social gives me the space to share and learn more about the culture and ways of life in Australia. It offers me an idea how other mothers are coping with child rearing and what activities keep them preoccupied when they give up their full-time job to look after their kids. It also gives me a chance to gain new acquaintances whom I can share my thoughts and hopefully develop into good friendships.

If you are a mom like myself, you might like the site too! See you there and let's explore!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Give me that leave!

At the moment, the Australian government is providing a maternity allowance or the more popularly known "Baby Bonus." It was intended to help the family for the baby's initial needs like clothes, blankets, cot, feeding bottles, milk, etc. Babies born on or after 1 July 2008 receive AU$5,000, which is regularly adjusted for inflation rate.

When Kimi was born 7 months ago, we applied to receive this assistance. The form was enclosed in a kit given by the hospital together with the birth registration application forms, and immunisation information. The application form is a bit lengthy as you need to establish a Centrelink/Family Assistance case account/number. It required visa and passport details, income details, bank details, spouse details, and of course the baby's details and the proof of the child's birth registration. So, we submitted the birth registration form of Kimi prior to applying the "baby bonus." At that time, we got roughly AU$4,100. We put it in Kimi's bank account, reserving for his future needs espcecially for his education. It was a good incentive and a good assistance to starting families especially to new migrants.

However, there is still lacking. There is no paid maternity leave yet put in place. For a developed country, it is quite surprising since even less developed countries have at least 30 days of paid maternity leave. Philippines has 60 days paid maternity leave; Indonesia has 3 months; Bangladesh has 12 weeks; and the list goes on. I reckon it is time for Australia to make the big leap of mandating paid maternity leave, which at the moment is only offered by bigger companies as benefits to their employees. This big move will encourage more women to have kids and will create a more nurturing environment for babies and families.

So, please give mothers and soon-to-be-mums that 18 weeks of paid maternity leave!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cut it short, please!

Since I came to Sydney then moved to Geelong, I have not had a haircut until a week ago. It was the first time I had not had a haircut for longer than a year. If my mom had not told me that I look more mature, I would not have had my hair cut. But, I have actually been thinking weeks before if I should really have it cut.

First, I am apprehensive of the style of cut they do here especially the less expensive ones, those that charge less than $20. A friend, trying to spend less, got a haircut for $10 on the "specials" day. It was too bad that she had it re-done after a few days and spent $10 more. Second, I don't know any decent, "reasonable" salon in Geelong. I know, I should have asked my former colleagues at my previous work, they were having a haircut at least once in 2 months so probably they can refer me to their hairdressers. But, the shy side of me did not bother to ask since I have not seen them for a couple of months now. I felt too awkward to ask where I could have my haircut. So, I planned to have it cut in Sydney in early August where my husband's relatives go. But, we ran out of time. There were more important things to do and it was difficult to fit all of them in just 1.5 days. Darn! I was left with no choice but just leave my hair long.

When I forwarded my son's photos to my mom, she phoned to tell me my son is so cute and that my hair so long that it makes me so mature. She actually discussed about my hair longer than she discussed about my son. Imagine that? So, I felt the urgency; I don't want people to tell me that I already looked "losyang" after having a baby. I went to a salon in town to have it cut. When the girl asked what I want, I said, "Cut it SHORT and layered, please." She asked, "Are you sure? It's already long." I answered back, "Yes, cut it short, please."

For whatever reason, styling your hair, cutting it short gives a certain level of satisfaction. I can't blame girls who just broke up with their significant other resort to doing something with their hair. It's that sense of sudden satisfaction that warms the heart.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lucky Girl

It's been a little over a year since I came to Australia. A year full of blessings and surprises that I have so many things to be thankful for. I made a list of the top 10, although, I know that there are more.
  1. I have a gorgeous, healthy baby boy born in February. He is 5 months now, growing well everyday. I can't wait to see him again when I visit him in his grandmother's place in Sydney. Why he is there is another story. But, I'm happy that he is well taken care of by his nonna instead of us bringing him everyday in a childcare centre.
  2. Got myself a cute, sweet, and loving husband who despite of the difficulty of moving to Geelong still opt to stay with me. We've also been thinking that he should move back to Sydney to be with our son while I fulfill my visa conditions until late 2009 or early 2010.
  3. I have a supportive family-in-law especially a great mother-in-law. She stayed 3 months in Geelong when we had our baby.
  4. I got nice and friendly colleagues in my first job at Chartwell. They are very supportive to me from being a new migrant to getting married to being a new mom. I will always keep in touch.
  5. I was "adopted" by generous and helpful Filipino-Australian families in Geelong. They welcomed me with open arms eventhough they just knew me through the phone and the internet.
  6. My husband and I are renting a cosy place and we are slowly filling it up with the necessary appliances and furniture - new and seconds from friends and St. Vincent de Paul. We have covered the basics and I am happy with that.
  7. After the closure of the first company I have worked with, I managed to get a temporary job in 2-3 weeks and a permanent job in 5 weeks. It is a new industry to me but the work is still related to my qualifications and I love it!
  8. My small and big families are happy and in good health. We managed to enjoy short trips, picnics, orange picking, and dining out without busting our budget. I am already thrilled for our future trips when we get our driving license soon.
  9. I am coping well with the new environment, new culture, new life, and new responsibilities as a new migrant, new wife, and new mom. I am learning to cook and clean, things I did not do much before I migrated. Aside from the burnt brownies I did a month ago, I can say Im doing well overall. :D
  10. I gained new friends whom I would like to know more and hang out with. It would be good if we can see them more often.

People say I'm a lucky girl and I'm thankful for that. Thus, I am paying it forward to other migrants in my own little ways.