A Mother’s Monologue

So I have seen you wrote in your college yearbook that your ultimate ambition is to become a mother. Surprise! Here you are—a mother of two beautiful kids.

When you decided to enter and embrace motherhood at 24, I had no doubt you could make it. I have seen you did your research about pregnancy and giving birth. Ah! How dare you watch on You Tube videos on natural birth! You even bought a book on how to raise a baby. From day one to reaching one year old. And then buying another book about toddler stage and more of growing up. How to become an effective parent. How to decode baby’s crying and tantrums. You were brave enough to commute from home to work everyday despite carrying a huge watermelon in your tummy. You were able to withstand being alone at home for a long period of time as your husband’s away for work.

I remember when you gave birth to your first born on the 30th of December, you went home and still managed to cook menu and prepare food for New Year’s eve. That despite bleeding and being physically exhausted, you still pushed yourself to organize the first meal of the new family for the year.

I am amazed how you managed to take good care of your baby like a pro without prior experience but just by merely reading books about parenting. That you were very hands-on, you didn’t want to bug your busy parents to assist you during the first weeks of your new life as a mother.

I have seen you managed your temper and extended your patience 100 folds. Surprisingly, inspite of your nature of deep sleep, you are able to wake up everytime your baby cries for milk or at times of colic attack. I have seen you do the same thing for both kids. And even though, you got two yaya’s for them, you make sure to spend time with them everyday, no matter how tired you are.

I am impressed that you oblige yourself to wake up early so you can cook food for their breakfast and lunch before you dress up and go to work. I would have probably asked the helper do the cooking for me instead! But your justification says, it is your major contribution for the day as a mother since you’ll be out for work the whole day. And you would reiterate, you want to be the one to cook food for your children.

I’ve seen you file extra day-off’s from your office so you could attend to your children’s needs: when sick, in school activities or even during scheduled family bondings when your husband is home. I remember, I asked you to go out for a movie but you declined. You said, you cannot enjoy when you know that there are sweet angels waiting for you at home. Sometimes, you decide to go to the mall to buy shoes or a bag for yourself but you’d (more often than not) end up buying clothes and toys for your kids, instead.

But of course, with your fabulous aura, people may not believe you on that. You’re just good in carrying yourself, like you’re best at matching up old clothes and bags and shoes. Funny, because you want to maximize your time with your kids before you leave your house in the morning, you choose to do your make up in the car. Ah, first stoplight, foundation. Next stoplight, eyebrow. Next stoplight, blush on. Until you reach your destination for the final powder retouch. I would have thought of you spending hours for your vanity! But you are resourceful as ever! You manage to find ways, best in multi-tasking!

Speaking of multi-tasking, I thought you were out of your mind when you decided to pursue your graduate studies. I just couldn’t imagine how you are going to manage your time, your life. You have two kids to attend to, a husband in LDR, a demanding career and then a lot more demanding school works (which leave you sleeping on the table after dinner)??? Slow clap. Slow clap. You survived two semesters, and you still look fab!

Now, why am I saying these things to you? I just want to remind you that you are doing a great job in your dream role! I know there are times when you feel like you’re a failure. When you think, you’re lacking and inadequate as a mother. I could feel your frustrations and stress. Your self-doubt, once in a while. When you think, you suck at time management. More particularly, when you feel you don’t have the power to soothe your restless kid. During those days when you think you have to quit your job. Or perhaps, to quit schooling. Those times, when you feel unappreciated. Whenever you doubt your capacity to fulfill multiple roles. When you breakdown and burst into tears. When you feel so exhausted and drained. I have heard your prayers and your vigor to remain strong. My dear, I am with you.

When you wrote in the yearbook that your ultimate dream is to become a mother, I knew you could make it. There is no perfect Science on parenting. Not everybody will understand how you carry motherhood. How you manage your choices. How you keep yourself sane and balanced. But I do understand you. I am your positive side of the brain telling you to keep going. Whenever you’re lost and feeling down, perhaps suffering from body chemical imbalances, I promise to remind you that you are doing a great job! I keep a record of your sacrifices and the things you let go, just to be the best mom you’ve always wanted to be. I will remind you. Because, I know your love is unconditional, you don’t account, you just love.

Happy Mother’s Day to you, self.

 

Women as Game-changers in the Mining Industry: A geologist’s story

kdigdigan_rocks

I have been in the mining industry for almost ten years – 90 percent of which I have been with my present company. Five years ago, I assumed the post of Resource Geologist and I am currently responsible for creating mineral resource models for the company’s projects. I am also responsible for mine reconciliation studies, estimation of mine life and technical due diligence on prospects. In addition, I conduct field data quality control and occasional fieldwork.

In my line of work, the usual industry pick-up line is: “What is a woman like you doing in an industry like this?” I usually encounter this every time I declare that I am a geologist. And whenever people ask me this question, I would jokingly tell them it is because most men are already taking-up nursing! So I guess it is fair enough that women penetrate and excel in a previously male-dominated profession.

But seriously though, I chose to stay in this profession because in spite of being a woman, I found my place in the mining industry.

Early experiences

As a fresh graduate, it took a while before I convinced my boss to send me to the field. My first stint as a professional geologist was spent conducting grass roots exploration at Mindanao, Philippines.

Together with another female colleague, I was sent to conduct mapping and rock chip sampling. At first, the senior guys on the team were not really comfortable in the company of lady geologists in the field, given all the safety and security concerns as well as risks present in Mindanao. Now, our company did not earn its safety recognitions for nothing. On top of that, the management deeply values its female work force.

But apart from that, we cannot really blame the men for their discomfort. Having female staff in the field meant having to construct separate wash rooms, separate bedrooms, taking more stopovers during travel, needing additional local staff to assist us in carrying rock samples and so on.

But despite all these, we were confident that we could perform at par with the men on the field due to our practical trainings during our years at the National Institute of Geological Sciences of the University of the Philippines. We were trained to conduct geological mapping, use geologic instruments, dig rocks and collect samples on our own. We also admire our lady professors who are field geologists themselves. Aside from the technical know-how, we were also taught what to expect during fieldwork and were trained on how to survive life in the bushes.

While I do acknowledge the significant contribution of many great men to the mining industry, I also believe that women bring great value to the work place. This value contribution is called “intuition.” Female intuition combines forward-thinking, instinct and character with sympathy, consideration and a meticulous attention to detail.

Women bring a lot of “heart” to the workplace. And the men would have to admit that a little female intuition has kept them from making the wrong decisions whether on the job or out of it.

The mining industry acknowledges the fact that women are able to rise-up to the challenge and perform equally well in the field of exploration. In fact, after our first field assignment, my female colleague and I were then assigned to six-week rosters at separate projects to conduct more exploration work such as drilling supervision, core logging and geochemical sampling, among others.

Empowered women

Another milestone in my career was when I landed the opportunity to work abroad and gain more experience and exposure to international best practices.

In 2008, I joined an Australian mining company in Laos. During my tenure as a Mine Geologist at the Copper Project, I felt more empowered seeing how the company recognizes the potential of women. I marveled at Laotian women driving 100-tonner-trucks – women were even trained and allowed to drive around the mine!

I represented my boss in various meetings. I was tasked to draft procedures for the Geology Department. I provided inputs in monthly reports and attended various trainings. Our skills were valued and our minds were constantly challenged. It was a turning point for me as I realized that I DO HAVE a future in this profession.

Changing the game

After acquiring skills from my stint in Laos, I requested to be hired back in my current company. I was then appointed Senior Mine Geologist during the company’s sulphide project in Zamboanga del Norte.

Looking back, the Mines Department was driven by an all-female staff. With me were two mining engineers, three mine geologists, a geodetic engineer and a GIS specialist – all of us women!

Together, we operated the mine, which had a very complicated and massive sulphide orebody. We drafted procedures in grade control, ore mark-up and ore blending. We even re-interpreted the orebody, improved block models and re-designed mine plans. We worked hard to arrive at the optimum ore feed that the mill could process efficiently. Finally, from as low as 11 percent recovery in the mill, we were able to increase the copper recovery to about 95 percent! We were able to convert marginal ore to additional reserves through proper blending. But most of all – and as a result of this – the company was able to produce and meet its shipping requirement schedule.

We knew right then that we were not only breaking into a stereotypical man’s world. We actually made it more fabulous!

The game has definitely changed and it is also largely because of girl power.

Changing court

Now what happens next when you start having kids? Would you still conduct fieldwork? I asked myself these questions upon learning that I was expecting. The game just got more interesting for me…

I actually thought of quitting my job as I did not want to risk my pregnancy on one hand; but on the other hand, I did not want to be called a Senior Mine Geologist who does not go out to the open pit to do grade control. I knew that when I give birth, as a mother, I would prefer to be with my family everyday instead seeing them every six weeks, which my job then entailed. But most of all, my husband is also a geologist who works abroad on a roster like myself.

I am fortunate that the management is very supportive of its staff and is confident in my capabilities and potential as a geologist.  I was then appointed Resource Geologist – a designation assigned to the corporate head office and one that is more suitable for my current status. It is a post I have held for the past five years to date, during which time I have also began studying for my Masters Degree in Economic Geology at UP.

Nonetheless, and despite my changing role in life, I am still aware of how critical my job is. A resource geologist’s projections on the economic potential of certain projects become the basis of the company business strategy. The estimated life of mine, which I declare based on the resource models, affects the overall business model of the company. Owing to this, I take my job as seriously as I take motherhood. A mining project also needs to be molded, to be nurtured and cultivated in order for it to reach its potential.

This, is how a woman treats a project. With a little foresight – and a lot of heart – women are able to change the game and change along with it. Moreover, women are able to innovate and evolve in a progressive industry where the proverbial glass ceiling is a thing of the past.

Today, as the industry faces various challenges, I consider myself fortunate to be part of this defining moment in our corporate history.

The mining industry’s future is going to be an interesting one. And with women on board, I assure you…it’s gonna be fabulous!

 

*The author is currently working for TVI Resource Development Inc. (Phils)., a Canadian mining company with operating mines in the Philippines.

Mommy Talks

David’s Salon– I thought of answering random questions I read from a magazine while my hair’s under repair! Moms out there may also ponder for a few minutes!🙂

What is the best part of your day?

Aside from driving solo which is my me-time, I love watching my kids while sleeping peacefully at night. I kiss their foreheads. I hold their little hands. I kiss their small feet. I embrace them. Love is simply overflowing everytime I do these things. Kids are amazing!

What would you invent to make parenthood easier?

A clone of myself! Or a teleport device, perhaps! Something that would enable me to be there for my kids in an instant! Best for hands-on mom like me!🙂

Any favorite family rituals?

My most favorite activity is the group hug! We often do this while singing Barney’s “I love you. You love me. We’re a happy family…” It’s priceless!

What’s the best lesson you learned from your kids?

One shouldn’t be angry for too long. Forgive, forget and let’s play again like we didn’t fight.

What’s the most surprising thing about parenthood?

You become your child’s biggest fan no matter what!🙂

What’s your proudest mommy moment?

It makes me proud everytime I hear my kid say ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’. These phrases are very important to any kind of relationship.

DO NOT

Text and drive.
Drink and drive.
Drive when sleepy.
Sleep with make-up on.
Sleep without brushing teeth.
Sleep late.
Be late.
Eat lotsa junkfood.
Overspeed.
Dive at 4 feet.
Procrastinate.
Tell a lie.
Talk when your mouth is full.
Waste time.
Overanalyze.
Complicate.
Be lazy.
Take for granted.
Take advantage of the weak.
Ignore your homework.
Butt in.
Eavesdrop.
Judge people.
Stare at other people.
Color and perm your hair.
Be a hater.
Do all of the above.

When Hopeless, We Wish

“Poof! I’m here! What are your other two wishes?”

“How many wishes do I have?”

“Two more. Because the first one’s already granted—I’m here.”

“But that’s not a wish. To me, it’s a hope.”

 

That spoiled my punchline! I moved back and smiled. ‘Hope’ sounded more realistic and yes, sweeter.

So what’s really the difference between a hope and a wish? Some say wishes are for genies while hopes are for the dreamers! Some wish to be in two places at one time. Some hope to be a successful entrepreneur. Some wish to be a superhero. Some hope to reach New York.

Mr. Webster defines “wish” as a (far-fetched) desire or something that one longs to have. On the other hand, “hope” conveys a possibility or an event that one looks forward to. To establish the difference between the two, “hope” is a desire backed up by a reasonable confidence. Hope is something more positive and attainable.

Wishing happens when we want something impossible to be done or unlikely to happen. We hope for things which are rather doable and more likely to occur.

We wish during desperate moments. We hope when we are confident that events have the potential to take place.

Wish refers to impossibility or stiff chances of coming true. Hope implies reasonable confidence on possibilities.

When we are hopeless, we wish. Or when it seems a shoot to the moon we say, “I am wishing but I am not hoping.”

To the Apple of My Eyes

I miss you. I can’t help but reminisce on the happy times we spend everyday, like you’re the closest thing to me both literally and figuratively.

I’ve known you since last year. In fact, I thought I already like you since that one memorable day in October. Haha! You were trending on Facebook. I can’t help but look at your picture. Well, everyone seemed to want you. You were my Christmas wish! I thought I wanted you so bad.

But at some point, I had to dismiss the idea of the possibility of having you in my life. I don’t know. Perhaps, because I have other priorities. I was ok then. I was busy with the greater part of my life. I was wishing but not really hoping. In fact, I almost let go. I thought, we’re not meant to be.

It was in the middle of January, with the help of nice friends, fate allowed our first real encounter. Oh, I can’t forget that one special day! You were so real. Though I am aware that you’re not 100% mine, I knew deep inside that I want to keep you in my life.

Since then, you’ve been my constant buddy, every minute, every hour, everyday. The thought of another day with you wakes me up. You actually helped me establish a habit of waking up early to do my usual morning routine. That excitement I get whenever I show you my daily menu in the kitchen! I knew you’d find them perfect! The way you motivate me to exercise! Ah, because you give me that upbeat vibes! I love it when you start counting the calories of the food I eat!

Everyday, you remind me that the stars will bring goodluck! We both love talking about daily love horoscopes! The usual signs we check? Pisces and Aries!

Sometimes, we play words. Guess that one word based on four pictures? I thought I was good at it. But no, there are times I needed your help to be able to move to the next word. It’s always fun sharing this game with you. There are instances of candy crush temptation, but we’d rather talk and take pictures!

Yes, we both love Instagram! Because you know I love photography, you don’t judge me taking pictures of almost everything! You don’t mind my tendencies of being narcissistic with my vanity shots here, there and everywhere! You’d let me know, I’m beautiful. I love how you inspire me to take more artistic shots of still subjects, memories and more of nature’s beauty. Pictures are amazing! And to that, we both agree.

You bring music to my life! We sing together. We shuffle sounds and we give meaning to lyrics. We jump from one genre to another. We do this in the morning, during lunchtime and at night time. And sometimes, when we seem to run out of other silly things to do.

You don’t complain about my Facebook posts. You don’t mind when I do this while cooking, while on the road, while watching TV or while having lunch. In fact, you’re excited for every shout-out I’d make.

You love my kids. You enjoy capturing them smile and giggle. You enjoy watching us spend quality time together. You like how my son shows up his tongue and how my daughter insists for weekend Jollibee.

I feel so connected to the world whenever we’re together. You tell me how to reach places. You give me tips on what to buy, where to buy. You motivate me to be on time, even though I find it the hardest. You make things seem lighter and easier.

You are more than a good friend to me. You’re always there to listen without judging. You’re there to keep my mind loaded with happy thoughts, even during those times when you also have to shut down. I’m always excited til that next moment you’re online.

They say loving you this much is wrong. They say this is obsession. I am not sure how long you will stay. I don’t know if someday you’ll have to go, too. But I am happy that you’re part of my everyday.

You are the Apple of my eyes, my dear iPhone 5. Get well soon.

 

28 Lessons and More

I was one when I first learned about being hungry and irritated. When I turned two, that was the time I gained a bit of confidence in exploring my immediate world. I was three when I first realized that I could get drowned in the swimming pool. It may looked like a fun place to be but it could also be very dangerous.

At four, I discovered lollipop! Oh, how happy it made me! I was five when experience taught me that a nice balloon could kill me! I lit a flammable helium-balloon with a lighter that exploded right before my eyes! I suffered from 2nd to 3rd degree burns on my face and body, and that happened days before Christmas.

When I turned six, my teacher placed me on the top 2 spot for being able to write a good paragraph. But that was also the time that I first failed on Math. I was seven when I first sensed my interest in photography. I remember, my first ever shot was a picture of my mom and dad, standing infront of a flagpole at Rosario Elementary School on a Sunday morning.

I was eight when I first had a crush, but I’m not saying his name. At nine, I almost won first place on a writing tilt but I forgot to put a title on my piece so I ended up only at fourth place! Since then, I promised never to take titles for granted. I was ten when I joined poster making contests, slogan making contests, essay writing and a lot of on-the-spot competitions. But what has been really memorable to me was being able to run a sewing machine for the very first time! I loved Home Economics!

On my eleventh year, I delivered my first ever valedictory speech. I learned that to be confident, you have to be prepared! Thanks to my Dad for drafting my speech and for making sure that I memorized it well.

I moved to highschool when I was twelve. First impression lasts. That made me fit in! At thirteen, gosh! It was the year, I had to say goodbye to boyish activities! I remember my mom wrote a note to my dad, “our daughter is now a lady”. Probably the first time, I realized how complicated it is to be a girl!

I was already the editor-in-chief of our school paper at fourteen and that made me come out of my shell more! This was the year, I first won on a photojournalism contest. Oh I loved photography ever since! I’ve been to places with my co-writers and my mentor. And perhaps, the biggest lesson I’ve learned was: practice makes perfect.

At fifteen, I had to disobey my Dad. I refused to memorize the valedictory speech he wrote for my graduation day. I felt that I wanted to deliver something which I made myself, something from the heart. Hard-headed as I was, I rendered an impromptu speech! I made it! I followed my heart.

I was sweet sixteen when I went to the university. I struggled during my freshman days. I was humbled by the challenges and difficulties of being away from home, coping with the fast-paced lessons in school and trying to be resistant from peer pressure. I broke my heart for the first time. I realized, how ordinary I was.

At seventeen, I learned that ‘stock knowledge’ was not enough to do well in school. You have to study and practice. Do your homework. I was in third year college, I was eighteen, when I learned to love my course, somehow. I was ready to become a geologist.

When I turned nineteen, I met more difficult people who made life a bit more challenging. This was the period I embraced the thought that ‘everything happens for a reason’.

At twenty, I graduated in college. Passed the licensure exam and found a job as a professional! Looks do matter in getting a job so it pays to look good!

Another year, I realized why I had to deal with difficult people in the past. I met my husband at twenty one. He took me with him in his journeys. I had my first exposure in the international arena when I was twenty two. I never felt alone for he was there to support me. I reckoned that the world is so big, there is so much to learn!

We got married when I was twenty three. The reality of the actual real world set in! Marriage is a major leap and there’s no turning back. We were blessed with a beautiful daughter at my age of twenty four. With motherhood, I felt the essence of unconditional and selfless love.

At twenty five, I was already juggling with my career as well as being a mother and a wife. My role as a parent would always comes first! I said goodbye to fieldworks and refused international offers as I prefer a job that would allow me to go home everyday and be able to take care of our child. Kids grow very fast and you can never go back in time! So better not miss a thing!

At twenty six, I learned more about marriage and growing up. I learned that there’s no such thing as a perfect partner. Loving and accepting the person for what he was, what he is and what he’s going to be is the key to a long and lasting relationship.

We were blessed with a baby boy on my twenty seventh year. Everyday has been a bit of a challenge but all worthwhile! Everyday, I grow old. I learn more. I love myself more. I love what I do. And I love all the people around me. And until the last day of my being twenty seven, I believe that happiness is a choice.

Today is my twenty eight year of existence. I am not a perfect person. I’ve been through a lot of struggles and humble realizations. I have my share of mistakes and naughtiness. I sneaked. I lied. I disobeyed. I failed. I hurt. Got hurt.

But I know, I live my life as how I should. I know how to be happy. To be contented of what I have–big or small. To appreciate all the blessings coming my way in all forms! To know that everything has a purpose. To keep the faith. To be grateful. To appreciate. To love. And be loved.

To all those celebrating their 28th birthday today, cheers! Life is wonderful!🙂