Let’s start our month with our Pinay Mumazing Friday, mommy Maila Arce-Balce!
When I started this project, I was thinking of how amazing it would be to get to know our mums in the community, and how great it would be to be heard, to share, to inspire. The more I dive deeper the more I am humbled and in awe with each of our mums journey. It’s just so astounding how someones journey and story can impact another, with that being said, let me intoduce to all of you, Mommy Maila, a.k.a Mommy Mai.
Mommy Mai is an active member of PMU and had been sharing useful tips and tricks and recommendations within our community. She’s a loving mum to her 3 beautiful girls, aside from being a SAHM, she handles their family’s investments and is active on stocks. She’s also a part time auditor/mystery shopper for a hotel firm. Hence, their whole family have access to free staycations, meals and experiences (sana ol )! But, she doesn’t stop there! Mommy Mai and her husband is serving one of the church that is very close to their heart. They are part of the music ministry and mommy Mai is an active Church leader with a mission of helping couples and families strengthen their faith.
Being a family with small children Mommy Mai has got this to say, “We do our best to let them learn and develop through various experiences such as going to the beach, waterparks, camping, visiting the zoo, picnics at the park, etc. We also love joining competitions, especially during Halloween when we make it a family affair to make DIY costumes for the kids. I’m also a firm believer in self-care and me time so I regularly play badminton twice a week in the evenings, thanks to my supportive hubby – siya nagbabantay sa kids and patulog while I play.”
Let’s all hear it from Mommy Milagros, Maila, Mai
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey as a mother?
I have a Business Administration degree from the University of the Philippines, Diliman and worked back home in an audit firm, followed by a multinational oil company for 9 years. I used to be a workaholic, career-driven woman who always thought that independence and success solely relied on earning money and my ability to climb up the corporate ladder. This gradually changed since I got married and had my first daughter. I became a working mother and slowly realized that there is much more to life than just my career, so when the opportunity for my husband to work in Dubai in 2017 arose, we grabbed it and jointly decided for me to put my career on hold to focus on our family especially since we wanted to have more kids. My long working hours were affecting my health and since I had PCOS, it was difficult for me to get pregnant again. My first few years here in Dubai was a struggle, I thought being a SAHM was going to be easy considering I was used to the stress and pressure at work. But it was even more challenging than I imagined – being in a country with totally no help, having to do everything on my own and the transition from having my own money and independence to being reliant on my husband. Depression started to creep in, and to make things worse, we lived on the outskirts of Dubai and back then, there was nothing to see or do in our vicinity – no supermarkets, no internet, no public transpo. Our building was literally one building in the middle of the desert. This was also the time when our marriage was going through a rough patch since we had to do LDR for 9months before me and my daughter were able to come to Dubai. A lot of things have happened in the past 6 years – me and my husband worked on our marriage with the help of our church community, I focused on being a mom, my well-being and all the blessings I have as a SAHM. I constantly communicated with my husband on how I felt, and he was very supportive of finding ways for me to be happy and fulfilled. I no longer felt like a SAHM who was dependent on my husband, rather I saw us as partners in our marriage doing our roles to build the foundations of our family. In 2019 I had a miscarriage but was quickly followed by another pregnancy and I had our 2nd daughter just as the pandemic started – this is another story to tell since my baby had a heart condition and was born prematurely and had to stay in NICU. Then after just 5 months, to my surprise I got pregnant again! Lockdown really made us productive I guess hahaha. I was suddenly a mom of three with the two younger ones just a year apart! It was very challenging having to do tandem breastfeeding, online schooling, and everything that needed to be done at home, but I learned how to multitask and prioritize. I always think to myself that this season in my life will only come once and that I should appreciate it while I can. So, I cherish every day I have with my family, capture every moment, and share it with others to hopefully inspire and show how beautiful albeit challenging it can be to be a mom of three.
What role has PMU played in your journey as a mother and pursuing your aspirations?
One of the things that I miss in the Philippines is the concept of having your neighbors as your friends. I think this is very important especially for mums like us who need support and at times some help. Aside from PMU being a very good source of information, support, and guidance from other mums, I am also very thankful to this group because through it I was able to find the other Pinay Mums in our area. Early last year, I had a post in PMU looking for the mums who lived here and we started our own Pinay Mums in Dubai South group chat for us to get to know and support each other especially since we are in a very isolated area. We now know our neighbors and are able to do activities like meetups at the park, share food, offer each other pasabuys and services, etc. My children are also very happy as they now have regular playmates and friends. I, together with a couple of other pinay mums also started a toddler’s playgroup in our park where we give free lessons, activities and values teachings to the kids in our community. All this was made possible because of PMU.
Anything you would like to share to fellow mums, quote you believe in, hacks, tips, fun fact:
As a SAHM, I still try my best to find ways to contribute to our family’s finances by minimizing our expenses. As such, I am always on the lookout for deals and cheap buys here in Dubai which I have recently started to share on my social media. I also love joining competitions and have by far won several prizes such as a PS5, PS4, 2 Xboxes, 2 Atlantis staycations, Pandora jewelry, amazon vouchers, and many more. Dubai is a city filled with many opportunities, and nowadays all it takes is a click on our mobiles. When I was busy tandem feeding and couldn’t do anything else but lie down and scroll on my phone, instead of online shopping, I went on to join competitions and won. It is up to us to turn our limitations into opportunities.
I have always loved this bible quote about Love –
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. It fully summarizes what love should be like, especially in marriage and in motherhood. As mums, we should always aspire to be able to give this kind of love to our husbands and our family.
- Thank you so much Mommy Mai for allowing me to share your story. You are definitely and amazing mum!
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by Admin Meg