MFA, motherhood, personal, web content jobs

Life as a Home-based Writer

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I never thought I’d end up working at home. I used to work as a college instructor at Ateneo de Naga University, teaching Programming (ActionScript), Adobe Photoshop, Presentation Skills, Scriptwriting (for short animation), and other subjects related to my degree, which is Bachelors of Science in Digital Illustration and Animation. I graduated cum laude from the same university and thought that I would be serving the school for more years to come.

My family (me, my husband, my brother and the maid) moved to Manila in 2007 basically because my brother was about to start medical school at UST. My family is very close-knit. Something good came out of the move, anyway. My husband is now about to take his comprehensive exams for Masters in Marketing. He works as a manager for a major social and entertainment hub. I now have 18 units of Masters of Mathematics and am almost through with my MFA – and oh, I shouldn’t forget  the four days of law school. 😀

When I found out I was finally pregnant after a year of getting treated for infertility, I was eager to prove to people that I can still work at an office and brave the daily commute (I took a train and a bus to work) until the eighth month. Unfortunately, I was frequently sick. At only two months pregnant, I reluctantly resigned from my office job because my office mates were – and still are – such lovely people. I still stay in touch with some of them. My former manager even became one of my son’s godfathers.

After the sickness stopped, during the fifth month of my pregnancy, I applied to the same office as a home-based writer. Luckily, I was taken in by the company. I still work for them as a home-based web content writer, covering SEO articles, press releases, short news items, and more. I worked on other gigs at the same time.

I went back to working in an office setup on September 2011. I worked as a test creator and rater for mostly Korean test takers. Again, I was in a pleasant environment. My toddler, however, was acting out and was mad at me for working. So, I resigned but I still work part time for the said office, as a rater.

This year, I applied for a regular home-based job. I only needed to be online four hours a day from Mondays to Fridays. I write three blog posts daily for the company’s three websites. I write on entertainment, SEO and travel/festivals. So, I now work daily for two companies and have other part-time jobs while I am almost at the end of the MFA program at De la Salle University (now writing my thesis proposal and have started some essays for my nonfiction thesis).

Working at home is ideal for a mom and graduate student like me. In the mornings, I write for one company. In the afternoons, I am online and available for the other as I work on blog posts for its sites. At night, I get to work on my thesis.

Of course, I do have time for my toddler. I bathe him in the mornings and play with him, albeit a few minutes at a time, during the course of the day. We both spend the afternoons in the living room with the nanny, anyway. During bedtime, I read him three to eight story books, complete with gestures and varying voices. Fee Fi Fo Fum! He loves story time! 🙂

Not everything is perfect about being a home-based writer, though. There are no bonuses and benefits. So, I pay for my benefits as a voluntary contributor. People also think that I am an unemployed mom just waiting for my husband and my parents to hand me money each pay day. The moms in my condo building are either unemployed (with or without nannies) or completely engrossed in their jobs (doctors, office workers, etc). I feel out of place.

In school, it is the same thing. Most of the other MFA students are very young (22 to 26 years old), younger than my brother who is now a medical intern.

I try to make the most of being a home-based writer and see the best that I can get out of it. The flexibility of hours is amazing, of course. I can buy the weekly groceries on Wednesdays at 4 pm. I can go for a mani-pedi in the morning. I can bring my son to the doctor when the need arises. There is no need to go on a leave. The problem is I really am never on vacation. I am always on, almost 24/7. I say ‘almost’ because I do sleep. Sleep is not as refreshing, however, when your son’s toddler bed is right next to your bed and he sometimes pees a lot to wet the covers – at least that is the case lately what with him drinking too much milk and juice during the day (sometimes as much as 4 Big Mango Zestos, 3 large bottles of milk and more). 😀 But yes, at least I am with him. He is my priority, and that is why I am a home-based writer.

Next year, he starts kindergarten. By then, I hopefully would have my MFA degree. I will first get him accustomed to going to school and then I will check if I can get back to an office setup. I am considering jobs as college instructor, SEO writer, or translator (well, I do have to review Spanish). My son and I do have to learn how to be independent of each other. If things don’t work out as planned, there is always the flexible life of a home-based writer.

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health, motherhood, personal

Joreb’s Mole (and other Birthmarks)

Just a few days after Joreb had his regular checkup (last Saturday), he had to go to the dermatologist. Well, we went to the clinic just this morning. He was complaining about his mole yesterday. He said that it was very itchy.

When Joreb was still a baby, we all thought that the large mark on his chest was just any port wine birthmark. Then, the birthmark darkened, and hair grew on it. The hair was apparently causing the itchy sensation. The mole shouldn’t cause a lot of  worries, considering that his lolo and uncle on his dad’s side both have large, dark moles with hair on their hands. Both families, as far as I know, do not have histories of melanoma. However, I could not help but worry, especially since his pediatrician advised us to get Joreb checked by a dermatologist.

The dermatologist was astonished at the number of birthmarks on Joreb’s body. The others were lighter in color and do not have hair. In short, they can easily be dismissed as okay.  The biggest one, however, needs to be monitored regularly. Because of this particular mole, Joreb cannot afford to develop a sunburn on his chest. He cannot scratch the spot, either, even if it itches. The dermatologist advised to use an ice cube on the area, instead.

For now, though, everything is fine. There is no need to go through a biopsy except if the mole doubles in size, gets jagged, becomes a site for a bumpier growth, and turns whitish/bluish/reddish.

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health, motherhood, personal

Joreb William’s Regular Checkup

My son just got checked by his pedia this morning. He had gained 1.5 kilos since the last time his  doctor saw him. He had to slow down on his future weight gain to avoid being overweight. He is now about 18 kilos (between 39 and 40 pounds) and 3 feet 3 inches at 3 years and 3 months. According to his doctor, his BMI, at 19, is just right. She also commended him for being very respectful, nodding and saying his “pos” and “opos” while talking to her. She said other kids are not that respectful nowadays. She made this comment almost right after another boy, a little older than Joreb, came barging into the clinic, pushing Joreb just as the pediatrician was checking my son’s ears. I had to hold my anger in check because the other boy could have caused an accident that could lead to damaged ears for my son. I also don’t like my son getting pushed around, especially since the boy’s mom is right behind her own son. It was a good thing that the doctor was able to hold her hands still enough.

Anyway, I was generally happy with the checkup, although we had to go home at almost 1 pm. Joreb is also set for a checkup with a pediatrics opthalmologist next week. He had been using my tablet everyday, learning spelling, reading and all sort of things, watching Youtube, and playing video games, so it is no wonder that I fear for his eyes. I myself am near-sighted, with both eyes at -6.00 diopters or 600. At ten years old, my eyes were already at -4.00 diopters or 400. I hope his eyes are fine, though, and that we will just be going for a routine check.

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MFA, motherhood, personal, rant, web content jobs

The Return of the Prodigal Blogger

It has been a long time since I have written for myself. The last sort-of-blog that I wrote was a note on Facebook promising more updates –  that never came. This is not such a surprise given the fact that I work as a web content writer. Most of the energy that I put into writing is spent on writing for clients, who now own the right to everything that I have written for them. Don’t get me wrong: writing is still fun even when I am doing it for other people. I get to read stuff that I would not in a million years have read if I had to rely on my own personal preferences. I learn a lot of things every day. Sometimes, I would even talk about those things that I have written to family and friends, gushing about newly found knowledge. By talking about the things that I wrote, I get to relay them as myself. I am not a ghost writer then, but a story teller.

I am also an MFA student. I write some fiction when I find the time. I am still learning my literary style as I used to only love genre fiction, such as horror, science fiction, fantasy, and the like. I am expected to graduate next year, 2013. Hopefully, I passed all of my comprehensive exams so that I could move on to the next chapter – the almighty and scary thesis.

You probably think that life must be very busy for me – and you’ll be right about that, and yet that’s not even the full story. I am also a wife (of more than five years now) and a mother to a three-year old. This is why I embraced the home-based job setup. I want to be the mom that my little toddler can call to whenever he wants. Of course, there will come a time when I have to say bye to him every weekday morning when he starts kindergarten next year. For now though, we are enjoying each other’s company – a lot.

I hope that I will be able to fill my blog with lots of content in the coming days. Hopefully, someone will come, read, and want more. For what is content without a reader?

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