Tag Archives: SoMoms

Building Better Family Routines and Habits

This is my second post about the #BetterMe session that I recently attended with Coach Pia, The One Core and the SoMoms about strengthening and developing better family habits this summer. Part one is here.

Before anything, I want to share what I had for lunch during our session.

Yep, two plates. Burp!

I love that the Dads, Saisaki and Kamayan restaurant chains are run by a family. This is such a family place to be, after all. That explains why these restaurants do celebrations so well. I love how Mara Villavicencio, now the Managing Director of Dads Ultimate Buffet, told the story of how the restaurant started in Megamall 20 years ago, and how it has innovated over the years. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by their new offerings that include shakes and juices, plus Milo for kids, oysters, a seafood grill, Chinese food and other Asian selections. In my opinion, all that’s missing now is a branch in the south! Haha. 

Mara Villavicencio, Managing Director of Dads Ultimate Buffet

Now, back to the session. The reason why I decided to write this part separately from my first post is because building better routines and habits for the family is something that I know I need to work on, not just over the summer, but for the entire year. I tend to completely wear myself out with overloaded days filled with family time, celebrations, errands, homework and review time, cooking, writing jobs, blogging, and all sorts of other activities. And then I end up with a series of totally unproductive days where I’m burned out and unable to do anything but play video games, blog-hop and watch movies on TV. And then things pick up again, and the cycle goes on and on. 

A question, moms and dads, and tell me the truth. Who’s more excited about summer being so close ahead, you or your kids? Between the kiddo and I, I’d say it’s me. Just look back at my blog posts and Instagram feed over the last few weeks, and you’ll see how truly stuffed our first quarter was. I need to learn to pace myself, not just for my sake, but for the boys too. We need to develop a good flow of activities – daily, weekly and monthly – and I know that I should take charge of this. Thanks to the #BetterMe session, I now have a pretty good idea of where to start.

Start with zero doubt in your mind that you are capable of deciding what is best for you and your family.

This is where to start. You need to empower yourself to take charge of building the best routine for your family and household by knowing that you can do it. And, as Coach Pia says, it is in proper planning that this self-doubt is eliminated. Doubt happens when you are exhausted because you either have no plan or have over-planned. So, by believing in yourself and going ahead and planning well, you take care of yourself in the process and eliminate your self doubt.

Second, get organized. Map out your year by quarters, then plot out all of your major activities, celebrations and family events.

Coach Pia gave us all pie charts where we could write the various activities we had in each quarter. Plotting it out this way helps you see just how loaded a month is compared to other months within the same quarter. Just the same, you can also compare one quarter to the others in the year, and there you’ll see when your peak and lean seasons are. Then you’ll know when you have time to spare for things like general cleaning, maybe a garage sale, a vacation, or whatever. It will also help you balance out your major tasks and activities for your family, your personal stuff, social life, work and school. Assess each month or quarter, and if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, simplify. Focus on making the quality of the time spent worthwhile for everyone.

Coach Pia and her helpful charts!

Set aside recreational time for the family.

Find time to play games, have a picnic, or simply share a meal together with your loved ones. Not only does this give you time to bond and strengthen your family ties, it also gives you a valuable opportunity to gather data from your family members. If you pay close attention, and listen instead of talk, you’ll discover the things that they want to do and where they want to go, and it will help you in your planning as well. Try to plan a unique activity that you can do with each of your children and your spouse. These, too, are great opportunities for you to gather more data. Remember, don’t just talk. Listen. And be receptive too.

Evaluate and be open to change.

Take the time to think about how you have been spending your time with your family. Also think about the activities and events that you have planned out for yourself and for the group. Have these been working out for you? If your answer is yes, then great. Keep on keeping on. If you feel that there is room to change, then adjust. Be open to change, and know that it could be for the best.

View from my seat.

Finally, don’t forget to set aside time and energy for yourself.

Time and energy, okay, not just one or the other. There have been times when I would schedule a foot spa for myself and fall asleep halfway through it. Yes, I made time, but I forgot to allocate energy, obviously. An unless you have both, chances are you won’t really enjoy your me-time. Remember, at the very start we said that you need to take care of yourself too, and that exhaustion brigs about self-doubt? Well, that’s why giving yourself a break is important. See? It is a cycle.

Now, excuse me while I go sort out our messy schedule.





Thank you again to The SoMoms and Your Brand Story for inviting me to this event. Thanks also to The One Core and Coach Pia for making amazing sessions like this available to mommies like me. Also to Unilab, for supporting activities that aim to help us become better versions of ourselves. And finally, to the people behind Dad’s, Saisaki and Kamayan for hosting us and treating us to such a yummy lunch. Thank you.

For the latest promos and offerings from Dads, Saisaki and Kamayan, check out their website and Facebook page.

Let’s Make This Summer A Meaningful One

Today is the first Monday of March, and also the first of the last four Mondays for this school year. I think I need a minute to let that sink in. Wow. Summer really is fast approaching, and I can’t even pretend that I don’t feel it lurking around the corner coz it’s been so hot out lately!

I mentioned before that summer is a challenge for me because I have no clue how I’m gonna keep my son busy enough over those 2 months. I want him to enjoy, to still learn, and of course I’ll need time to work. I refuse to work late at night like I used to. Sorry, but sleep is a must for me these days. That means I need to be creative. I think I’ve taken for granted the fact that my son is in school for 8 hours a day, and I get this amazingly long window of time to work and run errands. The thought of having to figure out what to do for 8 whole hours, every day, for 2 months scares me a little. Or maybe a lot.

I want to be prepared, so as early as now I’ve started planning. Luckily, I was invited to attend a #BetterMe session with the SoMoms a few weeks ago about strengthening and developing better family habits over the summer. It was just what I needed, so of course I jumped at the chance to attend, even if it meant crossing the Skyway AND my favorite EDSA so that I could be at Megamall by 10 AM on a school day. Yes, that’s how bad I wanted to be there, coz I knew that I needed all the tips I could get. Let me tell you, the session did not disappoint.

Super awesome learning session with Coach Pia, The One Core and The SoMoms
Okay fine, I also really wanted to eat at Dad’s Ultimate Buffet. Haha!

Coach Pia shares these very simple, yet very “Aha!” tips in planning a meaningful summer for your family. I say these are “Aha!” tips because they kind of open your eyes to what you may or may not already be doing. Also which things you might think you are doing right, but, in fact, are not.

1. It’s not about you.

I, honestly, am guilty of pre-planning summer classes for my son based on what I used to do during my childhood summers. Who else is guilty of this, raise your hands? I was thinking about soccer classes, swimming, tennis, maybe piano, all the stuff I did before. I was surprised when Little MrC told me that he wanted to try voice lessons and that his friend was taking them. I guess I might have overlooked the fact that he had his own ideas about what to do over the summer too. Remember, summer is not an opportunity for you to bring your child to the program of your dreams.

Four tips from Coach Pia on how you can plan a meaningful summer

2. Don’t just sign up and then inform the child after.

Coach Pia pointed out that this was where a lot of parental frustration stems from. If you enroll your child in something that you chose and he or she ends up not liking it, you feel frustrated. But then, the whole situation could have been avoided if you had just asked your child first before actually signing up.

3. Trial and error.

Number 3 was a super “Aha!” moment for me. Trial and error – it sounds so simple, and yet I never thought to do it the way Coach Pia suggests. Expose your child to different possibilities by having him or her observe a class. Or, even better, take advantage of trial sessions. Also, don’t enroll for a full course right away. Start with maybe 4 sessions first, max, then see how it goes from there. And here I was planning to sign up for 12 sessions of soccer at the onset. Thank goodness I hadn’t yet, because after observing a class at a nearby field, it didn’t seem like my little boy was THAT into the sport. Oh well. Finally, ask in advance and give your kid time and room to change his or her mind.

4. Give your kids generic categories of activities that they may want to do.

I love this one! In my case, since my kid chose a music course already, I told him that he might want to think about doing sports or art, too. He told me he’s think about it, so we’ll just have to see from there. But at least for the first week, I already have potential music classes to keep him occupied. Oh thank goodness.

Tip #5, Instagrammed!

5. If your child is more involved in choosing an activity, then he or she tends to stick with it longer.

This is something that I’ve since learned to do. And, well, it works! There’s more commitment there. This goes for big things, like enrolling in summer classes, and small things too, like which art project to do on a weekend afternoon. And just in case your kid decides he or she wants to do something else, don’t show that you’re frustrated or disappointed. Remember that they are still exploring their likes and learning about their skills and talents. It’s good for them to be immersed in different activities so that they can learn while learning more about themselves, too.

6. Guide your child to look back, learn from the experience and move forward with self-knowledge.

And finally, tip number 6. Yes we should allow our kids to explore. But we should also be there to guide them along the way. We, as parents, are the safe place to fall, as Coach Pia says. Whether their experience was good or bad, we are the people that our children will come to. If they had an amazing time, then we should encourage (encourage, not pressure) them to keep on keeping on, especially if we ourselves see that they excel in a particular activity. On the other hand, if things didn’t go so well, we should also be there to listen and to help them find the confidence to keep trying until they find something that will work for them.

Oh, and here’s a bonus tip for those of you with more than one kid. As much as possible, don’t enroll your kids in the same class because it encourages competition and might breed sibling rivalry. My brother and I did most everything together when we were younger and I remember how swimming instructors and tennis coaches would compare our performances. Based on what I went through, I’d say Coach Pia has a really great point here.

This is what it should be about!

Planning for a meaningful summer is actually a team effort that the whole family has to get into together. Lucky for me, Team de Castro-Cuyugan is super solid, and we’re all behind our one and only little boy, 100%. We’re lucky, too, that we have the means to enroll the kiddo in the summer classes of his choosing. As Coach Pia said, the only reason to say no is if your budget can’t accommodate it, and so far this hasn’t been a major problem for us. I just hope he doesn’t as to learn golf anytime soon. Now that’s an expensive sport!

What plans do you have for your kids over the summer?





PS I really hope that you learned (even just a bit) from this post! This is only part one. I’ll be writing about developing better family habits and routines in a separate post coz this one is already super long.

PPS I want to say thank you to The SoMoms and Your Brand Story for inviting me to this event. Thanks also to The One Core and Coach Pia for making amazing sessions like this available to mommies like me. Also to Unilab, who tirelessly supports activities that aims at making us better versions of ourselves. And finally, to The Dad’s, Saisaki and Kamayan group aka Dad’s World Buffet, known to me during my childhood as Triple V, thank you for the amazing lunch and for hosting us last February. I cannot wait to come back and try everything that I wasn’t able to try that day! So. Much. Yummy. Food!