Photo by Ina Isis Deocampo

The Nanay Hacks You Need, as Told by an Ilongga CEO Mom

By yen de felipe

I’m supposed to write a Mother’s Day article. However, I will not attempt to write a heartwarming piece because…I just find it awkward (Ask me about my MBTI Personality type next time so you’ll understand why). Rather, I’ll try to inspire my fellow mothers and would-be mothers out there with something I find more useful: nanay “hacks”.

Mothers today play many roles, including that of a caregiver and a provider. As a business owner working in the tech industry while managing a team of millennials and growing tech-related communities in Iloilo at the same time, I can say that I survived and will continue to survive in my role as a mother despite the multiple roles I am playing. And of course, because everyone knows that motherhood is hard. I’m here to tell you that it can all be managed.

yen de felipe family photo
Photo courtesy of Yen de Felipe

With that said, I hope these hacks below would prove useful to all the mothers out there.

Hack #1: Go for an MVP (or, in my case, Minimum Viable Everything)

yen de felipe working with children
Photo by Ina Isis Deocampo

“It does not have to be perfect always.”

In tech startups, there’s this term called MVP, which means Minimum Viable Product. Startups need an MVP to validate their product and get an actual response from the market. Think of an MVP like a prototype of an app or a product.

Unless you’re from an Old Rich, Castilian family where getting help is not an issue, being a mother requires a lot of multi-tasking. In order to survive it, I had to discipline myself in terms of the things I do at the office: by time management and delivery of quality outputs. For one, I cannot afford to dwell on one task for hours because I have other things waiting to be accomplished. This is where I go with my own version of the MVP: the Minimum Viable Everything (MVE).

I apply the MVE route to everything (pun not intended), even to doing chores. For instance, if I have to clean the bathroom but don’t have enough time to complete the task because of a more pressing one, I just clean the bathroom to the best of my ability within the, say, five-minute time frame. Of course, I can clean better by soaking and using several cleaning agents in phases, BUT I choose not to because, again, it’s all MVE.

I found MVE to be a very applicabIe hack to doing the laundry, especially on white clothes or linen. I don’t find it practical spending hours on soaking and manually hand-washing clothes with strong detergent until all the stains are removed. If there were stain traces left but were barely noticeable, then I leave it as it is. Otherwise, I throw it away. But before you get too quick to judge, do know that I don’t feel bad throwing those clothes away because I don’t purchase expensive brands.

In my life, I only need to get things done at a minimum so that all my other tasks on queue won’t be compromised. Thankfully, I am not an emotionless robot that also does the minimum when it comes to loving and caring for my family. I go all-out on it.

Hack #2: Outsourcing

As with many tech startups with limited funding and resources, outsourcing design or development work is a common option. And despite how weird it may sound, “outsourcing” works best for me as a mother.

As first-time moms, I’m sure we went all through this phase of wanting to be really “hands- on” moms through and through. I did think about that when I had my first kid. But after ten minutes of thinking, I just said, “Nah. I cannot do it.” I was honest with myself; I know I will need help, and I also need to go back to my career. Sounds selfish? I think not. More than anything, I think society and media are responsible in imposing certain “standards” on what make an ideal mom. I don’t play by that anymore.

Here are a few examples of tasks that I usually outsource:

  • Laundry and general house cleaning
  • Drop-off and pick-up from my kids’ school (I cannot thank my mom and sister enough for this one)
  • Homework tutorial, especially on Math and Filipino subjects
  • Shopping clothes and shoes for my daughter (I honestly find this exhausting. Good thing there’s mom and sis.)
  • Cooking special dishes. Since we don’t have household help, I just ask help from a family friend to cook meals in a single batch for us to just reheat during the weekdays.

I love outsourcing because it gives me the energy to be at my best when I am at work or, more importantly, when I’m with my kids. As long you know your non-negotiables—like, well, actually spending quality time with your family—then it’s OK to outsource. It won’t make you less of a mother if it means you’ll be less exhausted for the day.

Hack #3: Learn to Pivot

For tech startups, no matter how much time you spent on planning and researching, you will never really know if you will have a successful product or mobile app until you actually launch it to the market. Like IRL (In Real Life), no amount of preparation will ever let you know if what you are doing is right until you actually see things unfold in front of you.

Many modern parents enrol themselves in parenting sessions and seminars and read a bunch of books on motherhood and raising kids. But, and I’m sure longtime parents will agree, you’ll never really know how to deal with kids until you get to raise them. The books can only prepare you for so much.

If things are not turning out the way you anticipated it to be, pivot or change your perception. There are things that you just have to accept and let go because they don’t work in the current situation. In my case, I have accepted the fact that people from Generations Y and Z are NOT savvy by default when it comes to domestic chores or doing any task that requires manual operation.

Real talk: I used to get so frustrated by what I perceived as my children’s inefficiency. However, I have since come to terms with what they are comfortable doing. Nowadays, I take the time to teach my kids the stuff that they don’t usually see on Youtube, like how to cook rice on a pot (READ: not the rice cooker), how to turn on the stove, how to climb a tree, how to ride a bike, how to tie their shoes, how to handwash clothes, etc. You know, stuff that parents are expected to teach their children in the first place.

I used to feel quite inept as a mother because of my career and life choices. However, seeing my kids all grown to become respectful and decent human beings, I think I did a good job.

yen de felipe children
Photos courtesy of Yen de Felipe

And again, it does not always have to be perfect. That’s the beauty of humanity for you. Happy Mothers’ Day, y’all cool moms!

Yen de Felipe is a founder and CEO of Maven Solutions, a marketing agency based in Iloilo City.