What Makes a Strong Mom?
Caltrate Plus (Calcium + Vitamin D3 + Minerals) helps keep moms' bones healthy and strong and has partnered with Mommy Mundo to shine the spotlight on Strong Moms. These are women who have successfully juggled their many roles while never forgetting to take care of themselves. By sharing their stories, Caltrate Plus hopes to inspire other moms to take better care of themselves as well. It takes a significant amount of strength to be a mom.
Every day, a mom faces all sorts of challenges and situations that test her strength, will, and perseverance. There's the pasta that gets overcooked because she was putting baby to sleep. There's her husband's unscheduled out-of-town business trip that made a mess of her weekend plans. And then there's the parent-teacher conference that got her all frazzled because apparently, her gradeschooler has not been as active in participating in class as she thought he was. All these concerns could certainly wreak havoc on her body and mind, prompting her to ask whether she's been doing this motherhood thing wrong all this time.
The Cheesemaker Some of the best tasting cheeses this side of the world are made by a strong, dedicated mom living in Davao. Olive Puentespina started making cheese in her kitchen in 2005. She and her husband were raising goats, and Olive started bottling goat's milk to sell them. She says, “But back then, goat's milk was not that popular and I always ended up with expired milk. Drawing from my animal science background, I thought of making cheese as a way to preserve milk.”
The mom of three not only majored in animal science at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, she worked at the Dairy Research and Training Institute, too, and asked one of her colleagues to teach her how to make feta. Olive recalls, “She came to Davao one weekend and we were able to make a decent-looking feta. Of course, feta needs to age for a month so I kept her abreast with how the cheese was developing.”
Olive continued to make feta until it was more than just decent-looking; she made feta until she got the thumbs up of the prestigious Cheese Club of the Philippines. Hers was the first Filipino-made goat cheese ever to have received such a recognition.
Today, Malagos Farmhouse offers more than a dozen kinds of cheese, from Kesong Puti, Chevre, and Blue Goat Cheese to Feta and Blue Pepato. It has not only become a favorite among the country's best hotels and restaurants, it has gained international acclaim as well.
Olive is so passionate about making cheese that she didn't let the responsibilities of motherhood get in the way. In fact, she welcomed the challenge.
For starters, she had her priorities straight. As much as she loved making cheese, she loved her family more. Although she and her husband like the farming lifestyle, they chose to live in the city to be near their children's schools. It was on weekends where they got to go to the farm with their kids. She says, “I also made the conscious effort to set up the cheese facility in the city so I can bring my children to school, attend to their activities, cook for them hot meals, bring them to swimming, Kumon, ballet, and everything else that make them busy. I make cheese in between.”
Now that her children are older—her eldest just graduated from the Ateneo de Manila, her second, who has followed her footsteps in cheesemaking, is taking up Food Technology, and her youngest is in Grade 10—she is happy to see both her business and her kids grow.
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It was Carla Britanico's daughter Luciana Marie who inspired her to venture into business.
Not finding anything pretty to dress up her little lass with, Carla founded Princess and the Pea, a line of clasically designed dresses for little ladies ages three months to ten years. She says, “Now other mothers can clothe their daughters like the princesses they are with dresses other than those you would find at the local malls. The reward that I enjoy the most is the fulfillment of having built my own business.”
Her daughter is also her source of strength and inspiration. When faced with her many duties and responsibilities, she says, “I think of my daughter. I always ask my myself: 'How would I want her to handle this?' And I always answer with: 'I would want her to complete any difficult task and do it well until the job is done. I would not want her to quit just because it gets tough, I would like her to keep going.' After I think of her and ask myself that question, it's easier to face things head on.”
Being a mompreneur has taught Carla to live a truly balanced lifestyle. She used to feel guilty when she and her daughter weren't joined at the hip, but Carla has since learned the importance of time solely for herself. She says, “Me time is very important to my well-being as a mom, wife, and business owner. I feel refreshed and energized after my me time and I look forward to getting back into my mom and wife duties. It also inspires me to think of new ideas for my business."
It also helps that Carla leads a healthy, active lifestyle. Apart from eating healthy, she also does boxing workouts four times a week. Now that's a strong mom!
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Strong Moms, Best Advice
Carla and Olive are definitely strong moms. But the concept of strength differs from mom to mom.
Carla believes that, “A strong mom faces all kinds of adversity with dignity and poise, and has a strong sense of loyalty to her family.”
Olive says a strong mom is “a mom with a joyful and thankful heart, a mom who counts her blessings and pays it forward, a mom who is not afraid to laugh at her mistakes, a mom who knows who she is—her strengths and her weakness—and raises her children to be much better than who she is.”
She stays strong by taking care of her inner strength. She prays a lot, surrounds herself with people she loves, and looks after the welfare of her team. She also keeps strong by taking care of her body. She says, “I eat right, cheat as little as possible, keep active, and take supplements for my bones, muscles, and circulation.”
As for Carla, she encourages moms to set aside time for themselves. She says, “It can be joining a reading group, enrolling in an exercise class, or pampering themselves at least once a week! It helps to take a break from everyday, mundane routines.”