As Expo Mom celebrates its tenth year, the longest running event of its kind pays tribute to #TeamMoms that have served as a lifeline for mothers all over the Philippines. Here, two sisters share their motherhood journey with each other, making the adventure less challenging and a lot more fun. There is nothing quite as intimate as growing up with another person. Because you knew each other from when you were still little, you are naturally privy to one another's likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests, quirks and temperaments, goals and ambitions. Janice Villanueva, founder of Mommy Mundo, and Jaymie Pizarro, publisher of The Bull Runner, are sisters.
“I'm four years older than Jaymie,” says Janice.
Jaymie corrects Janice: “Five years older.”
Janice asks, “Five years?”
Jaymie insists, “Yes, five years. What year were you born?”
Finally, it dawns on Janice that she is five years older than Jaymie, and she ends up laughing.
“I do that all the time 'no?”
It is moments like this which Janice and Jaymie's friendship so precious. As Janice says, “We grew up together. We grew up as playmates. We also grew up as frenemies, fighting for toys.”
Jaymie says, “Janice has always been my ate, my Ate Nice. Growing up, she's always been motherly.”
Jaymie recalls how Janice would always watch out for her when they were in school and when they started working. But as the sisters grew older, their relationship began to change. From one sibling watching over another, it became two women having each others' back. When they eventually became mothers, they naturally became each other's #TeamMom.
“As moms, we're our go-to persons,” says Janice.
When Jaymie was raising her daughter Nia, she became a certified Baby Signs language instructor. Janice saw how it helped Jaymie in parenting Nia, so she decided to learn baby language when she had her daughter Reese.
Janice explains, “I saw how she had a better time with Nia when she wasn't able to speak yet. I took her class, and of course, I had personal guidance and instruction from Jaymie as well.”
It worked. Whenever Reese wanted milk, she made the sign for milk. Although Reese was only able to learn about 10 words, Janice says it made taking care of her baby less frustrating.
She recalls, “We'll converse with her using signs. It was really amazing. She wasn't able to learn as many words as Nia, but it took out a lot of frustration.”
Apart from her sister being the brains behind Mommy Mundo, Jaymie counts herself fortunate for having a friend whose children are older then hers. She says, “My kids are 16 and 12, entering their teen phases, and meeting new friends from opposite sex. For me, it's uncharted territory. I'm lucky to have Janice because her kids are older. Every time that I don't know what to do, which is most of the time, I'd text her or call her. We've been talking more often now.”
Still not quite acquainted about the dynamics of modern teen romance, she would bug Janice about defining the term MU, or asking about the rules on prom dates and soirees.
Jaymie says, “It's great to have a mom who you can ask. You start to calm down a bit. You panic less.”
Because they're sisters and see each other on a regular basis, their kids have formed relationships as well.
Janice, “It's a blessing that my son and my daughter consider their cousins as really their best friends. They're always looking forward to seeing each. When they have sleepovers, they have these traditions.”
Jaymie explains, “They started it themselves. When Anton and Zach were 3 or 4 years old, they would stay up very late and play. They call it midnight bowling. They would get Pringles and Combos to make Pringle sandwiches. Until now that Anton is 16 and Zach is 17, they still look for these Pringles sandwiches.”
Indeed, Janice and Jaymie are happy to note that their children have become fast friends, supporting each other through the years, just as they have. Janice explains, “For me, the one who knows me best and the one who I ask for advice is my sister.”
She adds that having a sister who is your very own #TeamMom is twice the blessing. “You have someone there to cheer you on, to troubleshoot when your gameplan is not working. It's important to have a Team Mom for sanity's sake and to be able to go through life with someone there beside you whenever you have predicaments.”
Every mom has a #TeamMom cheering her on. Share your #TeamMom story on social media. Join Expo Mom #TeamMom at the Glorietta Activity Center from May 5 to 7, 2017. Bring your #TeamMom along and connect with other Team Moms.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE PICTURE COMPANY