Friday, September 28, 2012

2012 National Family Week: How I Balance Work & Family As A Single Woman!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Shaznay, Kyle, James, Ian and Me and our family group pictures

The theme of this year’s National Family Week celebration is “Ensuring Work-Family Balance”. In interpreting the theme, I remember a picture with my nieces and nephews where we walked along the rice paddies in my hometown in Vinzons, Camarines Norte. While Shaznay could keep her arms balanced, it was a challenge for me and the other kids - whether intentionally or otherwise. And so it is with WORK and FAMILY. Much more so if you are still single and the only family you call your own consist of 20!

In a fast-paced world in which we live, our balancing act is between providing for the necessities of life through an honest WORK and strengthening FAMILY bonds by spending as much time together as possible. Being single is not an excuse in not striving to ensure a proper balance in life between these two important gifts from our Heavenly Father.

Swimming in Paradise Ranch and our "group hug" family pictures

Sometimes it is hard to keep afloat in the waters of life ensuring a good balance between WORK and FAMILY  with the hectic demands of day-to-day life. In fact, it is common for many singles to focus on WORK and friends or social life and whatever is left in time is what the FAMILY gets for recreation and other family activities. But it should not be the case because as President David O'Mckay said "With all my heart I believe that the best place to prepare for ...eternal life is in the home".  At home with our families, we can learn self-control, sacrifice, loyalty, and the value of work. We can learn to love, to share, and to serve one another". (Gospel Principles, Chapter 36, Page 207). 

Our parents JoseLito and AniLitaMike & Amy with Mitch,JM, JA, AlliuneAllan & Belenda with Ian, James, Shaznay, Shanara; Joel & Imee with Kyle, Frannie, Justin plus 1Kenneth Adrian who is in England and Mhe-anne (plus many in a few years with Raymond lol)
With a growing family of 20 plus 1 including a senior citizen parents  and siblings living in four different households, finding time to be together can be difficult and overwhelming. But with God's help and as our family agreed on  common goal built around our belief that "creating a home where love abound is as important as providing the basic necessities of food and clothing", we are able to ensure a balance in the time we spend working and the time we allot for our family togetherness.

Here are 10 Ways Our Family Strive To Live A Balanced Life.

1. Block Out One Evening Each Week. We block out Monday evenings (as with many LDS families), for our family night where we use the time to have fun, learn and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, share and improve talents, enjoy our hobbies, discuss topics of interest, share uplifting stories, plan for important events and mingle with the whole family. As we are consistent with the time and place for the Family Home Evening, we strive to clear our schedules to be able to attend this family gathering. Each family member find it easier to say no to other activities that will keep them from being  with the family on Monday nights.

2.Have Meals Together. Each households ensure that at least one meal is shared together with everyone each day usually during dinner. As in our winning photo story for the FaMEALy Celebration , the dining table is a great venue for teaching kids important values and an opportune time in catching up on what's going on in each of their kid’s life. For the whole family we have a monthly family dining tradition when we dine out or share a home cooked meal either on a Saturday or Sunday in time for a family member's birthday or anniversaries or during occasions like Easter, Christmas, Mother's Day or New Year. I always look forward to these family dining experiences (even if as the family grows, the expense grows too!) as this is my way of showing gratitude to my parents and letting the kids learn values to help them be more responsible.

3.Attend Church as a Family Every Sunday.We see to it that each Sunday, the whole family attends church together. My parents travel early morning from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan so they can be with the family in our church service in Deparo Ward. Knowing that all the family members are learning the same lesson every single Sunday helps improve our communication and helps our family get along better.

4.Doing Things Together.We are big on spending some quality bonding with each other by doing activities together from a simple handing out "chocolates" or playing TROUBLE on a lazy Sunday afternoons to watching Basketball Games or traveling together whenever time and finances can afford - usually during long holidays like when we the whole family travel to Cebu for our family sealing coupled with sightseeing and beach bumming! 

5.Give Service Together. Since we love to do things together, we take time and effort to give service during these times. In doing so, we are able to feel the joy beyond compare and teach children valuable lessons about kindness, compassion, sacrifice and giving by examples. Some of the services we have performed as a family includes tree planting in Clark Pampanga, Fish feeding, adopt a "family" during Christmas and packing gifts we handed to the needy during our Christmas caroling as a family. 

Organize and Participate in Family Reunions. The Ojeda Clan has an annual reunion on May 20 where we try to participate and have our own family reunion (the 20!) on April 29-May 1 (in line with my father's birthday). For my mom side, I spearheaded the first ever reunion last November 5, 2011 after learning from my aunts and uncles how they always wanted to have one but no one dared start. Since I am single who loves to organize parties (lol) we were able to get-to-know my cousins and uncles a lot better and maintain ties and contact with extended families even after the reunion!  
7.Make The Most Of Family Traditions. We have several traditions which strengthens the family and foster a sense of pride and stability. Easter goes beyond the usual egg hunting but is centered activities where kids learn more about Jesus Christ resurrection and His Atonement; New Year is for our Family "I Will" Game which is similar to a Bingo Game but instead of numbers several acts of kindness are indicated on the square; Christmas is for our Family Christmas program where we re-enact and read the story of Jesus Christ birth on Christmas Eve and our family Christmas caroling where we give the gift instead of receive from those we carol. We strive to continue these traditions and hope to pass them along to our children. 
8.Make Your Family History Important. We have a Personal and Family History which I update from time to time. Without this record, many of meaningful stories about my parents and ancestors could have been lost due to our limited or selective memories. Journal keeping is also emphasize in the family and I am glad to have kept a journal religiously which I hope my nieces and nephews could continue and learn as a habit.

9.Get Involved With Your Kids Activities. Obviously, I mean my nephews and nieces as I still have no kids of my own. Since I pay for their education, I am very interested  in their school, church and social activities and see to it that I am able to attend or support them in some way along with their parents. I also spend time with each of the kids looking at their grades, giving incentives when they landed on top of their classes or get medals or awards or helping them in their school projects or assignments.As a result, my nieces and nephews know that the whole family care about them and in what they're doing. 
10.Make Our House A Home and Family Together Forever .Being single is the best time we can start making our house a home - a place of tranquility, acceptance and strength. We can make sure our homes is where the spirit can dwell and will reflect our beliefs through a regular family prayer and scripture study and guarding it from the filthy media influence that enters in.  
*The Family Week celebration started in 1992 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 60 signed on September 18, 1992. The celebration seeks to strengthen family unity and relationships through meaningful celebration and promotion of Filipino values.

Source: Gospel Principles and 3 Simple Ways To Become A Happier Family pamphlet 


  1. Replies
    1. thank you Jason for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment on this post! i didn't see your blog link but when I do i'll visit and say hello.

  2. I am challenged by your article and for sure i will have to have my own "coming and going" blog. there is so much we forget about family and you have given me a challenge that i think i should have started the same time with you. Keep coming and going. you such a model



    1. thanks Anne for dropping by my blog and for taking time to comment. i'm glad the post reminded you of the most important possession we all have - our family! good luck with your blog on Africa (i'll keep a tab) and for the one you will start for your comings and goings!!

  3. "Life is what happens when you're making other plans..." Nice blog work. I came across your blog while “blog surfing” using the Next Blog button on the Nav Bar located at the top of my site. I frequently just travel around looking for other blogs which exist on the Internet, and the various, creative ways in which people express themselves. Thanks for sharing.


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