My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

How I Survived First Time Motherhood Away from Home


I am so thrilled to be putting this up today — my second guest post!  Everyone, meet Tala.  Essentially, she is my husband’s cousin’s wife (can you follow that?), and I first met her on a trip home in 2009 when they (she and my cousin-in-law) were still dating.  I only really got to know her a lot better recently when she married said cousin-in-law and they moved to Sri Lanka.  She is now a mom and a homemaker with a business of her own… like ME!  In a way, our lives run parallel but on different timezones.  What she writes about resonates a lot with me and hopefully will be insightful and helpful for a lot of other moms too who are in similar situations too.

Thank you Tala, for gracing our blog with your wisdom.  You are truly a star! (Trivia:  Her name is the Filipino definition of “Star!”) 


My Mommyology Mommy T Coach

Tala and her little "village"

“It takes a whole village to raise a child,” says an African proverb and a truth that scared me the moment I brought my mom to the airport, concluding her stay here in Sri Lanka for my daughter’s birth.  It was back to just us, hubby and I, but now with a 20-day old baby.  Between my very incompetent and blue (as in baby blues) self, and a sleep-deprived hubby with a full plate at work, my incessant thought bubble was “how the **** do we do this?”   In as much as I believe I am an independent person, I needed support in this wonderful yet difficult journey of parenthood.  It was difficult enough to be homesick while pregnant with raging hormones, more so (with equally ranging hormones), homesick with a newborn solely dependent on you while the closest family lives 4000 kilometers away, back in the Philippines.

Now almost a hundred days later, and after seeing a very healthy and happy baby on-track with her developmental milestones, I would like to acknowledge my hubby and myself.  We’ve passed the first quarter storm with flying colors and more sleep (or in hubby’s case, the same amount of sleep but more time for work – argh #marriedtoaworkaholic)!

So how did we manage to do it?  Here are 6 things that helped us newbie parents “do our thing” away from the comforts of our original home, Manila:

1.  We believed in our capacity for learning and resiliency.  The first thing I did upon arriving home from the airport was to step-up.  Now that Nanay (translation:  Mom) was on her way home, hubby had to sleep in the other room as he had slight fever.  I was left with our baby to care for on my own for at least a night – which meant I had to do the feed, the burp, the nappy change and the putting-back-to-sleep.  I didn’t have a choice!  But I’ve gone through similarly challenging situations in the past and was reminded of how tough I once was (or still am).  It is a very empowering thought.  That alone helped me make that mental shift: I knew I could do it, not only for that night but for many nights to come.

2.  We got help.  Before my baby came, I thought, how hard could it be?  Well, it is hard.  It’s a specialized skill and I don’t have it!  One of the best decisions we’ve made was to hire someone who could help us take care of our baby and “teach” us a thing or two.  I call her my Nanny McVi, my very own lovely baby whisperer.  She comes a few hours a day to help me and I take advantage of the opportunity to learn from her as well.  I may be in a country where it is actually very affordable to get help but I know of people who have found ways to get the help they need in more “expensive” countries.  If you look closer, there are ways!  It can be done.  And don’t think you’re less of a person if you ask help.

3.  We brought our “village” to us.  In this day and age, The village doesn’t necessarily have to physically be where you are.  Thank God for technology like Skype that you can “bring” it practically anywhere.  With Skype I satisfied my craving for connecting with family members all over the world on a daily basis.  It allowed my baby to touch base with her grandparents too.  On a difficult day, I could easily call my mom (for free!) and I’d be ok.  Or, when I’m pondering on something, I just “shout out” to my Facebook friends and I’d get the advice I need.

Aside from the technology, even the old school methods come into play.  Never in my whole entire life have I been “touched” by the post office as I am now.  For example a good friend of mine from New Zealand lent me her On Becoming Babywise book to help “sleep train” our baby.  Thanks to her and the good old “snail mail”, I was able to create more order in our world and it brought back a lot of sanity for me.  Truly, “the village” can reach you no matter where you are.

4.  We went Local!  In as much as I crave for the support of family and life-long friends, we also have friends here! They provide us support in terms of expert local advice on such things as where to find great quality nannies such as our Nanny McVi.  For that I am truly grateful!  Or even just the company, friends dropping by during the day and getting to know our baby.  Their presence helps give our baby a sense of belonging in a “community.”

5.  We harnessed the collective story of mother/parenthood.  Again in this day and age virtual support systems exist even with big time famous mommas!  I chanced upon the M.A.P.P. Gathering,  hosted by Lisa Grace Byrne of Well Grounded Life.  M.A.P.P. stands for Motherhood, Ambition, Passion and Purpose and gathered 9 “big time” mommas with 9 separate interviews about just that – motherhood, ambition, passion and purpose.  What I learned is that no matter where I am, who I am, what I do, I share the same raw and powerful experience of motherhood with people like my career rockstar idol Brene Brown.  It is pretty awesome to find a lot of similarities with them and being given the message that the best (amidst the mess) is yet to come.  That pretty much brought my mojo back.

6.  We came to understand that the village at its core is a team of two – hubby and I.  The biggest thing I am thankful for is that hubby and I are truly partners.  He is such a hands on father and a caring husband.  He changes nappies without complaining.  He plans the week’s menu and cooks dinner.  He listens to me as I work through my emotions, and encourages me to go out as he takes over caring for baby for me to get my “alone time.” I in turn share with him what I learned from Nanny McVi during the day, and also encourage him to go for his swim, or take over the cooking while he hangs out with our baby.

In as much as I would love to parent with my village in my village, I actually realized what a great opportunity being a first-time mommy away from home is!  It is a huge growing-up, learning and empowering experience.  We’re parenting on our own terms and this has brought us closer and stronger than ever as a couple. And at the end of the day we are ok because, at least for now, Sri Lanka is actually our home.


Author Bio:

Mommy{T}Coach Tala is Mommy {T} Coach. She works with moms and trailing spouses to cook up a deliciously balanced and flavor-full life of family, their life’s great work (aka career), and everything in between.  You may learn more about her work in  She currently lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka with her husband Paulo (my husband’s cousin!) and baby girl Luna.  She also keeps a blog about their adventures and misadventures in the tea country in Livin’ La Vida Lanka.


Author: mymommyology

I am the mom that I am because of my two wonderful little girls. They teach me everyday.


  1. I love the idea of your Nanny McVi.. this is a great post that is sure to help those who have trailed their spouse too!

  2. Thanks Anne! Nanny McVi is lovely! We are truly lucky 🙂

  3. Doesn’t Nanny McVi sound heavenly! 🙂

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