My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

Why We Let Kids Be Kids

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Trivia:  The Filipino term “sige” takes its origins from the Spanish word seguir, which means “to follow.” 

The Filipino phrase “Sige Lang” (pronounced “cee-gue lāng”) is loosely used to mean, “go ahead” and “let (things) play out as they should”.  


I’ve recently discovered (or maybe the better term is “acknowledged”)  that I’m very paranoid when it comes to my kids’ well-being.  In Filipino the slang for it is praningprah-neeng),  and it actually sounds like a very apt description of my parenting style.  When the girls are sick, I lose sleep icing them down and checking to see if they’re still breathing.  If you recall, I had a scare with Sam over year ago, and Jamie actually ended up in the hospital, (can you blame me for being traumatized?).  When we’re at the mall, I hang on to both of them tightly because I fear they’ll run and I won’t be able to keep up.  There are so many kidnapping scares these days, you can never be too sure.  Sometimes we avoid the malls altogether.  On playgrounds, I’ve been known to call the attention of other caregivers and tell them their child is misbehaving (because they may have already or are about to cause harm to one of my own).  Yes, I can be very protective that way.

When the girls’ safety and health aren’t a concern however, I find I can take on a totally opposite demeanor (swinging my parenting style to the opposite spectrum).  For as long as they’re in a safe environment (school, home, a friend’s house…), I have no problems letting them explore and try new things.  If it builds imagination, creativity, confidence and problem-solving skills, then why not?

This is something Jamie’s and Sam’s teachers have talked to me about as well.  They’ve explained that the girls will inevitably get dirty and messy because they need to figure out how to complete the projects and exercises set out for them, and I do see how much they’ve grown developmentally because of it. (Side story: I remember a friend telling me that she sent her toddler to school and he’d come home looking quite untouched.  Even his projects looked very well-made, she couldn’t believe he’d made them himself.  One day she came in early for pick-up and saw that the kids were just placed in front of the TV!  She pulled him out the next day.)

A nostalgic photo: the kids splattering each other (and us) with paint in our old home...

A nostalgic photo: the kids splattering each other (and us) with paint in our old home…

I’ve tried to replicate this environment at home by having exploratory play-time with the kids.  We paint (a LOT!), play with play-doh, make things from scratch, and hit the nearest playgrounds when we can.  As our new Kindermusik teacher says, “Play provides a tool for discovery and it brings meaning to events in the life of a child.” 

Of course it goes without saying — when you have kids, it will get messy.  They’ll get sweaty and dirty.  There’s no way around it but to let it happen.  For as long as the girls have fun then there is no reason to do otherwise.  Besides… the mess, the dirt, the stains — they can all be washed away.  Literally!  It’s the philosophy behind the campaign of all-new Breeze with Activ Bleach.    They encourage moms to be Sige* Moms and say Sige Sa Mantsa! which essentially means, “Go ahead, let the stains happen.”  Breeze believes in the value of experiential learning, and has this at its core; so they encourage moms to let kids have their fun, explore the world, and pick up life lessons along the way. Anyway, Breeze is there to help clean up the mess (the stains) after.

In my past life, when I worked for the company and learned about this brand’s story, I couldn’t help but think it made a lot of sense.  Now that I’m a mom (and as such, the target market), I appreciate it more.  What I didn’t realize until recently though, was how much it needed to be said out loud.  A lot of moms and caregivers are so concerned with the consequences that follow –  more laundry, more things to clean up — that they oftentimes forget the importance  and the benefit the entire process brings.

Admittedly it is extra work that you wish you could do without.  I used to groan about the dried mud that I had to get off Sam’s pants, or the sand and mulch that she’d “take home” from summer camp.  Thankfully (and luckily) enough, I was surrounded by a community of moms in Chapel Hill who had this exact philosophy at the heart of their child-rearing, and so I internalized it too.  I think it did us a lot of good because Sam would always come home with animated stories about her day in school.  And so because it was the way I learned to parent, It was easy for me to get on board and advocate as well.

I see how this part of my parenting style has helped my kids here in Manila.  Sam comes home from school in her P.E. uniform (which is white by the way!), with dirt on her knees or at the ends of her pants.  She always has a smile on her face — and a star on her hand — and says it’s because she “played the game well and got a prize”.  Jamie, comes home with paint on some part of her clothes 90% of the time and I can’t complain.  During our parent-teacher conference, I was told that while she is one of the younger students in her class, she is the most independent and can complete tasks by herself.  Jamie has in fact blossomed so much that I was told she is smart enough to skip a level for next school year.

Jamie's shirt is hungry for snow cones too...

Jamie’s shirt is hungry for strawberry snow cone too…

These days, Jamie is learning to feed herself and refuses to let us help her hold the spoon.  Sam engages in a lot of arts and crafts, and will oftentimes stand up in between her projects to change the paint and the water on the palette.  Neither has mastered their respective tasks, so you can imagine what our laundry pile looks like.  But what else is there to say… except sige lang. 🙂

Congratulations to Breeze for a great brand story, and thank you for making us a part of your return into the market. 🙂

Author: mymommyology

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

One Comment

  1. Pingback: The Art Exploration Projects | My Mommyology

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