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LIFESTYLE SPOTLIGHT

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Michelle Sy

Jersey City, NJ

In my previous life, I oversaw the office administration and accounting in a small firm. I was always being pulled in every direction when things needed to be done, much like raising young children. I believe that my past life mirrors much of my current life as a special mom to an exceptionally unique child. The ONLY difference is I don’t receive monetary compensation, no benefits like healthcare, paid vacation and such. But this sort of compensation, you cannot put a price on. My son pays me with his love and shows me through his progression every day. He shows me to appreciate the little things in life. Like when something fell in the kitchen and we are in the bedroom and he responds, “What’s that?!”, is music to my ears. I believe I am more than a stay-at-home mom, which is a term that is majorly outdated, in my honest opinion. I am far from that. I would like to say something to the effect of chief operating officer and early childhood impressionist.

In my spare time, I enjoy going out with friends, watching movies, biking, and enjoying the company of family. I also fundraise for local autism groups like the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness

CEID) in Berkeley, CA. They made a remarkable impression on our family’s life and I want to pass it on to other families and their children. The one thing that has surely changed is the size of my heart – it beats differently. Being a parent to a special needs child is a blessing but it doesn’t go without saying that there aren’t bad days, which is all part of life and being human. With that said, a lot of the investment in my son requires time and an investment in myself: knowing when to ask for help, when to give myself a time out and do things like girls’ night out or read a good book, and oh, SLEEP!

Being that my child is deaf with bilateral cochlear implants, is on the autism spectrum and lives with ADHD is a lot but my trifecta child definitely keeps me on my toes and helps me see things differently. There are special needs families internationally who I keep in touch with through email, Facetime, Facebook groups and in person. I think these are my lifelines during a tough day. I’m also an amateur blogger and use that avenue to inspire through my vulnerability. I love learning and writing about how I can support my son and others out there. I learned that staying involved and educating myself makes me a better support for my son. To the strong supermoms out there – know your rights as your child’s parent, trust your gut, and most of all, take it one day at a time.


 
Veronica Raquel Kerzner

Los Angeles, CA & New York, NY

Veronica Kerzner with Rambo

I am Veronica Kerzner, Founder & CEO of Style Fashion Week (the Official Fashion Week of Los Angeles) and BubbleFish Media, loving wife and mother of 1 and soon to be 2!

I absolutely love seeing Rambo grow into a little man! Every day is a true joy and I am truly blessed to have such a happy, loving and smart little boy and amazing partner and husband! We love our everyday adventures, learning new words, discovering new talents and creating beauty everywhere we go. At the young age of 20 months, Rambo is incredibly loving, generous, curious, adventurous, knows what he wants and is quite the flirt (especially backstage at fashion week). I cherish our cuddle time and am so thankful to have the opportunity to be a mother and creator!


 
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Patricia G. Santos

Union City, CA

As a working mom, I am fortunate to be in a career that is related to my children. I am a mother of two – my eldest is a 3-year-old girl named Viviana and my second is a 1-year-old boy named Stephan. I have been a Montessori Head teacher for 11 years and apply the philosophy at home with my little ones. Being in the same school facility with them has its perks. I get a glimpse of their day with their peers and teachers and have the peace of mind that they are in good hands.

I indulge myself by being creative whether it is arranging flowers, cake decorating, crafting party goods, gardening or designing crystal jewelry. On the rare times that I get to do something for myself, I always have my husband to thank for taking over the reigns with the housework.

It’s not easy to balance work and home duties but I have learned to prioritize what matters most to us, which is sticking to a realistic regular routine and always having a good night’s rest. I may have mountains of laundry to fold or see some toys lying on the ground but I may just conquer them on a weekend when inspiration hits me. My children are healthy and happy, I have a wonderful supportive husband and we have a home filled with love… that is all that truly matters.

 
 

Geraldine Nuval-Weibull

San Francisco, CA

Previously, I owed a high-end lingerie shop in San Francisco, a world my daughter grew up in. From the age of 15 til she finally stepped into her own career path, she was there by my side, learning the art of sales and how to run a business. Like every little girl, she quickly grew into a lovely young woman and into a world of marketing and social media. We still manage to do girly things together like get our nails done, go shopping, grab our favorite cheat meal together, or watch chick flicks . As I, myself, changed careers into a life of fitness, it was easier and more fun to connect actively. We did runs like the Nike Marathon, Bridge to Bridge, and the one pictured here, Rave Run. I am proud to say I’m a mother of a strong, independent, beautiful daughter. She has given me purpose and strength. She has developed me into the person I am today. She’s my daughter, my best friend….my world.

“My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to, Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small, You never need to carry more than you can hold, And while you’re out there getting to where you’re getting to, I hope know somebody loves you.” – Rascal Flatt

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Joan Almedilla

Los Angeles, CA

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I’m a performing artist-mom living in Los Angeles and I work primarily in musical theatre. Another thing I do to stay creative is working with 2 very talented writing partners. We focus on original music compositions. My favorite job in the world is being able to homeschool my son. I had imagined myself being a soccer mom, however, my 6 year-old loves golf. That came as a huge surprise considering my husband and I are both artists.

When my parents came to visit us last year from New York, my dad took him to a golf course close to our house. When they came back my dad said that my son is a natural. He suggested I nurture that and perhaps enroll him in a local golf class for kids.

I enjoy watching my son learn both academics and life skills. The latter is really the most important thing for me. My son loves to interact with people of all ages. I take him to parks, libraries, weekly golf practice, weekly museum visits, Kung Fu and he sometimes likes to volunteer in charity events on weekends.

I love nurturing his interests. At home we have 2 Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a preying mantis and triops, none of which I like but watching him take responsibility over his pet-insects is really what’s rewarding. Last week we were on the Disney lot in Burbank. There were Disney character statues and images everywhere but the thing that really excited him the most was the stage where Master Chef Jr is filmed. Cooking is another interest of his. So he’s been assisting me in preparing our meals.

I am so fortunate to be a mom in this day and age because of the amount of resources that are available on the internet besides the books & magazines, the annual homeschooling conventions that we go to and the support I get from my mommy friends. Speaking of mommy friends, there is a video that I did with my mommy group called the Mama Bares. Our group is comprised of former Miss Saigon alums (now with our kids and husbands.) It all started out as a play date in Pan Pacific Park. Here’s a link: http://youtu.be/Ilm2FbGMxLA

My husband and I have been together for 15 years and I have to say he makes everyday feel like it’s Mothers’ Day and Valentine’s Day altogether. I am blessed to have a wonderful mother who is kind and very soft-spoken. And to all amazing, hardworking moms out there, HAPPY, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO YOU!!!

 
 

Regina Manzana-Sawhney

Silicon Valley, CA

 
 
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I’m a proud working mom of two girls. I am also an Engineering Program Manager and social good enthusiast. To acknowledge the perspective and opportunity culture brings to work, I co-founded FGN (the Filipino Googler Network) in 2011. I am the Chair of the employee resource group and recently enabled Googlers from around the globe to partner with NGOs in region post Typhoon Haiyan. Outside of work, I enjoy experiencing the world through the eyes of my young girls, spending time with my BFF (husband) Rohit, supporting early stage tech, and volunteering with groups focused on female empowerment. I am a board member of the Apl.de.Ap Foundation and Philippine International Aid.

I love the everyday joys of being a mama. I drive home from work “radio-free” with little ones anxious to share stories and “ask why” often. We continue the conversation at the dinner table. The family gets together to exchange our favorite and “not the best” moments of the day. Our 3 year old often starts things off by asking us, “How was your day today?” They’re eager to exchange and I hope for this to never fade. To watch them figure things out, share their interpretations and expectations is the best exclusive “non-pay per view” experience. My favorite part of the day is a ritual we’ve had since they were babies. We sit in the room with them, hold their hands or pat a back until they drift off to sleep – peaceful bliss. To experience the world through a child’s eyes, share the joys of life with my best friend and encourage the girls to strive for “homework they love” — in sum, it’s the ultimate blessing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 

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Angela Perez Baraguio

La Mirada, CA


 

As a wife of almost 13 years (married to my high school sweetheart) and a mother of 4 beautiful children (3 boys and 1 baby girl), I feel incredibly blessed! Being a former Miss Hawaii and the first teacher and Asian woman to be crowned Miss America, I have had the opportunity to do so many exciting things in my life, but nothing compares to being a wife and mother! Currently, I am a junior high English teacher and Vice Principal at a Catholic School, but I have recently been named the new Principal of the school, starting this July, and I couldn’t be more humbled by the appointment. I am also the author of the book “Amazing Win, Amazing Loss: Miss America Living Happily, Even After.”

I love being a teacher, but more importantly, having the opportunity to be a role model and a leader. It’s great to be an administrator at the school where my own kids are attending! It gives me the opportunity to be a working mom, but allows me to see my children everyday, which is a huge gift in and of itself. I enjoy going to the beach with my family, swimming, singing, dancing, and watching movies with them. As we say in our home, “Just as long as we’re together…” My boys are 10, 8, and 3, and my little girl is 2. The sweetest moment was meeting them the day they were born and being able to bond with them in the first few moments of their life. Now, the sweet moments are savored throughout every day. Watching them get recognized on the Honor Roll, earning Citizenship awards, performing at their school plays and musical performances, celebrating birthdays and holidays, witnessing them receive their sacraments, hearing them sing along to musicals and songs in the car while we’re driving on a family road trip are just a few moments I treasure. Being a mommy is one of the most amazing blessings I have ever been given. Happy Mothers’ Day to all the wonderful mothers out there who chose life for their babies and are able to understand the struggles, but reap the intangible and inexplicable benefits of motherhood.