Regina Layug Rosero: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, Nanay

Happy Mothers’ Day, #BagongNanay!

I wish that today and everyday, you will find time to just rest and take care of yourself. Not only because you need it, but most importantly, you deserve it.

For our #KuwentongBagongNanay on this special day, it’s my pride and honor to share the story of a friend and mentor who inspires me in so many ways. She inspires me to keep writing, to keep believing, and to keep going.

Among other things, she is the Mom Who Hugged a Hundred Queer Kids During the Metro Manila Pride. Yes, she gives out warm hugs for free. I’m not a hugger, but I admit I miss her hug. And as I was reading her story, it’s like a big tight hug after a long, crazy day.

Read on. I know you need a hug, too.

1. How do you feel about being a working mom amid a pandemic?

It’s hard to be a mom. It’s hard to be a working mom. Add pandemic. Paano na? 

There is literally no division–be it time or physical barrier–between work and parenthood. My work desk is in our living room, and my son walks from the bedroom past me to get to the kitchen for cookies. He lounges on the sofa to watch TV while I work. After school he runs to me to show me his drawing–sometimes while I’m in a meeting!

Sometimes I wish I could escape. To be honest I look forward to errands because I get to go out for a little while. I look forward to the times when he’s at (online) school, or asleep, because it means I get to focus on work, or I finally get to watch Netflix!

Regina and son Lucas

But other times I am grateful to be at home with my son. I hear him laugh and giggle. I feel his little arms wrap around me for random hugs throughout the day. He walks past me and randomly says, “I love you,” and my day is better. It’s tough, but we make it work.

2. How do you take care of your mental health at this time?

Motherhood is actually what taught me to be more aware of my mental health needs, and the pandemic reinforced that awareness. 

There are so many stressors these days, and it is so easy to have an anxiety attack, or to slip into a depressive slump. But I am very fortunate to have access to mental healthcare, not only in the form of psychiatric consultation services, but also through friends and colleagues who constantly support my mental wellness. 

Until recently, I have been taking antidepressants, and this is immensely helpful. I find movement helps so much. If I’m doing weights or a cardio workout, I feel powerful and strong. If I do 30 minutes of Zumba, I feel so happy and energetic. If I do yoga, even for just 20 minutes, I feel calm and peaceful. 

I have always been a writer, and I find that writing on my blog helps a lot too. It is not just a way to process and express my feelings, but also a way to share what I hope is useful information, whether it’s about women’s issues or cooking or fitness. Meditation, coloring books and gardening are calming too!

3. Describe a day in your life. What are some hacks that help you throughout the day?

Routines are so helpful. After breakfast, if I don’t have any meetings, I try to do yoga, anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes. When I start work, I monitor the news, and I do this until it’s time for lunch. In the afternoon, my husband stays with my son for school via Zoom. I usually prepare dinner, and we sit down to eat when my mom is done with work.

I love bedtime. After a shower, we read together, tell each other stories, play a little. He likes to snuggle next to me as he falls asleep, or he’ll ask me to rub his back or his tummy while I sing. I love watching him sleep.

It’s really hard to keep an energetic, curious boy engaged while stuck in lockdown. We don’t want him to watch YouTubeKids or play games all day. Recently, we were able to potty-train him using a chart and stickers; after a certain number of stickers, he gets a reward. I picked up this life hack from a childhood friend. Now we’re trying this same tactic to get him to read more, and to feed himself during meals. For each book and each meal, he gets a sticker! 

Big smiles!

4. As a Bagong Nanay, what are the three things that make you happy?

Things I do with my family, from enjoying meals and watching movies to cooking, these sound like such mundane, trivial things, but the fact we are together, safe, and healthy, makes me happy.

Apparently gardening makes me happy! A few months ago my mom and my brother started being more adventurous in their gardening, and the lovely leaves and flowers growing around our house make me so happy. My husband is so supportive too, drilling holes into planters and helping us with research and composting. It’s a family effort!

My real motivation is food. Some vegetables are so hard to find, or so expensive. So I decided to plant vegetables. I planted some bell pepper seeds about a week ago. Yesterday I found tiny green leaves, and it made me so happy. 

My work makes me happy too. As a communications and liaison officer for Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), I get to develop content about health issues around the world. 

Last December, our team launched a children’s activity book on COVID-19. It has been translated into seven languages, and is being distributed to children in many places where MSF works. This makes me immensely proud and happy.

5. What is your advice to mothers who are struggling with mental health issues?

It’s hard to be a mom. It’s hard to be a working mom. Add pandemic. Paano na? 

But my advice, whatever the state of a woman’s mental health, is this: YOU DESERVE REST.  

Few and far between are the people reminding moms that rest is important. Too often we praise moms for being hardworking, for their martyrdom, for their sacrifice. I say no! I say we can do better for moms. 

Skin care is self-care!

I want moms to realize that they cannot take care of everybody and everything if they are exhausted, angry, overworked, unappreciated. I want moms to take time and make space for themselves, to do what makes them happy, calm, rested. I want moms to take charge of their mental health, to set boundaries for their time and energy, to value themselves just as much as they value the families for which they care so much. I want them to realize that if they take better care of themselves, they take better care of the people around them.

I want EVERYONE to remember that, before these women became moms, they were people with hopes and dreams, desires and cravings, hobbies and goals, and these things still matter. 

Regina Layug Rosero

6. In only six words, describe what kind of Bagong Nanay you are.

Fit, fab, feminist and almost forty! 

I am Regina from Antipolo. I am the Bagong Nanay of Lucas, age 4. When I’m not cooking or doing laundry, I do yoga and HIIT, write, and think about how to smash the patriarchy!

One response to “Regina Layug Rosero: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, Nanay”

  1. […] din Si Mommy Rej in Antipolo, who emphasized the importance of taking care of our mental health. Just like Mommy Jo-an, na nag-log off sa lahat ng social media accounts niya for her […]


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