What Makes Ines Happy!

Family and friends, among many other things, make Ines Yao happy!

Many years ago, I worked at the ground level of a local mall. There were rats and the occasional cat, but I didn't mind as I was toiling away with a couple of wonderful women alongside me, one of whom was Ines Bautista Yao. When deadlines loomed around the corner, we would have these stress eating sessions where we brought all sorts of junk, from chocolates and doughnuts to popcorn and potato chips. She was still single then, but I already had my four kids, and she marveled at how I was able to all those things that a mom does. 

Today, she's not only mom to two lovely kids, she is also the author of young adult books, including One Crazy Summer and What's In Your Heart.  

Here's Ines, talking about what makes her absolutely happy!

When I wasn't a mom, it was easy to say what made me happy. I could give you an entire list! But now it's not that simple.  Let me give you an example. 

Travel used to be number one on my happiness list. Who doesn't enjoy seeing a new country, or going to the beach and lazing around, or hopping on a plane with a book and an empty notebook with hours stretched ahead of you and no choice but to indulge in words--of someone else's making or your own? But the first time I traveled with my daughter, I was severely disappointed. I was so used to giving in to whatever I wanted to do on a trip that having to give in to her (which I felt I was already doing every single day of my life) felt like a heavy downpour on my parade. 

I planned a trip to Disneyland--cliche, but still one of my favorite places--and she refused to ride or watch anything. I brought her to the beach and she didn't want to get into the water. I took her to Singapore and we didn't finish going around the zoo because she was cranky and wanted a nap (and no, she couldn't nap in her stroller).

So why do I still insist on traveling? Why haven't I learned my lesson?

Because when my daughter finally took to the pool and realized how much she loved the water, my happiness and relief were stronger than if I had lazed around and tanned all day.

Because when my daughter tells me after a long day at Disneyland (because she insisted on watching the fireworks two nights in a row) that she never wanted to leave, I knew I had finally gotten through. 

Because when my daughter gets on a plane, she knows it means time with family and new experiences that are fun--if only you try. 

To say my daughters, my husband, and my family and friends make me happy is too simplistic. Yes, they do--and my family and friends always have--but today, I treasure them even more. I know what it's like to be alone, to feel helpless, to feel out of control--because I am a mother. And because of that, I cherish the people around me more than I ever have. I know now that I need these people and they take care of me without asking for anything in return except may be my time, attention, and love--which I was going to give them anyway. Life has become magnified because I am a mother. The pain is stronger, the fears are sharper, but the love is bigger, fuller, and yes, happier.

What makes me happy isn't a list of things. It isn't the number of books I have published or the number of places I have visited on an airplane. It is being a mother. And it's high time I embraced it with all I'm worth. Because no matter what, it's who I am. And I am fortunate that it truly makes me happy.

Ines has a new book! It's a beautiful story about love, life, friendship, and everything else in between. She published it on her own (ang galing!), and I am so mighty proud!

Want to order? Email her at inesbau@gmail.com :)



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Erika & Jing

Erika is a budding entrepreneur, who dreams of having her own fashion label one day. She's the mommy of Sophie and the daughter of Jing, a fortysomething single mom of four, who's a writer, editor, and craft enthusiast. Click here to read more.