Just typing her name makes me feel so much awe. That’s how much I respect and admire this woman.
So many words are tumbling out of mind—so many good words are fighting each other off—they all want to describe this awesome, awesome woman. But really, she’s no celebrity. She is, in fact, a simple mom and wife.
I guess I better begin with how I learned of her existence. It began one night when I saw a message from a mom on Facebook, thanking the Brain Train Review team for helping her son pass the Philippine Science High School National Competitive Exam. Her name was Wen Del Rosario-Raymundo.
I got curious who she was. So I googled her. I saw an online article she wrote for the Philippine Star.
Hmmm, sooooo she was one of the first UP INTARMED graduates. OK, so matalino pala siya. (believe it or not, I am way impressed by brains rather than beauty). Being in the UP INTARMED is a huge deal, but I’m used to meeting people that smart. I’ve worked with UP Oblation scholars, UP summa cum laudes, board topnotchers, and the like. So yeah, I admired her, but that wasn’t enough for me to admire her the way I do now.
A few months after, her son emerged as one of the topnotchers of the UP Rural High School Entrance Test. Instead of hurrying to Brain Train to get her son’s refund (because we refund the topnotchers’s tuitions as a way of rewarding them), she came bearing gifts. She gave every person at Brain Train a nice gift—from Randy and me to the other teachers to even our office staff to our drivers and, get this—she even gave Raviv giftS, with an “S”! At that time, Raviv was only a few months old. I was actually pregnant with Ravivo when her son was my student. So, OK, we were overjoyed and very grateful for her thoughtfulness. But still, that was not why I admire her the way I do today. After all, we’ve encountered so many thoughtful and grateful parents in the past.
And then barely a year after, she returned to our office to enroll her unica hija to our review. Seeing her made me very happy, especially because she was so nice and humble and soft-spoken. We made small talk, and then I asked what kind of medical doctor she was. She said she was an OB Gyne, but that she was no longer a practicing doctor, because she’s a full time wife and mom.
Teka, ano raw?!? Rewind nga natin?
Well, she said she was an OB Gyne, but that she was no longer a practicing doctor, because she’s a full time wife and mom.
Bigla kong naalala that she was in UP INTARMED. Again, UP INTARMED! I remember seeing on her Facebook that she was also a graduate of Pisay Main Campus!
My first reaction was, Sayang!!! But it was immediately replaced by great admiration and awe. Here was a woman who could easily achieve fame, accolades, and wealth because of her brains and charm. She could easily explain to her husband and kids that she wasn’t blessed with that intelligence to clean, cook, and do the laundry at home.
But no. That’s exactly what she does—she really gave up clinical practice (that is, seeing patients; although she still is still into clinical research and clinical trial work). When asked why, Dr. Wen just said, “I wanted to raise/care for my children personally during their childhood years—by myself, hands on, without a dedicated yaya, 24/7.”
She further explains, “I preferred not to have a yaya because it would ensure that I knew every single thing about, and every single milestone of my children, since I did not delegate their care to anyone else. In other words, nothing would escape my attention, and I would be able to build the foundation I wanted by immediately enforcing/reinforcing good behavior, and modifying/correcting undesirable behavior before it became a habit.”
But Dr. Wen also clarifies that she has great respect for working moms who are forced to leave their children under the care of a stranger to provide for the kids’ other needs, and who are still able raise them as upstanding citizens. In Dr. Wen’s case, however, that seems impossible because, as an OB-gyne, she was always on-call. OB-gynes have notoriously unpredictable schedules and long hours because of emergency calls and labor watch.
With Dr. Wen’s “could-have-been” future as a doctor, I could not help but ask whether she had regrets. And her answer was very firm: “Absolutely no regrets whatsoever, especially when I see the kind of children they [her kids] have become.”
“I believe that nothing is ever “sayang” when you do it for the people you love, especially your children. I’ve always felt that while my career could wait, their childhood wouldn’t—once you miss it, you can never bring it back. I also wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. Life is so unpredictable, and no one really knows for sure exactly how much time s/he has left. I would rather spend mine with family—creating wonderful memories and making a difference in my children’s lives than with getting on ahead in my career.”
Dr. Wen’s answer made me feel warm all over. In a dog-eat-dog world where you have to swim with the sharks (and she could be the shark!), it’s refreshing to actually meet someone who means it when she says, “Family first.” We all post short stories or quotes on Facebook that remind our “friends” the value of family, but after a minute or two of wistfulness we return to our ambitious selves, shelving our family time to get ahead in our careers (yes, tinatamaan ako rito).
But that’s not all. What really, really made me admire Dr. Wen is her humility. Being in the education industry, I’ve practically met all kinds of parents. Our students are children of politicians, farmers, professors, lawyers, doctors, laborers, etc. While most parents act “normal”, there are many who, sadly, would tell you: “Ikaw na ang magsulat ng details ng anak ko. I’m a very busy person. I’m a doctor!” Meron ding nagwawala na sa phone and after we explained our side and when belatedly realized his mistake, to save face, he was still adamant and said, “Alam n’yo bang broadcaster ako?!? Patawagin n’yo sa akin ang boss n’yo!” And this is just to name a few ha. And even I myself–I often find myself short-tempered and yes, arrogant, too. That’s why Dr. Wen is very refreshing! Here’s a woman who graduated from THE most sought-after medical program, and from THE best high school in the country! But when she calls up our office, she’s always so soft-spoken and addresses herself as “Mommy Wen.” Nope, not Dr. Raymundo. Just Mommy Wen. She does not even usually mention that she’s a medical doctor, thus she’s more known as “Mommy Wen”. And the fact that she has been “diminished” (my own words) into being a regular mom does not offend her. In fact, she says, “…one of the reasons I love being in LB [Los Banos] is that I’m called Mama here. It’s more more meaningful to me than the one related to my profession [which is being a doctor].”
Before I park and go to my mag-ama, let me leave you with Dr. Wen’s advise on parenting:
Always put God in the center of your family, and in everything you do, ask yourself if it will give Him glory. Early on, identify the core values that you consider the most important and hold dearest to your heart. And then – walk the talk. Make an effort to model the behavior you want to encourage in your children, because they learn more from what you do, rather than from what you say. You may not always succeed … if and when this happens – hey, go easy on yourself. You have to remember that you are a mom, and that moms are human too.
I hope Dr. Wen also inspired you the way she inspired me. Happy Mother’s Day to us moms!!!
Tell me what you think!
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