Mama Rules: Author Ines Bautista Yao on Raising Her Girls and Living Creatively

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Tuesday, May 10, 2016 03:32 AM

Header image:

In my early days as a self-published author, I got the chance to chat with Ines Bautista Yao online. Admittedly, I was starstruck. She was incredibly nice and accommodating, and encouraging from the start. Her book Only A Kiss was one of the first romance genre I read by a Filipina author, and it made me laugh, cry and feel so many things that I actually started giggling with kilig when I was reading it! We sat down and talked about her blog, her life as a mother, and how she manages to write and work around her daughters' busy schedules at the same time. 

Ines Bautista Yao, formerly an English teacher and editor-in-Chief of Candy and K-Zone magazine here in the Philippines, is currently splitting her time between writing her books (her short story, Plain Vanilla, is one of my favorites!) and running after her little girls. Addie is seven and is now in school, while baby Tammy is two.

"Every day, I’m learning how to live with two very demanding girls who talk to me at the same time and who want my attention 24/7," Ines tell us. "But I keep telling myself that in a few years, when they hit their tweens, they might not even want to sit next to me, so I should treasure these moments. But while they’re both pulling at my arms and screaming in my ears so I pay attention to them and ignore the other one, it can be a struggle!"

Welcoming the New Year with the family!

Can you tell us about your blog, the Every Day Project? 

The Everyday Project is my mommy blog. My friends Treena, Tricia, Anne, and I blog about motherhood and basically, how each day is a project we tackle as we do our best to become the best mothers we can be. I love how so many of my mommy friends tell me that my posts have touched them and how I totally get what they’re going through! I love that, through my blog, I don’t feel alone. Motherhood can be such a lonely experience.

What's a regular day like in the Bautista-Yao household? 

Do you really want to know? You might fall asleep! Haha! 

I wake up at 5:45, get Addie ready for school, then when she walks out the door with my husband at 6:30, I plan to write. I answer emails, messages, check things off my to do list, and try to write fiction. I do all this 'til Tammy wakes up. Then I get her ready for breakfast, eat breakfast with her and my husband, give Tammy a bath, play with her (which takes up a lot of time), then we have lunch.

After lunch, I make her nap so I can take a shower (which at this point, 
I’ve been dying to do the whole day!), then if there’s time, I try to write again. When it’s time to fetch Addie from school, I pick up the sleeping Tammy and we get into the car to go to school. After we get Addie, we go home, have merienda, then I make Addie take a shower (that’s another battle).

"I have no solo pics, and none with just Marc that are nice!" 

If I’m lucky, my husband comes home early and we can help each other out. If they sleep early, I try to write and I send my girlfriends my gratitude list of the day (we try to do this every day.) Or my husband and I talk about our day. That’s ideal. When it’s a bad day, I just fall asleep without writing or talking to my husband. Haha!

You said that creativity is definitely important to encourage in your daughters. How do you encourage Addie and Tammy to be more creative?

I’m not the kind of mom who has flashcards and a strict schedule for her kids to follow at home. (But believe me, sometimes I wish I could give my kids more structure but it’s really hard for me!) I make sure my girls have the materials they need to express themselves and I give them a slight nudge “hey, let’s finger paint today!” or I ask them what they want to do. 

My kids are always dressing up, dancing, singing, drawing, writing (well, Addie is and Tammy pretends to), and whatever else they can find to unleash their creativity. I encourage what they’re interested in and I expose them to other things they might like to do. I’m so grateful I have a very creative family and my kids see their talented relatives shine at what they do. This, for me, is the best motivation there is.

Addie and Tammy in 'quieter' moments.
"You can see how different my girls are!" Says Ines.

Speaking of a book-making class, do your kids know that you're a writer? 

Yes they do! I actually have a photo where Addie is telling a one-year-old Tammy, “Look, Tammy, this is our mama’s name on the book: Ines Bautista Yao. She wrote it.” Addie keeps bugging me to write a book she can read. The problem is, my books are too old for her. So it frustrates her that she can’t read my books because she loves to read. 

What do you think is the secret to living a creative life?  

To know that although there is magic in creativity, there is a whole lot of discipline in it too. If you don’t work, if you don’t make yourself produce things, your creativity will have no outlet. You have to allow yourself to work and work hard. I used to think of creativity as magic, something that happened when everything was perfect and you had absolutely no control over it. Sometimes, this does happen. But life is made up of lots and lots of monotonous days. And if you wait for those magic moments, you won’t get anything done. So if you want to be creative, you have to set the stage. And the name of that stage is hard work.

I guess part of that hard work is being able to manage your time. How do you find time between writing and the girls? 

A lot of people ask me this question. Especially when they see just how much energy it takes to care for my second daughter (whom I fondly and exasperatedly call Tornado Tammy). And my answer is simple. I don’t watch TV. I don’t watch movies. If I have free time, I write. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE TV and movies. But when you make a choice to be a stay at home mom without a yaya, and you want to write at the same time, you make sacrifices.

"I don't watch TV. I don't watch movies.
If I have free time, I write."


I've always thought you were inspring because it seems like you've got it all! Do you have advice for mothers hoping to devote a little more time to their personal projects? 

Aww thanks, Carla! I don’t have it all - I miss television and I miss just hanging out with friends - but I feel incredibly blessed and I am so thankful that I can live the life I have right now. My advice would be to decide what it is you can live without and cut it out to make room for the personal projects. Believe me, it might sound crazy at first, but the satisfaction you get from creating something and from being you and not just mommy will be priceless.

One last thing! If there's a message you would like to leave your daugthers for the next ten years, what would it be? 
Be strong. Speak up. And always, always listen to Mama.

You can find Ines on Facebook, Twitter and The Everyday Project.
Her books are available on Amazon Kindle store and the Buqo store. 

About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!


Recommended Articles
Aubrey Daquinag talks Love, Life and Travel
Our Favorite Sydney Cafés
Mina Esguerra on Giving Back
Best Cafes in Seoul

Get the Lifestyle Network Newsletter

© 2015. ABS-CBN Corporation. All Rights Reserved.