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Jet Acuzar: In Being, There Is Also Doing

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Jet Acuzar shares the struggle that many moms face in reconciling the act of being and doing—in pursuit of self-care.

When work is glorified, rest is vilified. As interior designer Jet Acuzar attempted to bow away from the designer’s spotlight, the Forewoman discovered that it was a lot harder than it looked. “Work and productivity have become badges of honor that people seem to wear these days. People have conflated the idea of being busy as a kind of reward in and of itself,” she shares. “While it’s fantastic to be inspired, to be moved, I believe there has to be a balance. When there’s work, there’s time to enjoy oneself.”

jet acuzar and family

Fighting Mom Guilt: The Rocky Path To Self-Care

But the concept of enjoying oneself can be extremely alien to many and even to the self. Jet confides, “Self-care is so well-meaning, and taking care of one’s self is so important. But when you’re overwhelmed and in so much pain the last thing you need to hear from anyone is that ‘You need to take better care of yourself.’ It sounds patronizing to the receiver of this message, even if the intent is one that is coming from kindness.”

It’s also in a state of being overwhelmed that well-meant intentions can cause egos to rear their ugly heads. Jet explains, “Before I started Forewoman and working for Manuel L Quezon University, my ever-loving family and well-meaning friends would always say ‘Oh what a waste of your LSE education!’ or ‘What a waste of your time in London to be doing nothing.’ It was both a compliment and slight; while they could see me as someone capable of more, they were also putting down whatever it was I was doing.”

The pain didn’t just stop in a career context but even as a mother, Jet felt the mom guilt grow. She shares, “It would further hurt me when I would see other people be housewives and stay-at-home moms and the same people who would push me to work, praise other women for their excellent skills as wife and mother. I would be so jealous when the people in their lives support them wholly, as that was not how I felt at all. I had people constantly telling me, ‘Sayang ang talino mo‘!” (“What a waste of your intelligence!”)

The Price for Pursuing The Beyond

Although Jet Acuzar acknowledges that it’s good to have high standards, it shouldn’t be at the cost of destroying oneself. When the pressure started, she realized that she had to recognize and honor the negative feelings. She shares, “When we are ready to tangibly care for ourselves, our bodies and mind align for you to pick up that hairbrush, put on that lipstick, and wear that dress that’s been hanging in your closet for a year. Or even to sit in a corner with a cup of tea and a good book. It may be that the problems that haunt you still do, but there is a mood our bodies feel that we need to respect, and we need to honor our feelings.”

Jet knew firsthand how those feelings can make anyone feel completely isolated. She reassures, “If you are feeling like I did 5 years ago, I am sending you a big hug and telling you that you are enough and you are not alone. 2016 me is with you, and when you are ready, you will go back to work, or you will completely embrace being home and others’ opinions won’t live in your mind and heart rent-free.”

jet acuzar

Self-Care isn’t a One-size Fits All Thing

Even today, Jet Acuzar admits that she’s still healing and finding a form of self-care that best suits her. She admits, “I wish I knew the best way but it’s still something I’m going through myself. It’s a bit hard to make blanket statements when it comes to mental health and caring for ourselves. But if I must, I would say I take it day by day and try to trust my instincts and believe the universe is working in a way to lead me to where and who I need to be with so that I can fulfill the purpose God has sent me on this earth for.”

Read other stories of moms who have struggled with self-care

You Don’t Need To Be Perfect: Say Bye to Mom Guilt
Solenn Heusaff during Fashion Week in Milan: “Mum guilt is real”
Belo Medical Group Turns 31: Dr Vicki Belo Shares Advice On Motherhood and The Importance of Self-Care