Many years ago, I met a longtime friend whose son was studying at Ateneo, one of the top three schools in the Philippines. I told her that I want my children to study at Ateneo as well someday.

All she said was, “Let’s see.” At that time, we were nowhere near where we stand now, and having our own business was just a dream. Mahirap lang kami.

But like many parents, we want a good education for our children, and we were ready to sacrifice many things just so we can see them graduate from good schools.

We often hear of parents who had to resort to selling their properties just to come up with money for their children’s enrollment. Some go into deep debt in order to fulfill their dreams for their children.

I have four children, and it’s no joke to put all of them through school. I myself have also made (and am still making) a number of sacrifices to this end.

I have to work doubly hard. When I was just putting up my business, Ahead Tutorial and Review, 5 hours was the normal sleep time I had daily. And that went on for the first four years. Since resources were tight (we only had one computer!), we had to take turns at using the computer. I would work from morning until about 3 a.m., and my staff would take over from that time until morning when I woke up. Sometimes I had to wake up as early as 6:30 a.m. to answer phone calls from the parents of our students. I pushed myself to work hard so we could save up for our children’s education.

I have to work and live near my children’s schools. It would have been convenient for me to have the main office of Ahead in Ortigas Center so it would be at the center of Metro Manila. But I want to be near my children. In a previous post “Being the Best Mom”, I wrote about having the one-hour rule: At any time of the day, I make sure I am just an hour away from where my children are. Should anything happen, I will be able to be with them in a matter of minutes. Our house is just walking distance from our office and my children’s schools.

I have to be actively involved in school. Because I believe in the essential partnership between parents and the school in educating children, I have made time to participate in school activities. I even became a parent officer in my children’s classes even though I could opt not to do so, given my busy schedule.

I have to learn to multitask. Not only am I a mother and a businesswoman, I am also my children’s teacher at home. I also take my children out on weekends and bring them to restaurants, zoos, the movie house, and other interesting places even if I am so tired. To reserve energy for the weekend, my routine during the weekdays is just house-office-house.

I have to spend time and money so they could learn even outside the classroom. My children know that when it comes to books, they could pick whatever they want, and I’d buy it for them no matter how much it costs. As for all other things – toys, for instance – there is a limit, a budget we have to follow. I prioritize education. I also bring them to places where they can learn so much more, be it the zoo, the museum or other countries. I want them to experience other cultures and expand their knowledge.

Making sacrifices for our loved ones is just a small price to pay when it is for their own good. Our children deserve the best education we can give them.

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