Rossana L. Llenado
Combining a Tutorial Business and a Happy Family

By Hariette M. Lozano
Family Today, Nov. 2000

Gone are the days when married women merely serve the role of a housewife, that is to stay home, take care of the kids and do the household chores. Today, these same women can settle their domestic obligations while putting in their share in the financial aspect of keeping the house. Now, gender is no longer the issue when it comes to pursuing a career, what remains is the problem of squeezing in quality time with what little quantity of time there is left to spend for the family.

Rossana Ladaga-Llenado has proven that this arrangement is possible since she manages fairly well as proprietor and managing director of AHEAD Tutorial and Review Center, and a full-time housewife to Eddie and mom to their three kids. Her business, aside from rendering tutorial services, also conducts reviews for entrance exams to colleges and universities.

Since her work requires so much of her time, she decided to put up her office at home where she can’t miss attending to her kids’ needs. However, there are still some instances when she has to stay closeted in her office until the wee hours of the morning in order to finish work.

When this happens, I don’t go down (to the office) early kahit maaga akong nagigising. I just stay late upstairs and play with the kids and read the morning paper with my husband,” she shares. Indeed, the one regular activity she loves doing with Eddie, aside from watching news on television, is to read the newspaper and discuss issues with him.

Inspired to Look AHEAD

Rossana was first moved to open AHEAD way back in 1997 when “Brain Train,” her mother’s 10-year-old tutorial business, proved to be a big success in her hometown in Los Baños, Laguna. She felt the urge to put up the same business when she was starting to build a family of her own, seeing that her kids, too, needed to understand the value of education. “That’s why, as early as now, they understand the nature of our business, so they now give importance to their studies,” she proudly claims.

Married to the Right Man

Llenado says she has been truly blessed with a supportive husband, with whom she has been married for six years. He has been very understanding of her need to set up her own business and only sought to fill in for her whenever she’s busy with work.

The fact that Eddie is 15 years her senior is an advantage, she says, because he tends to be more giving, especially when it comes to deciding who will stay home to take care of the kids. “He loves kids so much kaya walang diperensya kung mas madalas siya iyung kasama ng kids. I’m more busy than him because of my office job,” she explains, referring to her husband’s fishing and building rentals businesses.

Rossana is thankful that her husband is engaged in a totally different field. She confesses that if Eddie worked in an eight-hour office setup, she won’t be able to successfully manage AHEAD, “kasi one of us should stay home or spend more time with the kids, because we wouldn’t want them naman to grow up without our assistance.”

Blessed with Three Angels

Rossana is not only fortunate to have married Mr. Right, but she is also a proud mom to twins Nicolo and Paolo (fondly called Kuting and Bambito, respectively) and their six-month-old baby, Darla Angela.

Rossana says with pride that their five-year-old twins are growing up to be very responsible and disciplined kids. This early, they are trained to fix their bed before and after sleeping. As to bedtime, both are aware that by 9 p.m., they should be tucked in already.

Though computer games and cartoons hold the attention of many kids these days, both Kuting and Bambito are aware of their dos and don’ts in terms of TV programs and games played. Rossana only buys CD games which are “educational such as Math and anything that involves thinking. I don’t buy them games that are violent, iyung may barilan, never.” As to kids’ shows, the twins are only allowed to watch non-violent programs, which also happen to be their favorite shows like Dexter’s Laboratory and Cow & Chicken. The kids are also encouraged to tune in to the Knowledge and Kermit channels.

Family Bonding

There are days when Rossana has to be out for a lengthy period of time to attend meetings and seminars. During such prolonged absences, her kids tend to look for her. To make it up to them and answer their “lambing,” she and her husband would take the whole family for a short out-of-town vacation.

Another memorable bonding moment this mother shares with her kids is when they play Pokemon trading cards, Snake and Ladders or watch their all-time favorite Ghostbusters on TV. “Kasi nakuwento ko sa kanila na favorite ko talagang program iyon nung bata pa ako. So every time na iyon na iyung palabas sa TV, they call me. Naaaliw ako when I see them enjoying while watching with me,” she says.

Rossana also invests on books for her kids. No matter how expensive they are, she still buys them for as long as it brings good values to Bambito, Kuting and Darla. Now, the boys read all the Fairy Tale books which their mom has been buying for them.

Fears and Lessons Learned

She may be happy and content with her family now, but like all doting mothers, Rossana still feels apprehensive about how the kids would turn out as grownups, especially when she observes and watches how her friends raise their own children. Though she may never know how Kuting, Bambito and Darla are going to be like in the future, she makes sure that they never forget the one lesson that she herself gleaned from her parents–that her kids learn to take care of one another.