The work-at-home mom on organizing one’s home and finding your creative bliss.
Story by Marga Buenaventura // Photography by Ina Jacobe & Don Pablo
When Martine de Luna decided to become a work-at-home mom, she knew that it wouldn’t just be a job, but a lifestyle too.
“I’ve been going on for five years now, and to me it’s still a science to make it all work,” says Martine on her decision to work from home. “There has to be a lot of planning involved.”
Martine and her husband Ton knew that their lifestyle relies on a good system. With little room for clutter, everything in their apartment not only needs to look good, but also has to serve a purpose. Theirs is a home where cute pastel-hued planters are welcome, as long as they can be used to house school supplies and art materials.
This functional design philosophy goes well with Martine’s fondness for Scandinavian interiors, which put a premium on clean designs and functionality.
Because she is also a hands-on mom, Martine not only considered her various responsibilities as a craft blogger (makeitblissful.com), workshop organizer, and freelance writer. “We started homeschooling this January,” she says of her toddler son Vito. “So we try to be as home as possible.”
Martine is an advocate of living a creative life despite hands-on motherhood. Her office desk, as well as the rest of her home, is full of art projects like watercolor paintings and drawings she works on with her son.
But it is on her blog that she really gets to work her creative muscles. “It’s important for working moms to have an outlet to write, to blog and make their own craft. That way, you don’t lose that passion for life. We think our lives are boring, but they’re really not.”
Martine’s home office is not solely dedicated to work, but a place for the family to sort things like mail and bills. “Everything is here: my computer, my printer, my planner, my stationery, all that we need to pay the bills,” Martine says of her desk. “Everything passes through me. So I’m basically the home manager.”
More ways than one
The family dining table’s clean lines and smooth white surface is perfect for Martine’s budding photography hobby. It doubles as a mini photo-studio for her Instagram posts.
Martine also stresses that having a small living space is no hindrance to the joys of entertaining. “I can’t fit a full desk, so I bought a console. I just put my laptop away when we have visitors, and we usually put food and drinks here,” Martine says of her double-purpose working space.
CREATING A SYSTEM
A dedicated schedule
Having been married for six years, Martine and her husband have a “kind of rhythm” to their daily routine. With weekends mostly used up on their extended family and the workshops that Martine often organizes, Martine dedicates her Mondays to family errands.
“I don’t work or check e-mails on Mondays, ” says Martine. “Mondays are for errands. We go to the bank, then the grocery around mid-morning. We might visit my mom who lives in the neighborhood. We purposely do it on Mondays—when our car is coding—so we don’t waste any time dilly-dallying.”
Martine’s Simplified Planner, which she ordered online, is central to her home and work management. Far from being a utilitarian tool, Martine festoons it with colorful paper tape. “My washi tapes are actually color codes,” she says of the functional decor. “I have different tapes for different types of clients, and I change it up every month. It’s just a way to make my life more interesting.”
Martine admits that becoming a working mom may not be everybody’s cup of tea. “I know very successful moms who are not home bodied and can’t separate the professional side from home,” says Martine. “There are some like me, who thrive on it. It’s really the best if it fits with your personality. So you have to learn to be organized, you have to have the support of your spouse if you’re married.”
With baby number two on the way, Martine is aware that her well-planned schedule may soon have to make adjustments. “Now it’s manageable because my son is four. We’ve taught him things like set the table and clean up his toys. He’s not really very yaya-fied,” says Martine. “But he first three months of a newborn are very busy for mom. So as early as now I’m thinking of hiring a helper.”
NOURISH & NURTURE
Because Martine spends a lot of time at home, she has become particularly fond of preparing her own smoothies, which she serves in mason jars and colorful straws. “Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun,” she says of her favorite Green Smoothie. The “energizing” drink is made of pechay, banana, lemon, dried malunggay leaves, and chia seeds.
As a part of her advocacy in creative living, Martine plans on redoing a large wall panel in her home in chalkboard paint, to give her son a creative space he can call his own. “He wants the whole wall to be filled with his work,” says Martine at the growing number of Vito’s watercolor paintings. “He saw it kasi on Pinterest, and he said, ‘I wanna do that!’”