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Mommy life hacks

Maricel Cua with 11-year-old daughter Adrienne Lia. Photo by Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — Maricel Cua and Beng Feliciano, co-founders of The Parenting Emporium, share to The Philippine STAR life hacks for fellow mommies this Mother’s Day.

Maricel

How has motherhood enriched your life? Your relationship with your husband?

Motherhood has given me a wonderful taste of God’s love. Suddenly, there is this other being in my life that means more to me than sleep, food and personal wants. And, this “being” constantly challenges you to be more that you ever thought you could be. You end up learning to be many things all at once and you end up wanting to model a lot of good values and behavior, therefore making you a better person too! Having a child has also made me fall in love even more with my husband as I see him as invested and as enamored with our child as well.”

What are the things that interest your child? Do you influence her on her hobbies?

Lia loves reading. She also likes writing, playing games, sewing doll’s clothes, crafting, drawing and spending time with us! I like introducing things to her but ultimately, she is the one who decides whether she likes an activity or not. For example, I definitely introduced her to reading but I also have been getting her to “dance-exercise” with me and after giving it a few tries, she has declared that she would rather run on the treadmill!

What kind of mom are you? How would you describe your parenting style? 

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Hands-on means gaining knowledge through active participation versus theory and since I’m a purposive kind of mom, I really need to know my daughter through and through by being involved in her life one way or another. I believe that’s but fair to her. Does this mean that I’m with her at every activity—no. But, it does mean that I still ask about it and sincerely show interest in all her interests. I may not physically open all the doors for her but I’m there in case she wants to run back out or if she wants to tell me what happened on the other side I think my husband is more of the stage father! He is the one who is cheering from the sidelines, coaching my daughter with as much enthusiasm as he can muster. It’s adorable actually—sometimes, I’m more worried about how he would act rather than how my daughter would act given a certain scenario!

What are the things that you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time, I like to catch up on my reading. Admittedly, this is the one thing my daughter and I really have in common. When traveling, we could spend hours in a bookstore! We actually even have a reading hour in which we grab a snack and a cold drink and just read together. Bliss!

Beng

How are you able to maintain work/life balance?

Schedules can be so crazy most of the time but I feel that God always provides and helps us make things work. I’m thankful for my husband who thinks, dreams, celebrates, solves problems and suffers with me. I’m lucky to have best friends who are also our business partners who share similar values and vision and are like family to us. I have my family members who are always willing to share their time, love, understanding and resources. It also helps to have long-time trusted household members.

What kind of mom are you? How would you describe your parenting style?

Literally I’m a ma-drama mom. I act out situations in front of the three kids to illustrate how they behaved in a certain situation and they process what they could improve on. My key message to the kids is always to think of solutions when they have undesirable experiences such as getting bruises, wounds, facing disappointments, frustration and downright anger. Generally, both my husband and I are strict parents but we make it a point not to be hard on our kids at the same time.

We think about and plan for and with our children: we are 10 times happier when they have accomplished something, we hurt when they are hurt, we are bothered when there is a potential threat to their physical, mental and emotional health, we seek to understand how they see things and aim to help them identify their purpose in this world.

How do you make time for yourself, for your husband? How important is it for a woman to have me-time?

It is important for couples to find time to talk. And this can happen in the most random places—the bedroom, the bathroom or the dining room. Sometimes to kill time while stuck in traffic, my husband and I phone each other to have quiet conversation. If couples don’t find time to talk, they will naturally drift apart. And that’s when a lot of problems start.

Me-time is also equally important. It gives me an opportunity to find my center, process the day’s events and put things in perspective. I heard from someone that private time doesn’t need to be full of accomplishments. It’s also healthy to do nothing during a private moment (but women always end up doing something haha!).

What makes your mom special?

Adrienne Lia S. Cua: “What makes my mom special to me is the fact that she’s my big sister and best friend. I grew up an only child and homeschooled, so she was my only sister and my first friend. Today, she is still the person I trust the most and I always look forward to being with her. We like hanging out together, and whenever I feel bad, I always talk to her because I know she’ll make me feel better.” 

Nico Feliciano: “Even though my mom is extremely busy—or I’m just exaggerating—she makes enough time to play with me. She also brings me to some of my football tournaments that start at 8 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m.! Most of all, she loves me with all her heart and I don’t need her to tell me to know that.”

Carly Feliciano: “I love that mommy is a one-of-kind special person and I love her. My mom is not like other moms. She chooses to eat organic stuff and, sometimes, they’re even yummy.”  

Summer Feliciano: “I like my mom because whenever she has work, she tries her best to spend time with me. When it’s a tight day and I’m sick, she works at home and takes care of me more than she works.” 

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