Can moms do it all?

If you were given the chance to have super powers, what would it be? “The power to be able to multiply myself, to be able to go to all my children’s activities in one day. I think that’s one thing na kung mabibili ito sa grocery, papakyawin ko (If it can be bought, I’ll buy it all),” answered Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, dressed in a bright blue off-shoulder jumpsuit, with a laugh. She was on stage for the launch of the new Champion Supra Power laundry detergent range, where she shared her very own #SupraPowerNiNanay stories.

All the mommy guests smiled and nodded in agreement upon hearing her answer. Judy Ann further expounds that she doesn’t want to read minds, especially those of her children. “I think I wouldn’t want that. I still like the idea of me as a mom, trying to figure out what they’re thinking,” she says, explaining that this type of conversation strengthens her bond with the children. Conversations start with a question, and that question can lead to many revelations. The mom-of-three sees this as an opportunity to get to know her children at a deeper level.

Self-care is a priority

She also sheepishly adds that she wouldn’t mind five clones of her, one for every member of the family, including one for herself so she can get her much-needed salon and spa time. Self-love is very important to her, and she believes that most moms forget this. “It is very important that you really take good care [of] and listen to what your heart needs and what your mind needs. There’s going to be a point that you would just lose yourself in the process and you wouldn’t want that to happen, because your family will get affected at the end of the day,” clarifies Judy Ann.

Though one cannot have clones (yet), Judy Ann seems to be taking motherhood in stride. Waking up at 4 a.m. to prepare the three kids for school is no easy feat, but she is able to squeeze in workout sessions and me-time at the grocery before cooking dinner and bathing her younger kids. How does she do it all? “Because you’re full of love and you’re inspired to do so many things for the people you love. You don’t you notice that you get to do so many things at the same time. Kahit ako nabibigla (Even I get surprised),” she beams.

Judy Ann’s parenting tips

Love can inspire you to do so many things all at once, without feeling tired at all. A supportive husband is also the key to her success, along with their three beautiful kids, Yohan, 14, Lucho, 8, and Luna, 3. Judy Ann feels that they are blessed with kids who don’t give them problems, partly because the couple has raised them well. Judy Ann shares some stories and tips, which can be applied at home:

1. Learn from experience

LET THEM PLAY The actress lets her children run around, knowing that play is an important role in their development

The Agoncillo family loves the outdoors. The parents let their children play and explore what nature has to offer, but these come with a price. Judy Ann cited a scenario where their children played outside in mud. She did warn them beforehand about the repercussions. “True enough, nangati nga sila kasi lupa yan (they did feel itchy all over because that was mud), but they still liked it. At least, I was able to tell them,” she says.

Another regular activity that the whole family enjoys is playing in the rain. Most moms would cringe at the thought of letting their kids loose on a rainy day, but not Judy Ann. She reveals that she’s not overprotective and she allows them to do what they want. She’s also not scared of them catching a cold. “The next time they do it again, they know kung ilan minutes sila (how long they can do it). The longest was an hour. Most of the time, I join them,” adds Judy Ann.

The mom-of-three believes that the key to learning is to let them go through life’s challenges. “May mga bagay na hindi nila maiintindihan hanggang hindi nila na-experience (There are things they won’t understand unless they experience them),” she says. She also doesn’t interrupt the learning process by revealing the outcome right away. She’s just there, by their side, ready to answer questions once they turn to her for answers. Until then, she lets them do certain things again and again until they learn their lesson.

2. Never run out of surprises

COMMUNICATION IS KEY In raising children of different ages, Judy Ann stresses the importance of constantly conversing with them

Remember those mornings when the parents have to go to work, leaving their teary-eyed kids at home? It does get better in time, but children will always want to spend as much time with their family. Judy Ann’s children are no different. With her erratic work schedule, her kids grab every chance. Eyes light up when, asking her whether she has work or not the next day, she say no. “Can you bring me to school?” “Can you pick me up?” “Can you please prepare my baon?” are some of the requests she gets.

Judy Ann levels it up with what she refers to as surprise “mommy notes” tucked in her children’s lunch bags: “Have a nice day in school. I love you. I’ll pick you up. Let’s go out later.” The purpose of these notes is to help them get through the day, most especially when their energy is low by lunch time. “Minsan, hindi ko sasabihin na nasa bahay ako (I sometimes don’t tell them I’m at home). Sometimes, I’ll surprise them with their lunches. It’s something I love to do,” the mom beams as she shares her simple and thoughtful surprises.

3. Instill family values

LITTLE THINGS MATTER Surprising her kids to spontaneous dates is something Judy Ann loves to do on her free time

The world needs more children who have high emotional quotients and that is what Judy Ann and her husband Ryan are trying to instill in their family. The couple regularly reminds their kids that everything they have is a blessing, and that they should share whatever God gave them.

The value of being grateful is always there, no matter how big or small their blessings are. “I allow them to converse with the children asking for money,” says Judy Ann. “I always tell them, if you have extra baon, you have to give it to them.” Yohan and Lucho, who are of age, would throw questions back to her such as why are they outside when it’s raining. This compassionate quality could only have started at home.

When it comes to house chores, her children are more than willing to help out. Luna likes doing kitchen duties, like washing dishes and cooking with her mom, while Lucho loves sweeping the floor. Yohan even helps out in the laundry chores, especially when they are out of the country. One of the non-negotiables that the parents teach early on is to put the plates in the sink as soon as they are done with their meals. “‘Yun yung dapat hindi nililigpit ng mga kasama namin sa bahay (That’s a chore you shouldn’t leave to the household help), because it’s something I can do to help them to appreciate our helpers at home. We always tell them that they are part of the family.”

Raising three kids, five years apart in age, can be overwhelming. Judy Ann explains that they have very specific needs, with different tastes in food and interests. “So kapag 14 (years old) ang kausap ko, 14 din ako. Kapag eight (years old) kausap ko, eight rin ugali ko. Kapag three (years old), maintain ako sa 41 years old (So I talk to my 14-year-old like a 14-year-old, to my eight-yearold like an eight-year-old, but with my three-year-old, I’m my age, 41),” she says with a grin.

She has different roles for each child, changing personalities and moods depending on who she’s talking to. With all these shifting and tending to the family’s needs, moms are usually left too tired to reward themselves. So follow Judy Ann’s tip and give yourself that much needed “me time.” Book a massage at home, or watch your favorite show alone. Even supermoms need a time out. You deserve it!

This article was originally published on Manila Bulletin.