It has been said that motherhood is a full-time job because a mother has to be alert and on her toes at all times when caring for her family.
Fortunately, most Filipinos have large extended families who help out from time to time. There are yayas and helpers as well to help ease the load but Regine Velasquez-Alcasid is determined to be there for her son Nate at all times even if she has two shows on GMA Network — the primetime series Poor Señorita and the Saturday morning show Sarap Diva. This month, she is heading to the US for a series of concerts in Chicago, New Jersey, San Diego and Pasadena.
When she gave birth to Nate almost five years ago, she decided to become a full-time mom. “I didn’t work for almost five years. Hindi ako nagpaka-busy talaga because I wanted to stay home, to take care of Nate. And it’s only now that I’m doing a soap because he’s already four years old. He’s a little bit bigger. He can already understand,” Regine said.
Her work on the soap requires her to be on the set almost daily so she has to deal with sullen goodbyes. When Nate was younger, there would be tears. Now, there’s a different dynamic at play. “I don’t like it when I have to leave kasi he doesn’t talk to me. Parang nag-de-detach siya so that he won’t feel sad kasi dati umiiyak pa siya. Para hindi siya umiyak, dini-detach niya sarili niya, ni-re-ready na niya sarili niya.”
Regine is the one who ends up feeling hurt but she realizes why he’s doing that. By the time she comes home at the end of the day, however, all is forgiven. “Ang favorite ko is every time I go home, parang 10 years kaming hindi nagkita. The way he hugs me, kisses me parang miss na miss ako. I love that,” she said.
When she’s home, Regine makes a conscious effort to be fully present, to be really there for Nate. She doesn’t believe in simply handing him a toy to keep him preoccupied.
“Minsan kahit busy ako, kahit may mga ginagawa akong chores, pag sinabihan niya ako ng ‘Mommy, can you play with me?’ I really play with him kahit 10 minutes lang. Kasi yun lang naman ang maaalala niya. It’s very important — more than the gifts, the toys, more than anything else, it’s really the time that he wants. ‘Yung uukol ka talaga ng panahon para sa kanya.”
Regine and her husband Ogie would rather spend their free time at home with Nate but they occasionally have picnics at UP because Nate looks forward to them.
At home, they like playing pretend. “Kunwari pupunta kami ng Korea, mga ganun. He’s very interested in airplanes, maps and traveling. Every day is an adventure for him because he’s only four. He wants to explore. Ngayon, yung imagination niya sobrang active so we’re nurturing that. Kasi maganda ‘yun sa development niya,” Regine related. She then posts videos and photos online with the hashtags #natesionary and #natesadventure.
So far, she seems to have settled into her role as a mother rather easily. Asked to describe her parenting style, Regine says it’s too early to tell. “Come to think of it, mahirap din naman talaga maging parent kasi it doesn’t come with instructions or a handbook. You learn through experience. I mean you can read all the books in the world but it’s still different pag andoon ka. It’s different for everyone.”
What she does know is that she’s a “very strict mom,” one who admits to spanking Nate on occasion. “Pinapalo ko siya kasi natatakot akong maging spoiled siya. Meron siyang dalawang kapatid (Nate’s half-sisters) but they are not here, so may chance na mag-isa lang siya so mahirap ma-spoil,” she said.
When Nate turns five in November, Regine and Ogie are throwing a party. Instead of deciding on the theme, they plan to ask Nate what he wants. “We haven’t talked about it yet but I’ll ask him this year because I want that party to be his party talaga.”
Being a mother of an only child and a boy at that, I can totally relate to Regine. She might have a few misgivings about her parenting style but the Songbird is doing a pretty excellent job at being a mom.(A. J. C, PS)