By Jessica Pag-iwayan
English writer Agatha Christie once said that “a mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world.” This is clearly reflected on the result of the recent survey conducted by Nestle Nestokid Philippines. It shows that—for Filipino moms—the definition of happiness is to have a complete family and to keep their kids healthy.
Celebrity mom Melai Cantiveros agrees. During the Grow Happy Nation Caravan held at the Robinsons Place Manila, she shares her journey raising her four-year-old eldest daughter Amelia “Mela” Lucille.
Aside from providing Mela proper nutrition and a safe, loving environment, Melai is now slowly introducing her to the realities of this world. According to the TV host, she encourages Mela to be part of her daily activities for her to discover how life works. This is how her mother Virgie taught her. “Sinasama niya ako sa daily life niya, kung paano yung ganito, paano ganyan. So nagiging open ako sa mundo. Alam ko na kung paano mag-accept ng mga bagay ng mabilis. Kaya gusto ko na ito rin matutunan ng mga anak ko para in case na anuman ang mangyari, alam kong handa siya. Alam ‘mong nasa right track siya ng buhay,” she says.
Melai admits that she’s chill as a mother but she never holds back her hanger when Mela goes beyond her limitation. (Being spanked by a clothes hanger is often used by Filipino moms as a punishment.) This is her unique way of showing the levels of her anger. “Hindi naman ako proud na hina-hanger ko ang anak ko. Hindi naman ako namamalo na gamit ang kamay so hanger lang talaga. Pero yung hanger na yun is color-coded. Kapag pink pa medyo hindi pa galit, pero pag black na, ano na talaga yun, storm signal number 10,” she explains. Melai also adds that when she does it, she makes sure to explain why.
“Kaya siya mabilis kausap, kasi ‘pag dinidisipilina ko siya hindi yung salita lang. Gusto ko kapag nagsasalita ako ay yung tumitingin sila sakin eye to eye. Then ini-explain ko kung ano yung sinabi ko, then pinapabalik ko sa kanya: ‘Bawal ang ganito kasi…’ para alam ko na naiintindihan niya, hindi yung nagsalita lang ako.”
Just like every mom, she knows that she’s not perfect. But she gives her best to be a good mother to Mela and one-year-old Stela Rosalind (her youngest). She openly shares that every now and then, she seeks advice from her own Mama if she’s doing the right thing.
“At the end of the day, hindi ko rin masyadong pine-pressure ang sarili ko kasi tao lang din naman tayo,” she says. “Kailangan din natin ng time para sa sarili natin. At para ma-miss mo rin yung pag- aalaga sa anak mo.”