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  • Daphne Osena-Paez Has No More Guilt About Self-Care: 'I Found Out The Harder Way'

    The TV host/author/entrepreneur wants to set an example to her three daughters.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
  • Daphne Oseña-Paez learned the importance of self-care after years of devoting “100 percent” of her time to her and her husband Patrick Paez’s three children Sophia, Lily, and Stella, who are now 16, 13, and 10, respectively.  

    “I found out the harder way. I had symtoms of this and that. It takes a toll on your body if you don’t take care of yourself,” she told SmartParenting.com.ph at a product launch held recently at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.  

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    “Now, I actually take care of myself first, and they know that. They know that Mommy has to exercise, eat well, have a balanced diet, go on walks — even if it means I have to leave the house. I don’t feel anymore guilt.”

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    Learning to care for yourself

    The TV host/author/entrepreneur makes it a point to walk for an hour every morning. Indoors, she takes to dancing in her room. She also goes to her Pilates class two to three times a week in a studio.

    “Our food, I started to manage it,” Daphne said. “For me, it’s very therapeutic to do that. It used to be chore, but now, it’s become part of my self-care even.” She sources fresh vegetables from her garden where she grows stuff like pechay, squash, and tomatoes in pots. 

    Daphne happily reported that she’s been successful in imparting the wisdom and practice of healthy eating with her kids. The three girls appreciate having more vegetables and fiber-rich food while consuming less carbs “because they know that it’s all for the good and it’s delicious.”

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    Spirituality also plays a big part in Daphne’s well-being, making her wonder aloud: “I don’t know if prayer is also self-care. They say meditation is.” She went on saying that she and her family pray out loud. They end the day with gratitude in their hearts and think of what happened, what’s so good about it, what they can learn from it, and what they’re thankful for.

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    Being a role model for her daughters

    “That’s what I want them to take when they go to university or get married,” she said of her daughters. “I want them to be grateful because it gives you peace, you know. A lot of young kids nowadays, they are used to immediate gratification, and they get disappointed easily. I tell them sometimes it takes time. Sometimes even the mistakes are meant to happen for you to learn, so you bounce back. Prayer is a big part of it.”

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    Daphne believes in sharing the value of self-care with Sophia, Lily, and Stella. She clarified, though, “I don’t want to be gender insensitive here, but I have three daughters, so I don’t know what it’s like to have a son. But I want my daughters to know that Mom is nurturing and sweet. But Mommy also works out. Mommy also drives. Mommy also works. I also balance it.”

    “It’s also important for me to look good,” she added. “Not because of vanity or anything, but it makes me feel good. I want them to have the same respect and consideration for their own bodies because when they become young adults, or adults, I won’t be there to tell them what to do. They will be on their own, they will be working and balancing lives. I want fitness and nutrition to be part of their lives.”

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    As our interview took place at the launch of products that address the itch and dryness caused by eczema, Daphne talked to us about her current and her daughters’ past bouts with that specific skin problem. 

    “We are so genetically predisposed to allergies,” she said. “I come from an allergy family. So, my kids after eczema, now it’s asthma. Now they have real asthma. It’s really awful.”

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    She recalled getting “stressed out” when eczema flare-ups appeared in various body parts, like the joints, skin folds, and back of the knee. Though the girls outgrew it, they unfortunately developed asthma, but soon found relief from balanced probiotics and prebiotics.

    It’s Daphne now who suffers from eczema, and she’s identified the trigger for her flare-up: commercial hand wash. That’s why when she uses public restrooms, she just washes her hands with water and wipes them. She also shuns anything anti-bacterial as it makes her skin crack and “ang hapdi-hapdi.”

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    Parenting in the digital age

    Having started her blog in 2007, Daphne is considered one of the pioneers in the field, and she has successfully turned it into a brand. She finds that the biggest challenge that modern parenting faces is the time spent online. Thankfully, her kids were introduced to digital devices rather late and they still enjoy physical activities, like walking, running, swimming, and drawing on paper.  

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    She limited the girls’ online exposure by telling them early on that “going online on your own is like walking on the sidewalk by yourself without Mommy,” which scared them in the beginning. But as teenagers now, they are slowly finding their own space online.

    “Hopefully with our guidance and our presence,” Daphne said on behalf of her husband Patrick, “and their school’s limitation — they go to a school that limits all of these — I think, in a way, they are sort of protected…They only use social media for their creative ideas. They are artists, so it’s nice.”

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    But Daphne looks beyond the welfare of her children as she’s also an ambassador of goodwill for UNICEF, along with Gary Valenciano and Anne Curtis. She’s worried more about thousands of other Filipino children who are at risk of online sexual abuse. 

    “It’s real serious topic,” she stressed. “We have foreigners shopping for Filipino children online. There are studies that show why Filipinos. Number one, they speak English. Number two is that they are too digitally savvy. They can go online anywhere. There’s free Facebook, free whatever pa. Number three, they are largely unsupervised.”

    She then pointed out, “We think just because hindi malikot ang bata, just because hindi nagloko-loko, mabait siya, walang problema. ’Yon pala, they’re online and doing that…I urge every parent to cross that boundary. Just because your child is well-behaved and quiet, you don’t know what they’re being exposed to. 

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    “Just because it’s cartoons, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. You know, there are also predators in cartoons and games. You know, they can tell your children to meet them outside. So be present online, and offline. Have an offline life, and be present online.”

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