Both Doctors, This Couple Says There Is No Such Thing As Being 'Too Busy'Despite their hectic schedules, Dennis and Antonette Natino are determined to be hands-on parents to their 3 kids.CREATED WITH THE ARTON
Dennis and Antonette Natino, doctors and parents to three kids under 15, make a conscious effort to make time for their family. Despite the demands of their medical profession, they manage to successfully balance both their careers and family life.
"Every day is a challenge for us because taking care of our family while trying to be successful in our profession takes a lot of time and dedication," says Antonette, a pediatrician.
Antonette explains that she and her husband, a hematologist, made a commitment early on to make their family their top priority.
"Whatever success we have from each of our careers should serve our family’s needs," she says. "Being in private practice allows us to be true to this. It gives us flexibility in adjusting our work hours and days so that we’d have enough time to spend with family."
This mentality also helped build the foundation of their family. For them, family time is precious, even if it means something as simple as hanging out at home or at their sports club.
Antonette and Dennis follow these five rules to balance the demands of their careers with family responsibilities:
1. Start the day early.
The traffic situation in Metro Manila is an unfortunate reality that eats into valuable family time, and the Natinos have learned to work around it.
"Traffic is one of those things that make work-life balance harder, so we try to budget our time, choosing to be on the road very early so we avoid the morning rush and so we can finish early," says Antonette.
They also make sure that at least one of them is home when the kids arrive from school so they can supervise homework time. Thanks to this practice, their kids have become more independent with school work.
2. Keep family time sacred—on weekends and on weekdays.
"Our family is quite simple. Being able to spend time together is enough for us regardless of where we are," Antonette says.
Dinner time is sacred for the family, where the couple tries not to take any calls so they can give their kids undivided attention as they listen to them talk about their day.
"These days, it’s so easy to get attached to our gadgets and let work or social life get in the way of spending time with our kids," she says.
"Sometimes, just putting your phone down, spending a meal with them, having prayer time as a family, or a few minutes in their room before bedtime just talking about their day is enough to let them know you’re there for them."
3. Lead an active lifestyle together.
The Natinos spend weekends at a sports club to bond and help the children stay active and gadget-free.
"The kids and my husband play tennis. Unfortunately, I’m not good at sports so while they’re at the court, I’m in the gym to get some cardio or barre exercises," Antonette shares.
4. Impart the value of education early.
Antonette believes that it is vital for couples to talk about their shared values and pass them later on to their children.
One thing she and Dennis instilled in their kids is an appreciation for education at an early age.
"We try to teach them that their education is the best way we could secure a stable future for them," Antonette says. "With it, they can explore any field that interests them and would sustain them financially."
5. Teach the value of saving and financial planning.
Antonette and Dennis taught their children the value of money when they were still toddlers. The couple made sure to emphasize that every peso they spend should only be on the essentials, and that toys and gifts are only given on special occasions.
"So now that they're a little older, they don't have the habit of asking us to buy things for them. We've also allowed them to budget on their own by giving them school allowance, which they can spend to buy extra food.
"But I must admit, my girl is the most frugal and is able to save some of her allowance, while it surely is still a learning curve for the boys," Antonette shares.
Since the family is Dennis and Antonette's top priority, they have also taken the necessary steps in investing in their children’s future. The couple believes in building assets they can earn from even as they retire. One thing they did was to purchase a two-bedroom unit at Rockwell's premium residential development: The Arton by Rockwell in Katipunan.
"Because we want to dedicate our time to being doctors, we’ve chosen to invest in [a] business that doesn’t require much of our time: real estate," says Antonette.
They chose The Arton by Rockwell because of its location and proximity to the country’s top universities, and the distinct lifestyle with elevated standards they have observed in similar Rockwell developments.
The Arton by Rockwell offers studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units fit for students, young professionals, and families. It also houses the following amenities to cater to the needs of its residents: a fitness gym, a function room, swimming pools, co-working spaces, and a multi-purpose court.
"For now, we don’t know if [the condo unit is] something we’ll have for ourselves when we become empty nesters, or for the kids to use in the future. But one thing’s for sure: We know we’ve made a sound choice with Rockwell," Antonette says.