They say that a child's first teacher is his parent. For model and businesswoman, Fatima Rabago-Muraoka, this certainly rings true. This ABS-CBN Lifestyle Mod Mom believes she and husband Hideo Muraoka try their best to be role models to their kids Danda and Kenzo, by keeping themselves calm and collected especially during a pandemic.
Below, Fatima shares how she keeps her kids’ emotional well-being in check amid crisis, and how she makes them feel secured no matter the scenario as what every parent should try to do.
[related:In Focus: At Home With Hideo Muraoka And Fatima Rabago]
What's it like being a mother?
Being a mother is the most rewarding task one can have over a lifetime. I wouldn’t say it’s hard—it’s challenging and you always have to put them first before you, and that’s one thing you do before becoming a mother.
What's your parenting style?
My parenting style is very relaxed. It’s not effortless, there is a lot of effort there, it’s very challenging and you don’t have time for yourself. There’s no time for you, your work, it’s very hard to balance everything, but I believe that you have to make it effortless for your kids. I don’t want my children to grow up and remember their time when they’re kids and remember me being overstressed, overwhelmed, overly tired. So, I always try to make it as effortless and relaxed as possible for them to enjoy also, to know mom’s really enjoy what they do.
How did you explain COVID-19 to your kids?
With Danda, she’s really small. We really educated and (taught) her that there (is) crisis always all over the world. Now, we are having hard times, true. But there are always people with a lot of difficutly. There is always hungry families, there are always people without jobs, there is crisis for so many people, not just during this time. So, my daughter’s aware of that. When I explain (to) her there is a pandemic, there is a virus that is spreading all over the world, there is no cure, so we have to stay at home. The important thing for us, is explaining her everything always what’s happening around.
How do you manage your kids' emotions?
I feel like they’re too young to understand what's really happening around. She doesn’t get overwhelmed because one rule is we don’t watch news, we don't watch negative. We try to avoid negativity. Our kids are sponges, so what they see from us is what they’re gonna do. So, we try not to be catastrophic or negative. When we have problems or crisis in the family, we always say her like “okay this is the problem”. So, what can we do about it we will tell her to concentrate on the solution instead of the problem because the problem is already there so for us we're trying to teach your kids to be problem solvers like, the crisis is here, so what can we do as a person as a family to make things better for us or for the people around us.
[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks Fatima Rabago: How Can Moms Keep Cool During Crisis?]
What values have you imparted to your kids?
Honestly, I want to teach them that they are on their own. I’m just here merely to guide them, to provide them love, and to provide them all the things that they want to achieve. I’m always gonna be there for them. But the values that I wanna teach them is that they are their own persons, they don’t have to follow to what I ask them to follow because I’m just a mother. They are not my property and I want them just to become good persons, good souls, to be in with nature—I think that’s very important. And for them to do what they really want to do.
How do you help your children cope?
One tip that I always do to myself—and I will always tell to all my friends or the people that will ask me—it's even though you might be feeling bad or you might be overwhelmed or you may be a stressed or you have no certainty of what's happening in the world, never show it your kid. Why? Because they do not understand, and they need to feel secure right now by their parents. I know like sometimes (it's) very hard and you cannot control it, but it's very hard for a kid to know that they might be not protected, or they might be like in a stress situation. So, yeah, I know that it's very hard, just try to make your child feel secure and protected.
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Photos from @fatimarabago