Unlike many working parents who got to be stay-at-home for the first time due to the quarantine, Mo Twister didn't budge. He's long been familiar with parenting 24/7 and the work-from-home setting. Still, the DJ-turned-podcaster tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle he has also picked up a few things during the lockdown as he and wife Angelika "Angelicopter" Schmeing further adjusted their habits and routines.
How does Mo, now in the US, juggle work and family time? Angelika herself asks him below!
[related: In Focus: Mo Twister On How Fatherhood Changed Him For The Better]
How has it been for you as a dad during the quarantine. They always ask us about our relationship, but as a dad?
Well, I mean not a lot has changed kasi I don't know kung how many people know this but both Angelika and I—we work from home. We do a radio show here sa bahay, she does her corporate job dito rin sa bahay. So, the quarantine has not changed our lives dramatically pagdating sa mga roles natin sa bahay, diba?
Maybe that the kids na hindi na sila pumapasok sa school. So, we actually have more time with them to be parents and we find that to be a blessing. I mean a lot of the calls I'll take sa radio show or sa podcast will see families struggle because they’re now spending a lot of time with each other getting on each other’s nerves and stuff. Luckily, we've had a lot of practice, Angelika and I and our kids, kasi nga we’re together 24/7.
What is your parenting style when it comes to keeping our kids entertained and engaged?
Well, I'm not the bad cop dad, right? So, I’m medyo not the disciplinarian. So, if I see them having fun I'm happy. Kung nakikita ko sila nag-ga-gadget, you know iPad or whatever, okay lang sakin yun, wala namang limit yon. So, I think it's easy for me because I understand that as a child, they would have a lot of fun and I'm very supportive of that. Obviously, there are limits naman to everything, but I guess between the two of us, I think you would agree na I'm not the disciplinarian type, and that would be, of course, you know, Chopper here! So, yeah, I'm enjoying seeing them enjoy.
What have you learned to cook so far? And how did you do it?
Angelika is a much better than I am and you're much more adventurous and creative and you like following people like Juday on YouTube, stuff like that. Na tina-try mo yung mga recipes that you see. So, I’m a very willing chef. It’s not that binibigay natin yung duties kay Angelika, but as much as she likes to embrace it.
The kids, we really love your French toast!
So, I’ve learned anything anything new to cook but if I do cook, it's a small selection that I think the kids like.
Every now and then we'll have that one kid—and you know who I'm talking about—who would pull a tantrum or give an attitude. How would you deal with that?
Well, again, I'm the nurturing type, the understanding type, the calmer of the two of us. When I see our daughter Amsterdam, who is six years old, when she starts throwing a tantrum, I know that that's more my role too calm her down. Amsterdam and Angelika they’re best friends, they really super get along. But at the same time, with that connection, they clash also, right? That's when I get to come in and I get to assert myself as you know, “Come to me. Okay lang yan.”
Oo. Hindi disiplina.
Okay lang yan.
Inaagaw attention. Reregaluhan pa nya! Ha ha!
Eto credit card ko. Sige, go! Ha ha!
No, but I’ve learned that when it does get to situations like that, I'm not even going to try because he's such a good dad when it comes to situations to find a different way to calm things down.
[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks: 'Love Thy Woman' Cast On Biggest Relationship Learnings]
During homeschool, which subjects or what part of the homework or projects do you step in?
Angelika and I were able to identify what our strengths are. She is a better teacher, I think, than I am. I am—when I say better, I don't mean one is bad. So, we do, I think you do the bulk of the school home schooling stuff because I work more working hours, but at the same time I'm the one that reviews the work to make sure it's grammatically correct, that the sentence structuring is strong, the tenses are there, the point of view, and all of that. So, I think that's where I most excel and I'm most involved when it comes to a lot of the writing. Well, Angelika, your most involvement comes to the Mathematics and Science.
What was, for you, challenging?
I guess, making sure that our kids are concentrating on the videos. Kasi pagdating sa mga online schooling, if you don't have really a lot of experience and you just jump right in, it's hard to keep your concentration. Yun yung nakikita natin with our kids, they’re looking at the video of the teacher, but sometimes veer off or they'll look at something else, one is drawing. While in the classroom setting, they know it's like an office. You know you're there to be professional. Pero sa bahay, it's very easy to get casual and not as engaged—‘cause it's different, it's a different environment. So, that's probably the most challenging part, making sure that the kids are concentrating and focusing on the online schooling.
So, when our kids, like when Lucas and Amsterdam, ask for more play time—and in this case, video games. Usually they ask this throughout the day. How do you decide or what do you say on how much play time they get?
I try to adhere the school hours, the traditional school hours. We try to follow that schedule that if it's school hours, they should be doing school stuff. And then pagdating ng 2:30, three o'clock, that's when they can start being a little bit more free time activities and stuff like that.
We both have agreed that even on weeknights they'll sleep at the same time as in school. Halimbawa, Wednesday night, hindi porket nasa bahay nag-ho-homeschool, it doesn’t mean na pwede na sila matulog ng 10 PM. They’ll still go back to sleep at 8:30 or 9 o'clock as they will during school hours. So, you know, it's trying to simulate the school environment, kahit papaano, in the household environment. Which is a challenge but not naman crazy.
[related: In Focus: JC De Vera 'Enjoying' The Lockdown Now As A Stay-At-Home Dad]
Which household chore is your favorite or you like doing the most?
I like doing the dishes. You know, cleaning the dishes 'cause I like the system that I create for it to maximize. I’m actually rather sensitive when I see people try to, you know, maghuhugas sila ng plato. That's wrong, you know, I have a very systematic way of doing it.
What have you discovered about me?
I mean if any of us between the two of us I don't mean to put you down, but you have struggled a little bit more during the quarantine than me. You're not the type to like, to follow, you know. If you wanna do something, you're not gonna let someone else tell you “no.” So, what we've had to when you do clash lot of that really is about going outside, interacting, wanting to travel, wanting to do things, where I have to be much more firm because—
This is before quarantine.
Well, even recently, gusto mong umuwi sa Pilipinas, like that. And I said, “We can’t go unless we have a vaccine.” I’m a lot more firm, because of the two of us, Angelika is the firm one. Like I said the disciplinarian of the kids, but also the structure, the backbone of this whole family is my wife, right? So, when she wants to do something, the chances are those things are going to be done because she's the stronger personality. But I have to then become an even stronger personality to make sure to tell you “No.” And I don't tell you “no” because gusto ko na magalit ka. Or I don’t want to say, “No, we can't do that” because you know I'm trying to control what you wanna do I have to take a desperate paranoid. “We have to stay alive, we have to be healthy” stand about it.
I think one of the things we try to make it a point to share as well, you know, we lost a loved one In the Philippines to COVID, and we really, you know, wanna tell and share with people that just do whatever it takes to stay safe. If it means staying at home and just following the rules.
Right, it's hard, it's hard, I get it. But it's harder to be sick.
[related: Cheat Sheet: How To Ensure Your Kitchen Appliances Last]
When this is all over, when or where will we go on vacation?
Well, first of all, we’ll probably go to the Philippines because we would like to see your family. Angelika lost her brother to COVID-19, so I think the priority right now is we need to go see her family and to be with them. And then secondly, we had our trip to Europe canceled. We were supposed to be in Europe right, now this very week. So, we’ll definitely make up for it. I'm sure next year pag, you know, okay na to and all of that stuff. We'll have a really nice vacation. Minsan kasi pag nagbabakasyon kami, ako yung nagtitipid eh, and nagagalit sya kasi kailangan expensive wine! Ha ha!
Hindi naman! Expensive wine. I just wanna relax. Ha ha!
“Kailangan mo yan? Magkano ba yan?” So, ako yung medyo nagtitipid when it comes to travel. But, I promise next year, wala nang tipid! Go! Lahat! Gastos! Ha ha!
Do you think you’ve been a good dad since the quarantine?
I think so. I try my best to pride myself in being a good dad. I mean I work a lot of hours, I don't get to sleep you know as much ‘cause I have several jobs. So, with them being home and working as well, it's nice to be able to see them habang nagtatrabaho ka. I know a lot of people right now are doing the WFH sa Manila, and they're having a hard time 'cause, minsan nagtatrabaho ka tapos biglang papasok mga anak mo and they’ll kinda disturb you, stuff like that. What’s been good is that we've been we have a pretty good system here. I work, you know you work, the kids are playing, sometimes they'll ask us for our time but it's not anything wherein anyone is truly truly neglected or anything like that. So, I think in that case I've been a good dad.
Maybe it could be a challenge for all the other dads, too, that maybe they’re so used to their work life and maybe nakalimutan na yung dynamic at home and they're struggling, what would you tell them and kinda pep talk them into remembering like “This is a good thing?"
I mean maybe just that time goes by really fast. And I tell you this as well, that we really truly only have each other. Friends come and go, friends are going to be there for you, even extended family and all of that stuff. But when it comes all down to it, it's just us. It is us for the long term and I know that a lot of fathers, mothers, parents, and stuff like that might be irritated with all of this time that we're spending with their family, please understand that these are rare moments. How many pandemics are gonna come around in our lifetime where we're going to be forced to be home. And if you're forced to be home now, maximize it as much as possible and maybe rekindle some of the things that you liked about each other that you have not expressed with each other because you're working so much and you're always in traffic at work in the office.
[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks Mo Twister: How's Dad Life In The US Amid COVID-19?]
Do you think I’ve been a good mom since the quarantine started?
Yeah, I think you’ve been great! You’ve been great being able to juggle a lot of challenges throughout this quarantine. And, again, I don't think there has been any actual stress between the both of us or our family. So, I think you're always a good mom and quarantine hasn’t made you any less. It hasn’t gotten that challenging, but we've been able to at least step up and you have stepped up really, pull out of the homeschooling I think makes you just even a better mom than usual.
Thanks. And do you still love me after this?
Why do you whisper it like you don’t love me like, “Mahal mo ba ako?” Ha ha!
Nagpapa-cute lang. Ha ha!
Yeah, of course, of course. We've been together eight years, Angelika and I. At least in my perspective, in my eyes, I think we have gotten better through the years that in our eighth year, we were better than we were in our seventh, and our seventh was better than the sixth. I'm not standing here naman saying that we're perfect and that we are the model married couple that everyone needs to look at. But I really do think we've been able to maximize what we have with our situation with our challenges and all that stuff. I can say that at 42 years old, 36 years old, that when most, well not most, but when a lot of people start to fade and look for ways to get the spark back, that our spark and our flame is actually growing you know thing. And then that's really I think a rare and I mean how can I not love you more?
ALSO READ: Hottie Alert: JC Alcantara—Tony Labrusca's New Screen Bae & LGBTQIA+ Ally
Photos from @djmotwister
Banner image by Kang Garcia