Since she made her mark on Philippine television in the 1990s as a news reporter for ABS-CBN, eventually finding her niche as television host-cum-producer for a string of successful lifestyle programs, Daphne Oseña-Paez has established herself as a woman of substance, grace and style in the public eye.
Away from the bright lights of television nowadays, Oseña continues to keeps busy with related endeavors via her lifestyle blog, as an entrepreneur for her self-named jewellery and home line, as well as Unicef Special Advocate for Children, where she leads the campaign of promoting the practice of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers in the Philippines.
With so much on her plate, Oseña beautifully manages a balance between her home life and personal passions by making tough choices. She shares how to do this in her new book, Chic: Tips on Life, Style, and Work.
Homemaker first and foremost
Married to former ABS-CBN broadcast journalist and senior producer Patrick Paez for 14-years now, Oseña has three daughters, namely Sophia, 13; Lily, 10; and Stella, 7.
Devoted to family, she relates in her book how she had refused many irresistible opportunities for work—especially those involving travel—to be with her children as they grow. Preferring to work from home with family as her first priority, Oseña counts herself lucky to be able to do so, knowing full well that not all women can choose to do so.
Her daughters all born three years apart, she realized she has to be physically present in their lives all the time, especially in dealing with their distinct personalities and behaviours.
“Every child is different despite being siblings, and their differences affected our parenting strategies along the way. What worked for Sophia didn’t work for Lily, and with Stella many rules were broken,” Oseña shared.
Discipline of love
With the help of her husband, the 45-year-old mom adopted a host of parenting strategies based on instinct and experience. To start with, the couple shun any form of physical or mental abuse, and rather set “healthy limits” in terms of rules in the household, always choosing to discipline their children with love.
In an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine, Oseña explained, “I don’t follow any style or rule except to love my kids and make them feel safe. With that love comes everything else like setting limits, tough love, mutual respect, creating routines. It’s not about being strict just for the sake of following rules. For us we believe in positive reinforcement but setting limits especially when it comes to Internet use and consumption of media. We try to be involved and engaged with what they are doing. They are minors and we are the adults. They not only need to be protected, they need our guidance, love, security.”
When it comes to dividing responsibilities between husband and wife, she further reveals that she and Patrick are not conscious of specific roles.
“Patrick can do what I do, and I can do what he does. A typical breakfast scene would be me making waffles or Lily cooking eggs, while Patrick makes hot chocolate and coffee, and Soph and Stella playing by the table. We are partners in every sense of the word. But because we have three daughters, naturally their relationship with me is different from their relationship with their dad. Their dad and the girls have their rituals,” she continued.
“Since Patrick loves going biking, he made sure the girls would be good at biking too. I teach my girls some of my Pilates stretches,” Oseña enumerated.
“More than the roles we play as parents, what is important is to show children our love and respect for each other as spouses. That’s one of the best parenting advice given to me by my brother-in-law, Fr. Dennis Paez, S.D.B., who is a psychologist and expert in family relationships,” she added.
According to Oseña, she and her husband always try to be present and supportive of their children’s interests. Since they are all creative and love to draw and paint, the Paez couple encourages their girls by making sure they have the art supplies they need, rather than choosing to shower them with toys or other material things.
As a family, Oseña believes that best form of bonding are the simplest ones.
“Usually we just go to a nearby cafe and have crepes and chocolate milkshakes. But the thing I enjoy most is when we are all doing nothing together at home,” she lovingly replied.
More than a mother
During her book launch on September 2, she dedicated Chic: Tips on Life, Style, and Work to her daughters whom she said were very much a part of the process of completing her first published work.
“Sophia, Lily and Stella, I wrote this book for you, my three little women—not for you to use as a manual or a guide for your life but for you to live your own lives, discover your own passions and be your best selves,” she said.
Asked for the best advice she can give to her girls, Oseña replied, “I don’t know how to list advice. I suppose there are bits and pieces in my book but everyday we learn lessons together.”
She continued, “Like what I said at the book launch, Chic isn’t a manual to teach them how to live their lives. I am raising little women who I hope will have a strong sense of self, who will chase their dreams, create work for themselves and others, be responsible for their own bodies, find peace when they are alone, find their voice when they are with others, and stand up for themselves… I can go on and on.”
Nonetheless, she returns to the basics and what matters most: “I just hope that someday when it is their time to fly the coop, they will always remember that they have parents who love them incredibly.”
For mothers like herself who always need to make tough but loving choices, the only advice she would like to give is not to define themselves only as mothers.
“Motherhood is a role. As much as I love and prioritize my motherhood duties, it does not define who I am. You are more than that. You are a woman first. Celebrate yourself. Take care of yourself. Find time to exercise.
Take care of your skin. Make time to make yourself feel better. Nurturing and caring for your child is natural, but sometimes, make a bigger effort to give attention to your spouse. Don’t let your roles and jobs define who you are. Be supportive of each other. And try your best to stop all that mom guilt,” Oseña concluded as she exemplified the positive results of making the choice to love one’s self too.
The woman of substance, grace and style ended the interview with a hope that her book Chic: Tips on Life, Style, and Work, now out in bookstores nationwide, will somehow help women like herself to pursue “a well-lived life,” just as she strives to do day in and day out.