Donna Cruz is a mother first
MANILA, Philippines – At 21, Donna Cruz was already one of the most sought-after stars of the 90s.
At an age when most girls would be worried about graduation or getting first jobs, Donna was already living a life that most young adults her age only dreamed of.
She was married and at the peak of her career. But she felt that there was something missing. Despite her fame and success, Donna had other dreams that went beyond blockbusters and platinum albums.
Her biggest wish was to become a mother.
'Being a mom was really my dream'
Shortly after her wedding, Donna decided to settle down in the province of Cebu and leave her life of recording contracts, movie scripts, and commercial deals. She wanted to focus on starting a family with her husband Yong.
Donna says: “Being a mom was really my dream. When I was interviewed back then by the press, they would ask, ‘How do you see yourself ten years from now, Donna?’ and I would always answer, ‘I will have three kids!’ That dream came true. I now have three kids and it’s been more than ten years already.”
Donna and Yong have three children: Belle, 16; Cian, 13; and Gio, 8. Donna made sure that she would be the one to raise her kids from the moment they were born. “It’s not easy being a mom,” she says. “But I knew that it was time for me to focus on my family and raising my kids. I wanted to be there for them and watch them grow up.”
She embraced her new role as a mother with zeal, focusing on strengthening her relationship with her kids. Donna says that her parenting style was influenced by her own relationship with her family. “Growing up my family and I were really close. My brother loves to give hugs and I saw how much my dad loved my mom. So as a mother I am very caring and loving,” she says. “I treat my kids as if they’re also my best friends.”
Raising better and faster learners
Donna shares that her kids excel in their own interests. Belle is into sports and loves to run. She is planning to try out for her school’s track and field team. Cian is good in math and has received recognitions of excellence at school. The youngest, Gio, is into performing arts. “He has a really good voice,” Donna says. “He auditioned for the [school] choir and he got in!”
When asked to describe herself as a mom, Donna says that she can be very cool and relaxed. She is very hands-on with them, especially when they started to become curious about the world.
“Kids these days ask a lot of questions so I make sure I explain things to them, like what they may see on TV,” she shares. Donna knew that being there for her kids early on is very crucial to their development, so she made sure she was going to be very involved from day one.
Conversely, Donna is strict when it comes to her children's education. At home, she tutors her kids, taking the extra step to print worksheets and do math exercises with them. During exam weeks, she would prepare their reviewers meticulously, using different colored pens on the notes for easy memorization.
She schedules screentime accordingly. “They can only play video games on weekends and our TV is only in [the adults'] room,” she shares. But after homework, the kids are allowed to watch educational videos. “They’re not fond of Barney anymore, but they used to love him a lot when they were younger,” she recalls.
When it comes to nutrition, Donna makes sure that her kids eat right everyday. She is very careful about what that they eat and whether or not they finish the food on their plate.
In the kitchen, Donna is very picky when it comes to the food she serves her kids. She makes sure it is nutritious and prepared without added preservatives. Once in a while she also gets creative in the kitchen, especially when her kids ask her to cook for them.
“They also drink milk everyday,” she shares.
Donna mastered a useful hack to get her kids to eat enough vegetables: she prepares vegetable soup, then makes it creamier with formula milk. She lets the kids indulge in their favorites once a week.
The best gift for her kids
For Donna, quality time is the best gift you can give your child. She believes that talking to the kids, even for just 15 minutes to ask how their day was, can make a big difference. “In those 15 minutes, just talk to them. Show them that you love them, embrace them and play with them,” she says.
She can relate with how difficult it can be for moms, especially those with full-time work, to balance their time for family and career. So her advice for them is simple: “Never get tired of saying 'I love you.' Just always be there for them. Never get tired of talking with them, explaining things to them. Be patient. You have to make an effort to talk to them as well because it’s really important to communicate."
Even as she embarks on the second wave of her career, Donna still considers motherhood as her most important role. She says would do it all over again because it was most definitely worth it. She wouldn’t have it any other way. – Rappler.com