Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Erika Soriano Mata is the face of calm and peace. Her mere presence is like a breath of fresh air, with her jovial personality, well complemented by her charm and effortless grace, and her big heart and modest smile which ceaselessly inspires any jaded soul. Her youthful glow gives you no hint that she’s actually 35 years of age, nor does it reveal that she now has a kid reaching adolescence stage. A full time mom to 3 beautiful children namely Patricia, Amanda and Richardo, Erika or “Ek” (as she is fondly called), maintains an idyllic life by staying positive and living an attitude of gratitude wherever she goes.
Stay at home mom

“Being a full time mom is a decision my husband, Richard, and I made. It’s not for all families, but we felt that it’s better if I stay home and take care of the kids’ needs and affairs,” says Ek. “We’re blessed because with my husband’s job as a pediatrician, we’re able to live comfortably with only one parent earning. Being a housewife is no easy task, unlike what others think. Day in and day out, we have to manage a household with different personalities, attend to each of their needs and keep up with the demands of the day. You become a last priority, but I see to it that I also take care of myself. On the side, this is what I do --- imparting tips and useful insights to fellow mothers on how to stay classy and chic at any stage of our life. You see, amidst all the stress, we need to feel good about ourselves.  Not that my family is too much for me to handle, but even with the ease and comfort of having good children, I try to look and feel my best not just for me but also for my loved ones.”
Parental Guidance

Being a woman of today, Ek stays attuned with advances in technology. “Raising kids nowadays is totally different as compared to how our generation was brought up. With the availability and convenience of any kind of information on cable TV and Internet, my husband and I believe that parents have more responsibility now in guiding the kids through learning and discovery. While they do us good in so many ways, TV and Internet are also factors which form and shape behavior. A good foundation of values at a child’s early developmental stage somehow helps in instilling proper behavior and attitude as he or she grows up.”
“There are some parents who tend to substitute their lack of time for kids by giving them gifts and toys. They tend to forego the pressing matters such as discipline because they feel they are guilty of not giving enough attention to their kids. I believe that parents need to confront the problem whenever children misbehave. It all starts with your relationship with them, how you deal with their concerns and issues. You cannot take this for granted. In one of Zig Ziglar’s parenting lectures, we learned that rules without relationship equal to rebellion. If you’re not able to develop a stable and open relationship with your kids when they’re young, you’re bound to have difficulty implementing rules by the time they hit their teens.”
“We don’t resort to spanking as a disciplinary action. We deal with the problem by sticking to the source of the problem. We deal with the source rather than the outcome. For example, if our child misbehaves, we check on the possibility of lack of sleep as the cause for her crankiness. In turn, we try to make him or her get ample sleep. Of course, there are far more causes of misbehavior other than just the sleep issue. We also try to interpret situations based on our child’s personality which she or he naturally inherited from us or acquired from the environment.”
Share and learn
There is no perfect formula on becoming a good parent. As parenting is a life-long process, Ek believes experience makes a perfect teacher. “We learn how to better manage our homes by two ways --- either through our own experience or the experience of others. When we say others, it means from reading books, listening to audio lectures or attending seminars. Our parenting style revolves around two objectives: keeping the communication lines open and practice being role models. This is mainly the reason why we advocate faith and receptive parenting within the community. This is our contribution society and, in turn, it makes our life more meaningful. From time to time, we fly in inspirational speakers here from Manila, the likes of Anthony Pangilinan, Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan and Chinkee Tan, to give talks on successful parenting.”
Ek and her husband have consistently and generously shared their blessings with the less fortunate ones by enrolling a selected few in school. With Ek’s penchant for style and passion in reaching out to the community, she thought of other means of charity work within the area of fashion and lifestyle. “We want to help more students by getting extra funds to support them in school,” she shares. “I started designing bags together with my daughters. After series of brainstorming sessions, Humabi was born. We were able to strike a deal with female bag weavers in the correctional facilities who are mostly mothers with dependent children. We actually haven’t launched our products yet, but soon they will be available to all. These are high quality but bags at very affordable prices. Each Humabi bag sold will help two people namely a bag weaver in correctional facility and one of our scholars in the Philippine Science High School. As of this time, I’m in communication with celebrity mothers and some mompreneurs who are open to promoting this bag for free --- all for a good cause. Our main goal is to send a message of hope to everyone in the community.”
Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A1, INdulge,
Edge Davao, Vol. 7 Issue no. 177, 19 November 2014.



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