Danica Sotto-Pingris on marriage and motherhood: “What works for others may not work for you”

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Actress and chef Danica Sotto-Pingris sits down with theAsianparent Philippines to share the priceless lessons the past decade has taught her

Danica Sotto-Pingris has been in the public eye all her life, as an actress and as the daughter of veteran actors Vic Sotto and Dina Bonnevie, but this is something she doesn't take for granted. In fact, she values having a platform to influence others. Now a mom of two, she is committed to sharing her blessings and lending her voice to causes she believes in, like Smile Train, a charity organization devoted to helping those with cleft lips and cleft palates worldwide.

At a recent cooking class organized by the said organization, we managed to chat with the actress, who is also a chef, while our delicious Lasagna dishes, which she patiently taught us how to make, baked in the oven.

"My mom is still my biggest influence," said Danica when asked who inspires her passion for cooking. "I’d watch her cook as a young girl every time there’s a party, she’d be in charge."

She proudly shared that her mom Dina can cook Italian, Thai, Indian cuisine.

"My mom is my worst critic, but she's also my biggest fan."

photo: Danica Sotto instagram

"She had me when she was really, really young," she shares, adding that her dad gave her mom a set of cookbooks when they were still together. "Tapos every day tinitignan lang daw niya, trial and error, pero ganun talaga eh. You'll learn kasi through making mistakes. Hindi naman yung marunong ka na agad."

Though her mom taught recipes, she pursued her passion and got a degree in culinary arts. "But I would not say na sobra na kong expert. Even if I was formally trained, I can still say that my mom is better at cooking."

On motherhood: "I'm super far from being a perfect parent"

Aside from learning to love cooking, Danica credits her mom for inspiring her to become a better mom.

"My mom is super OC, super OC in a good way. She's very organized," shares the mom, adding that her mom Dina wanted her to pursue a variety of interests and skills, so she was taught arts and crafts at home and given music and ballet lessons as a child.

In the same way, she wants her kids with husband of 10 years, basketball star Marc Pingris, Mic, 9 and Caela, 5, who are both honor students, to pursue interests outside of academics.

"They're both very athletic. They're both musically inclined," relates the proud mom. "I learned that from my mom. Kailangan yung bata, well-rounded."

photo: Pusong Pingris facebook page

Even though it seems that she has motherhood down pat, Danica herself admits she has "a long way to go."

"I'm super far from being a perfect parent. As a mom, it's okay to make mistakes. Mahirap maging parent, but I would say I really learned a lot from my mom," she emphasizes. "My mom is my worst critic, but she's also my biggest fan. If she sees na may nagawa akong maganda or accomplishment be it sa sarili ko o sa kids, she'll really find time to let me know."

She also stressed the importance of never being too busy for your kids, even if it's simple as taking time out of your hectic schedule to attend a school activity or to personally go to her kid's school whenever there are problems.

"I'm also like the typical parent na tatawagan ako ng school kapag yung son ko may nakaaway," reveals Danica, who also shared she feels like people judge celebrities too easily on social media.

"Sometimes kasi people just judge our lives through social media and they don't know that we also go through the struggles that they also go through," stresses the hands-on mom. "Like on a daily basis, I'm just like the other moms na minsan naiiyak din, or minsan iba-ibang emotion."

On marriage: "Hindi kami natutulog nang magka-away."

Danica and her husband Mark recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary with a romantic renewal of vows. When asked what lessons she's learned about marriage, she began by acknowledging the importance of faith and having good teamwork as a couple.

"As a wife, I really really cannot do this alone. I really need God and then second, my husband," she relates. "What really really works for us, of course, both of us have faith in God. We always pray for our marriage. We always make sure na we respect each other."

The past decade has not been perfect, but it taught them what truly works for them. For instance, when they have a disagreement, they do not let the day end without making up.

"Hindi kami natutulog nang magka-away. Sa 10 years, wala namang perfect diyan. Solve niyo muna, kayong dalawa," she advises other couples. "You talk about it muna. Hindi yung kinwento mo na sa social media, sa lahat ng kumare, even sa parents mo. Kasi if your relationship gets fixed, okay kayo. Pero the people around you, wala na. Nasira na image or pagtingin nila sa tao."

photo: Pusong Pingris facebook page

Though she realizes a lot of people will call it cliché, she believes that submitting to her husband works for them. "Most women think na 'No, di ako magpapa-under' but if you respect your partner, he will treat you like a queen," she explains. "It's not that he will boss you around. You're a team."

Because her parents split up when she was quite young, Danica shares that this drove her to put too much pressure on herself as a mom and as wife.

"I came from a broken family, so there came a time na masyado akong strikto sa sarili ko..."

"I came from a broken family, so there came a time na masyado akong strikto sa sarili ko. I would really beat myself up," she confides. "Minsan pagod na pagod na ko, magbaback to back ako ng mga lakad, thinking na hindi ako puede mag-delegate dapat ako lahat."

But she later learned that it is okay to ask for help. As a mom, you still need to take time for yourself.

"If you're a happy mom, you'll have a happy kid. Do things that you'd like to do. Minsan puro kid na lang, ang sungit mo naman," she warns. "So there has to be a balance for everything din, as a wife. Kailangan may time kayong mag-asawa."

Through all of this, she has learned that nothing else matters---not public perception on social media or her occasional self-imposed pressures---except the fact that her family stays happy.

"At the end of the day, as long as you're happy, your kids are happy, your husband is happy," she says in closing, as our dishes are just about ready. "What works for them may not work for you. Different strokes for different folks."

To learn more about Smile Train, visit their official Facebook page, here.

READ: Danica Sotto-Pingris commends mom Dina Bonnevie for sacrifices as a single parent

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