In a relationship, there are some non-negotiables that you and your partner must agree on. Here’s what these parents have to say.

Cake and coffee, soup and salad, and wine and cheese. These are some of the things that come to mind when referring to perfect pairings—for the table, entertaining, or dining out. Similarly, whenever we think about finding the love of our lives, many people have the notion that we would find the perfect partner in marriage.

As I have gotten older, one thing I know for sure is that there is no perfect partner, no perfect marriage, and no perfect parent. There are, however, perfect moments. Perhaps even perfected compromises, and maybe even near-perfect ways to approach problems that we have to solve as parents.

One happy family! Nino and I with the kids.

Looking for Perfection in Imperfection

No matter how we strive to give our children the best of what we can, we also know that perfection is not the standard we want to be measured by. In fact, when we show our children that we are NOT perfect, we are letting them grow and learn through their mistakes. And the result? They are more resilient and forgiving.  

We also know that this decision goes beyond the love we have for each other when we choose a partner. Conversations on relationships are vital to establishing a unified parenting style and example—regarding parenting styles, forms of discipline, and the basic values we want to pass on to our kids.

After all, the human brain does not stop growing and developing until the age of 25, but much of who we are develops in the first 8 years of our lives. These formative years are important and we know that when our children are this small, they need us to be ever-present for guidance, character building, and shaping habits of wellness and health.

Our Parenting Non-negotiables

When we were much younger, Nino and I agreed that a non-negotiable we had as parents focused on availability. As much as possible, we wanted one of us to always be available for the kids during their formative years. I wanted to be a teacher for this—among many other reasons. Plus, I knew that my career would support the time that the kids needed from me. And if I taught in the same district that my kids attended school, well, that would be a win-win. 

For all the different styles of parenting, schooling, and thoughts on discipline, there are even more parents who have a combination and styles that suit their own needs. I have often asked how my friends discipline their kids, choose where to send their kids to school, and what they enjoy preparing for their families during meal times. These answers, after all, give me a new perspective at times.

Parenting, as Told by Parents Themselves

Here is what some of my friends have to say about parenting:

What is one parenting non-negotiable that you both have?

Miriam Quiambao-Roberto and Ardy Roberto

Obedience and respect are the most important rules to be followed in Miriam and Ardy’s home. Obedience leads to blessings, while respect is foundational. They both believe that they must teach their children how to respect everyone.

“We are, after all, created in the image and likeness of God,” they share. “And He promises that all will be well with our children. They will have a long life if they honor and respect their parents.”

Chinky and Robby Goco

Together, they have decided that Sunday mass and the lunch that follows is an important time for their family. Education is important for Rob, too, as he makes time to tutor and watch educational shows with the kids. No matter how busy their schedules are, dinner time is when everyone comes together as a family.  

Mia and Raymond Lauchengco

Their basic philosophy is “memories over things.” If a special occasion calls for a gift, they first think of an experience that will build core memories instead of giving material things.

What was your biggest surprise about parenthood?

Miriam and Ardy

“There’s no difference in the love we have for both of our sons,” the couple shares. “We adopted our first son, Joshua at six months, and we revel at just as fast both our sons are growing. We also realize just how much we are willing to sacrifice for our children’s best interest, even if it hurts.”

From daily Innohep injections to childbirth, clogged milk ducts, nursing through mastitis, sleepless, nights, and obedience issues with their teenager, you can really tell how much Miriam and Ardy can do because they love their children very, very much.

Chinky and Robby

Chinky was surprised by how much Robby enjoys tutoring and cooking for the kids. On the other hand, Robby loves the feeling of coming home to a “home”—where children are patiently waiting for him. The moment he and Chinky step into the house, they are welcomed with enthusiastic cheers of “daddy and mommy!”—complete with matching hugs. To him, it’s the most precious thing in the world.

Mia and Raymond

Raymond’s biggest surprise about fatherhood was the true understanding of unconditional love, while Mia didn’t realize that she would love being a mom through all its seasons.

What was one thing you both compromised on?

Miriam and Ardy

Strongly rooted in their faith, Miriam and Ardy have remained grounded and aligned in raising their sons. Raising their children up in the love and knowledge of God has not called for much compromise, since they both come from the same Christian faith.

However, small compromises along the way include adjusting their parenting style, tone of voice, and disciplining or correcting themselves. All this has proven to be more effective and comes from the understanding that one size does not fit all. Learning from experience, advice that has been passed on, and parenting books, they know that there’s always room for improvement and adjustment.

All they need to do is pray for God’s wisdom and guidance. God, after all, is the most perfect parent of all!

Chinky and Robby

Ever since the pandemic, and school shifting to online distance learning, both Rob and Chinky have made peace with the fact that they have to give their kids more screen time. However, they still try and make sure that the kids have different activities—even if they are online.

Additionally, the couple was surprised by how quickly the kids adapted to this change in learning. Even with the clear understanding that being online involves a certain level of responsibility. “Children need to be aware of the dangers and the boundaries while using screens too,” the couple explains.

Mia and Raymond

Screen time and gadgets have always been respected and used within boundaries. But empowering their kids through the responsibility of “earning” their own money to buy a Nintendo Switch proved to be a wonderful experience, while in quarantine.

“The kids had been begging for this popular handheld device for quite some time, before we eventually gave them permission to purchase a unit—that is, with money that they had earned on their own,” the couple explains.

They managed to earn enough to purchase their dream toy within just a few weeks—through their small business @noodledoodleph. This entrepreneurial sibling duo illustrates and renders commissioned photos digitally—through a service built on utilizing their talents. That way, they can provide a product that their clients will surely cherish.

And much to their surprise, the Nintendo Switch has provided bonding opportunities between the kids, along with time to exercise. What’s more, the kids even learned how to take turns and share.

Overall Takeaway: Advice for First-time Parents

You know your child best, so follow your intuition. And love your spouse—after all, he or she is your partner in parenting.

Keep your promises. It’s okay to apologize to your kids you make a mistake. Go with the flow and most importantly, choose your battles. Your kids are always listening, but more importantly, they are always watching you. Thus, give your children the opportunity to come to you with their problems, but do not solve all of their problems for them. Let them learn.

Count your blessings, too, because in parenthood you will be pushed and pulled in all different directions. It may seem like a thankless job, but if you look real hard, you’ll see that they are all blessings.


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