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#SheConnects: Celebrating Womanhood in the Middle of a Pandemic

Nikki Gil-Albert is a woman of many roles. As this month's guest columnist, she talks about the joys of motherhood and knowing who you truly are

We all know her as the smart and beautiful TV personality, multi-hyphenate, and role model many of us look up to. And although she may not be as active in showbiz as she used to, now that family life took over, Nikki is still busy wearing different hats and juggling various roles. Along with being a career woman, she describes and sees herself now in the context of relationships. 

“Right now, I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, and a friend,” Nikki told us when Metro.Style had a chance to chat with her. What we noticed: She's quite proud in celebrating the beauty of femininity through these different versions of herself. In seamlessly moving from one role to the other, this mother to three-year-old Finn, and wife to BJ Albert, showcases the beauty of a multi-faceted life that women often thrive in.

Let's hear it directly from Nikki, our guest columnist this month! —Metro.Style

Grace under pressure

Early on, my mom taught me the value of respecting your seasons. I find that when I look at my life in terms of seasons, I'm better able to relish the moment and to let go when it's done. So, whether it was the pressure of finishing my studies while working, transitioning out of the crazy world of show business into married life, diving into the overwhelming yet rewarding journey of motherhood, or getting through another round of lockdowns— I’m able to embrace these seasons, along with the challenges they bring.

I realized that being a woman is all about being able to display strength and tenderness at the same time during these seasons of your life. As they say, it’s grace under pressure. It’s the ability to make sound decisions in otherwise crippling situations. It’s the ability to park our emotions to the side to get things done. It’s wearing many different hats, juggling different roles in the context of the many different relationships we are in and not losing ourselves in the chaos.

I look at the women in my family and the words growth, instinct, resilience, and wisdom come to mind. I think of all the female figures who have helped shape who I am today. From my mom, to my mother-in-law, my grandmother, my sister, cousins, my best mommy friends — women in my life who are honest with their struggles, both past and present, and are generous with their insight. THIS is why we celebrate women. 

Redefining success

Success and achievement are looking a lot different for me these days. As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve learned to keep an eye open for little victories. I celebrate the small things in the mundane, hoping that these are little seeds planted for the future. For instance, I am proud that my son says “thank you” all the time. It’s a small win, but still a good reminder that I’m on the right path to raising a good human being that I can eventually release to society when he is ready.

I think we should all celebrate Women’s Month extra hard this year because of the challenges brought about by the pandemic. It has definitely magnified the struggles of women all over the country. From keeping the household running, to figuring out how to survive the year after losing a job, to working from home with toddlers and no help, to dealing with distance learning, to dealing with cabin fever or the loneliness of isolation, to worrying about the health and wellness of our loved ones, to reporting to work at the risk of your own life, to keeping the feeling of burning out at bay. The fact that we are here, surviving, is reason enough to celebrate.

I’m blessed to have a husband whose support allowed me to break the misconception that women need to choose between thriving as a career woman or flourishing as a family woman. And whose support also made me see that there is no shame in picking either one as long as it makes you happy. I know a lot of women are able to successfully do both and a lot of women who choose to focus all their energies on just one. And they are equally happy. As I myself find that balance, I am slowly learning to let go of being a perfectionist. If you're wearing many hats and playing many roles, it’s hard to be a 100% at everything. And I learned that sometimes, for the sake of your sanity, you just have to let “good enough” be good enough.

Meaningful connections

Another realization brought about by the long quarantine is that maintaining connections is vital. A big chunk of my life is spent online these days. It’s connected to everything I do—from my kid’s online distance learning, hosting gigs, meetings, my online classes, and even making menus! Even dealing with the isolation of this pandemic through online kiddie parties, online reunions, online baby / bridal showers, to staying informed and updated with the news, it’s hard to imagine what it's like to not have that access. It has been crucial for our family to have strong internet and PLDT Home’s fast and stable internet service helps me stay in touch with the world.

This International Women’s Month, the spotlight is rightfully ours. I want to encourage everyone to honor your sensibilities; to identify and own what we love about being a woman, and connect with other inspiring women in our lives. During this season of trials, we celebrate the beauty of our strength and our resilience — powering through for our loved ones and praying for brighter days ahead. Happy International Women’s Month, ladies!

For more inspiring stories this Women's Month, check out the series of Virtual Masterclasses of PLDT Home entitled #SheConnects, which features empowered Filipinas who are builders, champions, and beacons of today's generation. Watch them on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.