Chi Atienza Valdepenas shares her story on how she’s juggling motherhood on top of a thriving business and career…
Chi Atienza Valdepenas is one busy woman. On top of being a hands-on mom of three, she’s also the host for Rise and Shine Pilipinas (her segment is called The Good Juan — check it out!), running Atienza Naturale with her brother, a TV producer and a content producer — phew! As daunting as her schedule might seem to you, she manages it all (and squeezes in some exercise and cooking time with her kids) with God-led grace. She attributes all her successes to her strong faith and relationship with God and leaves everything to his will. Here’s her story…
Growing up Atienza
Back when I was in college, my mom asked me to start paying for bills. I was lucky I had a lot of shows, ads and TV endorsements through ABS CBN, which helped me pay for it all — on top of studying! Most people thought I was spoilt rotten because I was the youngest child and my Dad was the mayor of Manila back then.
While my classmates were out partying, I was working and studying. Eventually, the crazy schedule took a toll on me and I stopped. So I let everything go. I planned to return after school but right after graduation, I started a retail fashion business with my sisters. Because I was the marketing head of the store, I got to go out again and be featured in numerous publications and I thought that it was going to be the start of my return in showbiz and ads— but marriage happened and the rest is history.
The road to motherhood
When I was 25 and on my way back into showbiz, my husband made me give it all up because he planned to take his masters abroad. Since family was always a priority and my husband wanted to fully provide, I sacrificed everything to build a family. I am a hands-on mother (albeit I had hired help and I breastfed my kids for 3 years each and tutored them myself til grade 5.
I never really had an ideal in terms of family life—I always knew it was messy and I knew that sacrifice was always involved. I think I entered it with eyes wide open. I saw it with my parents and so I was ready when I took the plunge.
My husband’s plan of studying abroad did not materialize and business opportunities came for both of us. On top of being a hands-on mother, eventually I had to juggle business, family and now— also a segment in PTV and shooting ads at home.
On being a mom
The best part of motherhood for me is seeing your kids bloom — and being a hands on Mom, I know I’ve played a big part in that.
Back to business!
Life at home with my businesses was comfortable. I had businesses and my husband is a very good provider. He has provided for us a beautiful home and an assurance that he will take care of everything. My businesses were all just to keep me busy and preoccupied but prior to having the show, life was a bit lacking.
I knew I had to use my voice to help people since I’m naturally talkative and I missed doing what I used to. When a friend offered for me to try it out again, I jumped at the offer. Another mom friend of mine talked to me about finding our passions. She said that life is not just about waking up each to do our “work” but it should be about waking up each day excited because of ”work” — I think I found that along the way and I’m thankful for “angels” in the form of friends that led me to it.
A typical day…
Before the pandemic, my daily schedule was — wake up at 4am for my Morning Show called Bagong Pilipinas, go home at 9am after the live airing, take my youngest to school, meet with the Maynila GMA7 team or some days are allocated for the Atienza Naturale Team, pick up the 3 kids at school, help them with homework, prepare dinner and sleep.
Now, it’s actually a daily war schedule at home (minus the early morning call time) since shoots are taped. So I wake up 7am, make sure that kids are all in their online classes— I stay with my 5 year old during his online class since he needs more support than the bigger kids. After school, I make sure they do their homework and that it’s all turned in. I schedule all my shoots after lunch, when the house is finally quiet. Evenings are mostly for cooking with the kids or exercise in the home gym if time and energy permits.
Why it’s all worth it
Atienza Naturale teaches me about running a business / marketing while Maynila teaches me about production and the nitty gritty that comes with it. Hosting teaches me to be aware of society and its effects on the Filipino people.
As a very sensitive person, I thought it was important to capitalize on giving the Filipinos—especially the poor and helpless— a voice through me. I love my work because I represent them and I have the power to help get their voices heard. The endorsements and ads are just icing on the cake. So you see, my job is like a puzzle that somehow puts my life in order.
It’s a perfect balance for me because as much as I love being a hands-on mother, I love being a wife and a happy career woman as well.
Over the years, I have realized that the best life consists of obeying the will of God. We all have dreams and aspirations but at the end of the day, we should be ready to trust God’s plan more than our own. Human beings are frail and we want things based on an emotional need. The Lord knows what we truly need. Sometimes he withholds things from us not to deny us the wishes that our hearts crave for, but to reorganize things and make it more “complete” for us.
I always tell my kids— dream high, dream well—give your best in everything that’s presented to you, but the steps you take to the Lord. People may think I’m a go-getter since I pursue things when I feel the urge to do so. What most don’t know is that my steps are all directed by the Lord. In that, I am never afraid. I want my kids to find their boldness in trusting the Lord’s plan for their lives more than their own.
I surrendered my life to him when I was 18—I did what I felt he wanted me to do. Years have passed and I must say, his guiding hand has led me to a life that was even better than what I envisioned for myself. When I was 18, I wanted to just perform. I wanted to be a star. I was granted that for a while, until my heart yearned to let it all go to find a deeper purpose.
It’s all changed now. I want to help others find their voice in me. I want to represent people who are not heard. I want to inspire and make people realize that no matter what their circumstances are— life will get better. Now, I want to help others find their dreams — I want them to be the star. So if you see the me before and the me now, I would have to say — I like myself more now and I can only give all the credit to God who has directed my steps.
As for my future, I have given him permission to direct my steps. Right now I am happy with the work I have— but I can let this all go any time he asks me to because I trust his will more than mine.
On following one’s passions
Pray. Ask the Lord for guidance. Do not settle for the life that is presented to you. If you have a yearning in your heart to do something, tell the Lord about it. Tell him that if that desire is a part of His will for your life, to make the desire stronger than ever. Tell Him to open up doors for you that you need not struggle to enter. The Lord will not give us a desire and not grant it— sometimes he withholds it until he molds us to be best.
For those that are now wanting to redirect their lives and perhaps make it more abundant— hold on to the fact that if you let God direct your steps, he will not fail you. Do not be scared to make bold decisions if you see him leading you to it. He will not allow us to fall if we entrust our plans to him completely. He is a good God and a good father.