Being a mom is hard enough—throw in the spotlight and it’s even tougher. Pauleen Luna Sotto shares her story about #momlife in the public eye
We can all agree that being a mom is the toughest gig there is. Add a moody toddler and a demanding job in the mix and you’ll find yourself asking for another glass of wine. Now throw in millions of judging eyes and you’ll know what it’s like to be a celebrity mom. After being in the spotlight for 20 years, Pauleen Luna Sotto has faced all kinds of criticism — and now, as a first time mom to three year old Tali, she’s dealing with it again, albeit in a totally different way. We spoke to Pauleen about being a celebrity mom, how she’s handling all the shade and what it’s like to be married to Vic.
Pauleen Luna Sotto on motherhood and beyond
Living with PCOS
Being a mom was something Pauleen had always dreamed of becoming. “I love being around children,” she says. ” Even the kids of my co-hosts on Eat Bulaga know they can count on me to take care of their kids.” In hindsight, she agrees that motherhood hasn’t always been the way she envisioned it, especially after giving birth. Pauleen explains, “the moment you give birth, it’s like you lose a part of yourself because the baby just takes so much. But it’s a happy struggle and I love every minute of it.”
Getting pregnant took a lot of work for Pauleen. “I have PCOS, which makes it harder to conceive.” she says. For some people, PCOS can go away after birth, but unfortunately for Pauleen, it wasn’t the case. Because of her PCOS, she started taking hormones, which caused her to gain a lot of weight. “Last January 20, I saw a photo of myself, and I couldn’t recognize myself. I had no bone structure; I was just really big. I knew I had to do something, plus it’s harder to conceive when you’re on the heavy side,” Pauleen shares.
Thanks to her friend, Mariel Rodriguez, Pauleen started the same diet plan and lost weight. She also started exercising and is now at the point where it has all become part of her new lifestyle. “We’re trying to have another child, ” Pauleen explains. “We’ve actually been trying to conceive again ever since Tali was born.”
Being married to Vic
Her husband, Vic, much to everyone’s surprise, has also been quite the hands on dad. From reading her stories, to playing Polly Pocket and even letting Tali paint his nails, it came as a complete shock to Pauleen. “I never thought he had it in him!” she says, “And he even lets her sleep with him (we all co-sleep), and anyone who knows Vic knows how precious his sleep is to him.” His only request? Not dealing with any dirty diapers or potty training. While Vic has four grown children — Danica, Oyo, Vico and Paulina — all with their own families and/or careers, having to do it all over again and do it well, seems to have come naturally.
But this isn’t a Brady Bunch situation, Pauleen says she’s friends with all of Vic’s kids. “I’m not trying to be their mom at all, I know my place and I’m embracing it 100%. I’m grateful for the love and care that they give. Before the pandemic happen, we’d have weekly dinners. We all respect each other, and I don’t try to overstep my boundaries.”
And yes, for Pauleen, there are lots of perks of having an older husband. She says she’s learned a lot from him and says that they don’t fight. “We just know each other so well,” she explains. “I think now’s the perfect time to test your relationship. Is it great? Is it toxic? Well, ours has been smooth and and easy.” It helps that Vic respects her and her decisions and when she needs her me-time.
Being a celebrity mom
Perhaps it was marrying Vic, a man 35 years her senior, was the start of the never ending judgment. And having a child with him, has invited new reasons for people to scrutinize the couple— and sometimes, even their daughter. “Here’s the thing, people assume that everything we post on social media, is our whole life. But there’s a lot I don’t post on social media,” Pauleen says.
“When you’re a ‘celebrity’ mom, all eyes are on you. People expect you to be a certain kind of mom and you get all this unsolicited advice. New moms get it all the time but when you’re a celebrity, you get it even more.” She receives comments on just about everything — all she does is being observed and judged. But, as the professional that she is, she knows that it’s all part of the job. “I’m on social media to share good vibes and positivity. The only comments that matter are from people who care about me and my family,” she reveals.
Dealing with mom guilt
Just like every mom out there, Pauleen also finds herself down with mom guilt. “I’m always asking myself, is what I’m doing enough?” she shares. Just like us, she’s worried about how the pandemic is affecting her daughter, Tali. As someone who grew up playing outdoors, getting sweaty and dirty, it saddens Pauleen to see her daughter home alone.
“I try to change things up, every week we go through a different phases — one week it’s painting, Polly Pocket and reading the next, just so she doesn’t get bored,” Pauleen says. And yes, she’s also given in to screen time — limited to educational shows only. “You do what you have to do; don’t judge a mom who needs to give her kids screen time!” Couldn’t agree more. As moms, we do what works for us. And what works for one doesn’t work for all, and that’s just how it is.
Being a mom with the whole world watching can’t be easy, but Pauleen is taking it all in stride. She’s channeling all her energy into seeing all the silver linings, including this extra time she and Vic are able to spend with their daughter. And while she’s waiting, wishing and hoping for Tali’s sibling to come around, sooner rather than later, she’s loving this crazy journey called motherhood. And to top it off, she’s grateful to have someone like Vic by her side through it all.