Rising to the ranks of global surf pros, Daisy Valdez represents the Philippines as its top female contender. To the public, she is one of the prized victors of women’s surfing in the country.
At home, Daisy considers herself simply as a full-time mother of two, to her son Tonton, 16, and her daughter Kaila, 11. She prides in describing her relationship with the two, sharing that “yung relationship ko with them is very barkada.” It’s clear to Daisy that it’s her priority to have a strong bond with her kids, and to always spend time with them as “just like we’re best friends.”
A mother of two
It goes without saying, Daisy is big on communication and trust: These are what make up her armor in protecting Tonton and Kaila 101%. But how does communication and trust look like? For a mother with two young kids, she gives them the freedom to grow up and explore on their own, within safe and healthy boundaries. This means allowing Tonton and Kaila their privacy, but also teaching them the value of voicing out their concerns to none other than their own mother.
“Bata pa sila. Para saakin, yung mga stuff that they are going through are normal,” she says. “Pero if they have secrets, mas mabuti na saakin nila sinasabi, para I can give them advice din.”
Nowadays, Daisy spends much of her morning double-training for the Olympics Final Qualifying Round at Surf City in El Salvador. After, she guides her kids with their school modules, a “mommy duty” as she likes to call it. And in between, she finds time to engage in business sidelines for extra income. A true hustler, the pro surfer is also trying her hand at entrepreneurship–from lako-style selling of frozen goods, to opening Ripper’s Grill, La Union’s up-and-coming ihawan. Inspired by the growth of an affordable food stall in Siargao, she combined ideas with fellow Philippine Team members Jay-r and Ian. Progress is well on its way, even at the mercy of a modern-day pandemic.
With a lot on her plate, her free time is all about lounging while watching surf movies and a replay of surf competitions–a self-care activity that, subconsciously to Daisy, optimizes a source of her family’s sustenance: Professional surfing. In becoming a better athlete, she also becomes a better provider.
Given her experience with competitions, Daisy is unfazed by life’s curveballs. She is fully aware of the unseen challenges that befall on athletes, mothers, as well as small business owners. She reiterates, “hindi naman maalis yung mga challenges at mistakes. Dun ka mas matututo eh.” Often, she wants to be in all places at once, fulfilling numerous tasks, as a mother would do on a daily basis. Although there are days that her body gives in. “Lahat naman tayo ganun, di ba? Kahit may gusto kang gawin, minsan mag-disagree yung katawan mo.” A way to counter this issue is splitting chores in the household, day to day.
Simple, loving, and supportive: these are how you can describe Daisy and her family. Her husband Jeff also plays a vital role as a father. When the time comes that she needs to prioritize her physical needs and mental health, Jeff is always more than ready to be hands-on, 24/7.
Living the dream
Looking ahead, Daisy is prepared to make their dreams happen. She shares, “gusto ko talaga mag out of the country vacation kasama ng kids.” As parents, their dream is ultimately geared towards their children’s future. “Dream namin na dalhin sila to a place para makapag surf kami as a family,” she envisions, “na walang ibang iniisip. Important din kasi samin na makita nila yung world. Part yun ng growth nila.“ As a mother and provider, she prioritizes not only the daily cost of living a quality life, but assuring the future of her family as well.
They say that parents will never truly know everything about their kids, but mothers will always know best. Uttering the word “mommy” is a universal acknowledgement of respect, love, and sometimes a cry for help.
Day in and day out, Filipino mothers like Daisy endure and pull through the constant grind that comes with raising a family, building a stable career, and reaching goals and milestones. For mothers, there will always be countless moving parts, more than we know. This is why we say that, perhaps, it should always be mother’s day.