Spotlight

Nikko Ramos and Bea Fabregas-Ramos: The Importance of Wellness in Parenting

For first-time parents Nikko Ramos and Bea Fabregas-Ramos, wellness isn’t just about being physically healthy. Many other factors contribute to their wellness as individuals and as parents.

For years, Nikko Ramos and Bea Fabregas-Ramos have respectively kept us company in the middle of traffic—thanks to the witty and interesting topics they discuss on the radio. The two started their careers as Junior Jocks for Magic 89.9, where they met and eventually fell in love. Bea was also the courtside reporter of the University of the Philippines Diliman for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

While they were on different shows, perhaps it was their shared passion for sports and sneakers that first attracted them to one another. But as their love story unfolded, which led to one of the hippest weddings during the pandemic, and as they welcomed their son Tyler a year later, it’s evident how much they have grown as individuals and as a couple.

Following Their Own Pace as First-Time Parents

Navigating the journey of parenthood adds a layer of profound wisdom to both Nikko and Bea. While it’s a conscious effort of finding what works best for their family of three, they’re also the first to admit that they try not to compare Tyler’s developments and milestones with other children.

“I think, to be honest, it’s being as open as possible to not having a predetermined parenting style,” Nikko states. “The one thing that they don’t really warn you about when you become a first-time parent is not necessarily the child. It’s other parents and the direct or indirect pressure that you may get from them or other kids. We have to learn the hard way in terms of reminding ourselves to understand that every child, or every family, has a different pace. That’s kind of been part of our approach.”

Though they’ve only been parents for a year and a half, Bea and Nikko are constantly discovering a good balance of different styles and seeing what works while abandoning what doesn’t. “I think the sooner we started going with that approach, the less stressful it became for us.”

Bea, on the other hand, understands that there’s a lot of learning that needs to be done—about herself, her partner, and her toddler. “I mean, it’s Nikko’s first time as a father. Then it’s my first time as a mother. And Tyler is growing so fast and doing so many things. We’re seeing tantrums now and I guess at first you’ll get discouraged, and you’ll be like, ‘Why is my baby throwing tantrums?’ And then you realize again, by talking to your friends, and by talking to people that are going through the same thing, you’re like, ‘Okay, it’s not a reflection on us. This is just part of the child’s development.'”

With the overwhelming emotions that come with being a new parent, the two find solace in their family and friends going through similar journeys. “We were pregnant at the time where you could barely see anyone. So I think we’re trying to make up for that. Because I think a lot of us missed out on so many conversations when we were pregnant. I feel like medyo kulang tayo sa processing,” Bea discloses. “And so, we’re kind of doing that now. I think it’s still important that we’re aware of that. And we’re making the effort to really just do our best and be informed. But yeah, I feel like there’s a lot of processing that needs to be done. At the same time, we need to be gentle on ourselves, too.”

The Importance of Wellness in Parenting

While Nikko Ramos now works full-time for Titan, a barber and basketball concept shop, and is the editor-in-chief of a local basketball publication, Slam, Bea Fabregas-Ramos hosts and continues to be a DJ at Magic 89.9. Recently, she became the face of an inspiring Nike campaign that further highlights her motherhood journey. Schedules can get extremely hectic for both of them that it’s almost impossible to imagine how they find the time to work out as part of their commitment to staying fit and healthy.

“For me, even before I got pregnant, I’ve always been so adamant about taking that time for yourself,” Bea explains. “And I always used to tell my friends or people who would ask me about it like, ‘How do you make time for it?’ I’m like, ‘You just have to.’ It’s not something that you wake up wanting to do. But because you want to take care of yourself.”

And after experiencing a pandemic, health and wellness have become one of the couple’s top priorities—especially now that they’re parents hoping to keep up with their toddler. “It’s not so much about a weight thing. It’s overall strength and your immune system. And exercise does a lot for that. I think adamant is really the word for it. Like really fighting for it in your schedule. Because it’s really tiring. It’s so tiring. Motherhood and parenting, it’s just different,” Bea emphasizes. “The exhaustion in the morning, you feel like you’re not really waking up your best self. And so you’re like, ‘Oh, should I just sleep in and rest?'”

“But wala, kailangan mong labanan eh. Because getting that workout in, even if it’s just a 20-minute walk, is actually better in the long run. That’s really something we discuss as a family. I saw my parents working out all my life. And up to now, they’re in great shape. That’s what I want for me and Nikko. To be able to keep up with Tyler, to be able to run with him, and experience life with him.”

Bea Fabregas and Nikko Ramos

Ticking Off The Wellness Boxes

Being healthy physically is one thing—but having a healthy state of mind and heart is another. “I think ticking off all of those boxes is rare,” Nikko points out. “And having all of those boxes ticked off at the same time is very rare. That’s an important thing to share with people who are about to start a family. Especially during this time, with a lot of adjustments going on because of the pandemic. I’m so much of a believer in the phrase, ‘It’s okay to not be okay.'”

Indeed, there are very few occasions where the three boxes of wellness—physical, mental, and emotional—are checked simultaneously. This is especially true for working parents balancing their time between work and home. For Nikko Ramos, those who are fortunate enough to find themselves checking all three boxes should try to recognize these moments and truly enjoy them.

“But when one, or two, or unfortunately for some of us, sometimes all of those things need working on, that’s okay, too,” he continues. “The mental part of it is something that I like to challenge myself with a lot of the time. But it’s exhausting—being in a pandemic and adjusting. I work a 9 to 5 job, and we’ve gone through the entire transition of being in the office every day, to completely remote, to hybrid, to now trying to figure out what the future of our company is.”

The constant cycle of eating, sleeping, and working—then waking up the next day to do everything again—can make one grow weary. This is why Nikko notes the importance of doing a regular check.

“Obviously, the physical part of it is one component. But like what Bea was saying, you can be physically healthy, strong, and fit, but not feel great. And it’s about being able to communicate that with your partner. Being able to recognize and say which of those boxes are ticked for you, and which of those boxes aren’t ticked at any given time. In our family, Bea is the athlete. She takes the lead in terms of making sure we’re eating right, prepping food for us, and communicating to me, or motivating me, to get in shape.”

Meanwhile, Nikko believes that working on emotional wellness means letting Bea know he’s just there—especially during tough days.

“When people think about wellness, it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s about dropping the baby weight. It’s about being able to run a 10k.’ But I think wellness is much more a combination of so many other little random things. Like an orderly house leads to wellness. If your air-conditioner is leaking, which is something that happened to us in our home, that does not contribute to our wellness. There’s always going to be something. But I guess how open you are to communicating that with your partner and knowing that, ‘Alright, my partner is going to hear me on this. Not solve my problem, but just hear me on this,’ I think that helps guide you towards being well. You have to find wellness on your own. And then find your level of wellness as a couple and as parents.”

Bea Fabregas

Recognizing where or what level your partner is at is another insight that Bea brings to the table. And as they go through marriage and parenting together, the two of them understand that there will be moments one will be on a higher level of wellness compared to the other. “You’re not always going to be on the same level,” Bea explains. “Sometimes, your partner is in a busier season than you. And you’ll realize na hindi talaga kayo magsasabay. You really have to recognize where your partner is at.”

Bea recalls the time Nikko flew to the United States for work and she had to hold the Ramos fort. On top of managing their home, taking care of Tyler, and fulfilling work commitments, many little things contributed to the stress that when Nikko got back, she literally and figuratively crashed—and he allowed her to do just that. “I think that’s really worked for us,” Bea shares. “When I have a busy month. Like the Ber months are busy for our industry. Thankfully, with the hybrid setup now, Nikko will take days with Tyler. Like if I’m out on this day, he’ll be with Tyler.”

Constantly acknowledging and adjusting to life’s curved balls have made Nikko Ramos and Bea Fabregas-Ramos ever-ready—and in doing so, they feel more confident in facing these challenges as a team.

Adjusting to a Hybrid Work Setup

Nikko has always been vocal about working for a great company—one that continues to empower him to this day. “I work for an all-time great group of people who are super understanding and own and operate this company,” he tells Modern Parenting. “When we had to slowly go back to work, which I completely understand the need for, and I was a senior leader in the company, one of the people who decided that, ‘Yes, we all need to slowly go back to work,’ the thought of quitting my job more than just crossed my mind. And that’s me, again, working for an all-time great company where I am ridiculously empowered.”

But leaving the comforts of home after getting used to it for the last three years as well as the thought of missing Tyler made him extremely downcast. “I think him growing has really helped because you’re able to see and maximize much more of the time that you do have together.”

“I have metrics. Now that I can see things that the two of us work on with each other. Whether it’s words that I’m teaching him from when he wakes up at 6:30 am to when I have to leave at 9:00 am. And every day, we do the same. We have a very early father-son morning routine. And he starts to repeat those words, or repeat certain gestures, or play the same games. So that’s helped because the time I do spend with him is useful time. We’re getting things done.”

“Knowing that our three days at the office and two days from home isn’t going to change anytime soon has given me a lot of peace. The uncertainty is a lot of where the stress comes from. And as an employee, when I didn’t know, ‘Ano, babalik ba ito sa 4? Babalik ba ito sa 5?’ and they told us it’s three days at the office, two days from home for the foreseeable future, I was like, ‘Okay, I can do this. I can manage that. Parameters are controlled.’ That’s what it’s been like for me. I almost quit my dream job just to stay at home and play blocks with Tyler,” he laughs.

Nikko Ramos

For Bea, on the other hand, it’s about making up for the lost time. “Sometimes, when I’m out, let’s say at an event or when I’m working the whole day, I tell myself I’m going to get through this because the weekend is coming and we’re going to be together the whole day.”

Prior to becoming a mother, Bea was a go-getter who was all about building her career. You can even feel it in the way she asserts herself. She’s a strong and driven character always hustling to get things done. But she learned to set better boundaries for herself, especially when Tyler entered the picture. “I understand that people have their own schedules. But if you message me about work on a Sunday, I will see it but I’m not replying.”

“When I became a mom, or even when I became pregnant because I was so aware about how my body was changing and how exhausted I was feeling over the smallest things, I felt that mentally, there were so many things I had to fix. Like, if this small thing is stressing me out, I need to fix it. And because there are so many things happening in our brains, the things that you literally don’t need to deal with, get rid of it. You can fight for sacred family time.”

“Life is hard. There are responsibilities, errands to do, and things to get done. But the moments that it’s just you and your child—those are the best, most precious moments. When you’re just staring at your kid and you’re like, ‘Okay, this is what it’s all about. To be in this moment, to just watch them play. To watch them see the world and learn things.’ I feel like accepting that you do have to hustle and work hard for your family gets you through the tough days.”

Finding Yourself Again

Like many moms who have felt like they lost themselves after giving birth, Bea struggled with the changes as well. “I get it when people say I lost so much of myself for a bit. For one, you expanded in nine months. You pop a baby out, or for me, had an emergency C-section. You’re healing and all of a sudden, there’s milk coming out of your breasts, which has never happened in my life. What a miracle, but also, how weird! And then you look at yourself in the mirror and you don’t recognize that person. That’s never been your body or shape.”

“I think for me, the craziest thing was looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself. It wasn’t even weight. I’ve just never seen my body that way. Every time I would walk past the mirror, I would rush. Because I didn’t want to deal with it. I have a baby to take care of! But it got to a point where I had to look at the mirror and say, ‘Okay, I love this body. This body gave me Tyler.’ I really had to utter the words. So there’s so much change that you’re going through and you’re also worrying about one hundred other things.”

However, akin to ceremonial biddings, Bea encourages that every first-time mom is entering a new and beautiful season of her life. “If you’re in a spot right now where you’re home but you’re staring at the ceiling with your baby in your arms and you’re like, ‘Here is my purpose and the love of my life, but why am I so confused?’ it’s perfectly understandable! Because you’re going through a lot, mama! And the person that you were, she’s gone. Wala na po siya. It’s intense to say that, but it’s true. I look at old photos, like 2019, and that was a beautiful season. But you’re entering a new, beautiful season. There are going to be so many accomplishments. You are so strong and you’re capable of so much. You just have to tap into it.”

A Net Positive in Tough Situations

As a supportive partner in the ongoing process of life, Nikko has shifted his mindset to make sure he’s not a net negative in the situation. “If you’re balancing an equation, diba x equals whatever. So just try to make sure whatever value you’re putting onto the table, it doesn’t lead to x being negative. It means that sometimes, you, as a man, husband, and partner, and as someone who loves this person, will not always be able to solve the problem. Actually, that happens more often. Very rarely do you come in that you already have the solution to the problem.”

“Whether it’s because of pride, love, or fear, you see your partner suffering, the one thing you want to do is take it away. And sometimes, that causes more harm than good. Sometimes, that leads you to be a net negative. So the goal is to be a net positive in the situation.”

Nikko advises that you don’t always have to play an active role in fixing the problem. “I think that takes experiencing it to learn and accept it. Because what you want to do is take the discomfort, pain, insecurities, and struggles away. You wish that they didn’t exist. But you’re not going to be able to. So just try and figure out, ‘Okay, how do I make this situation a little better? Not even the day, not even the week, that’s ambitious. But just like, how do I save this meal, save this evening? Is it, ‘Let’s just go to sleep.’? And maybe that’s what I can do to serve, in this moment—to allow Bea to go on this rant, go on and be irrational, go ahead and take it out of her body. And that’s it. That’s what you bring to the table.”

Bea validates this further and says that Nikko acknowledging that he doesn’t understand but knows it’s hard has helped her a lot. “Him saying, ‘I know it’s hard. I don’t get it but I know it’s hard.’ Just hearing that from him is so helpful for me.”

Nikko continues that they try to remove as many of the ambiguities as possible and stick to what’s true and factual. “Our child is healthy. We are not worrying about where we’re living. We’re not worrying about our next meal. Those are all true things. Those are things that we can pray and be thankful for at this moment.”

“That doesn’t mean that whatever it is that you’re feeling stressed about, you shouldn’t feel stressed about. No. I’m saying go on and feel stressed about all those things. But take comfort in the fact that all these other things are things that you’re not worried about. Or all these other things are things that I can take care of right now, while Bea focuses on that.”

Perhaps it’s their expertise as DJs and hosts that allows them to communicate better with one another. Being on the same page and understanding what the other needs have greatly contributed to their wellness as individuals, as a couple, and as parents, too. And when things get tough or too much in the Ramos household, they both have a mantra: “Let’s try again tomorrow.”

Words GRETCHEN GATAN FRAGADA
Photography EXCEL PANLAQUE
Art Direction DENIELLE CARAG
Makeup CATS DEL ROSARIO
Hairstyling PATTY INOJALES
Styling ROSHNI MIRPURI and SIYA DARYANI for THE CLOSET CULTURE
Shoot Coordination ANTHONY MENDOZA

Shot on location at CROWNE PLAZA GALLERIA MANILA

Read more Spotlight stories on Modern Parenting:

Ava Daza Zanirato: On Life as a New Mom and Normalizing the Talk on Pleasure

Drew Arellano and Iya Villania-Arellano: Setting the Best Example of Love

Jennylyn Mercado and Dennis Trillo: Blended Together

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