Project Lilo | Charlene Panutat-Carlos
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Charlene Panutat-Carlos

The thing about Charlene Panutat-Carlos is that not a lot of people know how absolutely hilarious she is. We suppose her polished exterior and type A personality has something to do with that. However, underneath that pretty face and go-get’em attitude is an extremely thoughtful, kind and funny woman who’s self-deprecating humor has got us in stitches. Step inside this super mama’s world as we talk about juggling 4 children, teenage angst and dabbing!

Char at home surrounded by paintings made by her children.

What was your first reaction when you found out you were pregnant?

With my eldest Macie, I was beyond overjoyed. I was extremely happy because I had a miscarriage before her. I went through a bout of depression and had to go through fertility treatments. So when I found out I was pregnant, I was ecstatic! Kulang nalang mag pa-fiesta ako! A year and a half later I was pleasantly surprised to find myself pregnant again this time with Matteo. It felt great to know that I could conceive without medication! Oh my gosh a year and a half later, I found out I was pregnant again! I was like Oh sh*t! People might think I’m a rabbit! I knew we were going to get teased a lot. It was also very overwhelming, I mean 2 kids under 3 with another one on the way, it was going to be a challenge for sure.

Fast forward 6 years later, we were in Japan on a family skiing trip and I was wondering why my period was delayed. I’m always on time. The possibility of me being pregnant never crossed my mind because prior to the trip I got an ultra sound and my OB said something Iike had so may myomas It’s pretty much impossible to get pregnant. Well, guess who always gets that 1-5% probability? Me! So there she was, Martie. I think I cried, then I laughed, then I cried, then I laughed again and I called you (Leona). I didn’t want to tell people at first because I felt they were going to say, “Oh my gosh, she’s so old!” People will think “Uy, lola na siya tapos may baby.” (laughs)

Char and Martie read Press Here, Martie’s favorite book as of late.

What’s the best thing about being a mom?

Feeling the love of your kids for sure! When Martie comes home from school, she runs up to me and shouts “Mama!”. Oh, and when they want to snuggle with you at night, or when they look for you… it’s a good feeling.

What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?

Teenage angst. I remember having it, but I don’t think I had it this bad. Its hard. I’ve been a mom for 13 years and I’ve gone through difficult pregnancies and complications while giving birth. I’m telling you, all of that, easy peasy. Teenage years… WOW.

What’s life like with four children?

Its complete chaos. During dinner everyone is talking at the same time, all four are competing for your attention and you don’t know who should come first. But I do love the fact that there’s never a dull moment. Sure, there’s a lot of tears, but also a lot of joy and laughter.


Martie and Char work in their easels.

Little hands holding up little paint.

What’s me time like for you?

With four children, I really need my “me” time. Right now, that time means painting. It’s a bit challenging though with a toddler who wants to be with you 24/7 so I set up her easel beside mine. That way we can “work” together. I have to be careful though as its happened a handful of times, whenever I leave my piece to go to the bathroom or step out for a bit, Martie transfers to my painting and starts working on it. Nakiki-collab!

Char takes a break surrounded by her paintings.

What lessons have you learned from your children?

Macie: What I learned from watching her grow through tennis is that if you don’t put in the work, your heart and your soul into what you want, you’re not going to go far. She sacrificed a lot so she can train and compete. There were tears and definitely blood and sweat but it has gotten her to where she is now.

Matteo: I learned that sometimes you just have to let things go. Being the type A person that I am, I find this very difficult. But I realized that you can’t be perfect in everything, you can’t always have what you want and sometimes its best to just chill and let it go.

Manu: Manu has always had a different way of looking at things. He always thinks outside the box. What I learned from him is to see things in a different perspective. Oh and to dab, I learned how to dab!

Martie: Martie has taught me that life is full of new beginnings. I though I was done having children, then boom! Bonus! Now I can’t imagine my life without her.

Every child is unique. You shouldn’t treat them the same.

What is your philosophy on motherhood?

Every child is unique. You shouldn’t treat them the same. They all have different personalities and different needs and its our job as parents to address those in a manner that best suits each child.


What are the characteristics that you value most in a person?

Honesty, respect and hard work. I’ve always believed that my children should work hard, they shouldn’t just cruise through life. I don’t want them to ever have it easy. Life is tough and they need to be strong to be able to go through it.

Char helping Martie get her kicks on.

What advise can you give your younger mom self?

The easiest thing about motherhood is giving birth, its raising children that’s challenging. However while it does have its difficult moments, you need to know when to relax and just let your children be. When I was a new mom, I devoted so much time, I was so hardcore and I read way too many parenting books. I literally did everything by the book and it was too much na. I remember telling Macie’s pre-school teachers that she wasn’t allowed to play in the sandbox because of all the horror stories that I read. Now my gosh, Martie rolls around the airplane floor! So yeah, I would have told myself to chill. Not everything needs to be perfect. Your children will be ok.











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