Parents are humans too; they take it as they go through life. Though there are so many parenting resources these days—books, testimonies, our very own Familywise Asia—there’s no singular way to go about it. We’re all just sharing our different experiences in the hopes that we might find a semblance of an answer in the decisions other people have made in their lives.
This is harder even more so for single parents. On occasion, there comes the shame, the financial difficulty, and the fact that single parenting just feels so lonely at times. Parents are superheroes, but it takes a special type of superhero to do it all alone.
To shed light on the experience of these supers, we asked #SUPAMOMs Rowena Domingo, Anne Ilagan, Jaymie Karenina, Ana Luz Ong, and Anna Cruz two big questions on their struggles as single mothers.
1. What are the difficulties you encountered as a single-parent?
RD: My difficulties were mostly financial. Though my kids’ education was covered by my in-laws—I am a widow—all the way through high school, the daily expenses for food, rent, helper/s, gasoline, utilities, school supplies, projects, programs, and trips brought me down on my knees every single day to pray.
Another difficulty was answering my four kids’ questions about life, tutoring them, driving for them, all these while I had to maintain a job and continue my obligations to my family of origin as well as my in-laws.
AI: The challenges and difficulties of being a single parent are endless. Emotionally, I had to be strong for my son, while dealing with feelings of bitterness, fear, sadness, and anxiety. Financially, I had to be the breadwinner, working a full time job while wearing both hats of father and mother. Physically, it has been exhausting. Socially, there will always be that stigma that comes with being an unwed mother, regardless of how tolerant our society has evolved. Having no father, my son had also been discriminated and left out in a couple of situations.
JK: My problems were also mostly financial. I had to take care of the daily expenses of 3 kids.
AO: I always wonder if I am raising my son the right way. I ask myself, “If his father was around, would things be different?” I always question myself as a solo parent especially on some decisions I have to make, if they have been the right one, or if his might have been better.
AC: My particular difficulty was disciplining my daughter because I have to be the good cop and the bad cop at the same time.
2. When was the first time your child asked about their other parent? Can you tell us what you answered?
RD: My kids were young adults when I left my second husband (& his kids). They were all happy that I moved out of our house.
AI: My son first asked about his father when he was 4. I told him the truth of the situation.
JK: When my son turned 6, he asked me why his dad would not sleep in the house. Then he googled the distance between Pasig and Tanauan, Batangas and pleaded, “It’s not that far. He has a car, Mommy, and it won’t take him 2 hours after rush hour.”
I told him that it was better for their dad to be nearer work as he follows odd hours. He gave me a skeptical look and never asked me again.
AO: He never asked, because his father comes and goes, and I guess my son got used to it. It was more of our neighbors’ kids asking him that question, which I suspect was actually from their mothers.
AC: She was very young them, around 3, with communication delay. She simply asked where her father was a year after. I told her that he went abroad for work.
The SupaMom Women’s Group is a support group for, of, and by single mothers under the Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF) Ortigas. To know more, visit http://www.gcf.org.ph/.
Patricia Li is an Editorial Assistant at Familywise Asia. She reads and writes in her free time.