Before I gave birth, I was confident about being able to survive all by myself—not needing my husband just in case he left me. I loved having him around, but I didn’t think I needed him around. But after having my daughter, I realized that I did need him. I needed him to help me take care of her and to keep me sane every day. I cannot fathom having to raise a child on my own. This is why I am in awe of single parents. Here’s a closer look at what their lives are like.
According to Dina Ledonio, one of the joys of single parenthood is that all major decisions are in your hands, such as: “Your baby’s name, religion, and where to send him to school.”
Josephine Bautista agrees. “You have no one to argue with in terms of what direction you want to take with your child. For example, being an Atenean, I do not want my son going to La Salle Zobel and since I am a single parent, I have no husband who would contradict me.”
When it comes to discipline, “you are the absolute authority,” adds Josephine. Because of this, Dina explains, “You tend to be more independent and responsible when it comes to raising your child. It’s only you and him against the world.”
“The speculation and ridicule from family and friends” says Dina, is the very first hurdle a single mom has to undergo. However, she adds, “they will get over it eventually and accept the whole situation.” And the good that comes out of it is their invaluable support.
Family support can come with a price, however. “My parents have been helping and supporting me through all of this, but they are from a different generation,” shares Josephine. “So their ideas don't always coincide with mine. And since I don't have a partner who can back me up, sometimes I feel all alone.”
Another big problem can be finances. “Though my parents still help out, it can be difficult,” adds Josephine. “I do not ask for child support from my son's father. Most of the time, I just go without buying things for myself. Better for me to go without than for JC to go without.”
Dina adds that things can get even more difficult when your child starts going to school. “He would start to ask lots of questions about your family set up, but it is better to be always honest with your answers.”
Josephine shares that during the difficult moments, “You just have to take it day by day. There's really no how-to guide for me on how to deal with the difficulties. Just take them as they come. And you need to learn how to ask for help and to accept help. Because you cannot do it alone.”
Dina adds that a good mindset can get you through the tough times: “Always have faith that things will be better. Have a strong support system around you such as family and friends.”
Just Mommy and me
Despite how tough it can be, the greatest joy both mothers feel about parenting alone is the strong bond that develops between mother and child. How do they keep their ties strong?
“I am always honest with him, especially about our situation,” shares Dina. “He is also like that with me. We are each other’s number one fan and critic. We have nothing to hide from each other. Having my son was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Being her son’s only parent has made Josephine even more affectionate with him. “I shower JC with affection,” she says. “I guess it's my way of making it up to him that I'm the only one there and that he has no dad. But because of that, my son is very affectionate. He says I love you for no reason. He hugs me, kisses me, and even at times, punches me in my arm playfully.”
No regrets, just love
Despite the many difficulties, both mothers have no regrets and would not change their single mom experience. Dina says, “Your baby is a blessing and you can still conquer the world as you wish! Be proud to be a single mom. I bet your baby will always be proud and love you for being one.”
Josephine agrees. “Just love your kids. Sometimes they can frustrate you, make you cry, make you angry. But just love them. And never ever regret them. Because kids are the best gift God can ever give anyone.”
Olivia Yao has been writing ever since she can remember. She has written for health, teen, parenting, and children's magazines. Her latest endeavor is being a mom to her three-year-old daughter—her toughest assignment yet.
Yahoo! Philippines SHE encourages sensible comments that enrich the conversation. Please refrain from bashing or hate speech. You can share your opinion without resorting to profanity or disrespecting others. Let's work together to build a community that promotes responsible online behavior. It's not impossible.