“Mahirap. Mahirap talaga, lalo na kapag mag-isa ka lang. Nahihirapan nga yung ibang may katuwang sa buhay, eh paano nalang kapag ikaw lang mag-isa diba? Mas lalong mahirap ‘yun.”
This is what she told me when I asked her how is it like to be a single parent.
My mom, Lita Calopez, 41 years old and a factory worker is a single parent. Every day, I witness how hard she works in order to support our needs. She wakes up as early as three am and works until the wee hours of the morning during her day and night shift respectively.
My mom is a superwoman for she doesn’t stop from doing her best. She would find a way and would do everything in her capacity to give the best for me. She would even push herself to her limits. You could say that her life is unfortunate; from being an orphan at a young age to being a single parent at the age of twenty one. It’s true that she have tasted all the bitterness of life but she doesn’t stop from believing that everything would be better. Maybe not today nor tomorrow but soon it will be.
Struggle of the family
My mom’s life with her parents wasn’t good to begin with but somehow they managed to survive. She is the youngest out of six siblings which consist of two boys and four girls. Her mom died when she was only two years old and because she got her mother’s looks, she became her father’s favorite. She was treated like a princess and was favored out of the six siblings. However, her father died not long after leaving her and her five siblings all by themselves.
“Di kami tinutulungan ng mga kamag-anak namin noon. Kami kami lang talaga bumubuhay sa sarili namin.”
The irony of life
Her princess-like life ended and after graduating high school, due to their financial struggle she was forced to go from Iloilo to Manila to test her fate. She found a job in a factory located in Valenzuela and started working at the young age of sixteen. The world has now turned upside down as she was the one her siblings cling on for support. They weren’t able to finish their schooling because they prioritized her first as what their father had requested.
Working and living alone was quite hard at first but mom started to cope up with the changes.
When life gets dark
At 20, she met a man whom she fell in love with. Thinking that she would be spending the rest of her life with him, she gave him her everything.
“Akala ko kasi siya na. ‘Yun pala, meron ibang mas nauna .”
She invested time and effort only to end up getting hurt. She got pregnant and the man didn’t take the responsibility because his parents threatened to disown him once he took side with my mother. It even got worse when she found out that the man had a child with another woman already. And the worst, it was with his first cousin. Devastated and scared, she kept this as a secret for four months sustaining the pain and agony all by herself. Soon, her siblings found out and felt indifferent towards her.
Single parents in the Philippines
A data from the National Statistics Office showed that there are 14 million solo parents in our country.
Mr. Gerald Dizon, a professor of Sociology in UE-Caloocan said that the reason for the growing number of single parents boils down to the relationship they had. Being young and imprudent may cause them to enter into a relationship which they aren’t sure of. This relationship may work at first but it is bound to end if it was decided carelessly.
He further added that in order to stop or control this number, the topic about relationship should be given enough attention in schools and other academic institutions.
“Dapat talaga sa eskwelahan, kunwari sa Sociology subject, reiterate talaga yung importance ng relasyon. Sa ligawan palang dapat ma-evaluate mo na talaga. Ito na ba yung tamang lalaki? Ito na ba yung tamang panahon para lumagay sa tahimik?”
Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000
Due to the lack of emotional support because of the absence of a life partner, single parents find themselves worried by the burdens of solo parenting. Also, the stigma about single parents often focuses on the circumstances on why some became solo parents rather than how they can be the best parent even without a partner. Which is why the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 or Republic Act No. 8972 that focuses on the evolving nature of Filipino families, and the need to acknowledge and support alternative version of this basic unit of society was a relief. The act provides a comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families to be developed by the DSWD, DOH, DECS, CHED, TESDA, DOLE, NHA and DILG, in coordination with local government units and a nongovernmental organization with proven track record in providing services for solo parents.
To know more about R.A. 8972, click here.
To the single parents
Being a single parent requires a lot of patience and hardwork; I can attest to this because my mom is a perfect example. To the single parents, I want to commend you for facing the responsibility and not running away from it. You chose to be selfless when you witnessed how selfish other people can be. And with that, I will leave with this message of kids to their single parents who, for them, exemplify greatness.
Video from Buzzfeed
Ma, mabasa mo man ‘to o hindi, sobrang nagpapasalamat ako kasi inako mo yung responsibilidad na palakihin ako. Kinaya mo lahat nang mag-isa at sobrang hanga ako sa’yo dahil doon. Pangako Ma, gagawin k0 ang lahat para maging proud ka sakin at masabi mo na worth it lahat ng sakripisyo mo; na hindi ka nagkamali na buhayin ako. Thank you for being my knight in shining armor when my my dad can’t do it for me. Thank you for treating me like a princess when your former king can’t do it for us – Lami
About the Author
Calopez, Shiela Mae
She’s an introvert who finds comfort in reading books and watching Korean dramas. A typical teenage girl who loves to eat but hates getting fat. She dreams to work in a famous fashion magazine someday and has the aspiration to travel. Having the fear of speaking in front of a crowd, she expresses herself through writing. She is very forgivable and understanding but just like everyone else she, too, has her own limits.
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