According to the National Statistics Office, precisely 37% of the 1.8 million babies born in 2008 were from unmarried mothers, marking a 12% increase from the year before. The number of single mothers may be rising in the Philippines but the stigma of being an unwed parent hasn’t changed much over the years. And yes, single mothers need to work twice as hard while swallowing those bitter pills with twice as much gusto, but you know, we get by.
So here’s a list on how single motherhood really is a headfirst plunge into womanhood (and reality) from a first-hand perspective.
10. Expect a lot of tears
Post-partum depression is as real as it can get, affecting many new mothers that have a lot of anxiety with their new chapter in life. It does have a greater effect on people that lack the support from loved ones, thus affecting a number of single mothers.
9. Accept your failures
One step to adulting is welcoming all the doubts and regrets you have and using that to transform you into a better human being, not wallow in self-pity. Womanhood is about embracing your flaws and making it work to your advantage.
8. Block out the noise
One thing with motherhood is that someone always thinks they know more than you. Especially for single mothers, you will be questioned, criticized and given unsolicited advice from everyone from the quintessential Tita of Manila to your very own mother. “Inside one ear and out the other,” has been a pretty effective strategy in keeping one’s composure.
7. Act with grace
Keeping your cool in public and letting people down (read: burn) gracefully not only adds points to your classiness but keeps a clear mind. You’re a parent now. You don’t need people telling you how to raise your child or who to love. The intrusive commentary can be irksome but be the better woman and use your grace to crush them discreetly.
6. Choose people who support you
The only way to go further in life despite a muddled situation is to just go on with it –but not without the motivation you need from the people you love the most. Shallow criticisms and covert drama seems menial compared to the potential you have for the future.
5. Play your cards right
You become shrewd as a single mom. You realize you can use your charm and wit to come up with tactics to get what you need, especially if it’s for your child. You think before you act now and foresee the possible consequences in the future and assess its risks and benefits.
4. Be willing to kill for your child
Imagine seeing your kid being bullied in school. Just like that, you’re motherly instincts are on beast mode. You’re willing to cut this bully but your adult reasoning has stopped you and found a more rational, diplomatic solution.
3. Keep your priorities in check
Despite countless invites from your single friends, you start shifting your priorities from wants to needs. And as a single mother, your child only has you to depend on. So rather than succumbing to temptation, you hurry home to bond with your child before bed time. Even your purchases are contemplated – choosing to save for your kid’s future instead of impulsive buys.
2. Push harder
Womanhood is all about improvement. It is a metamorphosis from a devil-may-care attitude to a discerning one. And with single motherhood, it truly challenges you to be more than what you are; learning skills once foreign to you and changing your perspective to a more forward-oriented one. Because it demands so much, motherhood in general, easily turns any girl into a full-fledged woman.
1. Secure yourself
Being a single mother does harness doubts within yourself, most of all. But as you cross the path into adulthood, your require a sense of security, in your family and finances. This need for stabilization is only truly ignited once you realize you have another mouth to feed, and in the case of single moms, it’s their kid.
Being a single mother is a cheat sheet into womanhood. And albeit a shortcut to adulthood, it still includes the emotional and mental roller coaster of these growing pangs. One thing with single moms though, is that they are excellent improvisers and can make do without a plan or itinerary. After all, being a single mother really is all about improvising and making the most of a terrible situation. And in essence, that’s what womanhood is. It’s all about maximizing your options and moving forward, with the grace of a Mimosa and the punch of a Single Malt.