We recently attended an event called “Happily Even After” organized by Sex and Sensibilities held recently at Starbucks, Home Depot Ortigas Branch. It was Sex and Sensibilities’ way of reaching out to single mothers. Empowering them and giving them hope and inspiring them to move on with their lives happily even after a broken marriage or a broken relationship.
Rearing a child into this world can be extremely difficult. Single mothers are faced with myriads of responsibilities, and they are often subjected to public scrutiny and intricacies, which they had no choice but to deal with alone. In the Philippines, there’s undeniably a huge demographic of single moms but they have very few support systems or support groups. Sex and Sensibilities founder and editorial director Ms. Ana Santos understands these needs being a single mom herself. Along with fellow journalist and single mom, Ms. Karen Kunawicz, they shared their thoughts on being a single parent and how they’re able to overcome all the challenges after the storm in their lives.
Ms. Karen Kunawicz, writer, poet, journalist, comic book editor and single mom shares her experiences and inspires the others.
- Put yourself together first. Ms. Ana emphasized that Filipino women were taught by our parents and the society to be self-sacrificing. We would always prioritize ourselves last. But this should’ve to be changed, especially after having gone through a painful relationship that has ended. Just like in an aircraft, when you’re with a child, the rule has to be put the oxygen on yourself first, before you put it on your child. This means, you have to learn how to love yourself first so that you could spread the love that you have. Treat yourself right so that others will do the same. You can’t be a good parent if you’re not a happy person.
- Stay away from negatrons. Be wary of the people who seemed to be trying to help you but only wants a piece of information. They’re the type of “friends” who’d be asking for nifty little details that are quite too personal. This type of people would only give you feelings of isolation, guilt and shame. They’d feed you nothing but self-doubt. How would you know if the people around you are this type? Simple. They ask annoying questions and seemed to be prying on your life. They’re simply vexation to one’s spirit and will to move on and look forward. Self-preservation is key, there’s nothing to be guilty about.
- Cheer yourself on. Empower yourself with little things that you like to do. Be passionate about it. Try to learn new things on your own. Ms. Ana said she learned how to drive a car, and she realized she could actually do stuff she thought only men can do.
- No idle thoughts. The hardest person to be with at this time is yourself. Don’t be afraid to get some help if you really need to. Do shopping if that will keep your sanity for the moment. Buy that gadget you’ve been jonesing for, if that’ll make you happy. Squeeze your creative juices by making your hands busy with gardening, scrap booking, cross-stitching etc. Money is an issue but never let it get in your way.
- Look good and feel good. It’s about time for you to get that makeover. Ditch that long hair for a wash and wear hairstyle if you dare. Or have that curly locks rebounded for an honest-to-goodness straight hair. No matter how small your moves are, it’s a good start.
One of the single moms who attended the event had a free makeover from The Body Shop.
- You need to be honest with yourself and the people around you, especially to your child. You need to show people that you’re doing okay. You don’t have to pretend, just be honest about it. Give yourself some time. Just don’t wallow in self-pity because it won’t do you any good. There’s no time to be self-absorbed anymore or “emote time”. You have to will something in order to achieve it. Rest assured, soon things will get better than you expect them.
- Find time to cultivate time with your child. Lovingly explain to your child the situation you’re into. Again, be honest about it. You must have a “father figure” for your child, be it your brother, an Uncle or a good guy friend. It’s always important to treat your child with respect, no matter what his or her age. Ms. Karen mentioned that we’re lucky because as Filipinos, one of our positive cultures is being child-friendly. A child is always welcome at any home. There’s always someone to rely on, say a Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle or Aunt—any immediate biological family member would always be willing to help in any way they can.
The lootbag given was filled with Nivea products and lipstick and 10 ml perfume from The Body Shop.