This article first appeared in the October 2014 issue of Smart Parenting magazine
Single moms may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but they’re wide awake and alert after only four hours of sleep. Single moms may not be able to spin webs or crawl on walls, but they can do three things at the same time with ease and efficiency. Yes, single moms have all sorts of superpowers, but those they did not acquire by getting thrown into a vat of toxic chemicals or swallowing a magic talisman; years of trial by combat and sheer force of will made them such.
What kind of incredibly amazing powers do single moms possess? Let’s find out!
SUPERPOWER #1: She has the ability to heal herself, much like Wolverine. Breaking up is hard to do, more so if it involves the breaking up of a family.
Lynne Saunders, author of A Single Mom’s Guide to Raising Young Children: Avoid Mistakes and Raise Happy, Healthy Kids, points out: “Sadly, single moms often find themselves overwhelmed with anger or depression after a breakup (or after being widowed) so much that they start developing feelings of guilt, which distracts them from attending to the real responsibilities of single motherhood.”
Saunders adds, “Overcoming the anger, the depression, or the feelings of guilt is therefore the important first thing that single moms have to attend to before they are able to move on to the more crucial task of child rearing. They can’t be effective at parenting if they continue to sulk in their misfortunes. They have to rid themselves of the negative vibes and create a more positive environment to raise their children properly.”
It is during this time that the single mother must take care of her inner wellness, says Maribel Sison Dionisio, author and family counselor at the Love Institute, an organization dedicated to equipping couples, parents, and individuals with the skills to have fulfilling relationships with those dearest to them.
If the single mom is bent on taking the path towards healing, she must be able to get to the whys and wherefores of the separation, as it can be a potential source of depression, Dionisio adds. of themselves could they take good care of their children.
SUPERPOWER #2: She can conjure her own force field just like Violet of The Incredibles. A television commercial featuring actress Denise Laurel hit the nail right on the head when she said: “Sayang daw ako because I’m a single mother.”
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, negative perceptions still abound when it comes to single moms. As Saunders explains, “Whatever the underlying circumstance may be, the single mom is often left devastated, completely overwhelmed by guilt, anger, or depression following the unplanned family change. Single moms also come under extreme pressures from outside the family circle —- they are discriminated [against] at work, left out in social circles, and rarely get child support. A number of them feel they have been abandoned even by family and friends.”
Earth Rullan, blogger (earthlingorgeous.com) and single mom of one, says that she still experiences “getting discriminated against or judged unjustly” because of her situation. In such cases, Earth does the best possible thing that she can do: She ignores the people who deem to cause her harm with their thoughts and words. She tunes out all negative perceptions, shielding herself with her force field of positivity. She explains, “If they can’t help me in any way to improve my life and my child’s life, then I don’t see the need to deal with their issues.”
SUPERPOWER #3: She has the ability to do her tasks with speed and precision, much like The Flash. The Flash moves at such a fast pace that you’d think he’s doing four or five things at the same time. Well, single moms are exactly like that. Because the single mom has to take on multiple roles, she needs to step up rather than flake out. It’s not surprising then to see her feeding her toddler while cooking dinner and having a load running in the washing machine.
Erika Rodica, an entrepreneur (eika.ph) and single mom of one, says, “I’m an expert multitasker. Somehow, I’ve managed to learn to do a lot of things at the same time. Like, for example, if I have to work during the weekends, I just prop myself with my laptop in the living room while my daughter sits beside me as she watches her favorite show. Don’t be fooled, for it’s not as easy as it sounds; wait until she bombards you with hundreds of questions!”
SUPERPOWER #4: She has the ability to make things, like money, materialize, just like the Green Lantern. Money is understandably a major concern among single mothers. It’s hard enough making ends meet with a two-income household, what more a single-income one?
Earth says she sometimes gets short on cash, especially as she has to take care of the fees for her daughter’s therapy, tutorials, and doctor checkups. So what does the single mom do? She works double time, and sometimes even triple!
Erika says, “You have to raise your kid by yourself, so you have to be able to work twice as much because you want to provide her with only the best. It can be challenging and draining, but really, what other choice do you have?”
Common is the single mother who holds down a number of jobs; she may be a nine-to-fiver on weekdays, but on weekends, she mans a stall at the neighborhood market or runs an online store. The key is being able to take advantage of all her talents and transform them into moneymaking opportunities.
However, more than making money, Earth says she is able to handle financial concerns effectively through her skills in budgeting. You may have all the money in the world, but if you don’t know how to manage it, all would be lost.
SUPERPOWER #5: She has the ability to seemingly duplicate herself, just like the anime character Naruto Uzumaki. When it comes to disciplining her child, Erika brings up a major concern: “The good cop, bad cop tactic won’t work. As much as I want to ignore my child’s tantrums, it’s so hard not to give in to the little tyke. I just try to be firm and hope she won’t be too irresistibly makulit.”
Because she is a solo parent, Erika has resolved to figure things out on her own. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be so. Janis Adams, author of A Complete Guide for Single Moms: Everything You Need to Know About Raising Healthy, Happy Children on Your Own, says, “Help is out there, but first you must be willing to ask for help. You must be willing to take the time to reach out to available options and offerings… The reality is that you are not going to be parenting alone. There is the support of family and friends. Children need to be woven into many lives, and just because you are parenting solo does not mean you are all the child needs in his life.”
Dionisio points out that single mothers need a team of co-parents in order to raise their children successfully. Kids must not only be exposed to different genders, but also different types of personalities in order to grow up into well-adjusted adults.
The single mom need not be alone. She can be like Naruto and duplicate her parenting prowess by asking others to help her raise her child. She need not look too far. Her parenting team can be comprised of her own parents, her siblings, uncles and aunts, teachers and coaches, and friends. Yes, it does take a village to raise a child.