'Some People Only See The Man Who Left, Not The Woman Who Stayed': A Single Mom's MessageWhen another parent found out his mom is a solo parent, he heard: "Ah, kaya pala."by Vanessa Galvez .
I hold a director level position in a multi-national insurance company. People listen when I talk. But whenever I’m at my son’s school, I am just another parent. But a recent interaction made me realize that in some people’s eyes, I am not just a regular parent, I am the SINGLE MOTHER.
My Grade 8 son had an issue with two other students, so the parents were called in by the Guidance Office. Of course, I came alone. While discussing how we can resolve our kids’ issues, the guidance counselor kept on addressing me as ‘Ms. Galvez’ since I already reverted to my maiden name. Knowing that my son goes by a different surname (his father’s), one of the dads asked, “Bakit po kayo Ms.?” To which I answered, “I am annulled.” And his response was, "Ayun, kaya pala”, like it was a Eureka moment!ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
My son was only a year old when his father and I separated. I was left not just with a baby to take care of, but also a ton of conjugal debts! There were times when money was hard. I even took a teaching job at night for extra income while working at a bank during the day. I was emotionally and physically spent. It took me 7 years to pay off that debt.
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Thankfully soon after, I got great job opportunities and my career progressed well. Now, I have my own house, car, and investments. Thus, to be honest, I have always worn the solo parent title as a badge of honor, confident that I was able to accomplish so much on my own. But apparently, it’s different when it concerns my child.
'If he commits a mistake, it will not be because of bad judgment or peer pressure, something he can control, but it will be because of who he is—a child from a broken family. And the hard truth is, he cannot change it. I cannot change it.'
I was immediately offended by that three-word statement. At work, I am known to be tough and strong-willed, but at that moment, I lost composure. I was furious, tears welling up my eyes. The anger was for me, but the tears were for my son. It dawned on me that some people seem to look down on him simply because he’s different. If he commits a mistake, it will not be because of bad judgment or peer pressure, something he can control, but it will be because of who he is—a child from a broken family. And the hard truth is, he cannot change it. I cannot change it.CONTINUE READING BELOWwatch now
To think that my son had been branded hurt me as a mother. I thought people today were more open-minded. I thought, the Maricel Soriano in Separada was no longer belittled for having a broken family. I thought the government-mandated solo parent leave was an indication that society has changed. I thought kids with separated parents were accepted and better understood now. I was wrong.
“'Do you feel incomplete because you only have a mom and no dad?” Hugging me, he said, “No, Mommy, you are enough. Thank you for staying with me.'
After the meeting, I had a talk with my son. I even mentioned that garbage, I mean comment, uttered by one of the parents. I asked him, “Do you feel incomplete because you only have a mom and no dad?” Hugging me, he said, “No, Mommy, you are enough. Thank you for staying with me. You are the greatest mom in the whole multiverse.” (Obviously, he’s a Marvel fan).ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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Those words wiped off all the resentment I had that day. And it reminded me of why I press on, him. His perception is the only one that matters. Everything else is noise.
To all the single parents out there, I know it’s tough. You want to quit but you can’t because there’s a little soul relying on you, only on you. The distressing part is, it will get harder before it gets better. And it will take a long time. Then, when you think you’re done with it, you will meet narrow-minded individuals who will try to pull you down again and again, and again.
I just want to tell you, it’s okay. Don’t let them get to you. Even when others don’t see and recognize what you are doing, your child does. Some people only see the man who left, not the woman who stayed. Don’t think you are less because you are ENOUGH.
Vanessa Galvez is a solo parent and Caleb's mom. She is the New Market Development Head of Sun Life Canada Phils Inc. She also goes by Ms. Vanessa Galvez.
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