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THE SINGLE MOTHER

By JANE KINGSU CHENG

Parenting is one tough journey, but one smile from our children will make us forget all the tough times we’ve been through. Solo parenting brings up the difficulty level higher though, and 58-year-old single mom Josephine Thener attests to this. “It’s very hard to be a single parent or a single mom. You must survive—for your kids, your everyday needs, and your health, and to be ready for their future. You can’t even afford to think about yourself, because you will choose to sacrifice everything for the good of your family. There’s a lot of hard work involved in standing as both the mother and father of your children.”

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Born to lead

She is raising four children on her own, and one would assume she has her hands full. She is grateful to find support and solace from her family, friends, and the Metro Manila Solo Parent Association Caloocan Barangay 187 Tala Chapter, where she is currently the president.

Tinangap ko ang position na ito dahil pinili ako ng mga ka-grupo ko. Alam nila na may puso akong ina at mapagmahal sa kapwa. Bilang pangulo nila at bilang ate at nanay, sa abot ng aking makakaya, gagampanan ko ng buong puso ang tungkulin ko bilang nanay ng grupo. (I accepted this position, because the group chose me. They know I have the heart of a mother and I care deeply about others. Being the president and being the group’s big sister and mother, I will try my best to fulfill my role as the mother of this group),” she muses.

Theirs is the fourth largest association of solo parents in Metro Manila with over 250 members. With the lockdown in place, Josephine regularly checks on her members through occasional house visits and online group chats. Discussions reveal the same worries: food, medicine, everyday expenses such as bills to pay, and work. But the biggest problem for Josephine was making sure there is enough food for everyone and milk for the children. 

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Josephine Thener and her four kids

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Thankfully, the mayor and barangay chairman have been very receptive. Josephine has also received donations from good Samaritans, but she doesn’t stop here. She is continuously seeking help and support from groups and individuals, and also has plans to ask for financial assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Earlier this week, Josephine received a donation of 250 frozen chickens from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and made sure to distribute them right away. She also sent pictures of some of the members who received the relief packs.  

Their chapter would usually celebrate Mother’s Day with their children, enjoying a picnic spread and games for all ages. But plans changed due to the lockdown. “I gave away food packs for dinner to all the members,” she said, not wanting to let the special day for mom pass. She also spent the day to check in on each and every member. 

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Mother’s Day was a busy day for Josephine, but she didn’t mind. “I feel happy and enjoy helping my group,” she beams. She only took her rest once everyone was given their meals. “My wish is that all my co-solo parents will stay healthy with their family beside them,” she adds. “May they have enough to tide over them during this lockdown. I also wish that everything will go back to normal soon so that all working moms can go back to work and they can have their income back to buy whatever they need. Another wish is that I hope to help them until the end, especially during this Covid crisis.”

At the end of the day, when all the packed meals have been distributed and everyone has been accounted for, Josephine can breathe a sigh of relief at home with her very own family. “They’re my source of love and happiness,” she says.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/05/14/the-single-mother/)

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