Now let’s get to the second part (which has long been overdue!). Meet Jeny Murillo, Financial & Marketing Consultant and Events Coordinator, mother of 10-year old Antonio Gabriel.
17 Questions on Single Motherhood, Parenting, Life, and Family Matters
ON SINGLE MOTHERHOOD
1) Tell us about the time you became a single parent. What were the first few months like? The first year?
- I was so scared and was deeply hurt and broken. I was trapped with this so-called “victim mindset” and it was dragging me to a hellish kind of world. Being a single parent was one of my greatest fears, I didn’t want my son to grow up with a dysfunctional family. For so many times I thought of committing suicide but I couldn’t go further with the attempt each time I’d see my son. I struggled emotionally, financially and physically on the first few years of single parenting.
2) How do people usually react when they learn you’re a single mom? How do you feel about their reaction?
- I’ve seen different reactions from different people. At first I felt bad for those that were too negative but I’ve learned to deal with it over the years. There are those that are kind enough to give encouragement, others would question why, some really don’t mind it at all. I really don’t care whatever reactions or thoughts they have on me. I know it doesn’t make me less of a person.
3) Have you ever felt judged being a single mother? How/when? What do you wish to change about it?
- I did. A couple of times in the past but I’ve chosen not to keep a memory of any of it. I’ve forgiven them and I have already let go of whatever hurtful words spoken to me and there’s nothing I would want to change about it.
4) Tell us about your experience living on your own/with your parents/ family? What do you like and not like about your current living arrangement?
-I’ve always lived on my own even before I got a child and I like it the way it is. I love the freedom and the independence. My son has been with me full time for the first six years of his life. Due to some circumstances, he had to stay in his father’s place for the past few years (until now). I get to be with him on weekends and holidays and I get to see him whenever I go visit him in school or sometimes in his dad’s house. I must admit that not being with my son most of the time isn’t something I like. But I know that all things work together for good and that it’s only temporary. I look forward to get him back to stay with me again full time by next year before the next school year starts.
5) Are you open to dating and relationship as a single mom?
- I don’t see anything wrong with it for as long as it is with the right man, for the right reason and it’s at the right time. Yes I am open but we’ll see. 😉
6) What’s the most challenging thing about solo parenting? What’s the best and most rewarding?
- Everything is a challenge with solo parenting. Dealing with my heart issues and parenting a newborn at a young age was a heavy challenge for me. Finances and security would also top my list. I remember how super hard it was financially on the first few years. I’d regularly borrow money from friends because my pay wasn’t enough to pay bills and to buy milk and diapers, etc. I couldn’t buy new stuff for myself because my priority was my son’s needs. Looking back, I think I looked like I was in my forties in my mid-twenties due to stress and challenges. I remember there was one time when he was just one year old, we moved to another place which was far from home and I haven’t started with my new job yet. I ran out of funds and he ran out of milk, I didn’t know where to ask help from. I had to budget the money that’s left and ended up feeding him with a sachet of milo and a P10-15 worth of meal every day for me and the babysitter. I think that lasted for a week or two .It is only by God’s grace that I was able to overcome every challenge and worse situations I’ve encountered as a single mom. I’d say that the most rewarding moments are those when I’ve experienced God’s love and provision the most for both of us. Seeing the progress now and how we overcame every circumstances is a great reward and a great reason for me to be grateful for life.
7) How has becoming a parent changed you?
-It has taught me a lot of hard core lessons in life. It has taught me patience (so much of it) and selflessness (and more).
8) Have you dealt with any prejudices or issues about your child? How about on parenting your child?
-I think there were a few but I couldn’t remember it anymore. On parenting, yes there were issues but I was able to overcome them.
9) What are the top 5 values you try your best to instill in your child?
- (1) LOVE God with all of your heart, mind and soul (2) HUMILITY (3) To Pray unceasingly (4) Forgive easily (5) Treat women well at all times
ON LIFE & FAMILY MATTERS
10) What’s your biggest struggle and frustration right now as a single mom? What do you consider your greatest joys and accomplishments?
-Not being there with him 24/7 for the past 3 years has been my greatest struggle and frustration, but then again it’s only temporary. So I’m going to have him back with me soon and I really look forward to that. My son, Anton has been my greatest joy and seeing him how he is right now is already and accomplishment for me.
11) How do you balance your time for your family, work, and taking care of yourself? Do you mostly plan your days and stick to a smooth routine or do have a free-flowing schedule?
-I plan my days, weeks and even months, but most of the time I just do things spontaneously since I have a very flexible schedule at work.
12). What’s your most favorite thing to do together as a family? What’s your most memorable moment with your child?
- There are tons of things that we love to do together. We do random travels, climb mountains, watch movies, food tripping, or anything spontaneous but the most favorite thing would be each time we pray together. My most memorable moments with him are those times when we do a heart to heart talk. I love it when he starts speaking to me about anything from the heart. We keep learning from each other. He doesn’t sound like a kid most of the time. I really enjoy our conversations together.
13) Where do you get inspiration on life, parenting, and single motherhood? Do you have any book, website, blog, forum, online community, or magazine recommendations?
-The Bible has helped me a lot with wisdom and instructions, not just in parenting but in life itself. I’ve also joined parenting talks which has taught me a lot too. I think we can’t be better parents if our lives are messed up, so I don’t just focus on parenting materials alone. I read Leslie Ludy’s Set-Apart Motherhood blog online, I also listen to Elisabeth Elliot’s audio sermons and I have a couple of parenting and single-parenting books which I bought mostly from my favorite bookshop (Harold Sala’s Train Up A Child is a good read).
14) What are your biggest dreams and goals for your family? How are you keeping up on accomplishing those?
-I have so much dreams and goals for me and my son which can all be accomplished with God’s help and guidance. I won’t be able to write them all here because there’s really a lot! But one major thing would be to see my son living his life & fulfilling the purpose/calling that he was created for. That would be the highlight of all highlights!
A SINGLE MOM’S MESSAGE
15) What’s your message to your kid if he/she gets to read this 5 or 10 years from now?
“Babe, you know how I love you. I thank God for giving me the privilege to raise you, love you, help you and guide you to become the person He has created you to be. I never had any regret of having you in this life even if I had to sacrifice a lot, YOU’RE WORTH IT. You are the greatest joy and my most precious treasure. Thank you for you’ve always been that most understanding, patient, loving and sweetest son. Thank you that you listened and obeyed. Thank you for being my bestfriend, for keeping my secrets and sharing yours with me too. Thank you for the random kisses & hugs and for knowing when to give a word of encouragement and when to keep silent. Thank you for always praying with me and for standing in faith with me for everything that we believed and asked for from God. Your faith has inspired me and I’m sure to a lot of people too. Most of all, thank you that you chose and will always choose to put God first in everything.
Babe, always remember that you were never an accident. God knew you before you were even formed in my womb, He has set you apart. He loves you with an everlasting love. And I believe God has fully equipped you so you’d fulfill the calling that He has for you which will give him glory. I know it in my heart that He has great plans for you so don’t ever look back, keep fighting a good fight of faith and always look forward to what lies ahead. It is always my prayer for you that you will run the race with perseverance, and that you will not give up at times when you get too exhausted with life. I pray that you will always seek God in everything and in every decision that you will make. Also, this is very crucial, don’t forget to ponder on Proverbs 31 especially when the time comes that you will be searching or praying for a wife. I will keep praying that you will find a good wife and find favor from God as well.
I love you and always remember that “Greater is He that is in you than he that is of this world.” You are an overcomer. Live a purposeful and selfless life. Always be a blessing to those around you and never give up. Hold tightly to the word of life. Be strong and be very courageous.
I love you anak. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done that hurt you and I’m for the lapses I’ve had in raising you. I am not a perfect mom and our life isn’t perfect but we surely have a God who’s perfect and who has been there for us, holding us firmly since the time you were born in this world. And to remind you of what I keep telling you almost every day – “Always remember that Mama loves you and God loves you so much and nothing can change that, ever!”
One last thing for you, babe – “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
I love you, I love you and I love you Anton!
16) What advice can you give to other women who are (or about to be) single parents?
- Raising a child alone is no joke but it can be done. Responsibilities may overwhelm you but it’s only temporary. Keep going. Ask help when needed or join support groups for single moms. Find mentors who can help you if you still don’t have one, we all need help in life. Don’t let your past haunt you. Filter your thoughts. Let go of it and free yourself from anything that doesn’t do you good. God loves you and he wants to complete a great work in your life no matter your failures or where you came from. Decide to live life full of hope and love. Keep moving forward no matter what. I believe you can do it, you will overcome! Learn to embrace each season and see the beauty & the privilege of raising a child who could possibly become one of the next generation of great leaders in our nation. Your child isn’t an accident, he/she has a future and a purpose and you play a vital role in it. Whatever pain and challenges you had or you could be facing now or you will have in the future, always remember that it’s nothing compared to what God has prepared for you and your child… just press on and never give up. God loves you with an everlasting love. He will not leave you nor forsake you. He will give you the ability to produce wealth. He will meet your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Just seek Him with all your heart and you will surely find him and the peace and joy that you need each day. His grace is sufficient. God will faithfully complete what He has started in your life. Keep moving forward.
17) What’s one thing you’d like ALL non-single moms to know about single motherhood?
Hi Ms. Jen, thank you so much for your time and for trusting Mommy Wanders in sharing your story! Continue to inspire others! 🙂
Cheers to single parenting!