“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” -Simone de Beauvoir
Being a Filipina is not an easy thing. To be a Filipina mother is an almost impossible task. Almost but not quite… I am a Filipina, soon to be a mother of two and a working mom at that. I became a wife to a wonderful husband and a mother to a beautiful baby girl at the age of 22, a young age you might say. To be young and free from all responsibilities, living only for your own self. That was what I was doing before the bomb dropped, and in 9 short months I was straddled with a baby I don’t know how to take care of in a rented apartment with a husband trying to provide us with everything we need, miles and miles away from our respective families. It was not easy, it was absolutely difficult and some days you can find me crying to sleep wishing things were different somehow wishing that I could undo the past. But past is past and there’s nothing I can do about it.
It was an ordinary day when I had an epiphany, it opened up my eyes and I was suddenly stricken with the fear of going back to the way I was before. You see, if I could undo the past then I would not have my daughter and my husband. I would not experience happiness like the first time I held her after 36 hours of agonizing labor, I would not have the pleasure of seeing my bestfriend, my husband every single day I wake up. It was then that I realized that everything happens for a reason. It may not have been clear to me at first, but now I know and am very thankful for the life that I am living right now.
Now, I am again a working mom. Work, as all filipino are aware of, is hard to come by in our country, you have to work your butt off for 8-9 hrs for a measly amount. But work we must have, especially for those moms and dads out there hoping to give their children a decent life and an education. And I tell you, it is not easy. It is not easy to leave your child crying and shouting for you to come back when you leave for work everyday, it is not easy to go HOME at night exhausted with barely enough strength to kiss your child goodnight and most often that not finding them asleep tired from waiting for you to finally come HOME, it is not easy trying to keep up a decent conversation with your husband when both of you are worn – out for the day, it is not easy being a mother, it is not easy being a wife, it is absolutely not easy being a working mother and wife. Can you think of an extremely difficult thing? I can… It is to be working Filipino mother and wife.
Why? Because to be a Filipina, you have to endure all hardships with a smile, to always be ready to sacrifice your life for the sake of your loved ones, to always lend a helping hand even if you don’t have enough for your own, to comfort others when you need to be comforted yourself, to smile and let everyone see you’re happy although your heart is screaming in pain. To be a Filipina is to sacrifice everything that you have, to be a Filipina mother you have to face all challenges and all problems that life throws at you in order to keep your family intact. These are inherent qualities of all Filipinas. These characteristics she carries with her wherever fate brings her. It is what makes her unique, it is what makes me unique and proud to say that I am a Filipina mother. I may not be all of the above, but I am a Filipina and I am a mother.