BATANG MINDANAW: In the eyes of a student mother

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 May) — Today, we celebrate Mother’s Day, a very special day to many, especially among us family-oriented Filipinos, to honor the sacrifices of our biological mother, grandmother, stepmother, mother-in-law, fairy godmother (perhaps), and the list goes on.

This may sound strange, but what particularly captured my attention in this year’s Mother’s Day is the unconventional term “student mother,” which is basically defined as someone who engages in balancing studies and motherhood. It captured my attention, primarily because I have a classmate who is one.

We call her Ate Glarebele as she is older by more than a decade than anyone else in our classroom (except for some of our instructors). She is 33 years old, a supportive classmate, a good friend, and a caring mother to her two children. 

As a student mother herself, Ate Glarebele carries a colossal amount of weight on her shoulders as she juggles roles. “Life is not promised to be easy, but laban lang (keep fighting), and that’s why I chose to continue my journey as a student while being a mother,” she shared. 

Doing the bare minimum, she had to wake up no later than 6 a.m. as she has to maximize her time to feed and bathe her children, especially now with face-to-face classes. 

“Waking up early may be tiring but I am happy to see my children,” she explained. Initially, the daily routine made her feel like she needed to pressure herself. Then she realized that she had to derive great pleasure from her children amidst the clamor of busy schedules. Did I not mention that she also has a job?

While mothering alone may necessitate huge responsibilities, Ate Glarebele also works for a living. She works as an agent in one of the business industries in our city. “At first, naglisod jud ko (I really found it difficult). Yet I am thankful for my co-workers and my boss who understand my situation,” she confessed. Ate Glarebele is lucky, as she is surrounded by a sympathetic environment at work, although she admits that she feels apprehensive at times when she misses meetings with her co-workers.

With a preference for finishing college, Ate Glarebele wants to expand her horizons, enhance her language proficiency, and have a sense of fulfillment. Right now, Ate Glarebele is in third year AB-English Language. “Since I enrolled in it [college], I will finish it,” she vowed. 

Ate Glarebele lives like a two-faced coin with very different sides, where on one side she shows people she wears a school uniform — the side where you won’t think she has faced a lot of struggles in life. On the other side, it is covered with seemingly never-ending responsibilities on the surface of that specific uniform.

Still, Ate Glarebele has a dream, and she knows she needs the right amount of time, tenacity, and robustness to achieve that dream—a dream to graduate from college (a dream of many). 

As a classmate, I can just imagine her dedication to continuing with her studies and work as well as raising her children. I can just imagine how she is an inspiration to us students who easily complain about what life throws at us. As a Filipino, I am even more proud of her resilience, much like other student mothers and women in general who also moonlight, believing in themselves and proving what they are capable of, regardless of status — such women’s empowerment.

In the eyes of a student mother, I see a blessing — that is, of my supportive classmate, a good friend, and a caring mother to her two children. 

To Ate Glarebele, I know you will read this. Always remember that you are poised to conquer the world. Happy Mother’s day! 

(Batang Mindanaw is open to any young Mindanawon who wishes to write about life and its many challenges. Jhon Steven C. Espenido, 22, is from Surigao City. He is an AB English Language student at Surigao del Norte State University).