Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the world! We all know this is the day when we show appreciation and acknowledgement of our moms. I used to ask my mum what she would like for Mother’s Day and I could never get anything out of her. To her, it is just another Sunday. I can still remember I was struggling with what to draw on the Mother’s Day card for her when I was a kid, and brainstorming “the best gift” siblings and I needed to get her, as we grew older. Mother’s Day celebrations became family gathering dinner and with cakes, gifts and sometimes, surprise visits… fond memories.
Little did I realize, not every mom celebrates Mother’s Day. In this edition, we would like to especially salute single mums, who are the real SUPERSTAR! Indeed, independently holding the family together...juggling at different moments between the roles of Mom and Dad, is by no means a small feat.
Being a parent—in any circumstance—is never easy. And being a single parent is particularly challenging. Single parents do not need our well-intentioned pity but our encouragement and admiration. When we speak about single parents, we often assume that single parenting is always something that has been thrust upon some unfortunate men and women by fate. We forget that for some people, they’ve made an informed and well-considered choice to parent their children on their own.
Despite the assumption we make about them, each single parent has their own unique story. One such strong single mother is Catherine WONG (name changed on request).
Source: Stock photo
My daughter was young when my husband and I split up. I don’t get any financial support from my ex-husband; I have a sister who I would call to get opinions, but I had to make all kind of decisions myself and for my daughter. I need to take care of my daughter and mother, and I had no job security back then when my daughter was little and yet I need to provide for my family. I was constantly under stress. Sometimes, it just felt like I couldn’t breathe.” I could imagine back in the old, gender inequality society, a divorced woman with a child, was a stigma and deeply flawed. Yes, Mother’s Day, for many reasons, was another difficult day for her.
“When my daughter was teenager, she wasn’t doing very well at school. After a friend of mine told me that she just sent her daughter off to a boarding school in UK, I asked for the school brochure and tuition fees, I mortgaged my flat and without seeking my daughter opinion, I sent her off to UK, thinking I was making the right decision for her.” Recounting one of the many things that she wishes she had done it differently. The situation back then did not leave her with much choice and to be the parent she wanted to be. The feeling of powerlessness, low self-esteem and lack of confidence, made her isolate herself. She was too afraid that if she talked to someone about it, they would not understand what she was going through and would judge her poorly. With limited support from family and friends, she became miserable, depressed and anxious, which had taken a toll on her and brought detrimental effect on her health.
Catherine continues, “I have been suffering from chronic depression and anxiety. I started to see specialist last year and the medicines they prescribe me work so much better than the medicines GP prescribed me, but I can’t afford the consultation fees, so I will go back there for the medicines, and see the Specialist once every 3 – 4 months. The medicines itself already cost a lot and the consultation fees are even worst.” “Not a day goes by that I don’t blame my ex-husband and daughter for making my life difficult. But I love my daughter and I want to repair our relationship, just that I don’t know how. I told my difficulties to the Specialist during our consultations. They never give me any advice on how to deal with my problems, they just listen.”
I know this single mum, she is not perfect, but she has a kind heart. I know how much she is trying to become a better mother to her daughter. She is not a person who complains, but it is obvious to me that her burden of motherhood is not only hard, also complicated.
If you happen to know someone who is a single mum, reach out to them and make sure they are aware of there are organizations and government schemes that exist to help them.
There are a number of well-established non-profit/ charitable organizations in Hong Kong that are helping single mothers, promotes gender equality, create the network and platform to bring together support network for single mothers/ parents to help them cope with the challenges they face in real life. A certain government schemes can also be found that help those who cannot support themselves financially.
Hong Kong Single Parents Association - https://www.hkspa.org.hk/
Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centers - https://womencentre.org.hk/En/About/
Hong Kong Caritas Youth and Community Service - https://ycs.caritas.org.hk/
Community Care Fund - https://www.communitycarefund.hk/en/about_ccf.html
Social Welfare Department - https://www.swd.gov.hk/en/index/site_pubsvc/page_socsecu/sub_comprehens/
Shout out to all the mothers in the world! You are valued and appreciated. Especially single mums, you’re a SUPER STAR!