Philippines

Pandemic gives working mothers more family time

By Che Palicte  

MOTHER’S LOVE. Despite her busy schedule as a public school teacher, Sandee Rato makes sure to have quality time with her three children. She said working from home allowed her to be closer to them. (Photo courtesy of Sandee Aquino-Rato)

DAVAO CITY (Philippines News Agency) – Mother’s Day on Sunday was mostly celebrated at home due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Sandee Rato, a public school teacher in Compostela, Davao de Oro, is not complaining though as time spent with her three children is her best coping mechanism while she cannot physically connect with friends and other relatives.

“The mere thought that the pandemic gave way for me to have quality time with my kids is consolation enough,” she told Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

Gardening is another of Rato’s option when she gets frustrated with the pandemic situation.

“I will rather spend my energy on things that will benefit me and my family. And above all, faith in the almighty Father that everything is not in my control, but He is in control,” she added.

Jezreel Abarca, who teaches at the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, said the pandemic allowed her to discover and embrace the significant personality contrasts of her children.

“Under the current social situation, our family also became closer to God since we read the Bible and pray the Rosary everyday. I also have enough time to serve my family like by cooking, helping my children with their school requirements, and nurturing them with good values because of constant communication,” she said.

Isabelle Oosthuizen, an employee of a private logistics company, lost her husband, Martin, to malaria in South Africa amid the pandemic.

“I have to stand up again and mend the broken pieces because I have a son who depends on me. It is like living one day at a time, taking baby steps to rediscover myself and my strength because I have no husband anymore to support me,” she said.

She must also continue working despite the threat of the pandemic “because people count on me, our family that needs me. How do I cope up? Prayers and faith that God is there.”

Ultimate sacrifice

Queenie Roxas, also a public school teacher and a mother of two, told the PNA that there is no greater sacrifice than nurturing a human being for nine months.

“You give up your body for nine months for your baby. The labor and the pain, especially that I had a cesarean delivery. The sleepless nights that until now have not returned to normal were difficult but all worth it,” she said.

As a working mother, she said one of her best rewards is seeing her daughters grow up God-fearing.

Rato, who used to officiate sports events in provincial meets and the Palarong Pambansa but opted to concentrate with teaching after she gave birth to a girl. said being a mother is a blessing despite the sacrifices.

“I became fat and have stretch marks. From being free and single to being entangled with domestic responsibilities of rearing and taking care of children,” she said.

Rato’s greatest fear is not to be able to support her children.

“From thinking only of my personal needs, I now put my children’s welfare above my own,” she said.

Oosthuizen advises fellow mothers to provide their children with good education and spend time with them as much as they can.

“Celebrate the reason that we are called mothers. Spend time with your children because if it weren’t for them, we won’t be the women that we are now. Also, appreciate the reason of our existence, our own mothers who are the reasons why we are here and of who we are now,” she said. (PNA)

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