HOV: Single moms and playing the role of both parents
A mother is a protector, disciplinarian and friend. As mothers make sure to maintain the well-being of their family, they often forget to take care of themselves. In the month of May, CHANNEL 5 NEWS will highlight the importance of physical and mental health for the new mom, the working mom, the stay-at-home mom, and the single mom.
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Thousands of single moms play both parents in the Rio Grande Valley. They wake up every day to work, provide and care for their children.
But the reasons why they take on parenting alone are different for each and everyone; Channel 5 spoke with two Valley moms about their lives as single parents.
Lesseth Saldana and Kristina Murphy are two examples of strong women in our community who have faced different struggles but have persevered through it all for their daughters.
The two courageous single moms have different stories but are united by the love for their kids.
“It was very hard to go from being a kid to now being a mom,” Murphy said. “It felt from one day to the next. I had a completely different level of responsibility.”
Murphy found out she was pregnant just before her freshman year of college; she says she moved to a small studio apartment and began working hard for her and her daughter.
“It was not the best condition, and I had to work,” Murphy said. “I had to work several odd jobs, cleaning houses trying to sell equipment. I had basically nothing. I was working to survive.”
At 19, Murphy already knew she would make sacrifices to give her daughter, Adaline, a better life, but she didn’t think she would have to do it alone.
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“Once [Adaline’s] dad and I separated, I didn’t know who to talk to,” Murphy said. “I’m a very private person, for the most part, but there are Facebook groups.”
Murphy joined RGV Moms, Mom Life Support Group, and Anxiety Support for Moms, on Facebook, among other groups. The groups offer a safe space for moms to uplift, encourage and support one another in the community.
Through hard work and dedication, Murphy graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley last fall and plans to keep going for more; her motivation through it all is Adaline.
“She made me a better person than I could have imagined,” Murphy said. “I would not be the person I am today without my daughter.”
Like Murphy, Saldana is also navigating motherhood alone, but under different circumstances.
“Sometimes it’s just unbelievable— I’m a widow,” she said. “It’s just hard to process.”
READ ALSO: Catching up with stay-at-home moms
Saldana’s husband lost his battle to brain cancer last year, and since then, she’s taken on parenthood on her own.
“I always tell people I’m strong, but not on purpose,” Saldana said. “I’m strong because that’s been my only choice. I have to keep going.”
She misses her husband’s laugh and hugs, but she says her two daughters and her faith keep her pushing forward.
Though she says she’s struggled with depression, insomnia, and anxiety, her love for her children keeps her heart full of joy at the end of the day.
“I always tell them,” Saldana said. “No matter what changes in our life, it’s us three forever.”
Determined to keep pushing forward, both moms say it’s all for their daughters.
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