Calling the shots: Celebrity single mom Janice de Belen
(First of a series)
Embracing motherhood is hard enough, even with a partner; imagine going through the process all by yourself.
These actresses, whether they’re coparenting while separated or doing it alone, are women who call the shots. This March, which happens to be International Women’s month, we pay tribute to celebrity single moms who are handling it with grace.
Janice de Belen
Despite her failed union with actor John Estrada, Janice de Belen said she would never advise another woman to end her marriage.
“What happened to me will not necessarily work for other people,” said the mom of Inah, 26, Moira, 24, Kaila, 22, and Yuan, 19. Her marriage to John was officially annulled in 2004. She has remained single, while John married Brazilian beauty queen and Miss Earth 2004 Priscilla Meirelles in 2011.
Janice also has a son with actor Aga Muhlach, Luigi, 31, as well as three grandchildren.
“It’s difficult when you’re in a problematic relationship. You should follow what’s in your heart,” Janice advised. “If your heart says you should leave, then make sure you can pull it off. This is because, if you have children, your decision isn’t just your own. There are other people whose lives depend on you.”
Making that big leap was the toughest for Janice, she shared with the Inquirer. “Even in the way I recovered from the breakup, I had to do it quickly, because my children depended on me for their own recovery. To moms out there: Be strong, and don’t lose hope.”
The actress shared the nitty-gritty of being a single parent. “Ideally, every family should be a two-income household. This means that since a woman is alone, all of her earnings are spent, and there’s hardly anything left for savings,” she explained. “She also doesn’t have anyone to share parenting duties with on a daily basis. She’s expected to do everything for the children on top of what she does at work.”
Janice said that being an actress spelled hardly any difference to a single mom like her. “It just happens that you’re a celebrity, and everything you do is magnified. But when it comes to dealing with problems, and disciplining the kids, you do the same things other single parents go through at home.”
Disciplining the children of celebrity single parents shouldn’t be any different either, she added. “In more ways than one, I’m very democratic. I strictly impose rules, but I’m lenient on other things,” she declared. “I’m the type who thinks spoiling kids will only bring bigger problems in the future.”
“I aim to strike a balance. I know that I can’t always say ‘no’ to their every request. Otherwise, there will be a revolution at home. If I say ‘no’ to one thing, I should be able to say ‘yes’ to another. It’s called compromise. My children understand that.”
Asked what she thought was great about being a single parent, Janice first had a good, hearty laugh before answering: “It’s easy to plan trips with your children if you’re single. You don’t have to consult or ask permission from someone else. You say to them, ‘Is that what you want? Then, let’s go!’”
(Next: Andi Eigenmann and Sunshine Cruz)
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