Calling the shots: Celebrity single moms Andi Eigenmann and Sunshine Cruz
(Second of a series)
You have to carry the load of raising a human being all by yourself,” said actress Andi Eigenmann on why she thought it was difficult to be a single parent.
The story of Andi and her 6-year-old daughter, Ellie, is arguably one of the most controversial in show biz history.
In 2011, the actress claimed that actor Albie Casiño was the biological father of her daughter Adrianna Gabrielle, or Ellie, but the latter denied this. A DNA test conducted later confirmed Albie’s statement and proved that it was Jake Ejercito, son of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who fathered Ellie. Last year, Jake filed for joint custody of their daughter; the case is still pending in court.
Andi, 27, has been dating surfer and businessman Emilio Arambulo for two years now. She said that being in show biz has made parenting doubly difficult for her, “because being in the public eye allows more judgment from others.”
The actress explained: “It tends to [add] pressure you unintentionally put on yourself as a mother who wants to raise a good kid.”
To effectively play her roles, both as mother and father to
Ellie, Andi said: “You have to be good at not caring about what others think if you don’t want those things to interfere with what’s best for your child.”
She further said: “I’ve always been lenient to Ellie because, the way I see it, there’s nothing wrong in allowing my child to learn things by herself, through experiences and mistakes. I also understand that, although it’s my duty to raise her to become a great person, it doesn’t mean that I can be a dictator.”
To young moms experiencing the same doubts and fears, Andi has this to say: “Don’t be afraid. Love yourself first, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to fully love others, as well.”
Andi also pointed out: “If we want what’s best for our kids, nothing worth it comes easy. Hard work and perseverance are what it takes to give the life we want for our kids, not relying on a partner and the mentality that we won’t function best as mothers if we do this without the fathers.”
When Sunshine Cruz decided to leave the home she shared with estranged husband Cesar Montano for 13 years, the actress said she had very little money—and low self-esteem.
“I was at my lowest point at the time. I only had less than P100,000 in my bank account,” said the mom of Angeline Isabelle, 16; Samantha Angelene, 13; and Angel Franchesca, 12.
“Back then, I thought I could never get back [to working as an actress] because I had heard comments like, ‘Sunshine has become old and ugly’ or ‘Sunshine isn’t a good actress, anyway.’ I’m thankful to those who said that those comments weren’t true at all,” she said.
When people found out that she left Cesar, work opportunities surprisingly came, one after the other. Since then, Sunshine has been a part of six TV programs, the last of which was “Wildflower,” which aired for a year. “I haven’t stopped working since,” she beamed.
Sunshine filed for the annulment of her marriage to Cesar shortly after they broke up in 2013. She’s now dating businessman Macky Mathay, Ara Mina’s half-brother.
Sunshine described what she had with Cesar as “an abusive relationship.” She said she finally had the courage to say “It’s over” when she realized that her daughters were “already getting affected by it, making them feel miserable.”
“But first, I had to pray for guidance from God. I also sought advice from people who love me the most—my mom, siblings and close friends,” said Sunshine, when we sought her advice to women who were going through the same thing. “Make sure that when you decide to leave, these people will be there beside you to help you recover.”
Sunshine admitted to receiving private messages from “troubled moms” ever since she went public with her experiences. “I make time for them. I tell them that the first few months will be hard and challenging, but eventually they’ll wake up one morning and say, ‘I’m already OK.’ They will eventually realize that they’re already in a better place.”
She added emphatically, “I don’t encourage them to end the marriage just because they have differences with their partners. Try to save it—since you made a vow to stick together ‘for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer.’ There’s a right time to say, ‘It’s over.’”
Aside from handling the family’s finances all by herself, Sunshine said the toughest thing about being a single mom was balancing her schedule. “I have to work to provide for the girls, but I also have to bond with them,” she pointed out. “I’d like to think I’m doing well in that aspect. I try to make up for lost time. If I don’t have a taping, I see to it that they’re with me wherever I go. When I’m too tired to go out, we stay in my room, order pizza and watch TV or Netflix.”
When it comes to disciplining her daughters, Sunshine said: “I am strict and lenient at the same time.” She elaborated: “I will treat you, spoil you, if I think you deserve it. But, there will be times when I will have to put my foot down. Then, you will need to listen to me and show me respect.”
She is strict when it comes to allowing her girls to go out with friends. “I make sure I know who they’re with. I set a limit to the hours and days in a week when they can be with friends, especially because classes are still ongoing. I’m also strict when it comes to sleepovers. I’d rather that their friends sleep at our house than they sleep elsewhere.”
For Sunshine, the greatest thing about being a single parent is being able to raise her daughters well, all on her own. “There’s nothing like feeling fulfilled when I see them growing up happy and kind-hearted; and that they are excelling in school. It’s like all of my hard work is paying off.”
(Next: Cherry Pie Picache)
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