Calling the shots: Celebrity single mom Candy Pangilinan
(Fourth of a series)
It has become one of my many roles,” said comedienne and book author Candy Pangilinan of being a spokesperson for people with autism. “I’ve come to accept this since [the time] I made the condition of my child public.”
Candy’s son, Quentin, now 14, has been diagnosed with autism.
In 2017, she published the book “Mommy Dear: Our Special Love,” which talks about her journey toward acceptance of her son’s condition, and how she overcame her fears.
“It helped that I came out with the book. There were times in the past when parents would come up to me and ask me all sorts of questions,” Candy said. “It’s funny, because some even wanted me to look at their kids and come up with a diagnosis!”
Now, she gets invitations to speak in conferences on autism, on dealing with special children and even persons with disability. “I even got invited to talk at a graduation ceremony,” she said, laughing.
As if being a parent to a child with a special condition isn’t hard enough, try doing it all on your own, Candy pointed out. “Being a single parent makes it doubly difficult. You need to be more focused in all aspects—emotionally, psychologically and financially. I needed to be a super woman to be able to pull this off.”
The actress, however, added that, like her other roles, she eventually got used to it. “I think all parents are like that, whether single or with a partner. Parenting eventually grows in you, and it eventually becomes your way of life.”
“It’s difficult to be a single parent because you have to stand as both father and mother,” she explained. “You don’t have a partner to confide in. You have to admit that you also get sad and lonely sometimes.”
Being a celebrity is another role that Candy takes seriously. “You need to be doubly strong because people look up to you. There are single parents who try to get inspiration and strength from you,” she stressed. “It’s a full-time thing. When you’re tired, you can’t go out looking tired.”
Asked for her advice to women having second thoughts about breaking away from problematic relationships out of fear of raising their children on their own, Candy said: “I still believe that it takes two to tango. You can’t keep on blaming your partner for all the miserable things happening in your marriage. You also have to take into consideration that you might be at fault, too,” she pointed out.
“If you’ve tried counseling; and if you feel that you’re the only one in the relationship interested in making it work, then it’s time to pack up. There’s nothing you can do about it anymore,” she added. “There should always be that sense of responsibility, commitment and accountability in the relationship for you and your family to grow.”
For Candy, the fear of being alone should not outweigh the fact that “you no longer have peace of mind. You’re better off being single so you can focus on your child’s needs, instead of being depressed all the time because your partner often fails to meet your expectations; or you’ve fallen out of love.”
She then encouraged other moms to “seek child support—it is the child’s right to get something from the father. Aside from that, work on healing yourself. You have to be able to love yourself again, and forgive yourself. If you can take care of yourself, you can very well take care of your kids.”
(Next: Aiko Melendez)
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