BACKGROUND: Filipino society's normative definition of a 'family' is one that is composed of a married heterosexual couple and their children. In such cultural set-up, both the mothers and fathers are expected to share the responsibility in raising their child or children. However, for solo mother households, this scenario is farfetched with solo mothers serving as the primary economic provider and caregiver.
OBJECTIVES: The study aimed to chart the challenges faced by solo mothers and identify the coping strategies they employed through understanding their lived experiences.
METHODOLOGY: The study used a phenomenological approach to magnify a better understanding of the phenomenon as experienced by solo mothers. The researcher conducted personal in-depth interviews with thirteen (13) solo mothers from the city of Manila. The inclusion criteria for the participants were: (a) solo mothers who raised their child alone, (b) at least 25 years of age, and (c) has at least one biological child who is 20 years old and below. The participants were recruited through purposive and snowball sampling. The interviews were carefully recorded, transcribed and critically analyzed. After careful thematic analysis of the data and with quantitative methods used, seven themes answering the study's objectives emerged.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The seven major themes recorded were: Absence of A Partner, Conflicting Responsibilities, Child Care, Social Support, Willing Endurance, Spiritual Guidance, and Self-Care. These themes were gathered from the respondents who on the averaged have been solo mothers for 10 years already. Solo mothers used both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies, but the nature of the problem dictates the strategy to be employed. Solo mothers make sure to look after themselves to be able to take care of their children in the future. Given the reality of struggles of solo parenting, solo mothers as a sector must be provided with support programs and policies by the government to strengthen their stand on raising their children well.