One of the most influential people in my life is my mother. Feisty and determined, my mother has shown me through her own life experiences, that women can be strong and independent. She has shown this in the way she has raised my siblings and I, however, she has done so with the help of another influential person in my life: my dad.
However, as I have grown wiser, I have come to understand that not everyone has the same story to share. In fact, some women are left to care and provide for their children on their own. Single moms have always been a source of inspiration for me simply because they’ve always been an epitome of strength and confidence. One of these women is Nina Castro, who I met earlier this year through our common friend, Jodi Sta. Maria.
Nins, as I fondly called her, always seemed to exude such a confident and vibrant outlook in life which is why it was surprising for me to find out that she is a single mom of two and has gone through the darkest of times with no one but herself to pick her up. Now a thriving career woman who runs her own business while also taking care of her two beautiful girls: Cassie and Sasha, she can’t help but recall the dark times in her life as a way of inspiring other single mothers that they too can stand on their own two feet.
She says rather candidly, “There was a dark period in my life when I was having marital problems and I was going through quick fixes to make me escape reality. At the beginning, I was too fearful to face my problems, I was not functioning well, I couldn’t even take care of my kids because the situation was too painful and traumatizing. I just kept on praying until one day I just woke up, packed my bags, found a job as a real estate broker, and started again.”
Nins emphasizes on the importance of having a solid support system, in helping her pick up the pieces, “At that time, I thought it was the end of my life. I was too scared, too weak, and too negative. But God sent the right people to help you find your way again, trust yourself, and pick up the broken pieces of your past.”
What seemed like a dead end was only a “shift”. From her days as a real estate broker, the determination in Nins led her to go back to her first love: clothing. With a degree in Export Management from De La Salle University – College of St. Benilde, Nins has an extensive background in clothing because of her family’s business, “My parents have been in the garments business for as long as I can remember. My dad has a manufacturing factory and after college, I immediately opened shops in Greenhills.”
And although she stopped for awhile once she got married, she immediately went back to her first love and now has her own shop called Nina’s Closet located in Circle C Mall in Quezon City which specializes in casual and office wear for women of all shapes and sizes, including plus-sized women. She continues to help with her family business and recently opened the online version of Nina’s Closet on Instagram and Facebook to cater to a wider audience.
Despite her full schedule, her top priority are still her kids, “I make sure to be present in every milestone of their childhood. At times on weekends, I bring my kids to my shop so I can spend more time with them. And while being separated is hard because I still feel guilty, I hope that my love will be enough to fill whatever is lacking. I am not perfect but I try my best. God is the man in our home and that alone is enough to make us complete.”
And as for her advice to other single moms, she says, “With every big decision I make in my life, I make sure to always talk to my kids about it. They may be young but they understand, don’t underestimate your kids’ capacity to understand because they can, no matter how young they are.”
It’s people like Nina who reminds me that while life may not end up the way we want it to, it doesn’t mean it cannot be better than what we have imagined.