Gently ushering her two little daughters into the hotel room for our shoot, a glowing Kit Barraquias asks her kids what they’d like to eat—a common mannerism that will remind you of your own mother. At 35 years old, Kit has lived almost half of her life as a single parent, raising her first child at the young age of 18 and having twins Lilli and Violette at 27. In spite of becoming a mother at an early age, the former model has proved to possess an unyielding spirit, shattering the single mom stereotype while nurturing a close bond with her little ones.
In our special Mother’s Day feature, /ESCAPE asks, what makes a good mother? Is it the way she intuitively knows what you need without asking? The way she cooks your favorite dish or opens your mind to make sense of the people around you? Conceivably she is all that and more, but if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the world is an infinitely better place because she’s in it.
/ESCAPE: Run us through a typical day with your family.
Kit Barraquias: If it’s a school day, I need to prepare their breakfast and lunch. I’m really particular with the food I feed them. After that I pick them up at school and prepare dinner, then sometimes we’ll have movie nights and play PlayStation after (laughs). On weekends, I try to plan something out of town. If not, we hang around the house. We’ll go to the Sunday market in Legazpi or go to church with my mom and dad.
What were you like before you became a mom? Has motherhood changed you for the better?
KB: Do you really wanna know? (laughs) I was crazy. I think my kids actually saved me. If I didn’t have my daughter at a young age I don’t even know what would’ve become of me. Motherhood definitely changed me for the better. It made me more responsible and aware of the consequences of my actions.
What’s one assumption people have about single moms that you’d like to disprove?
KB: That we’re irresponsible and people can’t take us seriously. If anything, being a single mom is double the work. Double of everything, basically. It’s different when you have a husband where you can share the responsibility, but I’m all I have. Everything I have now I really had to work hard for, and I did it all for my kids.
How do you find a balance playing mom and dad to your kids?
KB: It’s really difficult to be a mom and a dad at the same time, to be honest. I try to be tough for them but at the same time I don’t want them to be scared. But so far, I think I’ve done a good job.
Is dating trickier as a single mom?
KB: Well, I’m in a relationship right now. I’ve been with my current boyfriend for four years. But before I guess you’d have to be pickier because you think about your children too, and you wouldn’t want a psycho around your kids. Before it was just, “Oh he’s cute!” but now you’re looking for the whole package.
Have you ever felt judged for being a single mom?
KB: Of course! On the daily, even by my own family. My mom and my dad are born-again Christians and I grew up being judged on everything I do. When I entered my teens I started to rebel, and then I got pregnant. My mom was like, “Your life is over, you’re going to hell!” (laughs). No one will take you seriously. But thank God it’s 2017 and people are more accepting of it now.
Fill in the blank: Motherhood is _________.
KB: The best thing ever. It’s the most awesome thing in the world, I can’t even explain it.
One white lie all mothers are guilty of saying?
KB: Santa is real!
What has been the biggest surprise about motherhood so far?
KB: Feelings and emotions. I remember when I saw my eldest daughter for the first time… I never thought I could love someone so much. I’m just so emotional over my kids, I even cry over their little milestones.
Do you now understand your own parents better now that you have kids of your own?
KB: My mom… There’s five of us, and my mom gave up her career for us. She stopped working and decided to be a full-time mom to raise us. I’ve been a full-time mom and I’ve been a working mom, and hats off to full-time moms because it’s so much harder than working in the office. I always ask my mom how she did it, and I definitely appreciate what she’s done for us now that I have babies of my own.
Who do you usually go to for parenting advice?
KB: My dad. He’s a lot more open to things compared to my mom.
Describe your relationship with your children. What are each of them like?
KB: I think I’m more of a mommy mom with my twins compared to my eldest because I was so young back then. I’m more hands-on now, I think we have a good relationship. I actually love it when people say they’re so well-behaved. I feel fulfilled as a parent. Vio is quiet and more reserved, Lilli will walk right up to you and say hi.
Can you remember an instance where your kids said or did something that surprised you or made your heart melt?
KB: Every day they do that to me. It’s the little things—they make small notes or cards and draw something. When I’m not at home they’ll ask me to come home. Yesterday, I went to the grocery and Vio tells me she wanted to watch a movie, and when I told her to go ahead and said she wanted to watch with me.
What’s the best and worst part about being a mom?
KB: Worst part is when you have to discipline them. I spank. But you know, it’s something you have to do. The best part is when you look at your kid and realize you’ve raised a good person. It’s such a great feeling to know you were a part of that.
What’s your biggest fear as a parent?
KB: When your kids start to rebel or do hurtful things to themselves. I’m scared when I think about them growing up. When my eldest wanted to move into a condo when she went to college, I was terrified.
What’s the most important life lesson you want your daughters to understand?
KB: I want them to be kind to people. I want them to always have a positive outlook on life and be strong women. With life you never know what’s going to come your way.
How do you find time to pursue your interests while taking care of your kids full-time?
KB: It’s really hard. I’m actually just starting now. I didn’t really get the chance to study since I had to work right away to support my family. I’m trying out interior design and I’m currently trying to balance everything out but it really isn’t easy. My first priority will always be my children.
Wine or tequila?
KB: I’m more of a tequila gal.
Name one thing you can’t live without?
KB: My eyelash extensions!
Would you rather: deal with unruly kids or a rebellious teenager?
KB: Unruly kids because you can still fix that. Teenagers are a completely different ball game.
Favorite playstation game:
If you were to have another child, would you rather have a boy or a girl?
KB: A boy!!!
Any advice to new mothers?
KB: Enjoy them. Carry them. Sleep with them. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and the best thing you can do is just be there for them every minute of it.
How are you planning to spend Mother’s Day?
KB: Maybe dinner somewhere, if not I’ll probably just cook at my house and have my mom and siblings over.
What’s your favorite /ESCAPE?
KB: The beach. I love going to the beach. It’s my mini escape.
On Kit Barraquias:
Floral lavender dress, talent’s own
Printed shorts by Love, Candypie
Embroidered shift dress with tight cuff by Love, Candypie
Photography by Shaira Luna (@shairaluna)
Words by Kimberly Lynch (@kimberlynch)
Styling by Kaye Pernia (@kayepernia)
Makeup and Brow Styling by Amy Bofill for Benefit Cosmetics (@benefitph)
Produced and edited by Dan Buenaventura (@danbuenav)
Assisted by Kiana Heart (@kianawbu)
Follow supermom Kit Barraquias on Instagram via @kitbarraquias.