How Karla Estrada raised 4 kids as a single mom

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2017 10:48 PM | Updated as of May 12 2017 03:49 AM

Karla Estrada with her children, including her eldest Daniel Padilla. Nice Print Photography

Karla Estrada stops mid-sentence to point to a raucous kid talking on her phone who just happens to walk in on her interview. It's Carmela, one of the four kids she raised by herself while trickily keeping her showbiz career afloat. 

Her face stern, she gestures for her to keep quiet and leave before resuming her journey back into her past that molded her into an inspiration for single mothers that she is now. 

"Wala akong room para mag-drama," Estrada says, her voice assured, free of the rancor most have when talking about the parents of their kids who left. 

For the actress, who is also a singer and a television host, there was no time to dwell on the fact that she was alone, to sulk that she didn't have a partner who can change diapers for her, to mull about what life could have been if she chose not to have a baby when her career was at its peak. Back then, her only concern was how to pay the monthly bills. 

"Hindi ko ine-entertain iyong mga malulungkot na side," she tells ABS-CBN News' Gretchen Fullido. 

"Hindi ko nga alam kung ano ibig sabihin nung postpartum depression. Wala akong time for that. Kasi I need to work, kailangan kong magtrabaho ulit. Kailangan kong mag-taping ulit." 

Estrada first gave birth at the very young age of 20, only five years after rocketing to fame as part of the popular TV show "That's Entertainment." 

She admits that she wanted to have a son or daughter to call her own as soon as possible -- dispelling notions that she regrets it -- having developed a fondness for children growing up.

She recalls helping her own mother -- a solo parent herself -- take care of her siblings and her cousins, a chore she found happiness in. She goes on about how her family lived off the money she earned doing small TV roles and hosting jobs, saying that her life would have been way more difficult if the dads didn't give her money for her kids' education. 

This is before cutting herself mid-thought again. Carmella refuses to leave the room, her laughter can be heard from across. This time, Estrada meets her eye. Message taken. 

According to Estrada, she is by no means a strict mother. She lets her kids do what they want but they have to listen to her litany of lectures whenever she feels like giving one. 

She says she wants to instill in them the lessons her mistakes have taught her, knowing fully how harsh the real world can be. It is the best "pamana" she can give them, she explains, as she opens up about her fear of death and leaving them behind. 

"Totoo iyon na na kapag naging mother ka na, marami ka ng takot. Mas takot ka na sa buhay mo, sa mga posibleng mangyari sa iyo. Nung dalaga ako napakatapang ko pero ngayon, iniingatan ko na ang buhay ko para sa kanila." 

 

A post shared by KARLA ESTRADA (@karlaestrada1121) on

Estrada is one of the more popular single moms in the country. Besides being a well-known TV personality, she is also a mother to Kapamilya star Daniel Padilla. 

She wants to use her clout to inspire, preaching that the worst thing a mother can do to a child is to lie to them, spoil them knowing that one cannot keep up the illusion of always having the money to give in to their wants. 

"Sanayin mo iyong mga anak mo na kahit masakit man, sabihin mo iyong totoo. ...Maging totoo tayo sa mga anak natin," she said.

For Mother's Day, Estrada shares she isn't sure whether she and Padilla have time to celebrate it. But she wouldn't have it any other way, she says, admitting that she is happy that their careers are both healthy.