The host of 9TV’s Daybreak shares the pleasures of single parenting and how “me” time reinforces quality time with her son.
Photos by Ina Jacobe I Words by Margarita Buenaventura
Being a morning person is no easy feat. While dealing with the rush-hour traffic alone can put one in a terrible mood, news anchor Hilary Isaac is more than happy to chase the sun on the daily. Hilary hosts the 9TV show Daybreak, and wakes up as early as 4 a.m. to make it to the studio by dawn. It’s a tough gig, but Hilary likes it just fine. Starting the day early allows her to spend more quality time with vivacious Asher, her three year-old son.
Hilary and Asher are currently staying with Hilary’s parents. Living in the south means that Hilary’s daily commute to work takes longer than it did when she lived in the city, but she’s glad that Asher gets to spend time with his grandparents.
Their living arrangement works particularly well whenever Hilary is away for work. “I had a bad experience with a helper before,” says Hilary, explaining that she became upset at the way her son was being cared for. Besides Asher being cared for by loved ones at her parents’ home, Hilary has taken it as an opportunity to learn motherhood from the best person she knows: her mom.
Applying these lessons to rearing her own son, Hilary says that she still has a long way to go and much to learn as a mom, but having Asher in her life makes up for all the trouble. Even if, as Hilary says, she has to wake up in the morning just to make him rocket-shaped pancakes. “With sprinkles,” she adds with emphasis.
Hilary likes taking advantage of her weekends by sleeping in. “When it’s the weekend, I relish being awake but not awake,” says Hilary. “The sun is up, but I’m still in bed, I’m gonna enjoy this for as long as I can.”
When she finally gets up, she likes spending time with Asher. “We just wrestle all the time,” says Hilary, as Asher piggybacks her. “I also got him a chalkboard, where we draw different things. Right now, he’s obsessed with jellyfish.”
On days that Hilary and Asher go out, they spend the day at the park. “We love going to Ayala Triangle because it’s the park nearest us,” says Hilary of their usual weekend haunt. “Asher also likes going window shopping. He just likes looking around Toy Kingdom…he doesn’t feel the need to buy anything if he doesn’t really like it. And he really loves sea creatures. You know the jellyfish area at Manila Ocean Park? He can stay there for hours.”
Hilary says that she loves raising her son in her childhood abode, as she’s had fond memories of it growing up. “I don’t have a particularly favorite spot. I’m very family-centric, so I like hanging out where everyone is at. Sometimes that’s the den where we watch movies, but when I want some quiet time, I stay on this couch,” she says of the plush seat by the front door. “I’ve read so many books here, and I breastfed Asher here too.”
Although she’s a committed full-time mommy, Hilary still believes in the importance of spending time away from parenting responsibilities once in a while. “I still like going out, but in a very tita way,” says Hilary with a laugh. “I’m a certified tita of Manila. Drinks by four, dinner by six, then if we’re sober enough to drive, we’re home by eight. Can’t say I didn’t try!”
As a single mom to Asher, Hilary is all too aware of the challenges that come with it. “Single parenthood is so frightening for the ‘real’ aspects of it,” says Hilary of acting as mom and dad to Asher. “Education, health…anything that threatens your livelihood. Whether you get sick or you get into an accident. It’s hard when everything has to come from you. But I don’t know. It’s totally worth it.”