Working double shifts: the parenting of a working mom

Unconventional is the word that best describes Rowena Tang-ey. This woman has broken barriers for being one of Hedcor’s very first woman plant operators -- a very special feat considering how male-dominated the job is. While definitely the rose among the thorns, Rowena was able to keep up with her male counterparts, especially during the early days of Hedcor’s Sabangan Hydro. At present, the 14.9-MW Hydropower facility remains to be Hedcor’s first and only venture in the Mt. Province, making Rowena’s contributions all the more special.

While the job was a dream come true, Rowena admits that it wasn’t easy. “The job [as plant operator] is really challenging,” shared Rowena. “This was especially hard for me because I’m a civil engineer so everything was unfamiliar. From electrical to mechanical, from panels and turbines, to runners and SCADA, everything was new to me!”

However, being the persistent woman that she is, Rowena was able to fully adjust, and, at present, continues to oversee the efficient operations of the Sabangan Hydro.

By 2015, Rowena decided that it was time to enter her life’s next phase -- marriage and motherhood. And while her small family has brought her insurmountable joy, it was clear to her that she was to have a whole new challenge to face. Because her job requires her to stay at the powerhouse during the entirety of her shift (which may last up to four days) Rowena was yet to display her unconventionality once again. This time, through parenting.

Unlike the typical family set-up, Rowena was not regularly home due to the demands of her job. However, she doesn’t see it as something that makes her less of a mother. “Work stays at the plant. At home, we concentrate on the kids.” Rowena shared.“It’s a matter of  spending quality time with them. Every minute for them counts, so make the most of it.” she added, showing how she is a strong believer of “quality over quantity” when it comes to spending time with her kids.

Rowena also shares how parenting is about finding ways to connect with your children. “On my free time, I make sure that we get to play, go on trips to the park, and even share simple conversations. When I’m at work, I make sure to call my children from time to time. Also, I’m always willing to take a leave if my children need me. Family goes first.”

With such a complicated set-up, Rowena shares the credit of her parenting success to her family and in-laws. “I am thankful that I have a family who is always there for my kids. They’re always ready to offer assistance.” Indeed, parenting can also be about knowing when it’s time to ask for help from your partner or family.

For working mothers, everyday is like working double shifts. And yet, with these load of responsibilities, they get things done. In the end, it all boils down to sacrifice.  While one must sacrifice a few hours of sleep and a tighter budget, all is worth it when you see your children grow well.

“The sacrifices are not for yourself but for your children. That is why even though it’s difficult, [the hardships] become manageable especially when you see your children grow up well.”

Rowena, along with Aselma Cobcobo who is also a mother of two, are the only two women plant operators in Hedcor Sabangan. Both women have  been around since the start of construction of the hydropower facility in 2012. Across Hedcor, 20% are dominated by women team members, where 14 women work under the Operations and Maintenance Departments themselves. While certainly of minority, the contributions of women in Hedcor are never taken for granted. The organization’s success is largely attributed to the women of Hedcor who tirelessly work to advance business and communities.

Hedcor is the run-of-river hydropower arm of AboitizPower, which operates  21 run-of-river hydropower facilities in the country.

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