Should they work overseas and be away from kids, confused mom asksBy Emily Marcelo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
My husband and I are planning to work overseas, for higher wages of course. But we have two kids, aged 4 and 2, who I think are too young to be left without our personal guidance. My husband is unaware of my uncertainties because this will only start a quarrel.
He says technology will make it easier to communicate constantly with the kids. He’s actually desperate to leave, blinded by the money we stand to earn abroad. We started a sari-sari store last year which closed after only 10 months, because it didn’t earn “big” enough, he said. He has no patience for slow growth.
Now, we have just enough to cover our monthly utilities; our “savings” are spent on house repairs and medical bills. I have even tried to buy cheaper brands of milk for my kids, only to spend my savings on medicines! Though I have my parents to take care of my children, I don’t think I will be at peace if anything happens to them. Yes, I am paranoid.
My husband thinks that if we both work abroad, our double income will cut the time we will spend away from our children. Between the two of us, I will also get a better paying job, since I am a licensed professional here.
It is definitely hard to ignore the seductive call of the unknown and the promise of that elusive, only-in-my-dreams wealth. The mesmerizing images are so intoxicating that everything else around you becomes a blur and the collateral effects are obliterated.
Who cares if the children don’t grow up with the guidance and warmth of their parents around them? The latest toys, gadgets, easy access to expensive food, and whatever else that could only be dreamed about, are now within affordable reach—and mistakenly thought to be more than enough to compensate for the parents’ absence.
Nothing wrong looking for greener pastures—if you’re single and have no emotional baggage to worry about. You can work 24/7 and earn that almighty foreign currency till you drop. After making that pile, come home when you’re ready to settle down and start a family.
But have you looked at the statistics on OFWs and the state of their family lives?
This column has received lots of e-mails lamenting the break-up of OFW families. How many grieving balikbayan OFWs return to empty homes because their spouses had run away, and their children had dropped out of school due to drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, or some of these kids deciding to just become bums and early pensioners?
But even as success stories also abound and, clearly, many lives improve from the sacrifices of these OFW mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, there are more failures and horror stories that eclipse the positive ones.
Try not to make it your goal to keep up with your neighbor’s good fortune. Try also not to aspire for unrealistic, pocket-draining expenses like enrolling your kids in private schools if you have to sell your souls in the process. There’s no shame in having your children attend public school or even finish a vocational course.
Despite getting a bum rap, public schools are good if parents are willing to go the extra mile and make their children study hard and do their homework diligently.
Think a thousand times before turning your back on your very young and impressionable kids to pursue this almost manic goal of amassing wealth by working abroad.
What makes your husband think that going abroad will solve your problems? Wealth does not only mean money. Health, love, and a strong sense of family are all worth more than gold.
Sometimes, that glow you see at the end of a very dark tunnel, flickering like a pile of gold, is actually just the light of an oncoming train.
E-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.