I just read your article entitled Confused Mama asks about leaving kids to work abroad. I’ve been struggling on what to decide in the past few days, whether stay and work here abroad or go back home to my kids aged 3 and 4. After reading your article I will be filing my resignation and will listen to your and my sisters’ advice.
My two kids were raised and one was born here in Dubai before we decided to go back to the Philippines because my husband lost his job in 2013.
In January 2015, my husband received a call from his former construction company in Dubai and they asked him if he’s still interested to work then I also got hired by my previous employer. The thing here is that my husband asked me whether I wanted to also go with him to work abroad and I decided to go back to Dubai because maybe I preferred working over being a full-time mom. When we left our kids last May, we both planned to bring the kids after three months but the law here has changed which will cost us a lot money to bring them over. So we decided to bring them by March next year.
Now I really miss my kids and I cannot stay in my company any longer because of too much workload. I feel so stressed everyday, like there were instances when I needed to stay up late at a night to finish my report. My company made me a Senior Analyst but of course there are also bigger responsibilities.
One of the reasons why we also decided to come back here to work was that we do not have our own house in the Philippines yet, we only own a lot. We plan to use our earnings here to build a house back home.
By the way, we have a business in the Philippines and it’s profitable.
I will be filing my resignation this Sunday, don’t you think I’m being selfish to leave my husband here while all along I was the one who decided to go back abroad?–Dina via email
Hi Dina. I was about to turn off my computer when I saw your email. I was compelled to reply to you right away because of your intention to submit your resignation letter on Sunday.
I’m totally for purposeful parenting and being there for your children especially during their formative years, the stage where both your children are in. However, I believe that physical separation from your husband may take its toll on your marriage, and consequently, on your entire family and that would not be good for your kids.
You asked whether it’s being selfish to leave your husband in Dubai while you were the one who decided to work abroad. My answer to that is I don’t know if it’s being selfish or not, but for sure it’s being risky. A husband and wife should always be together. I’ve been married, and very happily so, for 26 years now and I wish to share with you one great lesson we learned from our experience.
When we first said yes to forever, we weren’t 100% sure if it was going to work. But we were both sure of our commitment to each other on that day. And each day of the last 26 years (that’s over 9,500 days now) we consciously did things together and shared a lot of fun. We tried to express love and support to each other – most of the time successfully, a few times not. But it was in the daily hits and misses that we became “experts” in making each other happy, in making each other a better person and in keeping the fire burning. Our peg of a love song is More Today Than Yesterday (Click link to see lyrics).
When we celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary last year and renewed our marriage vows, we realized that indeed “Forever is built one day at a time.” (Click link)
Dina, that’s the lesson I wish to share with you right now. You cannot build forever if this early you would already be apart. It’s not humanly probable especially these days when forever has become a fragile and very challenging dream. But this is very important because your great marriage will be the bedrock of your successes in all aspects of life. Today, I always give thanks to God for our great marriage, our unwavering support for each other that has made us raise three wonderful sons, that has helped us in building all the great things we have now. When the going gets tough in our respective endeavors, what always serves as our inspiration is this, “This challenge is nothing because tonight, I will come home to our sanctuary where my spouse is waiting and I know that his/her love for me is there whether I succeed in this endeavor or not. As long as I know that, this challenge is bearable.”
That is my wish for you right now. I wish you a great marriage built one day at a time Dina.
Regarding your kids, please bring them to where you are. We cannot delegate parenting to anyone, really. You mentioned that laws were changed in your host country such that it is now more expensive to bring them there. I know that to say “never mind the cost” is easier said than done, but please do find ways. Cut down on your other expenses, your pasalubongs, sustento to other people outside of your nuclear family, etc. Delay every “want” that you can delay so you don’t delay bringing your kids over.
You may be in a very stressful situation at work right now and my article might have opened your eyes to the maternal guilt that you’ve been keeping in your heart. I felt the same way at some stressful points in my life. But don’t make it a choice between being with your husband or your children because you don’t have to. Your children need both parents so be together as a family.
By the way, congratulations on your promotion! Try to analyze your job. Is there anything you can do to improve the situation? Are you doing what your passion is? If not, is there any place else in your company that may excite you more so that the work stress becomes more bearable? Sometimes we just fail to see what’s good in our current job because we don’t deliberately look for it. And here’s one more thing, a lot of women just leave their existing job when they feel the stress getting unbearable, without even trying to talk to their boss to make adjustments. In a study on women at work, they found out that had working mothers asked for some considerations from their employers, they could have gotten what they wanted. “You only have to ask!” is one of the mantras we live by at home. We raised our sons to practice this. Most of the time, we don’t ask because we are afraid to get a NO for an answer. But hey, wouldn’t it be better to still get the no than not to try at all? At least, you can tell yourself later on that you tried. Most of our regrets don’t come from what we did, but more from what we didn’t do.
You also mentioned that you have a profitable business in the Philippines. So you actually have two choices. You and your husband need to sit down, talk, compute, pray and do what it takes to make your decision on where you should build your family, intact I hope.
I hope I was able to enlighten you on this important decision. Good luck, I’ll say a prayer for you Dina.
I will speak at the 6th PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers) Foundation IMC Youth Congress on November 27, 2015 at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. cor. Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon. Her new book is the Filipino version of the latter entitled Ang Muling Pagsasalaysay ng Ang Pinakamayamang Tao sa Babilonya. Click this link to read samples of the books. Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is also the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards.
Attribution: Images from cdn2.mommyish.com and teresay.com put together to help deliver the message of the article.
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.