“OFW – Overseas Filipino Worker”
Overseas Filipino- (Filipino: Pilipino sa Ibayong-dagat) is a person of Filipino origin who lives outside of the Philippines. This term applies to Filipinos who are abroad indefinitely as citizens or as permanent residents of a different country and to those Filipino citizens abroad for a limited, definite period, such as on a work contract or as students. – Source – Wikipedia
Hello there, Let me tell you a short story of my boring crazy life, both being an OFW and being a mother. I’m 36 years old, mother of 3 kiddos, my eldest son just turned 16, my two girls are 13 and 9.
At a very young age, I’ve been through a lot, and I mean — A LOT… Being in a broken family, became an instant parent to my siblings, misguided, rebellious, undergraduate, got pregnant, trusted easily, taken advantage by people, started a family life at a very young age, got hurt, failed relationships, need to work hard to support myself and my family, indebtedness, manipulated and so on… I am not saying that I am like an angel who had these sufferings (you don’t need to feel pity on me), some of it are because of me, I am human and I am bad on making decisions. Although I’m tough as you think and enduring all of it, a part of me will whisper, “I am tired”, I screwed my life early. But hey, that’s just a bit part of my insane journey.
To make the story short, I found myself one day leaving my kids on October 2012, dreaming of having a good job wherever I am destined to go, bringing hopes and wishes with me to be able to provide a better life for them, escaping something that I cannot take anymore, and their ages during my departure are 11, 8, and 4. But getting the things that you want is a predicament, do not think that fulfilling it all are as easy as you think. One wrong decision, you’re fucked and need to deal with it no matter how you wanted to escape.
Balancing your life being a mother and at the same time a worker in a strange land ain’t bed of roses. Homesickness attacks me any time of the day / night, wherever place I am. Many times that I shed tears during my sleepless nights, silently weeping, imagining my children’s warm breath and bodies besides me, their hugs and kisses. But I am here already, I need to be tough, I need to be numb. Outside, I looked like a damn bitch, well, strong and a happy person. People that I encounter used to tell me even with first meeting that, I am easy and light to be with, funny as hell and a kind lady, of course. Yeah right, they don’t know I’m bleeding inside. I even get myself into deep problems here and it’s only me who to blame due to me, myself and I, being an idiot to take decisions without thinking and trusting too much, but whenever it’s time to speak with my kids via SKYPE, all should be fine with a smile on my face.
Every time I will call them they will ask me when I will be coming back home, but the most consistent of ’em all and never fails, my youngest, sweet daughter, she will always asks me (whether in the beginning, middle or last-minute conversation), with a sad emotion and voice.
“Mommy, kelan ka ba uuwi ha?” (When you coming back home?)
How many times I will wish she won’t remember asking me questions like that. It is like a knife stabbing on my chest – continuously. We have different reasons why we can’t be with our family no matter how much we wanted to, & how many times I felt that I am a worthless mother, especially if I skip calling them whenever I am having difficulties here, it adds more miseries in me, people might say “pera lang yan, hindi importante yan” (that’s just money, it is not important).. If this is your reasoning, then ask yourself again, because in reality, it is a necessity to give your family something that you cannot provide much if you are not earning. Again, I will say, we have our own reasons why we come up to a decision even if it is going to break your own heart and your children’s.
Being away from them, is difficult for a mother like me who happens to be with them all the time, bringing them wherever I am, sleeping besides them every night, it is a huge adjustment for me and especially for them. Incidents can happen that you can’t be there to defend your children if they are being bullied from school, or to discipline/scold them if they’ve done mistakes, you are just a phone call away and let your relatives do the works. Helping them with their complicated assignments via video calls is also a challenge you need to face, and what about the projects? The sibling fights, you will not be there as their referee, or to chase them with your stick if you need to.
The most heartbreaking things are, they are growing up without you, although you try to communicate regularly, the kids you left behind will be different. As they are on their adolescence period, all things changes, the things they want, the type of TV series or movies they watch, the food, their friends, their behaviors, their clothing styles, courting and being courted, all of this stuffs, you will miss this stage of their lives, and we can never turn back time to experience that once again. Above all, all I wish and pray that will never change, is their love and respect for me, as their mother who loves them unconditionally.
For all the parents who are working away from their home and kids, still, one of the best thing is – communication, never let them feel that you ain’t there both physically and emotionally. We, as adults still commit mistakes or decisions that the one being affected are our kids, we are still human and aren’t perfect at all, I am NOT, I’m far from being one. But let our love for our kids be perfect and pure.
And for all the kids who were left behind, all we just wanted? The love and respect, a little understanding from your side, and to at least see you guys are doing good at school and life, — we as your parents do not want you to experience what we’ve been through, or if it can’t be avoided, at least be as tough as we were — it will be a great achievement for us, no matter how painful and hard, no matter what problem we are into, those little things are our happiness. So in time when all are in its rightful place, we will able to come back home and stay, we maybe,
AN OFW MOM NO MORE.