- Posted March 13, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Work and family: Making it work
Abroad and Away
I'm a single mother of two boys and I’ve been separated for 7 years. I’ve been raising my children on my own with the help of my mother.
I believe that opportunities are just out there if you have the determination to reach for them regardless of what your gender is. It took a lot of courage before I was able to take the job that I’d been dreaming of in my first few months in Saudi Arabia.
I am just among the million of Overseas Filipino Workers who have been residing in Saudi Arabia in order to make ends meet. I only have 30-35 days to spend quality time with my children every year.
In fact, I can skip my annual vacation if I want to and convert the amount of the airline ticket into cash. But, there’s no way that I am going to decide that way. I am trying to earn more by working overtime when our department requires extra workload and have a small business on retailing on 3-in-1 coffee and e-load for mobile credits at work.
Without a doubt, there’s a big difference between the salary scale here and in the Philippines. As a mother, I can bear the distance amid me and my children. But knowing that my children long for my presence every moment of their teenage life is heartbreaking for me.
Financially, I think I am alone in this battle. My kids’ father initiated his financial support last year and it has been inconsistent since then, which is better than nothing. We had a mutual agreement to pay 50/50 for the annulment process but we couldn’t proceed. It’s very expensive and so complicated. I work abroad and he works as a Seaman. I realize that “why should I pay for the 50% when my children’s needs are more important than the annulment fee?” So, here I am... just like the other Filipino ex-wives who are stuck in a marriage which don’t exist anymore.
I am overloaded with tasks and deadlines every day. There are times that I am so stressed out that I would cry and think about quitting this job. Sometimes I have no control over my emotions at the workplace. But things do get better when I think of what our “Executive Secretary” trainer once said, “Don’t take it personally!”
I am not perfect as a person and I may not be perfect as a mother but I have done my utmost effort to make sure that my children feel my presence and love in spite of our distance. We communicate online on weekends. I am constantly online so they can call me anytime they want. I call them on their mobile phones once or twice a week. I try not to build any wall between us by asking them to be open and be honest with me. Not every day is a good day for them and I could not thank my mother enough for being around as a guardian during my absence. My children’s attitudes are never perfect. Nevertheless, they have grown up a better teenagers because of the values that my mother has taught them.
Photo Captions - (all were taken in the New Year of 2013)
# 1 - At my brother's residence, around 1am Labangon, Cebu City
# 2 & #4 - 2am - 4am Tops Cebu City
# 3 - Exchanging Gifts
#5 - 10 am - During the send-off at Mactan International Airport on my flight back to Saudi Arabia