Read on about OFW parents on handling finances and on long-distance parenting and communication.
On handling finances
Arlene Abaquin, a financial adviser who now lives in New Zealand with her husband and children, gives a useful tip on how money handling can be planned and simplified. "It is important that both husband and wife set their priorities. They have to sit down and make a list rather than take things as they come. An effective way also is to monitor their expenses and how this goes up against their income. Make a realistic plan and set aside a few months’ worth of savings, in case of unexpected incidents like a lay-off or other family emergencies."
Nina: "In our two years here, I learned that it is important for OFWs (and for all) to value hard-earned money. Teach your family back home to spend wisely and save more. They should get rid of the 'feeling rich' mentality. Instead, invest and make money grow."
Jona: "I always make a list of my spending not because my husband requires me to, but so I know where the money goes. Upon checking, I realized that little things like trips to the grocery, newspaper and water delivery, weekend movies and knick-knacks could amount to thousands of pesos at the end of the month. It also reflects the kind of spender I am. Now that I am more aware, I know that I need to control my spending habits."
On long-distance parenting and communication
Gone are the days when keeping in touch was done only through snail mail, photos and voice tapes. Communication has changed drastically in a way that makes the world seem smaller.
Rhona: "Thanks to the Internet, my husband did not miss out on any of the important moments from the beginning of my pregnancy. He would record voice messages and lullabies which I let my baby “listen to” (from inside my tummy). It's amazing how my baby recognized her Daddy's voice when he came home at her birth date. We communicate regularly via Skype and other Internet-based programs. Daddy and daughter even play peek-a-boo and bahay-bahayan via video chat. I make sure I explain to my child why his daddy is not with us so when asked, my daughter answers 'My daddy's on the ship. He is working. He's saving money so he can buy milky for me and a house for mommy. He's working hard because he loves me.' Never underestimate a child's ability to comprehend situations. Always explain things to them in a way that they will understand.
Roselyn: "My son is very close to his Dad even if they have been miles apart for two years now. As he was growing, I made it a point to remind him of his father’s love for him in many ways. The present technology however does not always guarantee a smooth connection, which could disrupt the conversation. My husband and I often argue every time we chat."
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