Mom Says:I left the Philippines in 2002 to work as a nurse in the UK. As a parent, I wanted a better future for my children. As a professional, I wanted career growth and more experience. The reality was that good opportunities were not abundant in the Philippines, and working abroad was my way of fulfilling my dreams for myself and for my family. It definitely wasn’t easy. The first few months were the saddest—I would cry when I remembered them, even while I was at work. But I always drew strength from reminding myself that I was doing everything for them.
Constant ContactI also reminded myself that being away from them does not make me any less of a good mother. I called and texted them every day. I made sure they knew I was interested in what they were up to, down to the smallest details of their day. Sometimes, when discipline became an issue, I threatened to cut back on their allowance (maybe that was the closest I could get to grounding them!), and it always worked. I’m blessed with children who understand my decisions. Although I missed important events in their lives, they never gave me enough trouble for me to regret my decision to leave. Love of family is the most powerful motivating factor that drives every Filipino parent to succeed. My advice to all mothers who chose to work abroad is to be strong for their children, keep communication intact, and have faith. Know in your heart that your ultimate goal is to provide for the needs of your family and to give them a secure future. Believe that in the end, it will all be worth it.
Daughter Says:My mom moved to the UK when I was a teen. Without her around, I got my first shot at independence. I learned to be responsible and to rely on myself. I also learned not to be jealous of kids who had the company of their complete family on every special occasion. More than anything, I learned to appreciate the sacrifices my mom made for me and my siblings.
Appreciating Freedom and ResponsibilityOf course, there were times when I felt like I could do anything I wanted because of the freedom I enjoyed, and I guess that’s natural. But because my mom and I talked regularly, I found it difficult to keep secrets from her. I always felt guilty every time I did something I knew she wouldn’t approve of. I would always think, “she won’t be happy with this,” and I didn’t want to make her unhappy. Our long distance relationship actually brought us closer together. Through our daily phone calls, we got to know each other better without getting on each other’s nerves. Now, we’re both living in the UK—and we’re both adults. We love doing things together: shopping, cooking, decorating the house. We can actually sit down for coffee and have a mature conversation about our life, our plans, and our dreams. Our bond is stronger than ever.