Sarah is a single mom who has been working in Italy for several years now as a caregiver. She left her four children in the care of her youngest sister in Manila.
Sarah sends enough money for her children’s needs. Sometimes her remittances even exceed their daily necessities, she says.
Her eldest daughter, Baby, entered college and had asked Sarah’s permission to stay in a dormitory to be able to focus on her studies.
Sarah was happy with her daughter’s decision. She believed it would be good for her daughter and assured Baby there would be money to pay for her dorm.
Sarah had high hopes and expectations that Baby would be the first one who would help her support the family. Sarah sent money directly to Baby’s bank account to cover her tuition fee, dorm and other school expenses—with a little extra added.
Sarah gave her children all the things they requested. But truth to tell, she often didn’t have enough money and had to borrow from other Filipinos in Italy just to meet their demands.
Still, she sent them the latest mobile phones and modern electronic
gadgets. “It’s okay to spend a lot for my children because they are the main reason I sought work overseas,” she would think.
Sarah also thought that providing all the material things her children desire would fill the void left by her absence.
With the month of March fast approaching, Sarah was very excited because she expected Baby would finally graduate.
However, she received an unexpected call from her youngest child, who broke down and told her, “Ate Baby has a baby already.”
Their eldest sister had given birth to a baby but the children kept this from her. Baby told them not to tell their mom the truth, including the fact that she had not been going to school for a long time. All the money Sarah had sent for her tuition, dorm rental, allowance and other school expenses were apparently just used to hang out with her friends, enjoy her relationships, and pay for her childbirth expenses.
Sarah was stunned.
She realized that her sacrifices overseas did not seem to matter to her children. After sending her remittances, she had little left for her own personal needs, Sarah rues.
Sarah now regrets working abroad.
She thinks, maybe if she hadn’t left, this wouldn’t have happened. She also feels remorse at having sacrificed her own life and happiness.
To our dear OFWs: Wake up. You need not spoil your children or see yourself as their slave. Learn to say “No.” Someday you may find yourself alone and discover that your children did not appreciate the sacrifices you made for them.
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Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday 11a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 12:30-2 p.m., with live streaming at www.dziq.am. Helpline: 0920-9684700.