Two Faces of Mother's Love - About An OFW Family's Story

Updated on March 7, 2018
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I could still remember how I cried when my mother was leaving to go to Saudi Arabia. I was just 11 years old then and was only in Grade 5. I did not completely understand why she had to go. What I only knew was we needed the money for our family expenses.

I tried really hard to study well because I wanted to help our family. In fact, almost every year I was top 1 in our class so my tuition in the Chinese school I went to was free. Even though my mother was far away, I wanted her to be really happy. But deep inside, what I wanted the most then was that she would just come home to us.

Maternal Bond. Image by Koivth
Maternal Bond. Image by Koivth | Source

For five years, mother bore the pain of spending life away from us. (Is there a mother who would like to be separated from her dear children?) Communication then was very expensive and difficult unlike today that there is the internet and VOIP. That's why receiving a phone call or a letter from mommy is like rainfall in the mid of summer. Because of this unfavorable circumstances, little by little, my heart felt distant from my mother. It must have also been because I was already growing up as a young teen.

When mother decided to come back to the Philippines and never to return to Saudi, I really can't describe how I truly felt. I was happy that she's finally coming home. But, sad to say, much time had passed and spent being far away from each other which put an empty space between our relationship. It seemed that I was used to just having my father around. My mother felt how I felt and I knew that it hurt her feelings. What a painful cost in exchange for her sacrifice and being far away from family just to fulfill our physical necessities!

Nevertheless, I am still thankful to God because He did not allow our family to become like many broken families we know. When the father becomes an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker), he fills his loneliness abroad by having relations with another woman even if he already has a wife and children. I am also thankful because it was during this time when my mother was in the desert land that she had a closer relationship with God. My father, my siblings and I who were in the Philippines did too. And it was this faith in God that filled the gap in our relationship.

"A strong faith in God is necessary to have a strong family."

Now, I'm also living in another country other than the Philippines, I am not an OFW but a wife to one. Even if it is hard and expensive for my family to live in a nation not our own, we still chose to live together and not be separated from each other.

My husband and I agreed that I and our children would just spend about 2 years here and would then return to the Philippines. But, though I like much better to stay in the Philippines and continue my career, I rather chose to be a stay at home mom. It's all right that I don't have a career, as long as my children and I would not be separated from our beloved father and husband. I did not want my children to experience being separated from a parent just like what I did when I was still young. I am greatly thankful to God because His grace is sufficient enough to meet our every need.

Two faces of mother's love. One endured the pain of being far away from the family so she can give a better life to her family. The other chose not to be separated from the family even if it means sacrificing her good career. Which of the two mirrors your love as a mother?

"In every choice, there is an exchange

Weigh the heart and mind, endure the pain.

And don't forget to trust the Lord ever

Whatever happens He will be always there. "

How beautiful it must be, if no family would ever need to be separated from each other. I pray that the Philippines would arise from poverty and have a better economy. So that fathers and mothers would not need to go abroad and leave their children. I wonder when will that be?

I salute all the fathers and mothers who have the heart and mind that truly cares first for his or her family.

This article is actually an English translation of my winning entry (9th place) written in Tagalog for the OFW Blog Awards 2010 with the theme "Strengthening OFW Families: 'Stronger Homes for a Stronger Nation.' The original article in Filipino can be found at my blog Stay at Home Blessings - Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig ng Ina.

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      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        2 months ago from Philippines

        Thank you Linda for reading this hub. We should be thankful that OFWs do what they need to do including the sacrifices. But we should also pray for families so that God will keep loved ones together.

      • liesl5858 profile image

        Linda Bryen 

        2 months ago from United Kingdom

        Hi! Chin Chin, what a lovely story you got here. I am glad to know that you and your family are strong and have faith in God, otherwise all of you would have gone your separate ways. It is hard to leave your family and work abroad but then as all of us Filipinos know that by making all the sacrifices of leaving our family is the only way, we can help and improve our lives in PI. Well written hub.

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        5 months ago from Philippines

        Thank you, Mary Ann, for sharing your story. I watched Maalala Mo Kaya last night and the story seemed the same as what you and many others experience as OFWS and their families. In such situations, there must be self-less love in order to make relationships right.

      • profile image

        Mary Ann 

        5 months ago

        My mother worked in Riyadh for 26 long years. I remember crying everytime she leaves not only when I was a kid but until I was in college. The struggle of being away from my mom and understanding why she had to do it is real and painful. Luckily, I am one of the OFW children whose father was not a delinquent, and I am always thankful for that.

        As soon as I got my professional nurse license and had enough experience, I was given the opportunity to work in the same hospital with my mom. And it was then and there that I truly understand her.. My heart broke when I saw my old sneakers in grade school that my mom still use for her shifts. Her small feet were already swollen and callous but she never bought a new one just so my siblings and I can have a new pair of shoes everytime she comes home for vacation. And that is just one of the many other tremendous sacrifices she faced everyday away from her family and living with a small portion of her salary so we can finish our education and have a good life in the Philippines.

        All the hurt I felt growing up was replaced with an overwhelming love and pride for my mom. Yes, she was not physically with me but I know that there was never a day in her life that she stopped caring and loving me. She left her family and became an OFW with one purpose, and she faithfully fulfilled that until all of her kids are now earning and living the life she wanted them to have. And my father also faithfully waits for his wife to return home to him after all the years.

        I dont care what others say and think. My mom choosing to be an OFW was never a mistake. I thank God for having such loving, faithful, and resilient parents.

      • profile image

        gian carl 

        7 months ago

        hi to all im so happy for you.

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        6 years ago from Philippines

        yazmine, you did not finish what you were saying. But I agree with you that a mom leaving the children to work abroad can be a mistake. But for many, they feel they have no other choice to help their family earn. So, children are left and hopefully would learn to understand why their mom did so.

      • profile image

        yazmine 

        6 years ago

        leaving your children behind to work abro

        ad was the biggest mistake a mother had done bcoz in the end they not are

      • htodd profile image

        htodd 

        6 years ago from United States

        Thanks a lot for this nice hub ..Great

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        @Lita, you and your husband knew what you really wanted for your family and you kept focused on your goal (of building a house) and I think that is important for many OFWs to consider especially if they want to keep the family together.

        We just had our vacation in the Philippines, and am glad that the gap with Mom seem to be a thing in the past. Thank God.

        God bless you for reading this hub and leaving your thoughts.

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        @Thelma, you are right that many OFWs experience what you have described. I wish that issues like these are not happening but they do. I'm really thankful that God has kept our family together.

      • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

        Lita C. Malicdem 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        Terrific hub, Chin Chin! My late husband was also an OFW. I allowed him because we wanted to build our own house. My 2 daughters were only aged 2 and 5 years then. I was a working Mom. Among the first few things Dad sent us were a tape recorder and a camera (with film those days) and every night at bedtime, I recorded our conversation, took pictures and sent them on regular intervals to Dad. There was an exchange of tapes and pictures that connected us together. We had paid phone conversations and spent a lot but it was rewarding. We didn't miss each other so much. Once the house was built, of course he left his job abroad and chose to become a government employee. He was a mechanical engineer.

        Reading your outpouring, I would have been guilty had I not done what I did. Now that you are a mother yourself, I encourage you to bridge the gap with your Mom, there's so much time to do just that. Love and bless!

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        7 years ago from Germany

        Hello, Chin chin. I have met a lot of Filipinas who are working abroad. They worked hard and suffered a lot only to give their family a better future.Some of them are exploited by their husbands who are left in the Philippines to take care of their children. Some of the husbands are having a happy life in the Phils. and spending the money their wives send every month by having another women.

        You are lucky, your family survived. God bless you and your family. Great Hub.

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        Thank you torconstantino.

      • torconstantino profile image

        torconstantino 

        7 years ago from Maryland

        wonderful post - voted up and awesome! Thanks for sharing!

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        Hi JaimeDawn76. I pray that you will have a close relationship with your daughter. There may be times that your relationship with her will be challenged but I pray that God will see it through.

      • JaimeDawn76 profile image

        Jaime Dawn Thompson 

        7 years ago from Oregon

        I have a daughter whom I strive to continue to have a close relationship with. How heart breaking it would be to have to move away and continue a long distance relationship with her for any length of time. Mothers are truly a gift from God as are daughters. What an inspiring, eye opening piece of work.

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        Thanks Lorlie6 and crystolite for your kind remarks.

      • crystolite profile image

        Emma 

        7 years ago from Houston TX

        GOOD WORK BY CHIN CHIN.i enjoyed it a lot.thanks for sharing.

      • lorlie6 profile image

        Laurel Rogers 

        7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

        Beautiful work, Chin chin. Family is so incredibly important!

        Thanks so much for writing this.

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        It was difficult as a growing up girl to be away from my mom. Though I am my Daddy's girl, there are just some stuff that are "girl" things that I cannot talk about with my father.

        Heart4theword, I am glad that our family also had the a happy ending though it had its ups and downs by God's grace. Blessings to you, too.

      • heart4theword profile image

        heart4theword 

        7 years ago from hub

        My heart felt your need, as a child to be with your Mother and your Father. I am so glad too, that in your case she was able to be home again. Your family together, not torn apart in divorce or affairs. Always nice to have a happy ending:) Blessings to you and your family!

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        Thanks Monisajda for the compliments and vote up.

        My mother did make a difficult decision; I can't make the same decision as she did. Thank God, we are now in a different circumstance.

      • Monisajda profile image

        Monisajda 

        7 years ago from my heart

        What a beautiful piece of writing. And what a difficult choice your mother had to make. Voted up and beautiful!

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        Tamarajo, it is indeed a blessing that God saw us through the difficulties.

        I think that moms or dads have their own unique way of showing how they love their families. Most would do anything for the sake of family.

        Thanks for reading and leaving your thoughts.

      • Tamarajo profile image

        Tamarajo 

        7 years ago

        What a difficult situation for your family when you were young. How blessed the family survived.

        You are right ideally it would be better for a better economy where such a thing would never be necessary.

        I liked the contrast and comparison of how you and your mother chose to love and sacrifice for your families.

        A beautiful reflection

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        It's a sad truth about the Philippines, Ddraigcoch. Poverty is the major reason why there are many Filipinos working all over the world in search of greener pasture. However, it is also one of the things that contributes to the great strength and endurance and the many other good attributes of the Filipino people. I just wish we could have the good without having much of the bad.

      • Ddraigcoch profile image

        Emma 

        7 years ago from UK

        I have seen how poor the Philippines are, there was a documentary on television in the UK last week. It made my heart break. I wish any one who has to struggle that way all the best luck in the world xx

      • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

        Chin chin 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        Ddraigcock, sometimes, it really is out of necessity. Many families have to choose between staying together but living a very poor life or living apart but having a more comfortable life. I guess it also depends on what the family would prioritize.

        Thanks for reading.

      • Ddraigcoch profile image

        Emma 

        7 years ago from UK

        It is a shame that some families can no just live as a family unit. Or that some take it for granted.x

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