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I am so confused which is why I’m seeking your advice.  Every one in my family, and this includes my husband, my parents, my in-laws and my siblings, want me to take up the job offer as a nurse in a hospital in London for a contract of three years.  The reason is economic:  salary is very attractive.  My husband is presently jobless and he can be both father and mother to our three children, aged 12, 9 and 2 years.  Right now, my salary in a Makati hospital and as a private nurse to an 86-year old bedridden woman, are not enough to make ends meet.

I’m deeply torn because I can not bear to leave my three children and live so far away from them.  Will my being absent for 3 years affect their development?  I can talk to them by cellphone and even see them via webcam.  Will this suffice?  And what about my husband?

Mrs. Desperate Mother

About a year ago. I received a similar email from a married woman with children and who was also torn between a job in the Middle East and a job here.  The advice I gave to her will have some semblance with the advice I’m going to give to you now.

You are really desperately in need of someone to make up your mind for you, perhaps to tell you, “It’s OK.  Get that job.  Your kids will be OK for three years.  Your husband, too,” perhaps from a professional in psychology.   As you talk with OFWs who had gone and had come back, you will get different advices.  At the end of the day, however, so the saying goes, you will be the one to make the decision.

Despite the very attractive compensation, there are three things that make you uneasy about taking the plunge to work as a nurse in London: your children, your husband (though he is encouraging you to go), and your own mental and emotional health.

You can be sure that your absence from your children at this stage in their life will have a great psychological effect on their growth and development.  They realize that they are not your priority, although you may rationalize, as do all OFWs, that it is because of love for them that you are making the big sacrifice of being away from them, to earn big money.  They will feel abandoned, neglected and rejected by, and lonely for, a mother.  How will they cope with these feelings?  To whom will they run to if they need a mother?

You will cope, just like other OFWs, by giving them money and material things in order to assuage your guilt feeling.  What will having a lot of money to buy the latest cellphones, ipods, clothes, etc. do to their character development?  Having a lot of material things without working for them will affect their values and their motivation drive.  The children who grow up with out parents, particularly a mother, end up with poor grades and behavior problems in school, drug problems, sexual promiscuity, out-of-marriage pregnancy, etc.

You are also concerned about your husband.  You ended your email with a seemingly simple question that leaves much to the imagination.  Will he remain faithful to you, is this what you want to ask?  To whom will he turn if he needs a wife?  There are many cases of broken families among OFWs.  The spouse left behind invariably seeks another person to fill the needs that only a spouse can give.  Also, your husband can only be a father to your children, but he can not be a mother to them, too.

And what about your peace of mind?  Will you be happy and enjoy tranquility if you are worried about what’s going on with your children and with your husband here, even if you can speak to them, and perhaps see them via a webcam?

Need I say more?  My advice to you is pretty obvious.

With your nursing degree and actual experience as a nurse, perhaps you can wait awhile and look for an overseas job in Europe and in the USA that will enable you to bring your family – husband and children – with you.  The only way to preserve and keep a family is by being together.  I’ve known of many cases like these where the decision was to stay together and they did eventually get to  travel together, live and work abroad.

May God bless you and may His Spirit guide you in making the right decision now so you can have peace of mind.


Josie Santamaria