As a first time mom I went through changes, challenges, and problems new to me but what makes it more difficult is I have to work on weekdays away from my child and then go home on weekends to be with her. There are rare instances too when I don’t go home one weekend to catch up and balance the other part of my life or else I’ll go crazy with stress, exhaustion and pressure from everything I am trying to juggle all at once.
I’m lucky I have my mother to look after my child when I’m not around but I still feel the guilt of not being there when she is sick or see her milestones as she grows up. I won’t say I don’t have a choice that’s why I ended up in this situation. No, I made the choice to work hours and hundred of miles away from my daughter for practical reasons. Career-wise not so much, benefits, necessity and salary—yes. Opportunities in the province is not at par with what companies offer in Metro Manila. I am working on a BPO company for almost 10 years, long before I had my daughter, it’s not an option for me to resign yet because I need the job to provide for her.
But there are really those days when I can’t tamper the feelings of anxiety, guilt and the mom-zilla in me. The nagging questions of how can I find a work-life-family balance in this kind of situation and if I’m doing the right thing or if I am a “good” mother are so hard to answer. Sometimes I just want to print that resignation letter and submit it without second thoughts. Yet, sanity is holding me back. I have my plans; I don’t see myself spending 5 more years away from my family. It’s not just the right time yet.
Whenever I feel like this, I always wonder how moms working abroad get through it. I get to spend most weekends, holidays and leaves with my child but them they only see their family a month or two in 2-3 years. Their resolve is amazing. Sometimes I envy mothers who are stay at home moms, those who gave up their careers to rear their children. Every family is different, I know that—it’s just that when this feeling of inadequacy is gnawing me, I get consumed of self-doubt and questions.
The struggles of a long-distance mom are tougher than the struggles of a long-distance romantic relationship and the irony of this is, I do both.
– w.l, a.
One scene from the movie Shift resonates with me:
TL: Let’s have a brief introduction. Tell us your name and one thought that makes you happy. I’ll go first. My name is XXX and my happy thought is my partner and future hubby baby James.
Teammate 1: XXX. Family.
Teammate 2: XXX. My child.
Teammate 3: Trevor. Food.
Teammate 4: Estella. RESIGNING.
Teammate 1: …
Teammate 2: …
Estella: Joke lang! Money. Lots and lots of money!
ME: DITTO (on both resigning and lots and lots of money).