Parenting across the countries: How OFW Handle Work and Family Responsibilities

Parenting across the countries: How OFW Handle Work and Family Responsibilities

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) play a pivotal role, contributing not only to their own families but also to the economy of their home country. However, behind the financial support they provide lies a challenging reality of managing work and family responsibilities from afar.


When OFW’s parents separate from their children due to distance, their influence on their children remains profound despite the physical separation. The path is even more difficult for overseas workers. Nevertheless, they may strike a careful balance between supporting their family overseas and fostering their connections from a distance. As they embark on journeys far from home in search of better opportunities, OFW parents carry with them the dreams and aspirations not only for themselves but also for the future of their children.


Let’s explore the complex situations that define the life of an OFW parent.


The Decision to Work Abroad

Deciding to work overseas is not simple for many Filipinos. Their decision often comes from their desire to provide better opportunities for their families, particularly in education, healthcare, and a more comfortable standard of living. This choice, however, comes with sacrifices, foremost among them being separated from their loved ones.


Managing Work Demands

After moving abroad, overseas Filipino workers encounter numerous obstacles in their careers. Long working hours, and sometimes challenging work environments are just some of the hurdles they must overcome. Despite these difficulties, they persevere, driven by the knowledge that their hard work will directly impact the well-being of their families back home.


Emotional Toll

OFWs often experience feelings of loneliness, guilt, and homesickness, particularly during significant events such as birthdays, holidays, and milestones in their loved ones’ lives. Coping with these emotions while maintaining focus on their work requires immense resilience and strength of character.


Technology as a lifeline

Fortunately, advancements in technology have made it easier for OFWs to stay connected with their families despite the physical distance. Unlike before, connecting with loved ones is difficult, and International calls and messages are very expensive. Today, video calls, and instant messaging like Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms serve as lifelines, allowing them to witness important moments in real time and provide emotional support from afar. However, these digital connections, while invaluable, can never fully replace the warmth of physical presence.


Financial Responsibilities

One of the primary motivations for working abroad is the opportunity to provide financial stability and security for one’s family. OFWs often send remittances to support their loved ones’ daily expenses, education, healthcare needs, and even investments for the future. Managing finances wisely becomes crucial, as they must balance their own personal needs with the needs of their families back home.


Nurturing Relationship from afar

Maintaining small familial bonds despite the distance requires conscious effort and communication. OFWs must actively participate in family decisions, provide emotional support, and foster a sense of unity despite being physically separated. Moreover, they strive to be present, if not in person, by sending thoughtful gifts like balikbayan boxes, letters, and messages to remind their loved ones of their unwavering love and dedication.


Cultivating Self Care

Amidst the demands of work and family, OFWs must not neglect their well-being. Cultivating self-care practices, whether through hobbies, exercise, or seeking support from fellow OFWs. It is essential for maintaining mental, emotional, and physical health. By prioritizing self-care, they can better cope with the challenges they face and continue to fulfill their responsibilities effectively.


Dreams of Reunion

The hope many OFWs have is that one day, despite all the obstacles and sacrifices, they will be reunited with their families. After ensuring a secure future for their loved ones, many had aspirations of permanently returning home. As they navigate the challenges of balancing job and family life overseas, this dream acts as a ray of hope for them. 

Ultimately, the life of a Filipino employed abroad is marked by a careful balancing act between obligations to family and job. They are devoted to supporting their loved ones and fostering close family ties while being apart.

They overcome the obstacles they encounter and go on to be the beacons of strength for their families and loved one.