The story of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) is a favorite in the Philippines. There are over ten million OFWs scattered worldwide, all of whom are doing their best to survive and thrive in countries far from their motherland. While some enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, others put themselves in that situation because they need to provide for their respective families. The breadwinner, usually the most hardworking and responsible person in the family, might struggle to find high-paying jobs in the Philippines. With a lot of responsibilities, there is pressure to earn enough to feed everyone. While parents usually play the role, the eldest child might also have to become an OFW.
There are plenty of success stories to inspire other OFWs, but the journey usually comes with a lot of heartbreak. Filipinos suffer from homesickness, especially being away from family and friends for what seems to be the rest of their lives. Familial relationships might deteriorate because of the physical distance. OFWs need their families for inspiration and vice versa. If you find yourself in the same situation, here are a few tips to help you make your family feel loved despite being in another country.
Always Open Communication Lines
The heartbreaks start with OFWs knowing that there is a lot of distance between them and their respective families. In a country that prioritizes family over everything, being away from your loved ones will always be a recipe for sadness. However, moving abroad to take on a job is a common theme in the Philippines. When a family depends on a single person for income, a career in the country might not offer much for the average employee. Countries that boast higher currency value like the US, Singapore, and the United Kingdom provide higher pay. An average salary in international waters can be massive in the Philippines. OFWs sacrifice being with their loved ones to ensure that they survive at home.
But it might come with a cost for some OFWs. The physical distance could damage relationships, making it challenging to connect with their parents, spouse, children, or siblings. Fortunately, there is a chance to prevent the damage from getting out of hand. OFWs and their loved ones must always maintain communication, a necessary part of the relationship. The time difference might become a problem. However, it might be an inconvenience that both sides can adjust to with ease. Digital communication channels also made it possible to connect with loved ones wherever you are, which means the commitment to open communication might be the only thing missing.
Share Some Gifts
Providing financial support is the primary reason why OFWs have to endure being away from their loved ones. The cost of living in the Philippines might be high for a family. But most Filipino families are massive groups, with some extending to ten or more members. With so many mouths to feed, the average OFW has to sacrifice their lifestyle to send enough money for all of them. It is the standard routine, but it might not be enough to make their respective families feel loved.
Young children, in particular, prefer having their mom and dad stay home. OFWs miss a chunk of their loved ones’ lives, which might be enough to alienate their relationship. If children want to feel that your presence in their lives is beyond financial support, throwing in a few meaningful gifts could be enough.
Balikbayan boxes are popular among OFWs, with each set filled with souvenirs and requests from loved ones. But it is common for OFWs to encounter challenges with Philippine Customs. OFWs must know the balikbayan box price to ensure that the care packages arrive for their respective families.
Create a Long-term Plan
OFWs enter the heartbreaking situation knowing they have to accomplish it for their respective families. Still, plans might change. Many OFWs cannot handle the physical distance and isolation, choosing to abandon their responsibilities to their families to live a comfortable life abroad. Preventing it from happening requires a combination of dedication and action, which starts with a long-term plan. Visits during special occasions, birthdays, and holidays might be enough to keep OFWs motivated to stay with the course. Eventually, their tenure abroad has to end. Once that moment arrives, reuniting with their families would be the best part of the OFW success story.
OFWs are heroes in the Philippines, sacrificing their lives to ensure that their respective families get the life they deserve. Still, it can be easy to stray away from the original purpose. Part of your efforts should be maintaining the family relationship, and making them feel loved will always be the top priority.