I have been a mum for over 11 years but this time is a completely different experience.
I have a husband now, but due to COVID-19 I am unable to be with my family in the Philippines where I have my “village” of support. I have four siblings, my mum and a lot of aunties and uncles from both sides of my parents. My mum has three siblings and my dad has 10.
It has been me and my husband through everything –from pregnancy until now–and it has been good. I am very blessed and thankful to have a very supportive and loving husband.
The Struggles Of A Travelling Working Mum
We managed to go through all the challenges we faced, especially the high cost of check-ups for me and my baby because as a non-Singaporean citizen I had no subsidy at all. Plus, the Grab hitch each morning to work (my husband was worried I would get infected if used train or bus).
Now the time has come and I have only two weeks to go before I get back to work. I am a bit worried because I need to leave my daughter for more than eight hours every weekday with my husband’s auntie.
I am thankful that she is willing to give her time and energy to take care of my daughter, even though she also has her teaching job. Even with this blessing, I can’t help but feel like I am not ready to leave my daughter for that long. (She’s two months and two weeks old now).
From Dubai to Singapore
With my first daughter, I was with her until she was 11 months before I went to Dubai to work so it was quite a long bonding time with her before I left her, although I was also working since after one month of giving birth, I was there every day.
The reason I was so eager to get back to work was because of our families’ financial struggle. When I found out I was pregnant, I resigned from my job. Plus, I was already going to Singapore to find a job, and had got my approval from Singapore government that time. But I guess god really have a different plan for me.
From then on, my mum raised my daughter so I could provide financially, since I was a single mum. I didn’t want to depend on my father to finance my own daughter’s needs, even though he was willing to help me.
Living Away From Family
It was one of the most difficult parts of my life, not only because I was so far away from my daughter, my family, and my friends; but because it was also my first time going to a different country with totally different culture, time zone and weather.
I only stayed for a year in Dubai. After that I took a one month annual leave and while on vacation to Singapore, I took a chance of finding a job. Luckily, I got one in a week. So I thought it was a sign and I was meant to work in Singapore.
Ever since I started working in Singapore (back in 2013), I’ve only gone back to the Philippines once or twice a year, because the annual leave here is usually fourteen days. I’ve worked here in Singapore for almost nine years.
I want to do things differently for my second daughter
Every moment that I sacrificed for my first daughter to provide for her needs is the reason I wanted to things differently this time.
I wanted to be able to be with my daughter more and stay home with her since now my husband can provide financially. And, I don’t want my second daughter to grow up without me beside her and feeling that I don’t love her.
Also, hopefully I will get my first daughter here as soon as we have our own house. Although another problem is that she doesn’t really want to live here, but that is a different topic altogether.
This is the ideal, but there’s a lot to consider, especially my mortgage in the Philippines that I still have six years to pay. We are getting a house soon here in Singapore, so we need more money for renovations, we are waiting for my Permanent Residence application so having a job will give me a better chance I guess, but nobody really knows how they approve or reject.
So the reality is I need to sacrifice my ideal for now.
I pray that we get through all the challenges we will face as a family and be reunited with my daughter soon and visit my family and friends in the Philippines. Even though I wish I was there before my papa passed away. Another sad story for a different day.
Anyway, I put my trust in Allah and His plans for me. Till the next episode of my crazy journey of parenthood.
This article was written by VIP Parent Joanna Cerdena for theAsianparent.