I left my kids for greener pastures

Leaving your children and living in another country for ten years is something Qali did, and so have many other mothers. Why did she do it, you may ask? She wanted to give her children a better life. Qali worked as a nursing assistant but the money she was making was not enough for her to provide for her family the way she wanted to. She left South Africa in 2002 for Dublin and has been there for 10 years; she admits that there has been a huge financial change. She left behind her 5 kids and her husband. Asked her about her experience, she had this to say:

How did your kids take it when you left them?

My daughter was excited that I was going abroad but when her father joined me as well, she could not cope. She would sometimes call me crying and I decided to place her in a boarding school and she was fine. I explained to her why I was away and that she needed to get her life together. With my boys, their school results deteriorated and I realised that the change in the family situation was now affecting them.

Who looked after the family when you were gone?

My husband did not stay long, he came back to take care of the family. I trust him and I did not feel guilty that he was caring for the family as he is just as capable.

Any milestones you have missed with your children?

There is so much I have missed out on. I never got to attend my daughter’s graduation- family members filled in the gap for me. My sons filled my absence through their girlfriends, they also had babies and I think they were looking for motherly love in them. They have learned to be independent as well because I was not there.

How often did you see your family?

I see them once a year. When my daughter finished Grade 12 she came over for holidays.

If you were to start all over again, would you leave your family?

I wouldn’t, this is a lonely life. I miss my family. I would not encourage other mothers to do what I did. Maybe they can do it when the children are a little older- my children were young when I left them. They need to think of the children and what their decision could do to them.

How does your husband feel about you being away?

He does understand that this was a financially motivated decision and we discussed it. He came back but he was also with me.

What would you say to someone who asks you why you sacrificed your children for money?

I really would not know how to answer that question. I did what was the right thing to do at that time.

What is your message to your children?

I want them to study hard and make the most of the situation while I am still here, because the money I am making will not always be available especially since I am coming back home very soon.

When are you coming back?

In 2013 I am planning to come back and be with my family. I really miss them.

Read more by Masanda Peter

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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