“Why did you chose to move to China in the first place?”
“Why did you even have the thought to leave your daughter in Indonesia?”
“You sacrifice your daughter to chase your dream job. That is so wrong!”
“You are so selfish, children needs their parents more than the money!”
“You are the worst parent ever!”
These are only a few sentiments I have received over the years, since the day I decided to work in China. I am happy that these sentiments doesn’t come from people who knows me well, so I don’t really pay attention to it. But, sometimes, no matter how hard I ignored it, it feels like there are a lot of people throwing bad remarks on me, without understanding the whole stories.
First of all, I was a single parent for 7 years, I married my husband last year in 2015. I have the responsibility to raise my daughter, being both Dad and Mom at once , providing her need, and contribute to the household as my Mom was not a working mother. Back then, I was working in a very supportive company, led by powerful and inspiring working mothers, for 2 years. However, as my daughter grows, her needs grows too. She have to start school and when I planned her entire education future expenses, I realized, I need to have an extra savings.
While I was searching for jobs in Hong Kong, I accidentally came across OPPO’s career ad in China, as I have been wanting to start a career in a consumer electronics industry so I decided to give it a try with a very little confident. They were looking for Product Support Engineer. I applied because I have confidence that techie-ness would win them over and I have been doing CRM anyways, but I had no idea how much was the standard salary of expats in China, so I did my research. Had couple of interviews then finally Carl Pei interviewed me, then few weeks later OPPO finally hired me. It was one of the best thing in my life and the story behind my Phoenix tattoo.
However, my happiness fade as soon as I realized it might means that I have to leave my daughter behind. I talked to my Mom and my Grandfather. Both of them were very proud and supportive, so I decided to go to work for OPPO in Shenzhen, China, leaving my daughter in the hand of my Mom.
Leaving my daughter behind is the worst part of working in China. There are so many times I cried just because I miss her and that awful guilty feeling is always creeping inside of me. Yes, it is possible to take my daughter to live with us here, but do you really think its fair for her? She loves her school, her friends, her life in Jakarta. Here in China, she will have to adjust herself to a new school, friends, surroundings, culture and everything else, in such a young age, just to satisfy my needs to be around her. That is unfair for her.
For me, I would rather sacrifice my own happiness, of being with my daughter, than taking her away from what makes her happy. As a mother, I would rather communicate with her through Skype or calls on daily basis, than seeing her having hard time adjusting herself in China. Let’s face it, what kind of mother feels “fine” to live miles away from their children? Being a working mother is already tough, now add the guilty feeling and separation anxiety part that I endures on daily basis, I should be in a mental hospital already!
But, despite of what other people thinks of me and my decision, I still here in China to work and my daughter is my biggest motivation. We would call each other everyday and she would tell me her happy stories and reminded me not to worry about her as she understands that both of her parents are working for her future. We even managed to come home to surprise her on her 8th birthday!
For me, the best way to get through this is by trying to see it in a positive way. Having my daughter apart from me now, push me to be super focus on my job and self enhancement, because if not, I would be drowned in a sea of tears and depression which is a complete waste of my time being apart from her here. The other thing is that there will be hard times at work and all it takes for me to go through it, is to think of why am I here in the first place and all the things I have endured to be here. Having my daughter apart from me, makes me indestructible.
Nothing great comes easy, all I have right now is my faith on God and the belief that I am doing the right thing and that we will be able to unite and live as family soon according to God’s time. Whether this makes us a bad parent, well I hope not, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. Me and my husband don’t really have time to think about other people’s opinion, we have so much to do to ensure our daughter and future kids, gets the best of life, so it doesn’t really matter what you think of us and of me as a mother 🙂