Saturday, May 10, 2008

On Parenting

Parenting is the most important job on the planet next to keeping Gary Busey off the nation's highways. - Dennis Miller

Haligi nang tahanan. That’s what fathers are. Obligations include a roof over ones family’s head, food on the table and education for the children. Taking care of the children’s immediate needs and molding of their character are supposed to be the mother’s responsibility.

I grew up in that kind of environment. My father is the bread winner, always busy, even bringing his work home. A person present but presence never felt. But his dependable, a good provider. It was my mother who’s beside us most of the time. The reason why our affection is tilted more on her favor.

Living in a foreign land, with no one to depend on, this arrangement no longer applies. Everything must be shared, even parenting. We’re both father and mother to our child. I’ve my share of wiping off my daughter’s “poo-pooh”, mopping her “wee-wee” and cleaning her “aah-aah”. I’m her yaya, playmate and servant. Even her first word was “dadi”, much to my wife’s annoyance and perhaps envy.

I want to experience the joy and difficulties of a parent. I want to be there when she makes her first step, when she rides her first bicycle, when she receives her diploma. Someday she’ll leave us and have a family of her own. A time my wife dreads so much. At least I’ll have my memories. A wealth no one can steal nor will ever get lost (unless I get Alzheimer’s disease).

But for most OFWs, this responsibility is reversed. It’s the mother who travels to distant shores to work while the father stays home to take care of the children. They have to withstand those sleepless 12 hour shift and, for some, suffer silently the abuse of their employers. They have to quilt their motherly instinct to guarantee a bright future for their offspring. They have to forego the experience of seeing their children grow, to feel those little hands around their neck, to hear that delightful word “Nanay”. A memory desired so much that they’ll give anything to turn back the hands of time. To these kababayans I dedicate this short but sincere tribute.

Happy Mother’s day.


  1. Blogusvox, Yes we have the obligation to feed,clothe and protect them and to teach them to live in this world,both morally and materially. As they mature,our earlier success in teaching and providing them will make them increasingly independent of us and they will do whatever they want,we will have failed as parents if they continue to do what we want.

  2. ed v., we are all engineers in the family because my dad wants us to follow in his footsteps (kahit iba ang hilig ko). Pag laki nang anak ko, kung ano ang hilig nya, I'll support her all the way. Iba kung ang profession mo ay angkop sa hilig mo. Your job would be easy, kasi para ka lang naglalaro and success would be easier to achieve.