During the last month I have had quite deep conversations with 2 different ladies who live in my area. Both of theses ladies are mums to young children and both have been considering working away from home.
Maki, the mum of a 2 yr old little girl, shares with me that she is thinking of going to sell food at a market a distance away from our town. At the moment she is a cook at her own restaurant and is able to spend her days with her daughter, Mii, when not cooking for customers. As I delved deeper into her reasons for this, she said to me that she would be able to make more money. I chatted to her about who would look after her child Mii, did she really need to make more money than she was making already, etc. In about a year Mii will go to Kindergarten, I suggested she enjoy the time with her daughter and consider postponing selling at this market until then.
Ying tells me, after she returned from Songkhraan, that the company she worked for in Bangkok have asked her to come back and work for them. She has two adorable little girls, aged 4 and 2. She gives me a number of reasons why this would be a good thing, but the main reason is that the money would be really good. I asked her who would look after her girls and how did she feel about leaving them? As I asked this, I realised how “unThai” I was being by asking such direct questions. Thankfully we have a good relationship and she understood that I was just asking because I cared. After a lengthy conversation she said that she thought maybe it would be better to stay and be here for her girls. I am grateful for this relationship and the opportunity to share with her about the significance of being a mum in the life of her children.
Both of these mums are committed to their families, but they feel that having lots of money and being able to give their children the best of everything would benefit them more than having their mum there caring for them. The Thai worldview is that with a good education their children will be able to achieve higher status within society, which is true. But, in my opinion, nothing is more important than having a family stay together and do life together. God is our provider and he will provide for all our needs. Neither of these families is poor, they both are cooks at restaurants they own. The underlying desire to work away from home is to accumulate wealth, which will be of benefit to them all, but at what cost?