Working Abroad, Deprived of My Kids: How to Cope?

02 June, 2021
Q My family is in my homeland. I am working abroad. I meet them once in two years for four months. I have two kids: one is 7 years old and the other is 4 years old.

I feel so sad that I have been missing my dear kids in their young age. God has given kids as a blessing on this earthly life. I am no more capable to live away from them, but the company where I work won't send me for vacation every year.

Though my wife is a noble lady, I fear that father absence can have some negative influences on my kids. This thought makes me unhappy each and every day of my life.

In this sad situation, how can I find happiness dear sister? Please explain to me. May Allah reward you! Ameen.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•You can develop a routine with your wife and your children so that you are having a family life if you are creative, persistent, and consistent.

•You can start looking for work in your homeland while you are working for your current company. You will want to make financially wise decisions in today’s unpredictable world.

•If it is possible to have them move in with you, that would be helpful. Explore all of your options. You might even find another job in yet another country, but be able to make enough money so that your family can move and be with you.


As-Salam ‘Alaykum brother,

This is a very difficult situation and you are not alone. The longing in your heart to be with your children and to watch them grow up is naturally very strong. If you are working for the purpose of providing for your family, then you are, indeed, an honorable man.

Is it possible for you to bring your family to the area where you are working, either to live or to visit until you can see them again?

Today is a day where so many of us must work away from our families. Indeed, that is my situation as well, therefore I can truly relate to the loneliness and hardship of missing someone. We go to work daily to provide for our families’ needs and go home only to be alone while our families continue to grow and change.

We get to do the work, but we don’t get to be part of the family. It is, indeed, hard. I know what it is like to miss out on that, and I also understand your concerns that you children don’t get time with their loving father- you.

We must remember to pray and ask Allah for guidance and to bring our loneliness and our tribulations to Allah. Bring your broken heart to Allah.

Remember, many people believe that if they follow the path of Islam and are obedient to Allah, this earthly life will be without pain, sorrow, and suffering. But this is a myth and those who are preaching this are misguided.

As long as we have a soul that is in need of spiritual growth, Allah will put us in situations that will facilitate that growth. This experience, my dear brother, is a test and a learning experience.

It is an opportunity to get closer to Allah as you are becoming aware that you have intense needs, and Allah is the only one who can comfort you and help you right now.

Working Abroad, Deprived of My Kids: How to Cope? - About Islam

Complete contentment will come to you in time, but it is a state of being, a state of consciousness that is a result of faithfully traveling this path of striving, seeking, searching, growing, learning, and developing our souls while on the spiritual path.

If you can understand this, then you will have this seed of contentment inside your heart, and when you feel depressed, scared, lonely, intense, anxious, etc., you will have an awareness of this contentment inside you, even if you cannot experience it fully at the moment.

Working Abroad

This is the strengthening of Iman (faith). It will get you through with the help of Allah who put this seed inside you. In knowing that all is from Allah and that we each have our portion, no more and no less, our anxiety level will decrease and contentment will replace our worry, fear, and sadness.

pledge

So, walk through your day with this awareness, keep up with your prayers so that you increase this awareness, and make your ultimate goal to be closer to Allah and to be guided by Him.

As the head of your family, this is your first duty as you are the one who will lead your family and guide them. You are the Imam of your family. They will learn from your example and from what you teach them.

With that said, there are some things you can do for now to make life a little easier. We are developing virtual communities at an exponential rate. So, get yourself a webcam and get your wife and children a computer and webcam, too, if at all possible.

Have your wife develop a set schedule that works with your work and the children’s schedule. Then, make it a point to spend time with your children.

For example, every night before they go to bed, if at all possible, even if it is only 10 minutes per child in order to say a du’aa’ (supplication), and send them a hug and blow them a goodnight kiss.

One night a week, you can have Qur’an night where you read Ayats (verses of Quran) to them and you make du’aa’ together as a family.

Constantly send your wife words of inspiration and make it a way of life to be with her daily, talking about the children, and living as a family, even though you must use the computer for now.

Even if she is adept with Islam, she will likely appreciate your taking the spiritual leads as a man who is a husband, a father, and the head of the household.

Make your presence in the home of your family be felt and teach Qur’an. Teaching is the best way to learn, so do not be shy. This will give your wife and children the feeling that they are protected by you. Make sure they know you pray for them and then do pray for them.


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You can develop a routine with your wife and your children so that you are having a family life if you are creative, persistent, and consistent. You can even have a meal with your family.

It may seem strange at first, but one of the most bonding activities that we humans do is sharing a meal together. So, you can coordinate your time zones and try to have on meal a day with your family.

It is ok if all you have is tea while they are eating their meal. But you will be there in the home via webcam, talking with them, and bonding with them. Calling PC (personal computer) to PC is free, and so is webcam.

Finally, you can start looking for work in your homeland while you are working for your current company. You will want to make financially wise decisions in today’s unpredictable world. Emotions can cause us to seek immediate gratification.

This is why you must start communicating with your wife daily so that you can balance your emotions and mutually make wise decisions for your future and for your children’s future.

If it is possible to have them move in with you, that would be helpful. Explore all of your options. You might even find another job in yet another country, but be able to make enough money so that your family can move and be with you.

The main point here is to open your mind and heart to exploring all options and then pray to Allah for guidance.

Indeed, we live in a new and strange world where this shift in thinking will be vital to our survival. Once you are presented with an alternative or new option, pray Istikharah.

You and your family are in my heart, and I will make du’aa’ for you. May Allah be with you always.

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About Maryam Bachmeier
Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant in the areas of mental health, cultural, and relationship issues.