Contributed and written by F/A Mary Beth Benitez
Being a flight attendant and a mother to a 4-year old toddler is quite difficult…difficult in the sense that my daughter’s understanding of my work which mostly take much of my time away from her, is still vague. When she was born, I thought of ways to make her understand that my job entails that I need to be away from her for several days as it is necessary for me to earn a living so I could provide for her daily needs.
In the process of making her understand this kind of situation, I have adapted a routine of talking to her at bedtime so she could share with me the activities that she had in school, the friends that she interacted with, her time with her playtime buddies, assuring her that everything that had transpired during the day can be articulated to me in strict confidence, that I could be someone whom she could share her glee and frustrations with, without feeling afraid or ashamed. She could be candid in confiding in me, as if we’re just best friends. This helps, too, in developing her EQ.
When she was 2 years old, it was always a struggle for me to leave the house without her crying hard, as if it was her only way to make me stay. It was indeed painful for me to see her that way, so to ease the pain a little bit, I would explain to her the reason why I would have to go to work. For me, it was necessary to make her understand, so I would allot a time for us to talk. At most times she would listen, with a little crying of course, and eventually give in by nodding her head as if she truly understands. Only then can we finally say our temporary goodbyes. Some parents resort to having their kids get busy with playing, watching tv or on their gadgets then hurriedly leave the house without thier kids’ idea. This type of leaving for work is never effective. It is better to endure the pain everytime, rather than trying to “escape” from them.
As a parent, I always see to it that when I’m away, I take responsibility in checking on her through video calls and CCTV monitoring. It helps that with the latest technology today, flying parents are secure in the thought that their loved ones are always accessible by just a click away, making a voice or a video call at a time most convenient for them, just to check on their loved ones’ whereabouts.
As one of the moms who are constantly away from their respective family as warranted by their job, I could only smile and give each flying mom a pat on the back for a job well done, both as a productive member of the cabin crew and as a responsible mother of lovely and loving children.