Hi, I am Glazel. I am a seafarer’s wife and a stay at home mom taking care of my two boys ages 8 and 6, respectively.
When I first met my then-boyfriend now-husband way back in the year 2000, he is already working as a seafarer. It was already his second contract working in a cargo ship. I was a graduating college student at that time.
A TEENAGER’S MINDSET
In my young mind, it never really occurred to me how difficult it is to be a seafarer’s wife. All I wanted at that time was only to experience having a boyfriend. During that time, being away from each other was an advantage for me rather than a disadvantage. I was just a young teenager who wanted to explore life. I was not looking for a serious relationship.
As the years go by, being in a relationship with him, I realized that being with a seafarer is not easy. Loneliness started to creep in, especially those times when communication technology was not yet advanced. Communication during our time was through snail mail. I used to write him a letter twice a week. Sometimes, he would call me through a satellite phone but rarely used it since it was expensive.
After 11 years of being in a relationship, we finally decided to get married. I got pregnant and gave birth after a year of marriage. When my eldest was two years old, I gave birth to my second child. During this time, I realized that we need to have a goal in terms of our finances. However, sharing with him my financial goals was not easy as well.
You see, when you are a seafarer, a lot is on your plate. Aside from thinking about your own family’s needs, you also need to cater to your sibling’s tuition, parents’ allowance, and other emergencies outside your household.
The financial issue is one of the aspects where conflict could arise. As a seafarer’s wife, I suggest that financial goals should already be discussed before marriage to avoid conflict.
A seafarer’s job is a contractual basis job. When a seafarer is not on-board, he doesn’t have an income as well. A seafarer may have a competitive salary but it is not a guarantee that it will sustain the family’s need during those times when he is waiting for another job contract. A seafarer will end up seeking help from financial institutions like banks or lending companies when savings are not enough during vacation. Once back on-board, he must pay these financial institutions otherwise interest would pile up. It will now become a cycle: work, pay bills, pay bills, and then work again. The sad part is, a seafarer cannot even afford to spend more time with his family because of this cycle.
As a seafarer’s wife, it is our task to help our husband get out of this cycle. As husband and wife, plan for your goals together. Let us not wait for their retirement age for them to stop working. As early as now, let us set our goal so our husband will finally be home for good.
I will end this blog with my favorite quote:
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
– To achieve the goals you have to be committed. That means never losing sight of what you want to achieve. You think about it when you wake up and you think about it before you go to sleep.
Blog written by: Glazel G. Enderez