It’s no secret. Life in Lebanon is expensive..and.. let’s be real..salaries are shit..
I’m reminded of this almost on the daily.. as I tally and re-tally my expenses versus my budget, taking into account all of the unforeseen costs that have creeped up on me that month..trying in vain to find a way to save. (If you know anything about my..I’m a compulsive saver..and planner..amongst other things.)
All this to say, I know firsthand that it’s ALMOST impossible to ‘make it’ in Lebanon without the support (both financial and emotional) of your family. Hence why most people live at home till their married, come to work with home cooked food..depend on their family to help them with practically everything..etc etc..
But we know all of this already, right?..and we know about the resultant brain drain this hard-to-accept actuality has caused. What was the latest figure? 4 million Lebanese in Lebanon, and 20 million abroad? Yeah, there’s a reason for that. And I understand it. If I was a Lebanese male with no prospects for growth in Lebanon, who didn’t come from a privileged family, I would’ve hopped on a plane the day I received my university diploma.
But alas, I digress. The point of this post was not to point out the obvious, but rather..to delve a bit deeper into another issue I have a lot of questions about: the increasing number of mothers/wives and children who are staying behind in Lebanon while fathers/husbands go abroad to work in Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Gulf.
Now, I’m well aware that this isn’t the case for everyone in Lebanon, but more and more..I’m meeting people who live with this reality, and have done so since they were very young. I’ve even encountered some people who were raised entirely by their grandparents while their parents toiled away in the Gulf. (I can name about 15 people off of the top of my head who fall into one of these two categories.) And while I think that this is an admirable move which requires a tremendous amount of sacrifice..I can’t help but think..what’s the point of having a good “material” quality of life (most of the people who fall into these categories are amongst some of the wealthier people I know) without the emotional love/support/presence of BOTH of your parents? (No, the ever-present extended family doesn’t count here.)
Not to mention how this affects both adults involved. What type of life is it to live away from the one you love..the one you married? I sure as hell couldn’t do it. If my husband and I didn’t have the financial means to provide for children I, 1. wouldn’t have children or 2. would move my family to wherever my husband/I got a great job that would allow us to provide for our family. Plain and simple.
Where am I going with this?
Well, as my generation “comes of age” so to speak..I’m interested in knowing how you all feel about the topic.
Men, would you be ok with leaving your family behind while you work abroad, or would you insist that they come with you?
Women, would you be ok with staying behind while your husband works abroad, or would you insist that you and your children go with him?