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Tess could communicate instantly, with cheap calls, texts, and social media. Tess often knew what her daughters had eaten for breakfast, though she was 5,000 miles away. It came with a raise, which she used to buy them a computer.
Not all migrants have the same access to technology—or use it as avidly. Like many 2008 models, it had a gizmo called a webcam.
“It feels like Mommy’s not far anymore,” Marielle told me.
Leaving for London, one mother the scholars interviewed was so worried about being forgotten she made her children look at her Cesarean scar.
Many women who work abroad leave their children behind, often for years at a time.
No country has done more to promote migration than the Philippines, where the money migrants send home equals a tenth of the GDP.
Studying Filipino mothers in Britain, Mirca Madianou and Daniel Miller emphasized the sheer variety of options mothers had in an age of “polymedia.’’ Phone calls offered intimacy. Texts were ideal for saying something without having much to say; the chime says, “thinking of u.” Webcams appeal to young children—some mothers played virtual hide-and-seek.
Others took their daughters on online shopping trips.