Expat Seclusion, Motherhood and The Real Nitty Gritty of Raising A Child Without a Village.

Is it true what they say? Does it really take a village to raise a child?

I am nearly 12 months into taking motherhood by the basketballs and just trying to do my best at raising our son.

Today was one of those days where I just felt so alone in this.

Blogging/Instagram has been my sanity to keeping an identity for myself since moving to the UK. A way to connect and feel close to my family and friends back home. I don’t feel so lonely with all you guys. But as much as I wish you can’t pull me out of the house from your phone screen.

Here in England, I live in quite a secluded area and a lot of blogging work and friends live in or near the city which can be hard to find time to go to playgroups or meetups…or for a coffee as it’s a 40 minute drive…and with Weston it’s not exactly easy or predictable.

I woke up this morning.

Dressed, refreshed and ready to go, when I realised I had nothing to do. Normally my only option to get out of the house was to walk aimlessly about shops. I realised I was developing a bad habit to try to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t get bored and well in today’s case…lonely or sad. I normally feel guilty if I don’t take Weston to do something in the world once a day. But I was sick of wasting time and really tired of the same places…and walking around alone or going to the park alone.

I took Weston the little shop up the road from us and seen two mums with prams walking their kids around the neighbourhood, and as I sat there giving Weston some of my ice cream I looked at him feeling guilty he didn’t have many friends. I am his mother and I know right now I am all he needs but maybe it’s me that craves that sort of friendship?

What I wanted to do was to wake up this morning was to go visit my parents’ house, or go have lunch with my sister, go to a play date with my cousins and their babies. But I can’t do that. I don’t have someone who will just randomly show up in the afternoon to keep Weston and I company for a chat. I know plenty of people who would come over if I invited them.

This morning I just felt I needed to hear a knock at my door and my father or mother be on the other side, excited to see Weston.

I love all the people that have been so kindly inviting me to baby groups, coming over for a chat but I feel in a way that they pity me or it leaves me feeling how you would feel after a one night stand and you are left alone in the morning. Wondering.

Baby groups.

Gosh, they feel so lonely as well! Not intentionally but I don’t know how many times I’ve sat in the corner quietly and played with Weston socially and awkwardly afraid to strike up a conversation. Completely my fault but it’s like going to a strangers wedding. You want to go to have fun, but everyone knows each other and is dancing and your sitting in the back enjoying the free drinks. Well…baby groups to me is a free drink… an excuse to get out of the house so Weston can play with kids his age.

So, I often ask myself does it take a village to raise a child?

I love being a mama, and it’s the one thing I thought I’d be really good at in life.

Well, I try my best to be good at. It’s really hard to be good at anything. But when you feel alone you are constantly judging yourself and evaluating your parenting because when your the one with your child 24/7 and when your tired or sick and you just can’t call someone to help or give you a break… you feel like your braking too.

While I have my husband… he works and I am often left at home with Weston all day and Weston is nearly in bed when he comes home. I am not truly alone…I know that and it’s my problem I feel lonely!

I am an expat…an American expat who has a big ol American family back home. That big ol’ American family is the closest, strongest and most beautiful family I know. I crave the family Christmas parties, the new cousin arrivals…the birthday parties, the baby showers. All of which Weston will miss out on. He won’t have 20 cousins to play with or go run around with. His aunties won’t make his birthday cakes and his granddad won’t teach him how to throw a football. He won’t be American. And I’ve come to terms with that but I do feel bad he won’t grow up surrounded by so many people you won’t know who is who unless you write it down on a piece of paper. You can only do so much from across the pond and boy when he is in America, they do they spoil him like he never left. And for me, it feels so good knowing that just because we live in a different country…that doesn’t mean they love us any less!

Not only when you leave your home country, do you leave your family and friends…you are also trying to figure out “regular English” things as well.

Everything from how the health care system to now the school system works for children can be a bit strange.

The best way I could explain it is…imagine…

Your whole life you grew up knowing chocolate taste sweet.

Then you move to a different country and they tell you…”Yes, chocolate is sweet, but in England, it is ____”.

I am adapting for now unless they change Walkers crisps to Lays chips…then I give up.

I’ve had a lot of wonderful, kind and beautiful people here in England extend their hand out to friends. But nothing can replace the people that know you best, your family.

I have met other expat mamas…mainly who live in London. And while they know my heartbreak and have helped me with visa paperwork, very scary birth registrations abroad and “lonely mama support” they are not near enough me to give me what I crave…a band of friends who I can call family.

So if your an expat of any kind, or far away from family send me a message, I feel your pain! Hey, maybe you’re stuck in the country too!

And thank you to all my friends here who have helped me thru my pregnancy, hosted and came to my baby shower when you barely knew me… and to Georgina for helping me after birth when I was soaking in a t-shirt crying when my milk came in because I had no idea what was going on because no one actually told me that’s what happened and I laugh about it to this day.

Also to another friend, Jos who gave me great breastfeeding support! Telling me to tell anyone who doubted my boobie power to f*uk off 🙂 -the whole story of another day!

I am not afraid to admit I am not a perfect Mama. But damn doing it with just my partner and I isn’t exactly a walk in the park either.

I fantasised about being able to ring up my mom and dad and ask them to swing by and help out for an hour. But because I am a stay at home mom I don’t feel like I can ask for this or deserve this.

I feel ungrateful saying I am lonely but it’s the truth. I can have plenty of friends but I’ve only been here for 2.5 years and haven’t really bonded with anyone that I could say would pull me out of bed by my feet and make me smile on a bad day. That’s a lot of responsibility for a friend.

Our lives are here in the UK. My life is here, my husband and our son are here. This is my home.

Maybe we don’t need a village after all. After all, this time spend getting trying to get through it…we eventually do.

I eventually will.

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