Ten things that are BRILLIANT about my experience of being a faraway mum
I was chatting recently to a friend who, at seven months pregnant, is about to move many hundreds of miles from the place she and her husband call ‘home’. She is a little bit excited, and a lot terrified about what’s in store for her in the coming months. So I decided to make a list of some of the things that I love about being a faraway mum.
1. We get tons of quality family time together, without commitments to an extended friendship group or distant rellies. (No need to spend a whole Sunday enduring Great-Aunt Maud’s 80th birthday party – we have a foolproof excuse not to show up)
2. Because of #1, we’re really close as a family unit. We only have each other to rely on most of the time, so we have to make it work!
3. An extension of #2 – my husband and I get to try, and fail, and try again at the parenting game without unsolicited advice from well-meaning family. That was pretty scary at first, but has meant we’ve had to trust our instincts, and support each other, from day one.
4. When we do have family come to visit, they stay for more extended periods than they ever would do if we were at home. Our time together comes less frequently, but is better quality.
5. We are a holiday / vacation destination for the people we are closest to – and so we see the most relaxed and fun versions of them. (N.B. This does, however, put your waistline at a huge disadvantage – don’t kid yourself that you can indulge in the ‘who gives a shit’ holiday diet when you are hosting people ALL summer…)
6. We get to travel – with visitors, or by ourselves, as we will always have the excuse of needing to make the most of our time here. Our daughter has notched up more air miles in her first year of life than I did in my first two decades.
7. Being a new mum makes it way easier to make friends in a new place. Everyone is looking for allies to share adult conversation, endure baby playdates with (let’s be honest, there’s very little ‘playing’ in the early months) and late-night text about just how many sodding times the baby has woken up, and how little sodding continuous sleep you’ve had. This is extreme bonding territory.
8. Given that our daughter was born in the US, she will always be able to run for President. (She’ll also have to file American tax returns for her entire adult life but, let’s be honest, by the time she reaches 18 that’ll be her problem, not ours)
9. We will always have the excuse to celebrate more special occasions as a family. Going all out for Halloween and putting on a massive turkey dinner for friends and family at the end of November ever year will not be an indulgence – it’ll be part of our responsibility to honour the customs of the country of our daughter’s birth. (Remind me that this is a positive thing when I’m stressing about catering Thanksgiving dinner for 20 people a decade from now…)
10. Whenever we return home, we will always have had this unique and wonderful experience to start our family life. It’s just ours, and no one can ever take it away from us.
What did I miss? What do you love about being a faraway mum? Leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you!