Moving countries as a mom is more demanding because you are not just trying to adapt to a new environment, but also trying to help your child (or children) adapt to the new environment. The age of your child determines how much effort you would put in to cope as a mom in your new environment.
Relocating with three kids under the age of 6, these seven points have helped me cope;
Research for schools
It would be better to research on schools before leaving for your next adventure. Narrow your search down to three or five and contact the schools, letting them know you are not yet in the country, and give them a probable date of arrival. With this as a mom, you are sure that your child would not be out of school, and that you would not be overwhelmed with this decision when you arrive.
Live in family friendly environment
This is very important to allow you and your family settle in very fine and easily. As a mom, you would want your kids to be safe while playing and expressing themselves. The house/apartment should not be so far from the school. There should also be a play area and other amenities needed by families in the neighbourhood.
Depending on the age of your child or children, it is better to host and attend playdates. This would enable your child to socialize and make friends. It would also enable you to get to know your child’s friends. If your child’s still a toddler or a baby, this would also be an opportunity for you to socialize with other moms, and learn how they are coping with the sleepless nights 🙂
Join Mom support groups
This goes a long way to help you settle in your new environment. You can always learn from other moms experiences, and also ask any questions you might have as a mom. Since you are new to the environment, these moms are always there to tell you where to find products you might be looking for, and good substitutes if you can’t find you specific brands, best schools, hospitals and even parenting tips.
Have a “Me time”
It can sometimes be overwhelming adjusting to a new environment, and also being a mom. It is advisable to have a “me time” (as I prefer to call it), to keep your sanity. Your “me time” should be something you love doing, which distresses you. It could be pampering yourself, resting, going to the movies, coffee time out with friends, girls night out etc. If you make out time for yourself, you would be strong enough to take care of someone else.
Communicate a lot
Having constant communication with your child would help you find out how they feel about their new environment. Ask them how they feel about their new school, the teachers, if they have made friends etc. Communication goes beyond asking them these questions. It also requires making out more time for them, and showing them you care about their feelings. This would help them not to hold back from you, and you would be able to know if they need your advise or help.
Don’t feel too guilty
It is very natural as a mom to always feel guilty that you are not doing enough, and you keep trying to be better. As an expat mom, this feeling is more. You blame yourself for everything (and even for things you can’t help), if the weather is bad you blame yourself, if your child is taking time to adapt to the environment you blame yourself …and the list goes on. Try to do the best you can to make settling down easy for you and your child, but don’t weigh yourself down.
Being a mom should not stop us from living our dreams. It only makes us more accountable and stronger. Yes, we can do it.