A few people have told me that I'm brave for living abroad with kids. Honestly, I don't consider myself brave at all.
I'm not going to lie, when Leticia was just a little baby I sat on our couch, in our home in China, crying over the loneliness I felt there; longing for those play dates and coffee mornings I thought went hand in hand with motherhood. When she was toddling around, I sat on the couch, in our Kuwaiti home, equally as upset about how lonely I was feeling. No, this time I cried harder because the loneliness hadn't subsided.
So I moved home to Ireland. I had friends and family there. I wasn't going to feel lonely. How could I? Reality struck when I realised that people have other things to do; jobs, social lives, their own families. As you get older, there are so many things filling up your daily schedule. It's not as easy to just hop into your car whenever you want to and go wherever you’d like to for hours on end.
So, yeah, loneliness also struck in Ireland. So did the tears. Tears of exhaustion from moving, tears of helplessness as I tried to set up mother-child groups to help other mammies that may too be feeling similar. Tears of failure when nothing came from those groups. China, Kuwait, and now the motherland. I thought it would be easier but it wasn't.
The truth is, no matter where you go, you cant escape this feeling. I am so envious of those mammies who are in a circle of friends also having babies or those mammies with siblings having babies along with them. Maybe they feel lonely too? Maybe it’s just as hard for them. Social media can be deceitful at the best of times.
What I’m trying to say is, moving abroad with kids, or having a baby abroad doesn’t make me stronger than another mother. It doesn’t mean that I have the ability to be resilient to all the struggles, fears or emotions that come with motherhood. It really doesn’t make me different than any other mother at all.
So no, I definitely don’t think I am brave. Not even in the slightest.
Let me tell you who I consider to be brave mothers …
1. The mammies who move abroad without their kids. The most selfless act. They do this to get their kids through school, to give their kids a better life than they had. Every cent they earn, goes home to their kids. I've worked with these mothers and, boy are they strong.
2. The mammies who are doing it all by themselves. Seriously, I salute you. You are true inspirations.
3. The mammies who choose to stay at home with their kids. That's 3 shifts at a full time job you're doing, Every. Single. Day. With the addition of having to be multi-talented in a variety of roles.
4. The mammies who go back to work. It's heartbreaking. I’ve been there and I’m about to do it again.
5. The mammies who continue to study. How? I can barely remember my kids names most of the time. “This one” has replaced their given names. Where and how do you retain all the knowledge.
You know what, why limit brave mothers to a list?. We are all brave. We are all strong. We are all fan friggin-tastic. Every day we face some kind of battle and we overcome it. Every day we wipe the tears from our kids’ faces as our heart breaks for them. Every day we make sure that they're A-Okay, forgetting that we also need to care for ourselves. And every day, every single day, we mother. We never give up on them, or ourselves. Not even on the bad days.
The next time you compare yourself to another mammy, thinking that you're not as brave, or as strong, or as glamorous, or as patient, or whatever else, remember that you're doing a great job. To be fair, none of us have our sh** together. Fact. Ain’t no one got time for that. Seriously, and I cannot stress this enough, we have no time!