Planning is my thing. I usually enjoy the feeling of knowing what is coming up. So, when my husband started talking about having a baby, he didn’t know that I had already planned this baby’s name and where he was going to college. (Yes, it was going to be a boy.) But what I really didn’t know was how challenging mothering in a foreign land was going to be.
40 weeks and four days later, in a foreign country, with my husband by my side and my mother on Skype, I gave birth to our first child. And… it was a girl!
That little girl is almost eight years old. She was the first one to teach me how to navigate the beautiful and crazy waters of motherhood. For a period of time, she was the only human with whom I was able to speak my language and whom I didn’t have to explain over and over the things Ecuadorians enjoy to eat and do. But she was also the one who pushed me to look beyond our own special circle and explore the foreign land to what she was going to call home.
2 Tips To Mother In A Foreign Land
Find a village
One of the things that has made a big impact in my motherhood away from my home country is finding a village. Being a mother is an exhausting work and can be really lonely so having a strong support network makes quite the difference.
Having a village makes it easier to face the bicultural conflicts and to adapt to new ways of doing things. It also allows you to learn about opportunities and resources that will benefit your family. It was a friend from church who told me about the amazing Spanish immersion program where my children now attend school today. It was also another friend who introduced me to the joys of Nutella frozen yogurt. (And you bet that made a difference in my earlier motherhood days!)
They said that it takes a village to raise a kid and I believe this is especially important when you are mothering in a foreign land.
Find Yourself As A Mother
Mothering in a foreign land has been an invitation to open to new ideas. It has helped me to see clearly the characteristics of motherhood from my own culture and to decide which ones I want to follow. Mothering away from home is another way to confirm that there is not a right or wrong way to be a mother.
I have found myself many times in a midst of voices and it has resulted much deliberation and has actually being an empowering process to decide what kind of mother I want to be. I know that playing “tiger mom” in the morning or “french mom” at dinner time won’t assure me healthy and happy kids and a healthy and happy me.
What will make a difference in my success as a mother is to know that I loved those babies deeply and tried my best to be the kind of mother that each of them need me to be. As a result, it really doesn’t matter if I am mothering in my homeland or a foreign land.
Have You Ever Mothered In A Foreign Land?