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Why it can be hard to be an expat parent

I almost never regret choosing to live in Britain. It’s a great place. Sure, it’s pretty rainy, people drink tea with milk (sorry, I just…can’t), lots of sinks have two taps (because everyone wants the choice between scalding hot and freezing cold water) and people really love pantos for some reason. But I love this awkwardly charming country to bits. I love how people are always apologising for things that aren’t their fault. I love how there are bits of ancient buildings just lying around all over the place. I love the Victoria sponge. It’s truly the queen of all cakes.

But occasionally I miss America, especially now that I have the Popple. When you have a new baby, it’s important to have people around to support you through the crying and the pooping and the times when you wonder if you’re really cut out for this whole parenting gig. For most people, their family is their main support system – but my family lives an ocean away. Sure, we can talk through Skype and email, but it’s not the same as having a grandparent or uncle who lives down the road who can watch your baby for you while you and your partner go out for a meal that doesn’t have to be wolfed down in five minutes. Friends are fantastic, but only a family member would be willing to push your baby in a pram for two hours in the cold to ensure that she naps (thanks Mom!).

Popple in the pram with Grandma

The Popple’s grandparents have visited (or are soon to visit), but the distance and cost of travel means they can only come so often. We’d love to take the Popple to America to meet the rest of her extended family – especially her brand-new cousin – but we don’t think she’s ready for transatlantic travel just yet. At the moment, she doesn’t like to to do anything for more than 30 minutes, tops. A seven-hour plane journey? Forget about it.

I know we’ll be able to fly overseas when she’s a bit older. I know I have lots of friends who will help me out if I need it. But sometimes I still wish I could say, “Hey Mom? Can you come over and watch the Popple because she hasn’t slept all night and neither have I and I’m pretty sure there’s baby poop in my hair?”

1 thought on “Why it can be hard to be an expat parent”

  • I know that feeling. I’ve got in-laws not far away who are great, but it’s not the same. Don’t know if you’ve made the flight yet, but you can manage it. It will be a struggle at times (flight by myself for a family funeral with a 3 year old who wouldn’t sleep was by far the worst ever), but it does end. And you’ll never see the other passengers again.

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