I've had both my kids since living here in Nepal, so despite brief stays in the UK when they were both born my experience of being a Mum is one of an expat Mum and I think in many ways it is not so different (although in many ways it is very different too), but we face a lot of the same mundane challenges. For example, at the end of lunch today I cleaned Mim up and sat her on the floor as I cleaned Sam up. Pulled out his chair so he could jump down and then went to clearing the table. But Sam slipped as he was getting down and banged his head on the table. So I'm sat on the floor cuddling Sam when I realise Mim is crawling around under the table eating what she can find (I only hope it is today's lunch and not yesterdays!) Once he has calmed down I get back to clearing up when Mim who is now pulling herself up on a chair slips and bumps her head, so I'm back on the floor, in the crumbs, cuddling Mim... sound familiar?
So on the surface a lot of what being a Mum is all about is no different whether I am in Nepal or the UK. But a lot of other things are different which impact on what it is like being a Mum here. One thing I have realised and learnt to appreciate since becoming a Mum is how much work it is, wherever you are. Don't get me wrong, it is amazing and I love it - most of the time! But being a Mum abroad is hard in a way that is not always immediately obvious; because you are doing it in a place that is not home, that is not "normal" for you, and this makes everything slightly harder, slightly more tiring - even if not always in a tangible way. Don't worry, I'm not looking for your sympathy, I just want to try and share how it is different. There are also many many advantages to being a Mum here. I have a local lady come in several days a week to help with house work. I can be a stay at home Mum without worrying about the stress this will cause on our finances. I have a great community of like minded Mums around to meet up with. My kids don't have the peer pressure and as many negative influences as they might face at home and Dan is just 5 mins away. I can pop into KISC if I need to (or for Sam to have a quick play in the sandpit) while he is at work and he doesn't have a long commute home to see us.
So why is this post for my mum. Well many of the expat families here have work out in rural areas of Nepal, and so husbands are regularly travelling for work, and due to bad weather or strikes they can get stuck out in the rural parts of Nepal for longer then planned, leaving Mum at home with the kids. This has made me appreciate even more the fact that Dan works a 5 min walk from home and very rarely has to go away for work. My Mum was not so lucky. We lived in Sri Lanka for 3 years when I was a teenager and my Dad had to travel a lot, all over Asia and back to the UK leaving my Mum at home with two teenage daughters who weren't very understanding to either of our parents on how hard this was for them. So this is for you Mum (and Dad) to say thank you for all the hard work. I get it now.