How to Cope as an Ex-Pat Mother: Strategies For Coping with Homesickness

Mummy Confession: I miss my American friends and family all the time. And occasionally a few other things about my “home” country.

I was a teenager when I first visited what I now call home. I had no clue that the metric system would be an integral part of my future. I scoffed at science and math problems that had me calculate train collisions using meters per second speeds. Though, let me be honest, no one actually thinks in metres (yes, spelling!) per second here (or no one I have met thus far).

My story of how I came to live here is a tad long and filled with the a mushy story about how my man transversed oceans for my love- what a guy! So, we will skip that for now and just suffice to say, it wasn’t expected. And now, I find myself living a good 20,000 miles or so from my closest friends and half of my family, in a totally different world.

I can’t say that it’s been easy, but here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way to help cope with missing people and places you know and love. I’m sure these can be used for any mum, as I know well, motherhood can sometimes feel like a lonely place.

1. Connect

Whether it’s your local church, mother’s group, or community events, try to connect with people. The road may be difficult, but it is well worth it in the long run to have a good shoulder to lean on and feel needed by others in return. Volunteer to help in different organisations and events to meet other people who love to help. You can find some great and lovely people. What also helps me when I can’t get out of the house to connect is to jump onto the Pregnancy and Parenting Forums or Social Media.

2. Keep in Touch

Write old fashioned letters and cards to far away people. Connect on social media. Make a phone call or Skype your family. Sometimes it can be discouraging to keep reaching out and feel like it’s a one-sided ordeal, but keep trying. I’ve actually kept in touch with friends from high school days, and surprising to me is the fact that it includes some people I hadn’t connected with a ton IN high school. Having kids creates a great base of connection it seems! 🙂

3. Get Out

While you do need to foster old relationships, this goes hand-in-hand with connecting. Spend some time with your new mummy friends. Reach out and have a coffee with someone from your workplace. Set up an evening out with close friends who are nearby, or a date with your husband.

4. Time Out

Take time to yourself. I know maybe this sounds anti-social, but the key here is balance. Pray for your friends and family. Read a good book and have a nice bath. Journal your thoughts. Crank up the radio and dance your heart out. Let someone else watch the kids for a while.

5. Ask for Help

If you are like me, sometimes it can get overwhelming. I mean, going for around a decade of being far from a world you miss having only been back once, sometimes I need a good cry. I am so blessed to have a husband who is there for me when I’m down. Find someone you can confide in and reach out. Call a helpline if necessary. You can find a list of websites and numbers here for you reference. If you don’t communicate your needs, people won’t know what you are feeling all the time. No one can read minds.

These have all been essential in my life for helping me cope with being so far away from some of my loved ones, and enjoying being where I am. I hope this will help you, too!

9 thoughts on “How to Cope as an Ex-Pat Mother: Strategies For Coping with Homesickness

  1. Liz says:

    I’m sure it must be hard, but how awesome for you to get to see the world!

    • mummyconfessions says:

      Most definitely I love living here, but at times would love to just have everyone all in one spot!

  2. Mrs Mummy Harris says:

    My nan lives far away and the ability to connect via facebook does wonders, my grandfather passed away two years ago and she doesnt drive so the idea of her alone isnt nice, but the ability to see her days out with friends and family is just what Facebook should be about!
    Thank you for sharing your tips with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back tomorrow.

  3. chickenruby says:

    keeping in touch is the hardest part for me, i write letters, send postcards, gifts etc post on fb, tag in pictures, yet very little comes back and it hurts, family think i’m either showing off or on one long holiday, if i tell them i’m struggling, they don’t know what to say, so say nothing. in my 7th year abroad and the kids having left home, i no longer bother getting them to understand same crap, just different country and no longer bother with gifts, cards etc and give them the same response they give me, petty i know but i just don’t have time for them #TriumphantTales

    • mummyconfessions says:

      I totally understand where you are coming from, and it is so hard when you try to keep in touch and it gets very One-sided 🙁 I’m happy that my family keeps in touch and I feel slack not being able to send much at all to them, and need to Up my game there. I was very good at keeping in touch in the beginning, but it felt very much like with a lot of people I was the one doing most of the “work” if you could call it that. I do understand it gets overwhelming with kids, but it’s nice to send a message every once in a while, or comment on social media, which I’ve tried getting better at…but it’s very disheartening when it seems you’re no longer a priority for people you love to hear from and hear how they are doing.

  4. Jaki says:

    Thank goodness for modern technology. At least with it, loved ones miles away can be on a screen in your house within seconds. That’s a blessing. Thanks for linking to #TriumphantTales, we’d love to see you back next week 🙂

  5. Ali says:

    I can only imagine how hard it must be to be far from your loved ones. It is a great world we live in now with Skype etc. We can always keep in touch x

  6. Andrea @ Topsy Turvy Tribe says:

    We are original from the UK but living in Spain so I was interested to read your tips. I totally agree you have to put yourself out there and Skype is a lifesaver #TriumphantTales

    • mummyconfessions says:

      Thank you for reading! Skype is a huge blessing, especially for my kids to be able to see their grandparents! It’s hard to connect sometimes, but the internet is a helpful place for that!

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