Three Week Angst

>> Monday, 1 February 2010

I don't want to be that mum.

I don't want to be that mum, the one who is sharp tongued with her children for no real reason. The one who tells her son off for damaging the knees of his trousers when all he's doing is crawling on the floor playing with his lego. The one who shouts, enraged, at her children when they are squabbling over who gets to use which set of cutlery at dinner time. The one who feels like screaming at her tired sons as they trail home, exhausted at the end of the day, because they are not going fast enough and it feels like her toes are going to drop off from the cold. The one who only ever seems to ask nicely for something to be done once before descending into muttering and frustration.

The one who knows that her children are doing amazingly with their change of world, and is so incredibly proud of the grace under pressure they show that she seems unable to access for herself.

The one who's world has temporarily contracted and is finding that stifling.

The one who is struggling with feelings of powerlessness and lack of independence, who knows it will get better, that this is the worst bit, but is not handling things very well in the meantime.

I don't want to be her. The one who would quite like to go home.

So I'm trying to pull myself together, and not to be that mum. To think twice. To hold my tongue. To look at it from their point of view. To make sure that they know that whilst I might be a bit touchy right now, I love them beyond life. And to find a defining purpose in an existence quite different to the one that I had before. To gain a sense of perspective again.

But it's a struggle. And I would still quite like to go home.


nappy valley girl 1 February 2010 at 18:41  

Thinking of you, PM. You have done an incredibly brave thing - it must be so hard to move to a place so alien in culture and language, and in the middle of frozen winter.

Our children are just so much more adaptable than us - they'll get on with fightiing over lego, cutlery (why do they do that? Mine are terrible) and whatever else, whatever country they are in. But we are not, and it's not surprising you're struggling. I think I was still in shellshock at three weeks, and America is a pretty easy country to move to. I am sure things will get easier for you in a while, but during these hard first few weeks just try and stay warm, find your feet and don't worry too much about being a naggy mother....we're all like that sometimes, (and some of us don't even have the excuse of having moved to Russia!) x

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy 1 February 2010 at 18:53  

I wish I could say there's an easy answer to this one but there isn't. Don't underestimate how stressful it is to move, let alone move country, let alone move country where you don't speak the language or understand the culture.

It'll feel like this for a while, but then one day you'll wake up and you'll realise that you've all adapted. And suddenly you will find that you are enjoying yourself, revelling in the differences and loving that Moscow is so different from London.

So, hard as it is, try not to be too hard on yourself. Like NVG says, the kids adapt much faster than we do. Big big hugs, I know how you feel, and believe me you are not alone. xxx

Tattie Weasle 1 February 2010 at 19:02  

I've been that Mum and me and my sister have been those kids - we never stopped loving our Mum adn strangely we don't really remember her being that cross. We do remember the brilliant times we had living as Expats and seeing the world. The fantastic friends we made and the fact that now given probably only 24 hours most of thesoe amazing people we met and had fun with would have us to stay.
It's CR*P now but it will get better and of course there's always us!
Huge Hugs

Footballers Knees 1 February 2010 at 20:00  

It must be really hard, and although I've never been as brave you and have stuck to Blighty, I do remember that feeling - as a newly single mum, I felt so tired and so guilty when my 4 year old was being so brave with the huge change in his life. As you've said, it does get better. And I'm sure you are being far more patient that you appear to yourself. XX
PS - The four year old now 13 (as you know), doesn't remember my moods and tiredness at all! Boys have a far poorer memory than us girls, perhaps?!!

Natural Mummy 1 February 2010 at 20:53  

All of us are that Mum sometimes - even when we haven't had a massive life-change like you! If it helps I admire you and your move so much; I would love to be brave enough to do something I'll look back on and be proud of.

Iota 1 February 2010 at 22:26  

Aaaargh, you've reduced me to tears. Which is not very encouraging for you, since I am over 3 years down the line and OUGHT TO BE OVER THESE KIND OF FEELINGS.

Actually, I think my current stress levels are more to do with other things - which I won't write an entire comment about now. But those residual "can I go home now, please?" feelings do surface from time to time.

I have shouted at my kids for nothing all week-end, and feel so guilty. I end up apologising to them, and then can't explain why, what is going on underneath it all. But like yours, mine will survive. Perhaps they'll even be the wiser and hardier for it.

I think (for what it's worth) that you are big and brave and clever, and it WILL get better.

Get some more play dates in the diary. Company is better than introspection.

As Tattie says, there's always us! Blogging - the lifeline. One day I'll make a film with that title.

Iota 1 February 2010 at 22:28  

I've just re-read my comment, and it makes it sound as if you and I are damaging our kids psychologically for ever. I don't think that. I think most kids have a very effective way of factoring out their parents' rants.

Which is why you have to repeat yourself several times, getting louder and louder each time, and add "and why does no-one ever listen to me?" in a crescendo, before they get it.

sharon 2 February 2010 at 04:07  

Hang in there PM. It WILL get better. The boys won't remember grumpy Mummy so no need to worry about that. Best thing I can suggest is to try and get out to meet and visit other people. Company is a great distraction at times like these. I volunteered to help out in the library at my son's new school when we first came here. It was a way to meet people and occupy my hands and mind until we settled in (our neighbours at the time all worked so were not at home during the day). Meeting other Mums at the school gate was not an option as 14 yr olds do not permit mothers to accompany them to school! Have you made any progress with finding a nursery for Boy #2 yet? Maybe you could help out there?

I'm sure that by the time Spring has sprung you will be a lot happier ;-)

Liz@Violet Posy 2 February 2010 at 10:47  

((HUGS)) you've had some great advice above. Thinking of you lovely and drop me an email if you're bored x

London City Mum 2 February 2010 at 11:52  

Thinking of you, know the feeling well but it does (eventually) get better, and you will be all the stronger for it.

Kids are 'parent-proof', remember that. Hug them close when you need cheering up, it can work wonders.

hugs always

Muddling Along Mummy 2 February 2010 at 13:49  

Thinking of you - its a really brave thing you've done & I'm guessing is going to take a while for you all to adapt, I think you're doing wonderfully

Potty Mummy 2 February 2010 at 15:04  

Thanks everyone for your wonderful advice and kind words; I know that stasis is not the way to go and I have to chivvy myself into filling the diary. It will get better - it already is doing - but I have to say that without the blog and your feedback it would all be so much harder. So thankyou. PMx

vegemitevix 2 February 2010 at 16:07  

I understand completely. You will find your place in Moscow, the place that your friends and your world inhabit. Not where the kids' people or your husband's 'people' hang out. It may take a little time. But you will find it. Until then, you are doing brilliantly, be gentle with yourself. x

Mwa 2 February 2010 at 21:28  

Oh, you! Having been an expat, I know just what you're feeling, and it's horrible! But it does get better. It will. Big hug! xx

Anonymous,  3 February 2010 at 23:52  

Have to agree with the Brit in Bosnia. Having done a big move too, I think its accepted that this is the shit bit but it will get better. This is one of the most stressful experiences you will have in your life and you are coping just fine. Your kids sound like they are doing ok so things are going better than you think. If you were being as grumpy as you imagine they'd be kicking off by now! Chin up lovely, it'll get better, especially when it gets warmer!


geekymummy 8 February 2010 at 05:05  

My husbands Mum , a Dane, raised her 3 boys in switzerland, England. Germany, Iran and Japan. It was hard, but she made lifelong friends, and her kids had a wonderful childood, so many experiences, and became adaptable, secure, adventurous adults. Keep telling us the good and the bad, it's fascinating.

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