Mamas Need Their Outlets, too!

Golfers on the Coral Gables Country Club

photo from The Commons via

Schools are starting back up for many around the world. For some families that means getting routines set, taking one last holiday, but for many others it is setting up the new home and getting the kids excited to start a new school – or at least helping them to adjust to a new school.

Women's Curling Briar

photo from The Commons via

What happens on that first day though, once all the kids are dropped off at school and you return to a quiet home? Do you collapse in wonderment? Do you get a fresh cup of coffee to slowly savor without distractions? Housework? Chores? Cry?

What do you do? You need an outlet, too! A place where you can laugh with friends, discuss or chat. You just need a place where you can be you, the person – not the mom. Don’t get me wrong, I love being Mom. It’s just that once in awhile it is nice to have adult conversations and to eat at my own pace my very own dessert.

What do these “places” or groups look like? Some cities have regular set dates that an expat group has organized. Other cities may not have anything set, but maybe the school has a Mother’s Tea where you can meet other moms. This group could be a Bible-study, book club, or any other small group gathering that meets for a certain purpose.

Why should you get involved in a group? Women in general support each other and talk – as Apple Gidley in her book Expat Life Slice by Slice says, “…international women groups around the world, whether a luncheon group, a tennis club or a sewing group are expatriate man’s best ally” (p40). I so agree with her on this because who understands our situations better than another expat mom? We become fast “sisters” helping and encouraging each other.

How do you find these precious gems? You have to look for them. Ask other mothers at the school what there is to do. Find out if your city has an expat magazine or website that lists activities that would interest you. If there isn’t, you could start one. I’m sure there are others out there who would love to go out for coffee, too!

I’ll leave you with this last tip from Apple in finding a group: Make sure it is international, not made up from solely one country. She says that, “Instead of celebrating the differences they {mono-culture groups} tend to moan about them, whereas international groups are more forgiving” (42).

So, go out and find a group and make some friends of your own. Already in a group? Watch for the new moms and invite them to join – be a bridge to help them settle into their new home quicker.

*Although this is geared towards the mother as the trailing spouse, there are groups out there for dads/guys as well, but I find that guys don’t tend to “need” this close bonding friendship like women do.

**Thanks to Janneke at DrieCulturen for giving away the book Expat Life Slice by Slice by Apple Gidley.

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4 thoughts on “Mamas Need Their Outlets, too!

  1. I think these groups are great and helpful for many. I wish they were more inclusive of working mothers, like me, however. In my case, my husband is the stay at home parent and its a fairly lonely experience given near all spousal support groups are for women. He joins playgroups but I know he feels like an outsider. As for me, I can never take part either as usually activities are during the day, while I am at work. Overtime it would be nice to see these groups be more diverse to reflect the changing demographics in our ‘home’ countries. Just my two cents…

    • Thanks for sharing. I have seen the same problem/difficulty with some friends (dads) of mine here. As the kids get into school, it sometimes makes it easier – but not always because their are so few men that are the traveling spouse.
      I live in a city now where there are many expats, so finding different outlets for both spouses is a bit easier. I have lived in the more remote areas, though and I remember all the trailing spouse activities were mainly for women and during the daytime when the kids were in school. I had babies then, so it was difficult to go to some of the events. I guess it is seasons of life with the combo of the city we are living in that is one factor in determining how we adjust and transition into that city.

  2. Pingback: Book Review “Expat Life: Slice by Slice” by Apple Gidley | raisingTCKs

  3. Pingback: How do you Thrive Overseas? | raisingTCKs

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