We sit in my dining room with the light pouring in and the steeple of the church standing over us through the window. We have our Viennese coffee (yes, it's as good as 'they' say) in hand. We talk about my IKEA furniture, where the closest shops are and how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B on public transportation.
But there's a question you're dying to ask. I can see it in your eyes. And when the conversation pauses just right, you ask:
What in the world possessed you to move halfway around the world? And how do you survive away from family??
If you had told me 14 years ago that this would be my life - an ex-pat life far from the comforts of home, I would not have believed you. The plan was to stay in Arizona - near family - I would teach, hubs would work, we would have kids and family Christmases and that would be our life.
God, however, had other plans. One June afternoon one year after we said 'I do,' my sweet husband sat me down and said,
"Honey, I know this sounds crazy, but I think we are supposed to go overseas."
It started as a 2 year stretch studying language and culture in Ireland. That was thirteen years ago. Since then we have lived in 3 different countries, 3 different states, and who knows how many houses. Yeah, there's lot more to the story packed into those 13 years but we'd need a lot more coffee for that conversation.
I've been going to church since 9 months before I was born. I cannot remember life without church; without faith. However, the past 9 years of motherhood and overseas life has caused me to grow closer to my God, and deeper in my faith, than I would have thought possible - and I still have a long way to go.
And I did not ease into Motherhood. My first year with the title Mom was hard, messy and chaotic. I was away from family, new in town and had only a few friends - most of whom did not yet have children. The ones who did have kids? We became family. We cried together, laughed together, swapped poop questions, sleep questions, tantrum venting and more. I would not have survived those first years in the trenches without them.
And that's why I write to you.
You may not live an "exotic" life overseas (believe me, it's not as exotic as you think), but you live far away from family. Or the family that is close is unable or unwilling to help. Whatever the reason, you find yourself navigating the waves of parenting alone or without the safety net and support of good extended family structure.
I hope my words here can help support and encourage you. Help you find ways to build traditions away from extended family; help you see you are not in this alone; to help you know that on the days that you just can't do it anymore that you're not alone.
I also hope my words here will help encourage those of you who do have a great family support network nearby to reach out to those around you who don't. To be their village - cause we are all in this together, you know?
If you stayed around our home long enough you'd eventually see me sneak the chocolate when the kids are in bed, rock out to a Zumba video, curl up on the couch with my coffee and laptop when the only way I can work through the torrent inside is to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, as it were). You'd see me freak out for fifteen minutes before I have to make a phone call in German. You'd see hubs and I curl up before bed and watch an episode or two of M*A*S*H or The Office. You'd see me read umpteen million books to the Man Cub (that would be our 3 year old son), paint nails and braid hair with our daughters. You'd see me live life. Then you'd see me Skype our parents, tweet my brother, and cry at the photos on Facebook of my friends, family and their kids graduating, getting married, or saying a final farewell to loved ones.
I write so you know that you are not alone. Not ever. And perhaps to remind myself of that, too.
I'm honored walk alongside you on this journey of Motherhood.
Love and blessings,
This post is a part of our “Who We Are” Series. For all posts visit,
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