Hang in there…. It will get better!
I was with a friend yesterday, who shared with me about an unwell child and being here without family support. This reminded me of my own situation many years ago, and I could fully empathise with her situation.
This article is written for all the parents who moved overseas or away from their families, and started a family in their new adopted home without extended family close by. One of the many challenges in this situation is not having the physical support of their loved ones close by.
Most of us would have grown up with extended family living close by, or grandparents living with them. There would be always someone to help look after the children after school, or at night when the parents had to work late or needed a break. That was the family dynamics when we were living in our home country.
However, when we moved overseas, it was fine when both of us were working full time; however, the challenges began when we started a family. It would be the same for many young migrant families.
The hard part was not about looking for childcare when we went to work; but when the child was unwell, and one of us had to take a few days off work to look after them.
I clearly remember those days, and the tricky part was when one of my children was sick the other may follow in a few days time. The challenging part was taking time off work when you had deadlines at work to meet, and also you never knew when the other child would get sick, right? So how do you plan for this?
The stress of taking time off work and the disruption of your work schedule, compounded with the “guilt” of being unable to focus and care for your sick child properly, not to mention being physically and mentally drained, can be a big challenge on its own. Yet work is crucial for many families for financial reasons.
What can you do? Is there a solution?
First, you have to accept that you won’t have family members around to help and support you physically. Once you have accepted that, then the solutions will be easier to come by.
- Work out a contingency plan with your partner, and decide who will be the one taking time off work when the child is unwell.
- Get to know people/families or emergency care around your area, or close to your work place for emergency backup.
- Get as much rest as possible, as you may face a few sleepless nights and your child may need you more than usual.
- Don’t hesitate to do a few days of takeaways / easy meals.
Finally… know that whatever you are going through right now, it does get better!
One consolation I can share with you… Through all these challenges right now, you will end up stronger, be more resilient and you will have realised that you have “hidden” skills and coping mechanisms that you’ve never realised you had before.
As the saying goes… “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.
Hang in there… It will get better!