Alienated as a Parent with no family in UK

(16 Posts)
Drofoxnow Sat 08-Mar-14 16:54:09

Hi everyone

I am just wondering if my feelings are shared or if its just some mad depressed mother state of mind that I find myself drowning in at this present point in time.

I have no family in the UK and two pre-schoolers. While I got the positive attention we all get with a new baby in shopping malls or out in general. Now I get, for the most part, nothing much or states or tuts if they do anything other than behave like a mature adult. They are normal children with lots of energy and we have taught them social norms and expectations but get tired and grumpy like any other child. I can almost accept that, after all babies are an amazing gift to the world.

What I find hard is that I am increasingly being invited to things (by non parent friends, older friends mainly) but ONLY me and partner or only me. Not having family in the country we rarely get out without the children (in the past 12 months - maybe three times).

I can't go or can't go without becoming more than stressed out because of the logistics and organisational issues. We live in London so long travel times to 'pop in' compound the problem,

This has left me feeling alienated from everyone and everything as I get the distinct impression that no one wants to know other people's children. People with children I can see, yes, unless of course they have family or its an important event like Christmas.

I did not really notice this before children or when they were young. Am I feeling like this as its real or is it just while they are this age? Is it time to go back to our own birth country?

One very lonely mummy.....

BonaDea Sat 08-Mar-14 16:59:57

I think what you feel is quite natural.

We have no family nearby either and there is only really one babysitter I can call on, without going with a stranger from an agency.

The saving grace for us is that DH has many friends nearby with children too (my friends are back home or don't have children ). That means we might socialise during the day with children or alternatively would maybe be invited to a dinner party where we are welcome to put DS to sleep upstairs and all stay the night.

If these things aren't options I think paying for a baby sitter at least occasionally is a must. And also meeting more young families in your area to socialise with and / share babysitting.

FrogGreen Sat 08-Mar-14 17:43:59

Hi drox
Yup, me too. We've moved from London but lived there for 3 years with 2 DS's and no family in UK. I found it bloody lonely at times. The worst was weddings - when we'd be making hectic plans to get an agency sitter to come to a B&B in Dorset while everyone else just dropped theirs off at granny's. My only advice is to not be scared of agencies, we did well with sitters.com, and also get your friends' recommendations for babysitters. And you just have to spend the money on babysitting every now and then. You literally have to else you'll go nuts.
It's worse where we are now, small town and very foreign, no agencies so our only options are local schoolgirls. Oh how I miss sitters.com!

Littlefish Sat 08-Mar-14 17:49:20

I think it is quite normal for non-parent friends to invite you and your dh to events without your children. They are adults and wish to socialise with other adults. You can decide whether you want to/can go or not.

I agree with frog that you need to start building up a network of babysitters either through recommendation or via a reputable company.

An alternative would be to invite your non-child friends to visit you.

Do you have friends with children? Perhaps those are the friendships you now need to be developing.

FrogGreen Sat 08-Mar-14 17:50:47

But I know what you mean about the stress and hassle taking all the fun out of going out. I bitterly resented DH when he'd blithely agree to meet friends in town after work or (god forbid) see a show. I'd rock up an hour late and stressed out after doing dinner / bath / bedtime and babysitter handover while he'd be all chilled. As they get older you can just leave them to watch TV or whatever with the sitter

HairyPorter Sat 08-Mar-14 17:52:32

Agree re babysitters. We use our nanny. Tbh we rarely go out together. It's more a case of me going out while dh watches kids and vice versa. Once you factor in babysitting costs there are very few social events that are so appealing that I'd like to spend £30-40 just to attend!

FrogGreen Sat 08-Mar-14 19:29:09

oops, sorry, posting in bits because ds2 saw a spider in his room.

There is a plus side! If your DC get used to having babysitters, well they get used to being looked after by different people. And that can be kind of useful. I have friends whose DC won't tolerate any babysitters other than grandparents, which is a nuisance if they're unavailable or if you're on holiday without them.

OP are you also feeling isolated /lonely? I certainly did living in London with 2 DC. I found it impossible hard to make new friends with other mums. I never really cracked it, maybe that's the question you should be asking on here. Just saying wink

SwimmingMom Sat 08-Mar-14 19:51:27

Same situation. We know other families who are also in a similar situation. So when a couple needs to go out (and these are not everyday dinners rather maybe a work Christmas party or wedding) then the other families take our DD & we do the same for them. This has proven to be the least stress way, as we've never used sitters!

Drofoxnow Sat 08-Mar-14 20:32:04

Hi there, thanks everyone.

Yes we do have a circle we use for babysitting and sitters.com but I guess its used for practical things that you just have to have a sitter for. Like, birth of second child, Dad on business and I need to go somewhere and can't take a child or can only take one. Such as a Doctor. Or DIY or boring life stuff. Not so much the indulgence of a meal or theatre together, but we do go out separately with friends.

I think what I mean is that these outings where I am alone with non baby friends, there is almost an unspoken rule that "don't mention the kids". Or, I got invited to a new baby celebrations where they wanted only kids who where family, so mine were not invited. Xmas is especially lonely as friends get busy with family and then I really feel my kids are missing out.

Maybe I'm being silly and should just make the best of what I have, which is not that bad really.

I'm just worrying that my feeling of alienation is growing bigger and is feeling like a monster when its meant to be a mouse.

I cry so often and try not to burden people with how I feel. Often I wonder if I am the one withdrawing or the one excluded. In any case, I am not sure how to fix it and not sure how much longer I can keep up the false happy face when I feel its all just pointless.

ummingandahhing Sat 08-Mar-14 20:47:11

OP we are in a similar situation and it is fucking hard.

I think that you need to prioritise yourself more and if you can afford to use a sitter, then do it to get some adult time. Don't wait until it's crisis point.

Liara Sat 08-Mar-14 21:00:21

I think if you come from a culture where it is normal for kids to just be included as a part of everyday life the UK can be a bit of a culture shock.

It is difficult. I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions, as it is one of the reasons I told dh I would not be willing to have dc while we were living in London.

But I just wanted to let you know that you are not weird for feeling that way.

Littlefish Sat 08-Mar-14 21:09:30

Drofoxnow - you sound so sad. Do you know anyone else from your culture who lives locally to you? Do you think it would help with your feelings of isolation?

I wonder if it would help to talk to your GP about how you are feeling, or to arrange some counselling? How long are you going to be living here? Is it a long-term arrangement?

I think that once your children are at school, it is much easier to make friends, as you have a ready group of people who you will see at the school gate every day. When does your oldest child start school?

BumpyGrindy Sat 08-Mar-14 21:19:17

OP I felt like this too and I'm from the UK. My husband and I were SO alienated when our children were smaller. When they began school full time it improved slowly. Now they are 9 and 6 and it's SO much better.

We have met some nice people at their school and now we socialise with them.x

Dilidali Sat 08-Mar-14 22:46:15

OP, I know exactly what you mean.

What I did was completely ignore the 'norms' and just did what I knew I should do. I have never even contemplated not including my DD in dinners, visits, events etc.
I do have childless friends, I just take my DD with me. I have always done it, never occurred to me not to and I have never noticed any problems with me doing so. I can't exactly 'pause' or 'minimise' my kid, she's not a screen. What am I supposed to do?
It's been going on for so long, neither my friends or my DD know any different. They had to interact with her, she had to learn to just quietly occupy herself if adults were discussing stuff etc.

I was told at one point that it's easy with my DD because she behaves, she is articulate, funny, can entertain herself etc. that's a load of rubbish, she is no more than any other child I know. It's just that they acknowledged her, got to know her, saw her growing up and established a relationship.

One other thing: my house is like the United Nations: we have friends from all over the world. It does feel like a family, we're all in the same boat, we understand. We all come from cultures where children are liked and nurtured by the 'village', so none of us would get funny if you interact with our children:we expect you to.

Just plough through the whole thing, that's my advice, include your kids, talk about them, bring them with you, just act normal smile

Drofoxnow Sun 09-Mar-14 18:44:22

Thanks everyone x x x

cory Sun 09-Mar-14 19:15:50

Another immigrant here. When I was at your stage (young children) I started a toddler group specifically aimed at immigrant parents. That way we could share our occasional feelings of alienation without offending anybody. Though actually, we had a lot of fun and spent very little time talking about alienation.

Generally speaking, I found baby groups and toddler groups to be the salvation. And then school playdates and dc bringing friends home.

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