So many things going on in my head, I don't know where to begin. Please allow me to ramble on and on and on…
I've been following the Gosselin family since I saw their show in 2008, as I was channel surfing during my first few months of motherhood. The first time I saw their family, I was hooked, because I could not, for the life of me, imagine how I was going to cope with their situation, given that I was already going crazy with only one child.
Putting myself in Kate's shoes, I probably would never get to see or hear about my family or friends back home again, many of whom I only get in touch with online. The internet was my window to the outside world since I became a stay-at-home mom, and if I had to do what she has been doing, I'm pretty sure I will only dream about ever going online.
This is why I think she is an incredible mother, regardless of what everyone else thinks. She is determined to raise her kids the way SHE thinks is best, and she has every right to – she is their mother after all, and a capable one at that. She is very organized and even anal – to a fault, sometimes – but I admire her for that nonetheless, because she has to be that way or else her household will be in shambles. It's not a joke running a home with one kid, much more with eight!
I'm happy she was able to come out of the past difficult year in a positive light, with kids who seem well-adjusted and the total opposite of brats. Good for Kate for having a genuine support system – may it stay as solid as it seems to be, both for her and her children's sake.
Where is my village?
Speaking of support system, I've always felt like we've never had any. I do have some relatives within a 30-mile radius who I know will be happy to help us out, if we only asked. And I've finally met some wonderful neighbors who I can relate to more than anyone else I've ever known since we moved here.
However, I still feel like we don't really have that "village" that we need to raise our kids (and I say kids with an S because we're now expecting baby #2 in 5 more months) because all of our immediate family (my or my husband's parents, brothers or sisters) are a Pacific ocean away.
Somehow, asking help from a cousin or an aunt you see twice a year feels like we are burdening them in some way. We know how busy people here are, and for them to go out of their way to help us just feels like we're asking for too much. I would definitely feel more comfortable asking help from my baby's grandparents or uncles and aunts, because it seems their role as our family's support system comes more by default.
If only they were here. Or if only we were there.
I've never considered NOT coming back home, especially since my first baby was born two years ago. Despite what most people say about my situation, chalking up my feelings to post-partum depression, or adjustment in a foreign land (despite having been here for over 5 years), or just the need for hired house help or childcare, I say my thoughts have not changed. We're still coming back and raising our kids where I and my husband were raised.
I have nothing against those who were able to make it work for their families here – good for them! But for us, it's just not working, and not because we never tried to make it work. I do long for my huge family and many circles of friends who I know will be there for our family anytime we need them (not to mention the ease of hiring house help or childcare back there). It's not that I don't appreciate the small circle of friends we've found here – they have been our rock, our family's strength and source of joy during difficult times. It's just that we know what we're missing.
I want my kids to grow up filled with happy memories of their cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents. I want them to play in the streets all summer long, coming back home only to eat - or have their friends eat at my house, or have my kids eat at theirs. I want them to remember trips with my friends' families whose kids I want my own kids to grow up with.
In other words, I want the childhood I had for my own children – one filled with so many memories, so much love and so much freedom to explore and just be kids. I fear that I can't give them that while we are here for a myriad of reasons… that alone seems like reason enough to come back and at least TRY to make it work back in my homeland.
I just wish I knew how to make that happen now.