africa, family, Holiday, kids, marriage, motherhood, Parenting, SAHM, sarcasm, south africa, Stay-at-home-mom, travelling, UK

Why I’m Glad We Left The UK

I loved living in the UK. I was 19 when I got there and for the next ten years I loved most of my time there. I made awesome friends, traveled, learnt some invaluable life lessons, met my future-husband, lots of good things happened. And then some not so good things. And then we left.

Before anyone tries to tell me that ‘I don’t know what it’s actually like living there with kids, I do. My step-daughter was two years old when I met her dad so I don’t need anyone telling me stuff about kids in the UK, I do actually know.

We only had our girls after we were already back in Africa, and it’s the kind of children they are that makes me eternally grateful that we don’t live in the UK. Here are my reasons:

No. 1: They hate clothes. HATE THEM! They wear the bare minimum required for modesty’s sake and that’s okay because it means I only have to fight with them for abour three months of the year during the winter monts. If I had to fight with them for 10 months of the year, I’d have lost my mind three years ago! They particularly hate wearing jumpers and coats and actually prefer to turn blue and freeze whilst wearing short tights and skimpy vest shirts than to admit that they are cold and maybe they should have just put the damn coat on like mommy begged.

No. 2: They hate shoes! The only shoes they are prepared to wear are flip-flops; and those are worn from the house to the car, removed, then from the car and to the classroom, removed, and then on the return journey in the same fashion! Every time they need to put them on whether it’s as we are leaving the house or exiting the car involves a screaming match or me quietly sobbing to myself begging them to ‘put your shoes on’. The ONLY exception to this is welly boots that they will wear if it is raining for the sole purpose of jumping in muddy puddles a la Peppa Effing Pig!

No. 3: Keeping them busy! I’m really not the best mom when it comes to keeping them entertained. I can maybe do two fun activities with them per day, but them I’m bored, they’re bored and it’s not fun anymore. Fortunately 90% of the time I can make them go and play outside! Contrary to uneducated opinion, there are no lions or crocodiles roaming the streets, and MOST snakes are in the bush, not in town where we live. So when I say ‘go play outside’, they go and amuse themselves in the garden, riding their bikes, playing in the sandpit, destroying the garden or swimming (although I do supervise that). If we were in the UK, either they would have destroyed the inside of the house by now, or I’d have gone back to work and put them in day-care just so I don’t have to sit and play with them all day. I really admire those of you who literally entertain your children all day, I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t built that way.

No.4: They would have been run over by now! Seriously. I’m not joking. They are incapable of crossing a road safely, or being aware of their own mortality when it comes to vehicles and road safety in general. Despite my best efforts (I really have tried) it is something they are just not able to achieve. In the UK everyone walks everywhere: from your house to the bus stop, or the train to the shops, or to school, or to the park. Here, we drive. The most walking they do is from the car to the school gate which is no more than 20 meters on a bad day if I don’t get parking where I want; and even in those 20 meters they are unable to grasp the concept of ‘wait for the cars to pass, don’t run out in the road’! Other children are entirely capable of this. Mine are NOT! So thank goodness we don’t have to do it!

No.5: They don’t hear me! I’m sure that child services would have been called to report me for child abuse long ago because I scream at my kids ALL day. In my defense, they are almost certainly deaf. They must be. Why else would they not hear me asking them 20 times to put their effing shoes on? They only respond when I scream the request. I’m not joking! Fortunately here, the open spaces allow for a certain amount of loud yelling, and people also generally mind their own business. Thanks goodness.

When my eldest was about 18 months my husband surprised us with flight tickets to go back to the UK with him to visit his daughter, something he does as often as he can. The trip was an absolute blady disaster! She fought us for the entire two weeks because of the different lifestyle. We left 35 degree heat in October and it was actually sleeting in York when we got there. She hated the shoes, layers of clothing, being confined to the push chair and the worst – putting the rain cover over her to keep her dry! She went ballistic!

Needless to say, I haven’t been back in about 4 years.

I would love to go back for a week, visit my family, spend time with my sister in London, wandering the streets, shopping, lunching, sight-seeing, catching up with old friends. But I would only go if I could go ON MY OWN! If I have to take the kids with I’d rather not go.

Am I denying them? Hardly!

It’s called self-preservation.

Until then, I’m very grateful to be living here in Africa. It suits them, and it suits me!

Disclaimer: I do actually love my girls! The intention of this post is to make you laugh with me, not to insult anyone. 

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28 thoughts on “Why I’m Glad We Left The UK”

  1. I absolutely hear you! Winter in the UK is painful when you are the owner of two small people that object to passionately to clothing. I have literally just this afternoon had to chase my 2 year old around the street outside our home wearing just one shoe (him – not me!). I can definitely see the benefits to living somewhere so beautiful, warm and sunny! Thanks for sharing with #DreamTeam x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From one African mother to another… I MISS SOUTH AFRICA… I miss how carefree my kids were and I really dislike 4 months of snow… I hear you on ALL accounts… Now I am homesick… 😦 Great read, lovely reminder! #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. I was cold the other morning. It was 21 degrees and overcast. I remember summers in the UK where 21 was considered a heat wave almost and there there I was with the heating on in the car, jumper, jeans and trainers. Not my usual attire I assure you. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha ha, I think my kids are deaf too and I would love to be able to just open the door and send them out to play. This is still possible in some areas around here as it’s quite rural, just not on our street as we live by a main road. And my kids would definitely love not having to wear clothes!
    #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Having been to very few places I love hearing about living in different places and different ways you bring up children. In my defense, they are almost certainly deaf…best line ever! I cant barely manage traveling a few hours with my son let alone to another country! Fantastic post. Thank you for linking to #stayclassymama xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so stressful. Thank goodness I suffer from low blood pressure because with the increase blood pressure in the mornings I would literally explode! lol

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good grief, without a sense of humor I’d have lost my mind long ago! I’m definitely not one of those SAHMs who has ever been able to spend hours on end playing *with* my children — we’ve always kept a good balance of playing with mommy, playing near mommy, and playing independently (and they don’t seem to have been scarred by it).
    What great insight into the differences between living in the UK and Africa with kids in tow. Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Whereabouts in Africa do you live? I spent 3 amazing months in South Africa a few years ago, when my partner at the time lived out there. Most of my time was spent in Durban and the surrounding area, and then one truly relaxing week in St Lucia. I love the way of life out there…it’s so much more relaxed (mostly) than here in the UK, with fewer restrictions and far more opportunities to experience new things. I don’t blame you for wanting to raise your kids away from the UK!

    Liked by 1 person

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