5 Reasons 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. The friends I made were awesome, I travelled a bit and I learnt some invaluable life lessons. I even met my future-husband there – a South African. Let’s just say that lots of good things happened whilst I was there. And then some not so good things, and then we left. Now that I have kids I have my reasons why I’m glad we left the UK.

I Do Actually Know!

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 the reasons Why I am glad we left the UK

No. 1: They hate clothes.

HATE THEM! They wear the bare minimum required for modesty’s sake. That’s okay because it means I only have to fight with them for about three months of the year, during the winter months. 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. Choosing instead to look decidedly smurf like whilst wearing shorts and skimpy vests. Never 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. Those are ONLY worn from the house to the car, removed whilst in the car, and then from the car and to the classroom. Once there they are again removed, and then on the return journey, it happens all over again.

Every time they need to put their shoes on, whether it’s as we are leaving the house or exiting the car, involves a screaming match. That or you can find 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!

running in the dirt roads

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. Then 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. #BadMom. I really admire those parents who literally entertain their children all day. I just couldn’t do it myself, I’m not built that way.

beach life

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. 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 yell at my kids A LOT. In my defence, 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.

Disaster Holiday

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. 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, the layers of clothing, being confined to the pushchair 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 four years.

Would I go back?

I would love to go back for a week, visit my family, spend time with my sister in London, wandering the streets, shopping, lunching, sightseeing, 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!

Confession Time

This post was written in 2017. Fast Forward to June 2018 and we did in fact return to live in the UK. You can find out why we and many other people choose to leave South Africa. We miss our life there, and some of the issues I noted above still exist, but we have adapted well and love our new life in the UK.

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

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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  1. 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!

    1. We are in the Free State. Near Bloemfontein. It’s very quiet and ‘small town’ here. And hot in summer. Cold in winter.

  2. 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!!

  3. Wow, it sounds so liberating! Hearing about kids actually being kids – no shoes, half naked, jumping in puddles; that’s childhood right there!! Love this #StayClassyMama

    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

  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

  5. It must of been really hard to move but thankfully it has worked out well done Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  6. 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!

  7. hehe you made me chuckle with dressing and shoes. if my son had his way, he would wear shorts all year here. but as you know, its chilly in the UK, all flipping year ! #globalblogging

    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

  8. My two littles are so deaf when I need them to hear, and when we try to be a bit discrete, they are all ears! ARGH! I suppose we were the same way once… Thanks for sharing on #globalblogging xoxo

  9. 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

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  11. 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

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  13. I’m sure the houses or buildings in the UK are warm, so your kids will still be able to run around naked. Barefeet, that’s okay too – it means they’re true South African.

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