Being a Mum in Turkey, often feels like being a single Mum, (well for me anyway!) I have always take the main role in my son’s life, but what it has created is a feeling that I am an single Mum but now I have reached my breaking point!
Being a Mum is a hard job, you don’t get a break you are on call 24/7 it doesn’t really matter where you live or who you live with. When you become a Mum be prepared to work full time. I don’t know any other way but at times I feel being a Mum here living in Turkey, is a bit harder.
The reason I say it’s harder being a Mum in Turkey for me, is mainly due to the fact that we don’t have any family around us, even after our lovely move to Demre from Sakarya we are still out here on our own.
We never had anyone close enough to us in Sakarya who we felt we could leave our son with and now in Demre we are starting all over again and certainly don’t have anyone we would leave our son with for a few hours. A friend of mine from the US suggested looking into finding an au pair which sounds like exactly what I need but I haven’t been able to find a similar program over here.
Since our son was born I have been with him nearly everyday, with exception of a few hours off when my parents visit or we go home to Scotland. Even a visit to the In Laws never provides much of a break, but there are more hands on deck.
Normally I deal with everything and my husband gets to enjoy the fun part of having a child and this is where feeling like a single Mum comes in.
When our son was born he didn’t want his Dad it wasn’t until about a year old he started to bond with his Dad, this is a normal thing. I was breast feeding and I didn’t like expressing so I would get up at night and feed and deal with the dirty nappies.
Later on my husband started to take on more of role, but in the fun times not when the crying started or the nappy needed changed. I will say in his defense there where times when he stepped up and helped out, especially as our son suffered with gas and often helped out walking him up and down and trying to sooth him.
It often feels like I am a single Mum, I don’t have grand parents or close friends to leave him with or go call on to get a bit of rest and no one pops round for an hour or two to let me have nap, especially in the early days and when my husband gets home from school having looked after a classroom full of kids all day he’s to tired to help out.
Now before anyone says boo, hoo to you, you are a Mum so get on with it, you don’t have to work and can spend all day with your son, your lucky. That’s what I do and have done for all 3 years of my son’s life so far. I love nearly every minute I have with my son and watching him grow up. I know in the UK I wouldn’t be able to do this.
I allowed my husband to take on the fun parts and as our son got older and was able to kick a ball and go to the park without the worry of frequent nappy changes and feeds. My husband was happy to take him out.
It can be said that many Turkish men don’t take responsibility, they see the children as the Mothers responsibility and will only do the fun stuff with them and won’t help out. But there are plenty of them that do take being a Dad seriously.
But as our son got into that terrible twos (well 3s for us) it was me who had to step up and hand out the discipline, figure my way through some very heated temper tantrums, thankfully not many. Deal with the “No’s” the “I won’t s”, drawing on the walls and turning into a tornado when we go out.
This weekend, taking advantage of the lovely Mediterranean weather we went out for a BBQ. And my son the tornado put in an appearance. He was so excited and wanted to play with some kids from another family. Unfortunately he’s not up to speed yet with the whole playing etiquette yet, not having many friends and not started play school yet. Any way he nearly got into a couple of fights with another kid and also when he decided to be pals with the boys younger sister.
Now I don’t know if it’s me but Turkish parents can be very laid back, there is me telling our son off and getting all hot under the collar and there sits the Turkish Mum with her friend, half laughing and giving a light hearted row to her son. And so it continued. Our son wanted to help with the BBQ as he often does but he was upsetting his Dad so again it was me who got shouted to step in and help.
Gone had my thoughts about a lazy afternoon at the beach and park having a BBQ with my family.
And there it happened. Melt down……….
I had finally come to my breaking point of 3 years, I decided I had, had enough of being a single parent and that it was time for my husband to step up and take control.
My husband could tell that a storm was coming and he looked a little nervous, I picked up my bag and the car keys and politely told him I was going home I had, had enough being the one to hand out the discipline, that I was fed up feeling like the bad cop and that something has to change.
Our son in general is a great kid, very easy going but like all kids at this age he has his moments and his moments leave me worn out and fed up. I look forward to the phase ending but too many of my friends are happy to point out there is more to come!
I didn’t leave in the end as our son decided he needed the toilet at that point and my poor husband couldn’t deal.
I then sat down with my husband and explained my frustrations and feelings. I asked him to take more of a role in our son’s life and not just as the good time guy. I do believe for our son to have respect for his Dad he also needs to see him as someone who will lay down the law.
So far my husband has started to be more active in his role as Dad since Sunday but I would say that so far our son is winning, he has his Dad wrapped around his little finger.
But also I realised I had to step back and let go of a little control and not step into help.
Often as Mothers we feel we have to control, even as wives or girlfriends without kids, we feel the need to control our Men or kids. We think we are the only ones who can do the job and instead of standing back and letting them get on with it, we step in and they think well if she is willing to do it or she gets moody if I don’t do it her way. Let her get on with it.
If I had in the beginning, stepped back, said I can’t do this alone, I need your help and let my husband get on with it and leave him to do it his way. Then perhaps I would have had more help a long time ago.
It doesn’t matter if the husband feeds them the wrong thing for breakfast or puts on the wrong colour combination of clothes, or thinks he has to buy his child things or sits them in front of the TV. What matters is they are helping, they are doing there part. Don’t criticise them or over think it.
Because for most part you are in charge and can see that your child has a proper meal or the right top on to match the bottom.
I could have avoided feeling like a single Mum if I had let go of control. My husband is a wonderful Dad, he adores his son and can be soft with him. But now we have both understood the problem and are working on fixing it.
I would love to hear your parenting issues living in Turkey and what you find difficult here. Please leave your story in the comments below.
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