Moving to another country is not as rosy as the media portrays. Yes, Canada is a peaceful place to raise a family. Yes, Canada has one of the best education systems for kids in the world. However, it is not just about packing your suitcase and boarding the airplane. There is so many emotional rollercoasters that you will ride on. And it can feel very overwhelming…
Have you left everything that you had in your own country behind, and come here in the hope of a better future for your children? To realize, after it is all said and done, that Canada is not as wonderful as you anticipated?
Have you ever thought to yourself: Had I knew this could happen; I would have never come here? But we can’t go back now.
Are you having an identity crisis? Are you somebody who has been sacrificing everything for your family and lose yourself in the process? You studied so hard back home to become a doctor. And yet, when you move here, you have to start all over again. Your credentials back home don’t count any more. You can’t go back to school, because you need to make money right away to support your immediate family here. And in many cases, you also need to send money back home to support your elderly parents. After searching so long for a job, you end up in a job that pays so little and demands so much physical activities. You work long hours, and you are exhausted by the time you get home. Your husband works all day too. However, when he gets home, he just sits there and watches Tivi. There are meals to cook, dishes to clean, and kids to take care of. Once again, you tough yourself up and do what need to get done. And when husband asks you casually: “How is your day?” you explode. You might feel guilty about your reaction, but you can’t help it. Can’t he see how my day is going? Why can’t he come and help me with some housework? It must be nice just to sit there and do nothing.
On top of that, it probably hurts the most when all your efforts seem to have become in vain. When one of your children is struggling with bullying at school. When your husband feels stuck at his low-paid-but-high-demand job. When you know that you are meant for more, but your hands are tied with so many obligations.
I’ve seen so many situations like this. And here are some practical tips that I find useful:
- Know that what you are going through is only one chapter in your life: It can feel so hard and hopeless right now, but there can be better days ahead. Never give up Hope. Never let anyone take it away from you.
- Take care of yourself: It is like that scenario on the plane: You need to put on your own oxygen mask first before you can put it on for somebody else. Make time for self-care: workout even if only for 5 minutes a day, do something that you enjoy like reading, arts and crafts, whatever lights you up.
- Connect with others: make a phone call to somebody you can relate with, either here or back home. Schedule a coffee date with another mom when your kids are at school and you have a day off.
- Ask for help: Know that you don’t have to struggle alone. You are not the only one who is going through this. Pushing your anxieties and worries to the side just make them grow bigger. Deal with them heads-on but with proven strategies and techniques.
Remember: You are not what happens to you, but how you handle it. It’s not too late to fix what went wrong. As long as you keep trying, you can make the best out of what life brings your way. As the old saying goes: When life gives you lemon, make lemonade!