Following the popularity and feedback on our post Sure Signs That You’re Adapting to Life As A Mum in Spain, we are excited to share a “tables turned” post from a Spanish mum living in the UK.
Leonor contacted us via our Facebook Page and we invited to share her observations of being a mum in the UK, from a Spanish mum’s point of view.
So, over to Leonor …
You realise you are adapting to life as a mum in the UK when…..
1. Your school meetings start at the actual scheduled time…. (the first one is the only school meeting you will not be on time; being the only parent who is late you will be too embarrassed to do this again!).
2. You go to the pub with your children and you are told the children are not allowed here. Come on!! Bad day for you….:(
3. You are called “Mrs (your surname)” instead of being called “your first name” by the teachers at the school.
4. You learn you can be an active part of the school; you can even stay at your child´s classroom helping him. Amazing! I was allowed to be a primary school child again….(the only problem was the chair which was a bit small for me but shhh…this is my little secret).
5. You learn that schools don´t use any books (Maths, Science, English…) at all, so you don´t have to buy them (yay!!). Don´t sing victory too soon, you will have to buy instead the uniforms for the state schools (uniforms in Spain are only used in private schools).
6. You learn you should not go out with your children after 5.30pm as almost everything is closed and families do not go out after this time.
7. You go to the beach with your children but you never (hardly) go into the sea as it´s frozen (your children will not mind the water temperature. Admit it, you are getting old and whiney!!).
8. You realise you can dress as you please and even go out with your pyjamas and slippers but still nobody would be looking at you. Yay, freedom!! Don´t do this in Spain! It´s seen as a crime!!
9. You learn there are 24/7 supermarkets so you can actually go shopping at 2am if you want to (I actually went shopping at 3am once, just to check if they were telling the true….). Very useful indeed for busy mums!
10. It´s raining cats and dogs but your children are not coming back home running from the rain; it seems they don´t care anymore if it´s raining or not. Rain does not affect their lives, but would still affects yours (you are too old to get used to getting wet).
11. The time you realise you cannot touch/kiss/hug children in the UK! That was, I think, the hardest one for me. I was told this when I started working as a teacher in one of the local schools. At the end of the year, some students came to me with a big bouquet of roses, cards and several gifts in order to thank me. I did not know what to do as I just wanted to hug them all and kiss them!
12. My favourite one; Sleepovers!! 3, 4, 5 children staying at home (your home) in your son´s bedroom, until the day after! What a great tradition in the UK. I so love making dinner for all of them!
Hello. My name is Leonor. I am from Spain and I am thirty something years old.
I am the Academic Director for Cervantes Ltd (find more about me here: www.spanishpassion.co.uk), an academy of languages based in Eastbourne-England. I teach standard Castilian Spanish, the official language of modern Spain. I love my profession and find teaching more a pleasure than a job.
My 7 year old son and I decided to move to England a long time ago. I quitted my job in Spain as a manager of a language department in an academy of languages near to Gibraltar, as our personal lives were not great at that moment, so we were ready for a big challenge. It was the right time to do it.
What can be a bigger challenge than going abroad with your 7 year old son, your car and your suitcases being a single woman? That is what we did. We took our car, our clothes and our great self-esteem with us.
I soon realised that I could not take onboard a full time job if I needed to help my son to integrate with the school, the language, etc., so I started as a private teacher working at home until I found a flexible position as an academic director for a school of language whose students are all over the world so they do lessons online as well as face to face. This flexible job would allow me to have some income and take care of my son properly, with plenty of time to help him. This was exactly what I needed.
My son is now 14 years old and we love our life in the UK. We feel very British although we miss Spain a lot. I am still working for Cervantes Ltd and I am happier everyday.
I don´t know if we will ever go back to Spain but I know something for sure; my heart will always belong to my two countries, no matter what happens. We are half-English, half-Spanish.
I hope you enjoyed at least some of my experiences as a Spanish mum in the UK. I need to clarify that most of my life lessons I listed above, happened thanks to my son. My child was the one who allowed me to get to the bottom of the British family life and enjoy all this, whilst learning from it at the same time. Without my son, I could have lived in the UK independently from the British culture, just hanging out with Spaniards, like Spanish people do here everyday. I couldn´t do this, as I had family commitments with my son, and it was precisely this which made me be part of the real English family life and integrate easier. I don´t think I could ever thank my son enough for this.
What do you think? Do you agree? If you are a Spanish family living in the UK, we’d love to share your story: Contact Us.