Feeling overwhelmed

I am feeling overwhelmed and I know that, however embarrassing, writing it down helps me process things.

It’s a brand new year and I do have high hopes for 2018. I feel I can be more successful and that matters to me. Perhaps it should not do so at my age. Perhaps I should give up on ever getting there wherever there is. Perhaps I just have too huge a ego and want to be remembered for something useful before the Death thing.

I like it here. We have a lovely house with amazing grounds and land. It is so peaceful and beautiful. The community have welcomed us and yet it still can seem surreal to be in another country. What if this is a really stupid decision that will damage my children in the long-term? They need to learn French properly and of course that will fall on me because I have a French A-Level of the rusty variety and also because I am the one who always tackles the things they need. My husband shows more interested in Bejewelled Blitz or Train Station games.

I worry for my 17 year old who has an idea he wants to get into film production but does not seem to make any moves towards it. Then he says it was me who suggested he take a year off which is true. He is happy but how long can he stay doing nothing much?

My 13 year old daughter is OK I think. She is very focused and pretty much since she was a baby, art and design has mattered hugely to her. I need to persuade her to share more of her stuff with me as I think from what she does share it is probably quite brilliant and deserves a wider audience. She writes songs and stories as well as doing arts, crafts and animations. I don’t think school is quite right for her and certainly not in a foreign land. I envisage her doing what she is doing now – researching possible futures and probably working from home in the future in some way. I do worry about exams though. Does that mean I am over-schooled?

I home educate my 12 year old son too but I am not sure that is the right choice for him. I think he would enjoy getting back to school and making new friends as he is the most sociable of all my children. He is so very bright and it concerns me that my teaching will not suffice. But how do I persuade him to give school another go whilst keeping his sister out of school?

Then there is all the French bureaucracy to get to grips with. It is only when you move overseas that you realise how much knowledge you just have living in your own country about how things work, where you need to go, who you need to telephone and so on.

So then I think I should go back to the UK but I hate a lot about it and don’t think it offers my children great life chances as it currently operates.

Also my children do seem to be happier and love it here but is that enough?

I seem braver here which is good reaching out to new people both French and English. I saw a motorbike the other day and was so attracted to it and thinking “Well why not?”

And then there is my marriage. My husband is stand-out as the only person who has stuck around for years on end on an on-going basis. We are friends and we enjoy going out and about together. He took a huge leap of faith coming out here with me based on a whim or dream that was mine alone to start with. I just wish I could have one of their photos where a bloke has his arm around me or is cuddling up to me and looks like he wants to be there and thinks he is the cat that got the cream. I would like to think that he was interested in what I have to say and I just don’t. He says he starts off that way but that all my conversations turn into essays. Increasingly, I feel that at least when I am alone I am not boring someone so much.

Tonight I looked up a couple of people I was at college with neither of whom I am in touch with. Dazzling careers with testimonials saying how very amazing they are.

And then there is me wanting to be great at something and wishing that life came with a rule-book with the right answers at the back.

I want to be good at work. I want to be a good enough parent. I hate that I am too old or whatever for a modicum of romance.

And yet – in the last week, I navigated my late Mum’s birthday really well celebrating her life and not getting upset one bit. I have had kisses from a man who wanted to thank me for being kind to his wife. I have chatted in French and laughed with men and women in the local bar. I know I don’t have to be perfect but I wish I was better at it all than I actually am.


  1. Your kids are happy so let them be happy for the full year. No one suffered irreversibly by taking one year out of formal education. But do encourage them to learn French while they’re there as that would be a shame not to. When the first year is up you can take stock and see what needs to be done for or by each of them. Meanwhile make the most of your Year in France – which may turn into a Life in France or it may not. You don’t have to know the future today.

  2. Hi Catherine, I do hope these feelings pass. Maybe it’s the time of year? After all the excitement of moving to a new country settles down it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. Settling down and finding a routine and life that suits you takes time. You will get there. You will do what’s best for each of your children and for you, whether it’s homeschooling or public schooling. The good thing about public schooling is that they would pick up the language more easily. As for your husband, he sounds pretty normal to me, which is a shame really. I can’t remember the last time I had a proper conversation with mine, he’s like an old fart already… I’ve lived in Greece for over twenty years now and still battle with the language and will probably never understand the bureaucracy here. Money may be tight,but our quality of life is so much better… Who says your friends from college are happy with their lot?…

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC and may 2018 be the fantastic year you hope for.


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