Finding the hood through motherhood, a universal language of love and support!

Finding the hood

The real story of leaving the hood in a flash! In the height of the pandemic, we packed up our little family, and shipped off to Switzerland.

That was October 2020, one day after my eldest daughter turned 3, when we caught a very lonely repatriation flight, out of the desolate OR Tambo. With my 7-month-old daughter strapped to me in my Ubuntu Baba, we were dropped off curb side by my parents, did a quick farewell by order of security and walked the long walk to what felt like a new sense of freedom- leaving all the familiar hoods behind.

Boy were we in for a real surprise!

You see I was that mom, the “there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do mom”.  I can navigate moving to a new country with a toddler and a baby on my own. I will make this work! I had to make it work. My husband was offered a great position.

I felt the pressure of handling everything else while my resilient husband navigated his new working role. I mean I was a mother, its what I do! Its in my DNA. I was raised by a strong independent working mom, I could change a plug, clean the house, do my homework, and look after my younger brother all by the time I was nine years old.

But far away from home, I had to look for common ground to find my tribe.

Unfamiliar territory – first days without  the hood

I clearly remember the morning after arriving, we popped into the local cafe and I was dying for a good cappo. “Bonjour! Please can I have one cappuccino with almond milk?”, I eagerly ordered with the waiter. With a hint of annoyance, the waiter replied “Desolex, Je ne parle pas Anglais!”.

My heart sinks and I start to panic! Oh no, what have we done, how are we going to live in a place where we cannot verbally communicate. That day, 2nd November 2020, was the first time I felt the true weight of the decision we had just made. I instantly felt alone. I felt unseen. I felt millions and millions of miles from all that was familiar, a tiny speck in this big wide world.

I spent the next two and a half years feeling this way in this new place. Where were my people, where was the support?

  • My husband hopped off to work down the snowy mountain on a train to work: the hood number one.
  • I couldn’t pop to my favourite brekkie spot with my bestie: hood number two.
  • I couldn’t find a familiar moms and babes class for my little one: the hood number three.
  • No family to visit to offload both mentally and physically: hood number four.
  • No housekeeper coming in to sort laundry and tidy up: hood number five.
  • No Pappacinos on “those” days: the hood number six.
  • even filling up my own petrol was a lonely task, no hood there either. I think you get my drift, the list could go on and on.

It was like existing in a one house street, no one next door to remind you when to take the rubbish out or bring you a warm meal because of loadshedding. There was no hood!

My journey of motherhood seemed overbearing, overstimulating, exhausting and most importantly I felt alone. I was constantly wearing multiple hats at once, it was Groundhog Day, every day, all day. Cleaning, cooking, drop offs, shopping, ironing, bathing, planning, doctors, hospitals, driving, navigating, communicating, school meetings, learning, adapting. All alone.

Making a new home: finding a new hood

I took for granted  “my hood” before we left South Africa. Where were they now? I had to start from scratch, rebuild everything. I even completed my A1 level in French. It took a lot out of me. At the end of the day I realised that I did not want to walk this new motherhood journey in solitude. I needed to find “the hood”.

Eventually I ended up making very good friends with a mom who had two daughters the same age as my kids. It was magical really, we managed to bond, two people from two different hemispheres. Just moms looking for their new hood. Who would have thought that a support system could be found in just one other mom, that I  found my “hood”, in a  street with two houses on the block. A mother-hood that turned into a sister-hood.

Motherhood: a universal language of love and support

How incredible are we as women, as mothers, the peacekeepers, the heart holders, the glue that keeps it all together. We manage to find each other no matter which part of the world we move to. We will always find our hood, no matter how small.

Now, a year later after moving back to South Africa, one week away from Mothers Day, with my original hood, I find myself missing a part of my Swiss Hood. I think at the end of the day, wherever in the world you might be, we will always need our hood, the moms that are going through the same thing as you.

Motherhood doesn’t have any borders or boundaries, it does not discriminate the working moms from the stay-at-home ones, its a universal language, you will always find someone you can relate to. You just need to remember that you are not alone in this journey and allow yourself to trust that we are all in this together

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Stash Jossel

Stash Jossel

Mom to two beautiful girls. Full Time Wife and everything in between. Before becoming a mom, she was a paediatric Speech Therapist. Addicted to the good things in life - family, health, friends, fitness and love. Visit her on instagram

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