How do you tell your family you’re planning on moving to another country and, in the process, abandoning them by default? It’s a tricky ol’ situation to say the least and I remember before I went on my year abroad and left for Mexico, I didn’t exactly handle the whole ‘telling my mum I’m moving away’ thing all that well. In fact, I had plenty of other concerns that topped the whole communication malarky.
For example, I was more worried about deciding where to move overseas to and, as anyone who’s studied a language (and therefore done a year abroad) or just taken the plunge and moved to a foreign country will know, deciding where to go has the potential to be perhaps the most stressful but exciting decision you will ever make. Kind of like buying a drink in Starbucks, but less expensive. Yet, unlike when I buy a drink in Starbucks, I didn’t agonise over my living abroad choice with the unlikely person who happened to be with my at the time. I just applied without telling anyone. Not even my mum. As you can imagine, she took it poorly to say the least. So, in light of my experience with how not to tell your mum you’re moving abroad, I thought I’d give you some top tips on how to do it right.
How to Tell Your Mum You’re Moving Abroad, a.k.a. Avoiding my Idiotic Mistakes
1. Don’t tell her over the phone
Do not, I repeat, do not do it over the phone, late one Friday night when she has had a shit week at work and is nursing a terrible head cold. This will not end well. In fact, this will end in incredibly hurt sounding ‘oh, are you sure you want to go so far away?’ comments, filtered through a blocked nose, which only makes you feel more sorry for her. However, this is arguably better than telling her face to face and having to fend off the guilt trip potential of tear-brimmed eyes too, so…it’s up to you.
2. Don’t back down
DO NOT BREAK. Shoot down any terrible suggestions that you go to Europe – this is a ploy for her to get a year’s worth of Easyjet holidays in Andalucía.
3. Don’t feel sorry for her
Try not to feel sorry for her, despite knowing full well you’re condemning her to a full year alone with only your annoying younger sibling for company. She will survive. Much the way you had to during the interminable summer holidays of your youth.
4. Don’t bring up the crime stats of the country you’re moving to
Remind her that you’re an adult now and besides Mexico’s not that dangerous, and then definitely avoid any deeper probing into the actual, tangible danger levels of wherever it is you’re going.
5. Don’t mention that the natives are even a little scared of the place
Mentioning the fact that your bad ass Mexican grammar tutor is even a little scared of Mexico is what we refer to in the industry as not playing to your strengths. Instead mention something about how nice the weather is and how strong the pound is against the peso, Brits love bullshit small talk like that, even (arguably, especially) mums.
6. Don’t bring up the ‘no kidnap coverage’ clause in the insurance small print
This nugget of joy can be shared at a later date – like when you’re in Mexico. Or when the time has come to give the kidnappers your ransom.
7. Don’t ask for her help
Following up your devastating news by asking her to get you a summer job or wondering aloud what she’ll be making for tea when you’re next at home will, again, not go down all that well. Funnily enough, she will not be open to your pleas for help, after the way you have just so terribly betrayed her.
8. Don’t ask for money for your flights and visas, either
Well, not immediately anyway. Preferably wait until after the grovelling email has been received. (See below).
9. DO send her a groveling email
A pleasingly tourist-photo packed email with plenty of Mexican beach and margarita photos alongside links to helpful websites to help calm her worried soul are the perfect post-phonecall remedies. And they’ll pacify her until you can begin dropping hints about her paying for your flights and visas again.
10. Don’t let her loose on Google
Finally, my Latin America lovers, do not mention the drug smuggling tunnel recently discovered between America and Mexico. Or to be even more on the safe side, just don’t let her google search ‘Mexico’, because articles with titles like ‘Juarez, Mexico’s onetime murder capital, is making a comeback’ will be the horrifying reality she’s confronted with.
Tread lightly, my fellow I’m-moving-abroaders, especially if that place you’re moving to happens to be Mexico. And if in doubt, just don’t mention it at all. I’m pretty sure that would work too.