*Also featured at TravelingMom.com.
Moving abroad as a single mother is not for the faint of heart. Between finding somewhere that is affordable, safe, and welcoming of single parent families, it can almost seem impossible to find the “perfect” place. However, there are countries that fit the bill, and where single mothers can feel comfortable and welcomed. Here's why Mexico should be at the top of the list for single mothers considering a move abroad.
Moving abroad to learn a different language and culture has always been a dream that I’ve had. However, the moment I became a single mother, I questioned whether moving abroad with a child was still an option. Factors such as affordability, safety, and being far from family often made my dream seem unattainable.
However, through connecting through various online single mom travel groups, I learned that my dream was actually still very attainable. There were, in fact, several countries where families as well as single parents could live affordably and thrive.
After researching and speaking with several families, I made the choice to move to the beautiful country of Mexico.
We've now been in Mexico for nearly a year and I can wholeheartedly agree that Mexico is an excellent choice for families moving abroad. In fact, I can say that it is the best choice for moving abroad as a single mother. Here’s why:
1. Mexico is Affordable
There’s no doubt that one of the hardest parts about being a single mother is making ends meet. In Mexico, I can afford to live in a large, three-bedroom house with a yard for a fraction of what I’d pay in my hometown. Private schooling for my son costs less per month than what I used to pay per week. Health and dental care is available and affordable enough I can pay out of pocket. I am much less stressed about money as a single mother in Mexico, because my dollar goes much further.
2. It’s a Kid-Friendly Country
In Mexico, children are the center of the universe. Children are encouraged to be themselves and to play wherever they feel it’s appropriate. Many restaurants are equipped with playgrounds or “Kids Clubs” to give parents a break and to distract children from electronics. As a single mother, I can enjoy a quiet meal and thoughts to myself knowing that my child is safe and having fun. When the food is as delicious as it is in Mexico, it’s important that I spend my time enjoying every bite and not trying to satisfy an impatient little one!
3. There is Support for All Family Dynamics
Moving abroad as a single mother, I had a fear of not having any support from the surrounding community. However, I found that here in Mexico, there is an understanding that it takes a village to raise a child. Families look out for one another, whether a traditional nuclear family or a single parent family. Parents bring their children to work with them and aren’t frowned upon by their superiors or the public. Other mothers offer to provide assistance and be there for my son and I if needed. As a single mother living far from family, knowing I have this support is invaluable.
4. There’s a Slower Pace of Life
Back in the U.S., it was so easy to get caught up in working my 9-5. I would rush home after a long day, speed through dinner, go to bed, and do it all again the next day. Well, gone are the days of feeling frazzled and or feeling that I don’t have enough time in the day. Moving to Mexico has taught me to slow down and appreciate the precious moments of each day. It is OK if things don’t get done by the end of the day, because there’s always mañana. The population cherishes and takes family time seriously, and I am encouraged to spend and appreciate time together with my son.
5. We Are Still Close to Home
Living abroad as a single mother, being able to return home to visit as well as have family and friends visit us is important. Mexico shares a 2,000 mile border with the United States, making it very easy to hop on a flight back to the states. If it so happens that I learn that the expat life is not for me or my son, I know that it will not take much time or resources to return home.
6. Hiring a Nanny is an Option
Nope, you didn’t misread that. Here in Mexico, hiring a nanny for several hours a week (or more) is actually an affordable option for single mothers! Not only are there nannies available, but in many places there are abundance of quality child care facilities. I can afford to hire someone on days that I need to run important errands or if I simply need a little “me” time. It feels good knowing that it won’t cost me half my paycheck to hire someone to care for my son and/or help out around the house.
7. There's a Large Single Mother Community
In Mexico, there is surprisingly a large number of single mothers living across all of the states. The various Mexico expat groups on Facebook are often utilized by single mothers looking to connect with one another. As of May 2020, the Single Moms in Mexico group is nearly 400 members strong, and growing!
Because of this community, I have other mothers to reach out to for support, encouragement, and for meet-ups. By having a space to create friendships among ourselves as well as our children, I not only feel supported, but comfortable and welcomed. Living in Mexico as a single mother, I can truly say that I feel that I am at home.
Thinking of taking a trip to Mexico with your little one? Come visit us in Puerto Vallarta! There's tons for kids to do here...just take a look at this awesome list I've put together. Once you're ready to book your trip, check out this list of 11 Best Hotels in Puerto Vallarta for Families!
Follow our journey! Keep up on our travels to and through Mexico at Just Me and J in Mexico. Also be sure to head over to the Travel Unapologetically Facebook page for blog updates as well as travel tips and inspiration.