Can I just say, wow? and thank you? And that you guys are the best, most supportive, bravest, most reassuring, and most adventurous parental-figures/blog readers ever?
We’ve had a busy couple of days around here and I haven’t responded to all of the comments yet on the big Moving Overseas with a Baby post, but I’ve been reading them as they’ve been coming in and honestly I’ve felt both rejuvenated and inspired by them all.
There was so much great insight shared both in the comments here and on Facebook that I thought I’d put together some of the reoccurring themes and re-post a few quotes for us to have them all in one place. A post of interesting and inspiring warm fuzzies, if you will, for the next time any of us are feeling a little tired, a little frazzled or just in need of a “get out and explore” boost. Your words of wisdom have surely done it for me already.
I’ve tried to link all of the quotes to the author’s blog but please let me know if I’ve made any mistakes, accidentally missed anyone, or if you’d rather I delink!
*Living overseas with (little) kids isn’t better or worse than without kids (or big kids) it’s just different.
“Having kids makes me move both faster and slower…kids don’t like being cooped up at home all day, so they make you get out…Now instead of museums we check out every zoo we see, parks and playgrounds, architecture and historical sights. We don’t often go inside anymore…” (Like Nomads)
“We’re not living where/how we would if i was just the two of us but it is a cool experience in a completely different way. We don’t see as much but we seem to see it more in-depth because our experience includes our kids’ perspective too.” (A Bit of a Trip)
*Getting kids to feel settled and secure after a big move overseas takes patience, a little planning, and lots of love–but the difficult moments don’t last forever.
“I find I have fallen into a pattern of my first job being to settle the kids and my time comes a bit later. Both are important and critical but no one can enjoy and relax until the kids are somewhat sane.” (Seasons Worth Savoring)
“The key to feeling sane in all the madness was realizing that once they are settled that I’ll feel settled enough to truly find my bearings in new country whether it’s exploring as a tourist, finding a job, or just settling in to my own routine. It’s the reality of motherhood and gives me the focus I needed to quiet my itchy wanderlust feet during those first few weeks after we landed…we just love, practice patience, and try to maintain our sense of fun and exploration in our new home. Good news is, it gets easier from here on out. (Wanderlustress)
“We’re on R&R right now…for the last 4 weeks they have had too many playdates, too many new experiences, napped in too many different beds at different times. We canceled a couple of things to give them downtime one day each week, and recognized that an hour at the playground a block away is better time for them than schlepping them to the Smithsonian or even the Playseum (that I was dying to check out!)” (Like Nomads)
“…There wasn’t any kind of major fallout, it was little grating changes…we try and make “home” as familiar as possible with lots of snuggle time and physical contact since those I think are the most constant parameters. it definitely takes a bit but they definitely do realize that change itself is the new norm after a bit 😉 hang in there!” (The New Diplomat’s Wife)
*Take your kids out exploring with the confidence that no one knows what your kids need and what they can handle like you do.
“We too do the bug spray and the nets and the bed times at home, but we take the girls out. And we especially let local people enjoy them. No we don’t stop for every beggar or sick person in the street, but we let them be touched and held and smiled upon. We love that they interact with people and that they learn love and compassion. We explain difficult situations at the stop lights, but we fully embrace the land we live in and have grown to love. They have gone to local villages and loved every minute of it. And though a 6 hour car ride may be difficult (more for me than them), they’ve seen unbelievable places and felt genuine love. Only you know your child, and you know what’s best.” (Beyond the Cornfields)
“We left for Adana, Turkey with a 4 month old and everyone said I was crazy for being out of the house with a baby in the middle of the day (it was SUPER hot), but the alternative of never leaving my apt was worse. all have survived and thrived.” (Erica J Green)
“We are the expats taking our kid out to the Old City in Hyderabad and letting her eat spicy food in restaurants. We are also the parents respecting nap time and bed time because she really does need to go home and sleep when she’s overtired. Expat and Indian parents alike have plenty to say about our parenting techniques I think. But our daughter is happy and healthy…Cover up with bug spray and sunblock and trust your parental instincts. We’ve covered a lot of ground in our time here, in very small doses.” (Where in the World Am I?)
“you will seem dangerously adventurous to many if not most ex-pats. But remember, this is a place where you are comfortable, you know your surroundings, you know what are warning signs for actual danger. You know your own child and what he can tolerate. Trust yourself.” (Like Nomads)
*Living overseas, getting out, seeing things, traveling with kids all takes enormous amounts of effort, patience (and sometimes low expectations!) but it’s so, so, so worth it.
“We…get strange comments when we said we took the kids to such and such and saw this or that for an overnight trip. Some people don’t like to be out with their kids because it’s not easy. An weekend away with three kids in the third world is not vacation. But it sure makes memories!” (Our Yuppie Life)
“I know they are not going to get or remember some of what we do, especially the toddler but we’ve decided that some things are just worth it even with kids. We do try to do things that are especially targeted to kids too because we don’t want them to have no fun at all.” (Tuk y Tam)
“If I could give one bit of advice … from a mom whose kids spent a majority of their young life overseas … it’s travel as much as you can, and don’t worry. My 9 year old has GREAT memories of all the places we’ve been and things we did. And is surprised as heck that her friends here in the States don’t have any of the same experiences that she does…
Thank you all again!
(Photo at the top from our annual Labor Day “hike” to Haus Khaz yesterday. More to come on that soon.)