Reflections on Raising Children Abroad
Mom guilt. It’s real. Constantly questioning if you are doing the right thing. I have found myself recently questioning the experiences my children might miss out on being raised abroad. I often scroll through my friends’ social media feeds of their children’s soccer and baseball games, and gymnastics and swim meets. Seasonally I see trips to the pumpkin patch and hayrides, pictures with Santa and the Easter Bunny, and birthday parties full of friends they have grown up with. These are all things I grew up with. Memories built over years of team sports, holiday traditions, and parties with lifelong friends; these moments made me the person I am today. Scrolling through social media while living abroad I find myself wondering, “Will my children learn those important lessons of teamwork and overcoming losses with grace without the team sports? Will they have strong memories of holiday traditions that they will want to pass down to their kids? The sort of memories where the smell of baked goods and pine needles remind them of warm happy holidays surrounded by family. Will they build long lasting friendships growing up without lifelong childhood friends?” Some of my closest friends at age 40 are the people I met in 1st grade. Am I robbing my kids of basic life lessons and experiences? Am I robbing them of traditions that give children a sense of time and place and treasured memories?
There is only one way to overcome this questioning, this sense of guilt. I have to sit quietly and specifically call to mind all the things my children are gaining.
At ages 4 and 7 they already have the experience and confidence to know that they are capable of uprooting themselves, leaving what is comfortable, and adjusting to a new location and way of life. I am convinced, and will continue to reassure myself, that this lifestyle will serve them well and somewhere along the way they will learn teamwork, build memories, and make lasting friendships even if their journey looks different than mine.
In Love & Tacos
12/3/2019 08:14:59 am
I grew up without grandparents so one of my dreams was to have my kids grow near theirs. But now as we live in Mexico while my hometown is in Indonesia, we are half around the world apart. The only way to connect my kids with their grandparents is just video calls.
12/3/2019 08:34:01 am
Yes! Chilaquiles are the best! Although we had fantastic food in Indonesia as well.🤗
12/3/2019 10:12:49 am
We are raising world’s citizens, they will go away at the age of 18 and we don’t know where they will end up but it’s on us to get them closer to family and to their roots, that will give them security and confidence they will need in life. They are loosing some experiences and getting another, that’s life , choosing.
12/3/2019 10:47:59 am
You are much further along in this process then we are and your daughters are inspiration for all that is possible.
1/10/2020 10:57:01 pm
Growing up in a small Midwestern town with the majority of my extended family less than 30 minutes away is very different than how my kids are growing up in DC. We’ve had to create our own family through friends, find our way in a large East Coast urban area, and build our own traditions away from our a life we knew. But at the same time I miss some of that small town vibe, I love how our kids are experiencing something different. And like you, I’m thankful that they will continue to get the flavor of a small town — and hopefully some of that “midwestern” friendliness by visiting family back home, but more importantly, by us instilling the things we treasure most into them. I’m grateful that I’ve been forced to meet new “family” - like you!!! - based on living somewhere new. And most of all, I know that your kids will have an amazing life no matter where they are raised because they have such wonderful parents to share all of the best parts of THEIR pasts with.
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Rants of a Diplomat's Wife
Hola, I am an American married to a Mexican Diplomat. I am on my 3rd post as a trailing spouse. The first two posts I joined were in the US, and in July 2018 we moved to Mexico City. Maybe it was the fact that I was pumping out my diplo-babies, or maybe I didn't think anyone would be interested in diplomatic life at my US posts, but I didn't blog then. Now I am in Mexico, and perhaps you might find it interesting to know what life is like here. This is where I share my adventures and thoughts at my current post.