I have spoken about living away from my family on more than one occasion. What it’s like to have children in boarding school and more often than not how much I’m missing the kids. All though I speak all doom and gloom most times, here I will explain what it’s really like to live away from the kids. For most, your children will eventually grow up and move out, but some of us expat parents we don’t have the luxury of time and our children move away from earlier than most.
Technology when living away from family
Life, for the most part, goes on as usual. We do many of the things as if they are still living under our roof, thanks to technology. We FaceTime during dinner, we speak on the phone regularly, we have a group text which we contribute to daily and yes! We all FaceTime at once when a family meeting is needed.
Communication is key
Communication can be lost when you are living away from family, the longer you leave a question unanswered, or you don’t speak what you feel, resentment can build up quite quickly whether it’s the kids who now live together under one roof or us being miles away from the kids. Misunderstandings are formed if communication isn’t there, so we encourage open conversation at all times.
The luxury of travel
I am blessed to live just a flight away, which means If the kids need me, well, then I’m on the first flight back. It was always an agreement that my husband and I had, that I could jump on a plane of the kids need me or if a significant event in their lives, I needed to attend. We had also agreed that I couldn’t live more than 1 flight away, if I had to hop on two flights then it was too far!
Missing the kids
The biggest downfall is not having them physically under one roof and not being able to look after them when they are sick or hug them when we are proud—not being able to experience every day with them! Looking after them like mums are out on earth to do, so of course, that’s when the mum guilt comes in. The kids probably miss us less than we miss them, to be honest.
Seeing them learning life skills first hand
I am watching them thrive with these newfound responsibilities that most of their friends won’t need to consider until they are much older. Sure, some days I hear the exhaustion in their voice or see the frustration in their eyes! It’s never really smooth sailing, but when it is, it’s gratifying to watch as I see them work together as a team to figure things out.
Lots of date nights when living away from family
One of the benefits is the luxury of dates nights and weekends away, which we would never have considered if the kids were under our roof. Some may read this and find it a selfish point to make. Because we were both very young parents and that we live apart quite a lot, these times that we have together as a couple allows us to reconnect! And once again come together and rediscover what brought us together in the first place.
Being together as a family is important
Because living away from family is the norm, when we do have the luxury of being under one roof, every minute counts. Spending the quality of time together rather than the quantity is key to our relationship with the kids whether we are enjoying each other’s company around the dinner table or pitching and mowing the garden, every minute counts.
This life isn’t easy and certainly isn’t for everyone. Every decision we make we consult the kids, whether it is taking on a new role or moving to a new country, the kids all get to have a say.