Browsing Tag

moving

Parenting, Travel

How to cope as an expat mom

Moving countries as a mom is more demanding because you are not just trying to adapt to a new environment, but also trying to help your child (or children) adapt to the new environment. The age of your child determines how much effort you would put in to cope as a mom in your new environment.

Relocating with three kids under the age of 6, these seven points have helped me cope;

Research for schools

It would be better to research on schools before leaving for your next adventure. Narrow your search down to three or five and contact the schools, letting them know you are not yet in the country, and give them a probable date of arrival. With this as a mom, you are sure that your child would not be out of school, and that you would not be overwhelmed with this decision when you arrive.

Live in family friendly environment

This is very important to allow you and your family settle in very fine and easily. As a mom, you would want your kids to be safe while playing and expressing themselves. The house/apartment should not be so far from the school. There should also be a play area and other amenities needed by families in the neighbourhood.

Attend/Host Playdates

Depending on the age of your child or children, it is better to host and attend playdates. This would enable your child to socialize and make friends. It would also enable you to get to know your child’s friends. If your child’s still a toddler or a baby, this would also be an opportunity for you to socialize with other moms, and learn how they are coping with the sleepless nights 🙂

Join Mom support groups

This goes a long way to help you settle in your new environment. You can always learn from other moms experiences, and also ask any questions you might have as a mom. Since you are new to the environment, these moms are always there to tell you where to find products you might be looking for, and good substitutes if you can’t find you specific brands, best schools, hospitals and even parenting tips.

Have a “Me time”

It can sometimes be overwhelming adjusting to a new environment, and also being a mom. It is advisable to have a “me time” (as I prefer to call it), to keep your sanity. Your “me time” should be something you love doing, which distresses you. It could be pampering yourself, resting, going to the movies, coffee time out with friends, girls night out etc. If you make out time for yourself, you would be strong enough to take care of someone else.

Communicate a lot

Having constant communication with your child would help you find out how they feel about their new environment. Ask them how they feel about their new school, the teachers, if they have made friends etc. Communication goes beyond asking them these questions. It also requires making out more time for them, and showing them you care about their feelings. This would help them not to hold back from you, and you would be able to know if they need your advise or help.

Don’t feel too guilty

It is very natural as a mom to always feel guilty that you are not doing enough, and you keep trying to be better. As an expat mom, this feeling is more. You blame yourself for everything (and even for things you can’t help), if the weather is bad you blame yourself, if your child is taking time to adapt to the environment you blame yourself …and the list goes on. Try to do the best you can to make settling down easy for you and your child, but don’t weigh yourself down.

Being a mom should not stop us from living our dreams. It only makes us more accountable and stronger. Yes, we can do it.

 

xx,

Stella.

Lifestyle, Travel

Tips on starting the Expat Life

Are you thinking of making an adventurous move, like living as an expat?, then this post is for you.

At a time in most people’s life, you feel like exploring other countries. Sometime, this decision may come as a result of cross posting in your company, needing better pay, trying out a new career, going through a devastating break-up and needing a fresh start, marriage, studies, trying to see life outside the box of the media etc.

Whatever your reason might be, you find out sometimes that after the excitement that you are moving wears down, the fear of uncertainty sets in (which is normal). As an expat that have lived in countries in  Africa, Europe, Middle East and presently in North America, these are my advice on steps to take to reduce the fear of uncertainty;

Research on your destination country: This definitely is going to be my first point because I failed to do this when we moved to Oman, and this made adaptation a bit longer for me. When my hubby informed me that we would be moving to Oman, I remember I hadn’t heard that name before but I felt if I could easily adapt to life in the UK then it was going to be easy, but that was not true.

I had to learn to adapt to almost everything including weather,  different days of the weekend etc., but now I’m so in love with Oman 🙂 Enough about me, all I’m trying to say is get to know your country of destination, research! research!!research!!!, email bloggers based in such countries and ask questions.

Make Plans: Decide on what you would do in your destination country. For instance, if you are going for a new job, ask questions from your prospective employer and make plans. Is your rent, health insurance etc. going to be covered in your monthly income? If you have kids, would their fees be paid by your company or would you pay for that personally? Would your monthly income really sustain you?, because the worst place to be stranded is in a foreign land.

I have met some people that get excited when they hear the amount they would be paid (maybe comparing it to their own currency), but when they get to their destination country, they realize they can’t survive on it. If you are satisfied with your findings and plans, then it is time to decide on what you would do with your properties (you may decide to ship, sell or keep them).

Get the news out: It is now time to inform those that officially need to know (of course you don’t need to inform the media house 🙂 ), like your boss, tax man, family, friends, etc. Then sort your utility bills and current tenancy agreement (if you are renting) etc. It’s now time for goodbye party!!! (I hate goodbyes 🙁 )

Obey the Laws: When you get to your destination, obey your host country. Come in with the right visa, make sure you researched on what is allowed and what is not allowed. Sometimes what may be Okay to do (e.g drinking alcohol) in your own country may be prohibited in your host country. They cannot change their laws for you, there is always an option for you to leave or not going there in the first place.

Make friends. Be prepared to miss your family and friends back home on some events you would have really wanted them to witness. Friends are the people that would help you adapt to your new country (I have a lot to talk on this which I would further discuss in my next post). You would need the expat community, they have been where you are now, so they know how best to advice you. It is also better to get a house around where expats live or join expat communities like Internations.

Explore: This is one of the reasons I love expat life because the knowledge you gain is immeasurable. Try to visit places within your host country, and get to know them better. Learn about their history and culture. Language may be a barrier sometimes, but with the right friends, you can always learn how to cope with the difference. Do not limit yourself to what you see on your screen, go out!

 

With these in place, you are ready for your new adventure, have fun exploring.

xx,

Stella.