Leaving Home to Go Home, Part 3 of 3

The last segment from my beautiful and talented guest, mrs. parker.

An interesting aspect of the trip home is that you typically find yourself back under your parent’s roof, only this time you have kids of your own. This is rather unique to expat families and something that other families do not typically experience…

For a weekend, yes, or even a week, but not for six consecutive weeks. It can be very stressful for both the hosts and the visitors. And now you are not only dealing with your relationship with family members, but also your children’s relationships. Differences in expectations for the children’s behaviour, as well as discipline techniques, are touchy subjects, especially in someone else’s house. Your children may not be on their best behaviour with schedules disrupted, jet-lag, new surroundings, and a parent MIA. Your expectations for your children may be different, and how you respond to them may be different, now that you have an audience most of the time. It may have been a long time since your hosts (often your parents) had children living in their home.

Our solution: Be prepared for some tension (for all parties involved) and plan for how to deal with it. Have an open discussion with your hosts, either before your trip or shortly after your arrival, about what the house rules should be. Let them know how you typically discipline your children to help preserve consistency. Re-visit this discussion throughout the trip, as attitudes and desires may change with time and the experience of living together (particularly after the honeymoon period of a week or two wears off!) Spending a few nights with another relative or friend can also give everyone a break.

With all these challenges to face, is it even worth it to leave the comfort of your home in a foreign land, to travel, kids in tow, to your home and native land? Most definitely! The only thing better than spending time with friends and family, is being able to see your children spend time with them. Friendships are forged, familial bonds strengthened, and memories made. And when the trip is over, and you are looking at your hundreds of photos, it will be with a great big smile on your face.

Big thanks to my wife for writing this article. I’m lucky guy who gets to post it.

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An American who likes to move around. I now live on the eastern Canadian seaboard. My job? A stay-at-home dad for two cute but demanding bosses. My wife? Also cute; not so demanding. My wife and I both love travel. We met in South Korea, travelled across Australia, India, Europe and beyond. We lived in Czech Republic for four years. Many stories to tell and experience to share. If you let me, I will help you travel as we do. Enjoy.

6 thoughts on “Leaving Home to Go Home, Part 3 of 3”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    This is a great series of articles! Although we don’t have kids, I can really see how thinking through the experience makes a lot of sense. I’ve always admired single parents who are traveling with young children as it can’t be an easy experience. I guess I never really thought about the fact that the experience once ‘home’ would be equally daunting when navigating familial relationships, discipline, etc! Alluding back to your excuses why not to become an expat, this article I think helps to show that traveling with children may pose some different challenges, but it is possible with proper planning and the right attitude.

    Congrats to your wife on a great series!

    Andrew C

    1. Thanks Andrew! – I will pass on the good word.
      (She was a bit worried on lack of comments – you just saved her confidence!) 🙂

      1. I can understand the feeling… you put yourself out there… then nothing?! 🙂

        Tell her the audience will come. Only a small minority of readers will actually comment… and now it’s up to you to get it in front of the right audience!

    2. I see how all the challenges are a bit of a struggle, tiresome, stressful and exhausting. At the end, you were able to be the bigger person that has the best of both worlds. It is funny how reality can hit when you see the realization of how a new world can be flipped, but for the better. You living abroad gains the perspective of how others look at North America as on a “Holiday”, instead of us traveling abroad for our little vacations.

      What I took out of this even though, I am not a mother. You have the freedom as an expat to go on vacation for more than a month at a time. Whereas, in the US of A we can only spare a week or 2. (If we are lucky.) That is because we would come back home to the US and feel that bills are piling up and work wont understand to actually allow a request to leave for more than that time off.

      I love it and I know that my husband and I are truly in the market for a new life that rewards us in more than one way. I hope the Jeff you are still able to help us fulfill our dreams of having a better life!!! A real one that would be life alternating and rewarding at the same time.

      1. Thanks Samantha!

        I know my wife is grateful for your comment, too.

        Yes, vacation time is pretty limited in the US (Canada basically the same). While Europeans oft enjoy 5+ weeks a year, the bills pile up wherever folks are. 😉

        Thanks again for reading and enjoying the post, Samantha.


        1. I am really excited to being a future expat but I need help. I know i want to be in Europe just dont know which countries are better.

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