Sunday, May 10, 2015

Shout Out to the Expat Moms

I just wanted to take a moment on this (American) Mother's Day to give a shout out to my fellow expat moms.

You are awesome!

You potty train your kids.  Then you teach them how to use a latrine, how to pee in the bush, and what that "little teapot" next to the toilet is really for.

You spend the entire time your kids are in school searching for a functional ATM just to pay their teacher.

You go to parent teacher conferences in your second, third or even forth language.

You go all in for whatever after school activity you can get your child into near your current home.  Ballet?  Drumming?  Mosaics?  We've got this.

You spend countless hours on the internet figuring out how to make something that resembles mac and cheese using local ingredients.

You make Thanksgiving dinner, cheer for the local team during the world cup, buy a goat for the Tabaski feast of your neighborhood and remember to wish your veggie salesman's wife Happy International Women's Day.

You teach your kids your favorite family recipes, and teach yourself how to butcher a chicken using YouTube videos.

You juggle your own dentist appointments, weeks when your spouse is traveling for work, children's illnesses, and work stress without the luxury of a family member to lean on, your best friend to baby sit, or even your favorite beer to pop open after a particularly hard day.

You are your family's rock when a loved one back home is sick or has passed away, even when all you want is to be able to break down and get a hug from your own mom.

You aren't only responsible for passing on your own culture, religion and traditions to your children, but for teaching them how to navigate and be respectful of those of your host country, which may change every two years.

So on this Mother's Day, after a great afternoon with my husband and kids, I am so thankful for my mom, grandma, aunts, and the other amazing women who helped raised me.  I am thankful for my two wild children who keep me laughing, keep my heart full, and have changed me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.  I am also thankful that Bean and Sprout passed out after an afternoon of swimming and that the German managed to get their car seats into the house without waking them, giving me an hour of quiet.  And I am thankful for you, fellow expat mom.  Thank you for sharing my struggles, commiserating with me, being my friend, and bringing up some amazing, culturally sensitive and well rounded kids who, thanks to the experiences and guidance you have provided, will make a huge difference in the place they eventually call home.  To you, I raise my bottle of cheap, local beer and say cheers!  And thanks for keeping the show on the road.

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