Hey, Dads, thank you for taking care of us! Often mothers are rewarded for parenthood, while fathers are disguised as the silly, fun ones who kick a football and show children how to change a flat tire. But fathers are the unsung heroes of life abroad, because really, where would we be without them and their magical abilities to keep sane through it all? Not to take credit from mums who do it on their own or who do it alongside their partner, but today, it’s all about Dad!
My father, although with a load of work up to his neck, found the time to step in as a substitute coach for my football team when our coach could not train us. My father, although his days lasted two hours too many, found the time to take us on weekend getaways to see the country we are now living in. My father, although his phone constantly rang on Sundays, found the time to take us to the stadium to watch football matches of the local team.
Assuming that your abroad situation is due to Papa getting a job opportunity overseas, he is the hard-working man bringing food to the table and asking for time off work to travel around. Fathers around the world find themselves in the same situations – working (or traveling) too much, and spending too little time with the family, which is a huge part of the expat life. So how can hard-working fathers find the perfect balance between work and family life while struggling with starting a life abroad?
Know when to stop and be healthy
This happens to everyone. We live in an overworked society where we should be off work at 5 but we’re sticking around until 6 or 7. A father that wants to experience overseas life with his family should know when to stop. Wrap it up and get going because your kids are at home eagerly waiting for you to help them with their homework or to teach you the new words they learned that day. Being an expat is stressful for everyone, so your wife will appreciate your involvement in family life.
Mental health plays a huge role in balancing life. And it is well known that expats are at higher risk of stress, anxiety and other mental issues. Which takes us onto the next point…
Be open about everything
Juggling a job, being present for your kids, spending quality time with your wife all while not having a nervous breakdown seems almost impossible. Don’t smile at your children every night and say “great!” when they ask how work was. Involving your children in the challenges of starting a life abroad is important to their development, as well as yours. More often than not, being honest with your children about the struggles of being abroad (remember that learning to live in a new cultures isn’t only taking a toll on your child, but you as well) will conclude a hug from your daughter, a fist bump from your son, and loving words from your wife.
Whatever the situation is, the important part is to stay healthy and sane with your family abroad. Expat life isn’t just fun and games, it’s a real life challenge. A united family goes a long way, and sometimes, Dad has to be the one leading it.
Here’s to expat parents, for knowing when to stop, how to keep healthy family relationships, and for saying yes to that job opportunity across the world. This has broadened the views of your children and they will thinking of you when their time comes to be expat parents!
[Image source: Pixabay]