Traveling abroad (or better yet, temporarily relocating) with your kids isn't nearly as stressful as you think it is. In fact, your children will make your experience better: more authentic, more meaningful, more colorful and more social....
You become part of the community.
Your kids are your entrée into “real” French life – school events, play dates, birthday parties, dinner parties, judo lessons, etc. And because of your kids new friends and activities, you will quickly meet people and develop a natural support system.
You have something to talk about.
Kids are the ultimate conversation starter. People aren’t likely to quiz you about your personal life. But they will ask you about your kids: Oh, how old are they? Do they go to school here? Do they like it? Where are you from? Why do they speak French? Suddenly, you’re having a real conversation with someone – in French!
You put yourself out there.
You want your kids to have a good experience, make friends and enjoy school/summer camp. So even though you feel scared and insecure, you put yourself out there. You strike up conversations, schedule play dates and invite families over for dinner.
You keep calm and carry on.
Not every moment of travel is bliss. It’s normal to feel a little nervous or culture-shocked. But as a parent, you know that you can’t fall apart. You know that you need to set an example. So you smile, laugh and explain your way through one teachable moment after another.
And yes, it’s exhausting.
Sometimes you would really rather not go to that play date or dinner party. You’d rather open a bottle of wine and watch the only English-language television channel you’ve got, even if it’s Fox News. But your kids need to make friends and live a normal life. So you will go on that play date and you will struggle through a foreign language and you will live through awkward silences. And before you know it, you’ll have made a few friends of your own.