I’ve been MIA from my blog most of the summer and I’ve actually been overall much less “plugged in”, but now we are back home and I can feel some of the old habits creeping back in, some of which I like and some I don’t. I’m starting to realize how free I felt this summer (not free of kids and parenting responsibilities) but free in the sense of not feeling tied to my phone or email. I realize this is a luxury for some. For example, my husband has to deal with emails on his phone in a timely manner for work (even on vacation) and with technology being so accessible most employers expect this. Our phones are so tied to our daily lives. It’s convenient, but it’s also a burden. When is the last time you went a whole day without checking Facebook or texting with people? You should give it a try…it’s kind of liberating! I digress, my point was that less dependency on technology helped me feel more connected in some ways (less in others) but it was overall a great thing.
Another take away from my summer in Australia was regarding the parenting style. I didn’t see any “helicopter parenting” and life was slower, easier, less overscheduled. I found myself sitting on a bench at the park watching my 5 year old and 1.5 year old playing by themselves or with other kids. I wasn’t always right there with them helping them up onto a structure or playing with them or waiting to catch them if they fell (I did that a little bit with the 1.5 year old when necessary) but parents were much more hands off (and I loved it!) Get this – parents often sit and have coffees together while their children play close by! I can’t explain how this happens (it rarely to never happens to me here in America) but it is the norm there – at least from what I saw. I started to realize that falling onto a soft sandy ground from a foot or two high wasn’t going to seriously injure my child so I let him try more by himself – and he amazed me with what he could do just fine. Now I know some of you reading this are shaking your heads and thinking that just letting your child, especially a toddler, have free range of the park is not a good idea. I don’t know the answer and I don’t presume to tell anyone how to parent, but it was such a different park experience I had to share. All I know is that I’m going to sit more and hover less (and sip my coffee)!
Being away from our home for almost 3 months and living with only what we could pack in 4 suitcases and some carry-on luggage seemed daunting at first but as the weeks went by we realized how well we could live with so much less “stuff”. I’m definitely looking at all our “stuff” at home now thinking “what should we get rid of?” It is really nice to have all my kitchen “stuff” back though, I can’t wait to start eating healthier!
Now it’s back to reality, which isn’t all bad. Being home after 3 months away feels nice, seeing friends and family again, having all my creature comforts (too many I’m thinking now…) and getting back into a rhythm of daily life is a welcome aspect. If only I can retain some of my new habits from this experience. (I was on and off Facebook all day yesterday 😜!)
Have you ever had an experience living internationally with your family for a short period of time? What were your take aways?