The Parallel Lives of Expats and Parents

During one of the earlier months of Leila’s life I was on a Skype date with a friend that lives in Kurdistan. She was asking me questions about life, and after listening to a few of my answers she paused and said something like this, “So basically it’s like you’re an expat.” And I paused and said, “Yes.”

Here are just some of the ways parenthood parallels the expat life.

  1. Culture shock. The culture of birth, the culture of babies, the culture of other parents, the culture of the playground, the culture of education…
  2. Language is an issue. And not just between you and your little. You have to learn enough of the new parenting dialect to function in your new day-to-day activities.
  3. Your sleep schedule is different than that of your friends and family.
  4. You have to redefine your concept of a productive day (e.g. getting one thing done is an accomplishment, spending the whole day trying to get one thing done is reality).
  5. You see your old friends 1-2 times a year.
  6. You have to make new friends.
  7. You take an obnoxiously large number of photographs.
  8. You want to chronicle every detail.
  9. Bizarre illnesses (Thrush and mastitis, I’m looking squarely in your direction).
  10. Normal is completely redefined. And it is wonderful.

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What parenting is like in the United States

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