Thursday, May 31, 2012

the expat mum blues

Ever have a friend you like as a person but totally disagree with them as a parent? or the other way around? 
As an expat mum of young kids, a lot of the acquaintances I make are through the kids' kindergarten on the school playground. So it happens that I might quite like a person until -  Bam! I see her interact with her child and then realize that we have totally different values on quite important things. This becomes totally blatant if the said mother's child hits/snatches/kicks one of mine/somebody else's kid and the mother does not intervene at all or ineffectively. Believe it or not, it actually puts quite a strain on the (potential) relationship.
On the other hand, you can also spend time with mums who share similar values in terms of child rearing (and whose kids have a happy friendship with mine) but with whom you might not share a great deal with otherwise. 
I guess this goes with the play-date territory and it is certainly exacerbated by the fact that E & W attend an International School where all kinds of nationalities and cultures showcase many different values and ways.  In a non-expat situation I imagine this is balanced out by the fact that you still manage to see your school-day/work-day friends more.

Right now, my favorite people to talk to are my hairdresser, my pediatrician, (who are both Mums) my yoga teacher (a Mum and grandmum) and my pilates teacher (trying to have kids).... Perhaps because parental values are not tested through hard reality with these people and because we mostly talk about other things. I've also realized these are working people who are not spending their days just shopping, cooking, child minding, gossiping, making themselves beautiful etc.  Oh! how I sometimes wish I could have a another job than being a full time expat mum. 

Here is quite a good talk with my beloved child psychotherapist, Rachel Melville-Thomas,  on how to help children choose good friends.

Emma on her way to a birthday party
 William food shopping with Mum - he loves fruit!

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