9 Things I’ve Learned as a Nomadic Mom
Posted in: Blog
OK, so I may be a day late for Mother’s Day in the U.S. with this, but Mother’s Day is actually today (Monday) in Mexico and I wanted to take a moment to think about what nomad-ing as a mom has meant for me this year. I can’t tell you what a fulfilling experience this has been for me as a parent. Here are some things I have learned.
My children are capable and resilient
Now, I always knew this – but watching them arrive in a new location, learn 2 languages, make friends and become functional in 2 new cultures within just a few months has shown me how really amazing they are. Sure, they’ve had some hard days but overall they’ve been real troopers and have taken on this challenge with enthusiasm and confidence.
This has probably been the biggest point of learning for me as a nomadic mom. I fully accept that in our lives at home my kids have lived a pretty sheltered existence. I mean, we live in an area where basically there is not much to do unless you drive to it and since none of them were of driving age before we left the U.S., I had nearly complete control and knowledge of where they were at all times. Traveling has been a completely different story. We have been living in areas of Brazil and Mexico where public transportation is readily available. Not only that, but we have not owned cars while nomad-ing so we have been 100% reliant on this transportation or on our own feet. What this has meant is that my girls have been much more independent. While I’m happy for their new independence, on my side it has meant learning to trust in them and in the universe. The first couple of weeks in Mexico where buses seem to run in an extremely chaotic system wasn’t easy. At times they were gone for hours longer than expected, only to return with tales of being lost and finding themselves on buses that had actually left the city. I realize every time they walk out the door that I must not only trust in their abilities to get through these situations but also in the universe to keep them safe while they do this learning. It’s not easy.
We really don’t need much stuff
Again, this is something that I’ve known. My kids have never been big purchasers nor beggars for the latest cool thing. However, living out of 1 medium suitcase for a year I realize how little stuff we really need. In fact, when we moved locations my girls actually reduced what they brought the second time significantly.
Being a single mom is tough
Since my husband was not able to join us this year I went overnight from having a parenting partner to being a single mom. Now, that’s not to say that my husband doesn’t still play a significant role. He does. We speak to him almost nightly and he is in close communication about the kids. However, when it comes to the day to day, who’s going to get the meals kind of stuff, I’m a single mom and it’s tough. I think the hardest part has been not having much time for myself. Although I was raised by a single mom and always respected what she went through, I have even more respect now for what it takes to be alone as a parent.
This is the most important thing I’ll ever do
As Jackie Kennedy Onassis said “If you bungle raising your children I don’t think whatever else you may do well matters very much”. In the big scheme of things, raising my girls to be conscious citizens of the world is probably the most important contribution I can make to the future. I don’t know how to better do this than by letting them experience the world first hand, and not just as “tourists” but by remaining in locations long enough to join in their communities. That’s where having the ability to keep my income generating so that we can travel at our pace has been crucial. It has allowed our family to have this experience and hopefully has allowed our children to have a much greater understanding of the world and our place in it.
I’m really really lucky
Yes, being nomadic has taken a lot of determination and long term planning to make it happen. But I also know that in addition to the efforts I’ve made I’m also incredibly lucky. I’m lucky to have a husband who has been willing to let us go without him. I’m lucky to have children who have been enthusiastic about this lifestyle. I’m lucky to live in these times where technology allows us to work from where we want. I’m lucky to have coaching clients who support what I do. I’m lucky to have people who read this blog and leave their comments. For all these things I’m grateful to the universe.
Time is the most precious thing
This year of nomad-ing with my girls has meant we have spent a lot of time together. For me, time is the most precious gift I can receive as a mom. To have had this year to be with them outside of our usual lifestyle has been such a gift. I’m also grateful for that.
I love being a nomadic mom
Before becoming a mom I already loved traveling. But traveling alone was a completely different experience. I mean, I loved the independence, being young, and getting to do what I wanted, when I wanted and with whom I wanted. It was exciting to be out in the world on my own. But I also got incredibly lonely and homesick at times. Traveling with my children has been so different. Granted, I don’t have nearly the freedom I did before but I also have never felt lonely or homesick even once. And getting to share my love for travel and the world with the girls has been amazing. It’s so wonderful to see their enthusiasm that I enjoy the experience even more through them. Also, having children in a new culture means that you experience another side of local life. Suddenly the world of families and children is opened to you as well and you meet people at a very personal level when you meet as parents.
I may have lighted a fire
In this year our girls have learned how incredibly large and abundant this world is and they’re already wanting to see more. They talk about where they’d like to go next and where they may eventually want to live. I realize that through this experience I may have started a fire within them that will take them very far from me some day. I imagine mother birds feel this way when they see their young on the edge of the nest flapping their wings and they know that at any moment their precious treasures are going to take that leap and perhaps never return. It’s hard to think about. I’ll just have to trust on this one as well.