Peaches and Cream, you think?
Ever heard of the term “the grass is always greener on the other side” well, it’s not true. Funny we all know that, yet we forget and need reminding from time to time.
The expatriate contract compensates so much more that it is easy to give in to this life style, because this bubble is so comfortable, especially when you are a high-ranking executive (career wise) and are fortunate to have the right contract which includes: Children in private/international schools, tuition paid for by the company, flying business class, a wonderful housing allowance, global minded children,maid/helper all this and so much more… and me a wife to a VP Sales and Services. Sounds great, does it not? I will not lie it looks great and most of the time feels great, if I were not living this life rest assured I’d be green with envy.
Everything comes with a price tag though, mine was to give up my career in exchange for life as a stay-at-home mom, which needs a reality check from time to time or you may lose you identity, Seriously! I am a housewife juggling 2 wonderful children, laundry, the house (which takes me four hours to clean and no, not deep cleaning), cooking, blogging, facebook’ing… while my darling husband spends more time in the office or out of the country than in his our home (not by choice). For example, he just got back home last night after 3 nights away on business and tonight he has dinner with clients. And When he is home he is in work mode, a conference call here, emails there and sometimes he will answer work-related phone calls during dinner time… Who’s complaining, me? no, no, no, I just tell it like it is.
Don’t misunderstand me, hubby and I love each other dearly and our home is very warm, homely and filled with love and everything nice. We are both there for our kids equally and he helps with the house work when he can. Yes, at times we argue and fuss and fight, we are only human after all . But this is not the issue, the issue I am discussing here, is the price tag that comes with this rather glamorous looking “expat” life style.
More often than not the wife will become the stay-at-home parent taking care of the children and the household while the husband is at work taking care of everything else… There are quiet a few of us stay-at-home mom’s around and what boggles me though is the way some of these women act with such overbearing pride “think Desperate housewives on steroids” they have this silent yet visible battles with each other, I call it the battle of the expatriate contract. What school you kids attend, where you live, how big your house is, what car you drive are some of the few ways you are graded. Oh and the 4×4’s don’t get me started on that one, it literally is a must in these clique’s to have one from either Lexus, Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover, Audi, BMW, Merc… You name it they drive it, it it’s a fierce battle! For some it’s all about shopping, shopping, shopping while the maid/helper takes care of the house, the kids and sometimes the husband :0 And for some it’s all about gossiping about what they don’t have and wish they had, others are alcoholics in denial. And as for me, I choose to stay away from these crowds, yes, call me stuck up, conceited or aloof, i just value my family more.
I have met some lovely people no doubt, one who pop’s into my head is a dear friend, we met in February 6 2004 in the Dubai arrival’s airport, she is a special woman whom i call a close friend. We both have two kids each, boys and girls. Whenever we got together we spoke about our futures, families, husbands, never about other people. all this over wine or beer and food, while the kids played upstairs. I miss that!
So from one expat women to another I recommend you try the following hint’s and tips, “use it, don’t use it, it’s up to you”
- Do not come into this life thinking everybody will like you.
- Do not withdraw yourself from people, just choose who you acquaint yourself wisely.
- Don’t ever think you are better than others because you hold a “certain” passport.
- Don’t be cocky about how much school fees and/or debentures you pay for each child, the person you are boasting to might be struggling to keep their kids in school.
- Don’t boast about how you will never fly in any class other than business class- really, really!?!
- Don’t boast about how big your house is and how much you pay for it. Clean it instead!
- You never know who you are talking to, and how wealthy they are, because it is non of their business or yours. I have a “very good life” you don’t hear me bragging do you?
- Teach your kids manners. Good morning, good afternoon, please and thank you are a good place to start.
- Don’t assume that everyone around you is poor.
- Don’t ever discuss money in public, especially what your husband earns.
- Oh next time you see me at the park/play ground, do say hello. I could be the missing link in helping your husband close the business deal that could earn his company millions $$$ and you happier. or you’ll be surprised at the next Gala evening when you find out who I really am.
- That woman cleaning your house, taking care of your children and cooking your food, deserves respect too, remember one good deed deserves another 😉
Happy Expat living