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What Would Your Family Life Look Like?

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Apr 14, 2020

If you could “greenfields” your family, what would your family life look like?

We have been thinking a lot lately about how our worlds will change as a result of COVID 19 and the subsequent economic impact. 

Hubby is GM for a couple of hotels in New Zealand and he has been asked to comment on the future of hospitality. It was such an interesting conversation over our Sunday breakfast… What could it look like? What would you want it to look like? Will people automatically return to their old habits? Is lock down long enough to create new habits? Certainly perspectives will change, but what will that look like in terms of behaviour?

It then got me thinking about our family and our lifestyle. We have lived in some amazing cities and countries over the past 12 years in Asia, and we have noticed that as a result of our experiences our views are often different from others. For example, there is no way, having lived in Delhi for 3.5 years, that you can take the open blue skies of New Zealand for granted. We find ourselves stopping and just admiring. Breathing deeply just to remind ourselves how clean the air is here. Not everyone appreciates this simple pleasure, and some can’t imagine it being any different.

So then I think about beyond COVID19. Not just beyond lock down, but beyond the border restrictions, and beyond what we can think may or may not happen. What will our family life look like? What will be the impact of this experience on us? On our girls? On our own relationship?

Have you thought about it? Have you considered what you want to do differently? Are you creating new habits that you want to continue beyond this current experience? 

Often in the corporate world, when doing strategic planning, you are asked if the business was a “greenfields” what would it look like? Greenfields being completely free of any current thinking, beliefs, knowledge, and constraints. 

So if you could “greenfields” your family, what would your family life look like?

For me, I love that we are connecting. As an experience, we are each learning to cope in different ways, which I feel is making us stronger as a family unit. I can always find silver linings, and I have found so many already over the past few weeks. But I also have lived through tough times before, and drawing on those experiences I know that this too shall pass, and as a result we will be stronger, better people. 

With my family, I am using my previous experiences to take them on this journey of finding silver linings, and guiding them through their fears. Having faith and trust, even though we can’t see what the outcome will be. 

So, in the greenfields scenario, as a family we will draw on these learnings and we will allow it to shape who we will become. As the girls become adults, they use their memories of lock down to shape their how they think about community and how they develop their sense of community spirit and service to others. They already have strong resilience from their TCK experience, and this will support them to become strong community members and leaders. 

On a more practical level, I love that we are all contributing to the meal preparation, that the onus is not only on me to decide our meals each day. The girls have been making dinner, hubby has been making dinner, we have all been enjoying baking (and unfortunately eating too much of it!) and coming together in the kitchen to create. And long may this continue 🙂

I love that we are not pressured to be somewhere. I love that we can finish the game we are playing before we have to start something else. I love that we are using our creativity, the girls especially have blown me away with what they know and can do independently. I want to find ways to continue to foster all these, being mindful of scheduling and not overcommitting, being aware not to rush the girls when they are focused and generally just valuing each other in the truest sense of the word. 

How about you? If you could “greenfields” your family, what would it look like? Do your kids have any views on this? Please do share in the comments, I would love to hear from you.


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