In part one, we explore the truth behind expat housewives and find out whether it is really just about herbal tea parties, lingering lunches and extravagant trips to the shopping mall.
The truth about expat housewives
Source: Creative Commons
You have moved your whole family half way across the globe for your husband’s job, your kids are at school all day, and you have an army of local staff to keep your house in order and dinner on the table at night. You spend the day sipping tea, catching up with other expat housewives, attending pilates classes together and the rest of the time in between spas and manicure parlours.
The reality of course, couldn’t be further away from these stereotypes. Trawl through any expat blogs written by women abroad and you will know.
We have come across some great blogs of housewives living abroad, detailing their new experiences abroad, bringing up the children and settling in to their new homes. Maryline at Franco-American Dream for example blogs regularly about her parenting journey abroad and shares some heart-warming stories about bringing up a child in France.
Africa Expat Wife has been blogging for four years. Her lighthearted accounts of life in Kenya detail the ups and downs of a housewife abroad. Africa Expat Wife’s experiences are on the whole positive ones, however, sadly this is not the case for all expat housewives. Some women have reported extreme cases of feeling lonely and alienated from the local community as a result of language barriers. The important thing to remember that with the explosion of expat activity on the internet in recent years you are only ever a few clicks away from connecting with a community of people in the same position as you. On the expat-blog for example you can find discussion groups on everything ranging from how to make friends in Brussels to how to find a school for your expat children in Bogotá.
For many women who have decided to relocate abroad with their partner, the hardest part is often the loss of one’s ability to have a career of their own. Different countries have varying regulations regarding employment of foreigners and if you are in a country that does not give more than one foreign work visa per expat family your employment opportunities can be severely limited. The other barrier women may face is negative perceptions in their new country of women who work. Saudi Wave discusses the thorny issue of expat housewives vs working women.
Are you an expat housewife? What have your experiences of living abroad been like? Have you developed any innovative ways to keep busy? Tell us your experiences below.