What can you learn by being in a new environment?
I can't help it; I know… I was planning to take some time off to blog about GoKids | GoParents issues, but I felt compelled to write this article today. This article has nothing to do with food; it is for parents taking time off from full time work to spend quality time with their children, while being far away from family support and in a new environment.
I had a conversation with a parent recently. She is currently taking some time off from her career to spend quality time with her young toddler, re-adjusting to a new life from full time work, and settling in a new state, while reestablishing her connections and network in her new community.
For those new parents in a new country, taking time off to care for your children and trying to find your feet in a new territory without close family support…I get you! I know your loneliness, I know your anxiousness, I understand your worries…
My family moved from Melbourne to Sydney when my two children were very young. We were alone in a new state, not knowing many people; my husband was busy with work and I had to re-establish my whole new network of connections and support all over again… with two young children in tow.
Being in a whole new area can be a very lonely at times, and it can be further compounded if your spouse is busy with work, or worse if they are working in a different city most of the time. So it is just you and your child / children most of the time to fend for yourselves.
This is not an isolated case. I recently did a survey with a few migrant families. One of the biggest struggles that new families faced when moving to a new country was the lack of support from family members and extended family when they left the comfort of their home town and ventured out on their own into a new country.
So for parents out there who are feeling the lack of support from family members, I can fully empathise with you!
If I could only impart one piece of advice to you – hang in there! Things will get easier…It will not be easy… but it is worth it!
Let's take this journey as an adventure, as an opportunity to start from scratch, and an opportunity to grow. This is the journey that you are in right now, so let's focus on the bright side and how to make it work.
What is the upside of being in this situation? What can you learn?
(1) Connect with your new community
Even though your family may not be with you physically, that does not mean you are going to stay stuck and be lonely all the time. You are still able to connect with community through many channels, like your local playgroups, community centers, library story time for children, through local preschools, occasional care, volunteering etc. Know that your new family and friends are just out there! And you just have to give it a shot! Just remember, family supports come in many forms!
(2) An opportunity to reconnect and to get to know yourself better
When you are on your own, you are giving yourself a huge opportunity to really connect to yourself, and to know yourself better without the need to tow the traditional rituals of the family. Allow this opportunity to really connect to yourself, to open up to learning, establish new values and boundaries for yourself, have a better understanding of who you really are, what you really want without the constraint of family's and society's expectations.
(3) An opportunity to reconnect with your family and to get to know them better
This is also an opportunity to connect and bond with your family on a deeper and more personal level without the hindrance of traditional family rituals, like the dos, the don'ts and the musts etc. It allows the space to take stock, to challenge and reassess your traditional values, beliefs, status quo and expectations about the roles you and your family play in your community, and start to open up communications, re-learn and have a better understanding of each individual's needs rather than the expectations of the family and community on the whole.
There are many more benefits that you can gain from this opportunity to experience a new environment and expand your outlook in life and learn new skills… and who knows what you will learn during the process!
I look forward to hearing your feedback and sharing your experiences and let's connect!