Regardless of our reason for living abroad, we are part of a global family. This family system – whether we like it or not – has the potential to make our experiences extremely positive or throw us off track.
We all want our lives abroad to be filled with joy and amazing experiences, but sometimes the system we find ourselves in feels like it weighs us down.
Listen to today’s podcast to take the first step to seeing your global family in a new way, so that you can feel happier and more balanced.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- What issues we’ll address on the global family that you can look forward to in the coming weeks.
- Clarity on who is part of your larger global family and the role they play in this system.
- A reality check of where you stand in this system.
This episode is an invitation to get creative. I encourage to you reserve ten minutes and do the activity offered here. You will be surprised at how you see things differently when you’re done. Understanding “what is” is the first step to taking back control of your life. Also don’t miss the coming weeks, where we address some of the biggest challenges in global families.
To help kick off this series, I have created something special just for you; It’s called “Stop feeling guilty about raising your kids abroad.” It’s a quick but powerful three-part video series I designed to help you stop the guilt and start amplifying your approach to parenting.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- “Stop feeling guilty about raising your kids abroad.” Take advantage of this free training series to start amplifying your parenting.
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour, this is Sundae Bean fromwww.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, an Indian actress, says; “My family is my strength and my weakness.” I don’t know about you, but I know that when I am with my family, I am at my best and at my worst. And today in this episode of Expat Happy Hour I want us to look at the globally mobile family, but I want to expand the way that we think about family. Okay, so first when people think of the cliche around globally mobile family, I know what you have got in your your head, but I’ve got it’s like, you know, the traditional heterosexual couple with 2.5 kids and a dog and they’re rotating country every two to four years, but we know that the way we do family is much more interesting than that. We do family in same-sex couples traveling around the world, with dual career couples and no kids. We do family alone on our own, abroad, leaving friends and family back home. Or we give up everything in our home country, fall in love with someone from another place and stay in their home country.
Well there’s lots of ways of being a globally mobile family, and for today, I want us to think about a bigger scope of your globally mobile family. If you are living abroad and you’re the only one, you are still part of a globally mobile family because you’re the one who moved and you’re part of a family system somewhere and that family loves you, and whether they like it or not, you are globally mobile, right? So today when I talk about globally mobile families, let’s think big okay, going beyond your partnership or your kids. I want you to include your in-laws. I want you include your friends and family back home, I even want you to include the sending organisation because all of it, like a good family system, is inner-connected.
And so today I am kicking off a series on looking at the globally mobile family, but in this bigger picture, not just the couple who has third culture kids, big picture globally mobile families that we find ourselves in. Just having friends and family all over the world, you know what I mean by globally mobile family you miss your sisters and brothers that you’ve known from special places around the world.
So in this episode; One, I want to give you a heads up on what’s ahead, all of the amazing things we’re going to be talking about the next few weeks, so that you can amplify how you show up for yourself or your partner, for your kids for those who are living afar. And how you can see your family differently, so you can navigate in this bigger system in ways that feel more balanced and serve you.
So what I want to do, I’m going to offer you a new metaphor for the globally mobile family, but before we do that, I want to tell you a little bit about what’s coming. So this week is our kickoff for the globally mobile family focus as broadly as I can frame it for you. Next week we are going to have in an expert on dealing with overindulgence and our kids. I know if you live abroad and you have kids and you send them on long haul flights or maybe even expose them to grandparents or nannies, you might be worried about overindulgence.
We’re also going to look at how to stop the guilt from living abroad when you know, there are people in faraway corners who love you, who wish you were closer.
We’re going to move on to talking about how can you be a better parent to your Third Culture Kids in just 15 minutes or less a day. How about how do you deal with your in-laws? Okay, I adore my in-laws, I have great luck with mine but a lot of my clients don’t. So how do you deal with your in-laws? What do you do if you are in a binational relationship, two cultures, and your divided on how you want to raise your kids. How do you deal with guilt trips from your friends and family back home? What do you do when you have that dilemma of should you stay or should you go? All of those things and more are what we’re going to be talking about in the next few weeks. So stay tuned to Expat Happy Hour because these are big questions in this entire globally mobile family system.
I hear you, I see you working hard to make the most of your life abroad and then suddenly something comes along in this system like your mother-in-law and it throws you off course. Maybe it’s aging parents that put everything into question. Like really why did I do this? Maybe it’s a sudden death in your family, maybe your sister had a baby and you weren’t there for their birth. Or maybe your husband just got promoted and you know, it means another four years and you’re just wondering about putting your career on hold. We are all part of the system, you move one part and everything else shakes.
Okay, so that is a metaphor I want to offer you to start with. Seeing your globally mobile family in something as beautiful, simple yet complex as a baby mobile, you know that crib mobile that people put above the babies beds and the child opens its eyes and looks up and giggles at the sun and the clown and the moon that’s ahead and the parent taps on the mobile and everything else moves and the child is delighted again, or the child gets sad when it’s just stagnant and not moving. I want to invite you for a moment to think about your own globally mobile extended family as this baby mobile. Who is in this globally mobile family, who’s part of this global family mobile above you that you’re looking at?
So what I’d like to invite you to do is to imagine, or even better, take out a piece of paper and draw out this system that you navigate in the shape of the baby mobile, this crib mobile and this is an opportunity for you to get playful. It’s a way for you to take stock of what is, not what you wanted to be or what you think it should be, but what is. So this is a creative exercise and I want you to get started, start drawing this mobile. Who’s in it, who do you think of first? Maybe you draw your dog, your partner, if you have children, maybe your kids are there. What about the sending organization? Is it heavy and near your partner – dragging your partner down, or is it super far away from your partner that you can barely see it? Where are your in-laws? What about your friends and family? What about the people that you would love to be connected to but have somehow lost touch, all of them belong in this mobile. Where are you? Are you off in a corner small? Or are you at the center and expansive? Okay, you might want to go further and give each individual a shape, maybe your daughter’s a sunshine or maybe she’s a clown. What is your mother-in-law? Based on some of my client calls, I have a hunch some of you want to draw your mother-in-law as a wicked witch of the west! Mine would be a ray of sunshine I know that, but how do you really want to draw them? How do you feel about each symbol?
Okay, so get playful. Be bold in your illustrations and mindful of the shape they take, how much space they occupy and how close or far apart they are. Is your immediate family at the center and your friends and family abroad super far away on this baby mobile or are they interlinked?
This is an opportunity for you to get clear on what is, how are you experiencing your globally mobile family right now because that is what we’re going to focus on in the next coming weeks, identifying what’s working and what’s not. Where are you in this system? Where do you have influence? Where are you being pushed? Okay, sometimes a tap comes from the outside and it wiggles all the pieces, maybe it’s a sudden surprise in the family or maybe it feels more like you’re being pushed wildly – reeling from a loss you weren’t expecting and you can no longer focus on the mobile ahead of you.
I want to know what your most burning issues are. I’ve identified in the next series of weeks the top challenges that you have based on my client experience and what I’m hearing from you, from everyone on social media and my newsletter, but maybe there’s something in your mind I just haven’t answered yet. Okay, and that’s why I want to invite you to post your questions and comments in social media, in this blog post, for this podcast to say; “Sundae, this is a dilemma I’d love for you to answer.”
All right, talk to me folks. I want to help you in navigating the system, because we know how interesting and how challenging it can be to find yourself in the center of a globally mobile family.
American engineer author and management consultant, W. Edwards Deming said; “A bad system will beat a good person every time.”
So today is a first step at seeing how are you experiencing the system. What is this system? What feels like it’s missing? What are the parts that are lighting you up and bringing you joy? What parts do you wish you could just cut off? This is my invitation to join me on a journey, so you can amplify how you show up in this globally mobile family, so you feel happy and successful in your life. How you can navigate this system to make it better, to make it smoother, to be happier.
So join me this week, next week, in the coming weeks, as we focus on amplifying the ways we show up in a globally mobile family. And to help you kick this off, I have created something special just for you; It’s called “Stop feeling guilty about raising your kids abroad.” It’s a three-part series I designed to help you stop the guilt and start amplifying your approach to parenting, because how many times have you ever secretly felt a little guilty that you might be screwing your kids up by taking them around the world? It’s time to say goodbye to guilt, hello empowerment. And in this three-part series, I’m going to help you drop the guilt, refocus on the right strategies to support and step more fully into your role as a parent of globally mobile kids. Sign up today by going to my blog or checking out all of the things I’m sharing on social media so you don’t miss out on this three-part series. I can’t wait to support you in this way. It’s time to stop feeling guilty about raising your kids abroad.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider Bean. Thank you for listening, I’m excited about what we have ahead of us, I can’t wait for you to join.
I’m going to leave you with the words of Murray Bowen, he’s a professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University. Bowen is among the pioneers of family therapy and a noted founder of the theory for family systems. He says, “An entire family can be changed through the effort of one person,” so my mission is for you to be the one.