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Mums raising kids in a country different from where you grew up?

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
Im just wondering if there are any mums/moms here who are raising their kids in their dh's country (which is different from their own? Am I being clear?) Ive been married ten years, have 10yo twin girls and an 8yo boy. My dh is british/jamaican, but british thru and thru. Im american. Ive lived in the uk for 10 years. I love my family but I feel like Im a minority. Im learning the education system as I go, its so different from the US system. My kids have never been to my home country and I still 'feel' american, even tho if I went back, I know Id stick out like a sore thumb. Im just wondering if anyone else is in this situation. How do you get on? do you feel homesick? Do you miss that your kids wont know the country you grew up in?
post #2 of 73
Hi Genifer -- I am also an American living in the UK!
I am in Norfolk; where are you? Do you use any of the British parenting websites (don't know if I am allowed to link to them?)

I have lived here almost 18 years and I still get culture shock moments (sigh).
It's funny, but somethings I want to blame on cultural differences and it turns out that things have changed back in the States, too, in the same way, I am just out of touch both ways.

DC have been back to California a few times, but not for almost 3 years; we are going next Easter.

bfn - C
post #3 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post
Im just wondering if there are any mums/moms here who are raising their kids in their dh's country (which is different from their own? Am I being clear?) Ive been married ten years, have 10yo twin girls and an 8yo boy. My dh is british/jamaican, but british thru and thru. Im american. Ive lived in the uk for 10 years. I love my family but I feel like Im a minority. Im learning the education system as I go, its so different from the US system. My kids have never been to my home country and I still 'feel' american, even tho if I went back, I know Id stick out like a sore thumb. Im just wondering if anyone else is in this situation. How do you get on? do you feel homesick? Do you miss that your kids wont know the country you grew up in?
yes, me. I'm supah glad you started this thread because these are things that are regularly on my mind. DH is Canadian, I am a Kiwi (New Zealander) and we live in Canada, which I *mostly* like. However, I find there are a lot of cultural differences. I am often homesick for my culture, though I include British culture in that because NZ is heavily UK-influenced and my mother is English. There are certain things - a sense of humour being one - that haven't translated so well to Canada. Even though we supposedly speak the same language it's not the same language. Even now people misunderstand me sometimes. I miss people just 'getting' me, y'know? I find the education system very different here to NZ.

I want us to spend a year in NZ (or the UK) so kid will get to know that side of her background. I have mixed feelings about the schooling system here too. There are things about the NZ system, in particular in high school, that I'd prefer. Like, uniforms, for instance. I'm frankly a bit scared about high school here because it's sooooo different to what I grew up with and not all of the difference I"m okay with
post #4 of 73
I wish I could find some more antipodean mums to hang out with. Either they're not around or they're shy, but I have yet to meet a fellow Kiwi in the same situation and place as me.
post #5 of 73
Im an English girl in Az, married to my US husband who is in the airforce. My son was born in England on the NHS which I loved through and through. I had a wonderful hospital birth with him. Thankfully they have a birthing center here which is cool as im not sure id like to deliver in a US hospital.

I find it hard frequently. I miss England terribly-just dumb things really like church fetes its hard being so far away from anyone I know too, I have to lean solely on DH who works 12hr shifts (frequently at night).

I have a hard time also thinking that my son is half american, when people ask I always say 'we're English' and then I think 'wow...he's actually half and half' it's taking time to get used to the different systems here, but at least we speak the same language (kind of at least )
post #6 of 73
OP i am assuming you havent been back home either.

for me its like being caught in the twilight zone.

i realised i dont have a home.

everywhere is my home.

i am from asia living in the US coparenting my dd after my american husband asked for a divorce.

i have been able to go back - however not as often as possible.

when i am in the US i miss asia. when i am in asia i miss the US.

what would be perfect for me is to be able to go back every year. but sadly cant afford it.

i struggle with my passport, because i feel i have become a world citizen. i have been away for 12 years now. even 'asia home' kinda seems strange to me.

i feel an alien everywhere

"Beam me up Scotty."
post #7 of 73
I'm American living in Holland with my Dutch DH. Although I mostly think Holland is a better place to raise kids than the US is (for a variety of reasons) I do miss a lot of things myself, and miss that my DS won't really know many American childhood things.

We spent a semester there this past Spring for my job, we are back in the US about once a year, and have a lot of contact with my family. Still . .. .it's not the same thing.

I'm getting used to the educational system here, but I'm always an outsider.

Anyway, I know how you feel . ... it's tough raising a kid in another country and culture. My Dutch is pretty good and I'm well-integrated, but it's still just not the same as "getting" what's going on in your kids' lives in the same way you would in your own county.
post #8 of 73
I'm from the Caribbean but have lived in the US for 13 years. My DH is American born and raised. I haven't been able to visit home in four years and it might be a few more years before I get to visit again. I've been thinking about how I will expose my DS to my country's culture as he grows up. I don't have any relatives in the city where I live right now and to be perfectly honest, my life is very American, culturally, right now.
post #9 of 73
Im an American raising 2 of my boys in Mexico, my biggest draw back with living outside the US...is all the things that the US has to offer families and children. Here in Mexico..we pretty much stay at home 24/7....it gets so boring...however i too dont feel like i have a home anymore....we have a house in NC that we are renting out....i kind of like our home here in Mexico..but it's not the same as NC....oh! I feel bad that my kids will not be able to exp. the same childhood that i was exposed to. Church activities, the park, easter egg hunts....sports. It's just different.
post #10 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by bajamergrrl View Post
I'm from the Caribbean but have lived in the US for 13 years. My DH is American born and raised. I haven't been able to visit home in four years and it might be a few more years before I get to visit again. I've been thinking about how I will expose my DS to my country's culture as he grows up. I don't have any relatives in the city where I live right now and to be perfectly honest, my life is very American, culturally, right now.
That, except it's Hungary and not the Carribean, and I haven't been able to go back in almost ten years. : I'm very, VERY very very very homesick on a daily basis.
post #11 of 73
I was born in the US, moved to Europe when I was 12, moved back to the US in my late 20s, married to a Middle Eastern man. I don't know where to answer when asked where I come from. I guess I just am where I am. I do want my kids to think of the US as home, unlike when I was a kid and my father emphasised that though we were born here, we were eventually going "home" to Europe. I don't want my kids to have that same sense of fitting in nowhere that I often feel. Yet I do want them to feel connected to my family and my DH's family on other continents. It's hard...
post #12 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamato3wild ponnie View Post
Im an American raising 2 of my boys in Mexico, my biggest draw back with living outside the US...is all the things that the US has to offer families and children. Here in Mexico..we pretty much stay at home 24/7....it gets so boring...however i too dont feel like i have a home anymore....we have a house in NC that we are renting out....i kind of like our home here in Mexico..but it's not the same as NC....oh! I feel bad that my kids will not be able to exp. the same childhood that i was exposed to. Church activities, the park, easter egg hunts....sports. It's just different.
I grew up in Mexico with an American mom and I can't imagine where you live that you feel this way! All the things that you mention were a regular part of my life and more! Of course,I grew up in the DF, so maybe that's the difference?

Anyway, living in the US I'm sad that my kids will miss out on so many of the experiences that I had growing up... bartering in open-air markets, the food, the culture (ruins, pyramids, amazing cathedrals, folkloric dance!). Now that DS1 is 7, I've been yearning to take him to Mexico and show him everything. But it'll have to wait a few years so that all three if my kids will be old enough to travel more easily and understand it all.
post #13 of 73
Thread Starter 
Wow. I honestly thought no one would reply!

Quote:
OP i am assuming you havent been back home either.
No, I havent been back in 10 years and I almost cant believe it. I really really miss my family very much. Ive seen my mom, she's been over here twice. I miss my dad, brother and sister and her daughter very much.

I can relate SO much to so much of what everyone's said. Its very strange to me that my kids have NO experience of american life apart from what they see on tv. I mean, tbh, I love britain, I love the different tiny cultural differences, but its still a culture shock, just like someone else said. As my kids get older, also, I am feeling more and more like I dont fit in. We never intended to stay in the UK, we were planning on going back to the states within 3 years of me getting over here. Long story. So, I never intended to settle in. Infact, it wasnt until about 2 or 3 years ago, that I decided to completely shelve the idea of ever going back to live.

Quote:
Hi Genifer -- I am also an American living in the UK!
I am in Norfolk; where are you? Do you use any of the British parenting websites (don't know if I am allowed to link to them?)
I have lived here almost 18 years and I still get culture shock moments (sigh).
It's funny, but somethings I want to blame on cultural differences and it turns out that things have changed back in the States, too, in the same way, I am just out of touch both ways.
We lived up north for 8 years, including in Manchester for five years. We're now living in Plymouth, just outside of Cornwall. Plymouth is awesome. We are in the center of the most beautiful part of the country (Imho). I LOVE it. I love visiting Plymouth seafront and walking on the Mayflower steps and the history of this part of the country. I said to dh that I could settle and grow old here. We only moved to plymouth a year ago, but dh grew up here and had quietly been pining to come back to this part of the country the whole 20 yrs he'd been away.


Oh yeah, Ive never found any british parenting sites, Im sure its ok to post them or just pm me with them. thatd be cool. In a lot of ways I cant relate to some people. Or they dont get me, whatever. There is this council estate culture, where a lot of people are on benefits for ages, which we were but never intended to stay on them. There are different attitudes to growing up over here then in the States. I dont always get those. I guess it stems from kids finishing up with formal education when they are 16. That scares me!!!! Really. Im at a stage where Ive got to change. (welling up...)... Ive got to accept that Im not going back and at this point even if I did, everything'd be different. ID be different! My family back home. My brother called me Mary Poppins the last time spoke to him (which was a good three years ago). It really really gets me sometimes. Now the reasons why I havent spoke to him in that long are... well its another long story. Id been estranged from my family for ..oooh about 6 years... just not on very good terms. All they wanted to know from me when I spoke to them was when we were coming 'home'. My dh and I eloped and they really never accepted it (homelife was ... challenging. Not horrid, but strained). I eloped with my dh after knowing each other for less then 5 months. It was a total shock to them, I think.

Anyway. Im glad I started this thread too. So surprised to see so many posts when i logged on. Im glad there are some I can relate to.
post #14 of 73
I'm here. An American living in France. We spent a year in the US, hoping to move back, but the economy collapsed right when we arrived. So we are back in France.

It's hard. Right now, DS is very American, because he's little, he was just in the US for a year, etc. But I know all that will start to change in a couple of weeks when he starts school. It's really hard. I struggle a lot with feeling grief that he won't really "know" what it is to grow up in America, no matter how often we go back to visit. To make matters worse, my DH is from the Middle East. I know he feels the same way I do, to an even greater degree, maybe.

It's the silly things that are the hardest. DS is very athletically gifted, and I was playing baseball with him at the park the other day, realizing that he will never have the chance to play on a Little League team.
post #15 of 73
i was born and raised in eastern europe and have travelled back and forth between my home and the usa for work and school for years, and have permanently resided in the states for 2 years with my american husband.
our son is 6 mo now and he hasnt had a chance to go back yet. last time i was home was when i was about 5 mo pregnant with him.
i do miss home a lot, but if i think about it, its my family and friends that i really miss, not the place itself... we are trying to integrate some cultural things so my son could get to know his "roots" and he will definetely grow up bilingual...
it is hard sometimes, but i try to concentrate to good things, the wonderful little family we have, and how loving my husband's family is to me, and try to just ignore the negative...
i would say the biggest stress and concern is not knowing when we'll get to go back home again... and then my sister has a baby just two mo after i did and now being able to be present for it was kinda crushing, too... but oh well, my choice was conscious, so i guess i shouldnt complain
post #16 of 73
I'm also living as an expat (in Slovenia), but one difference for me is that both dh and I are culturally Americans. (He's also got citizenship here due to his Slovenian grandmother; the kids are also dual American/Slovenian citizens.)

In our case we don't feel as estranged from our "home" culture as many of you; probably because we're both from there and we do visit fairly often (every 2 years or so), plus we have many friends and family from the States visit us here. Our home is full of American children's literature and other bits of Americana and we maintain contact pretty well.

I enjoy the challenge of navigating the educational system here (the kids are in a regular Slovenian school) and it's wonderful having fully bilingual kids. They both find certain aspects of American culture peculiar when we visit (they hate fast food and American salad dressings, for instance), but we're there often enough that they fit in really well. I'm hoping to do exchanges with their cousins during high school so that kids on both sides of the family can broaden their horizons.

It helps that we're integrated and that we like the country we're living in, too. I really don't miss very much about home besides my family.
post #17 of 73
I think part of the problem is I haven't fully accepted I may never live anywhere but here. There is a side of me that wonders if I'll go home one day, or back to Europe (which is where Dh & I met). I think if I did that I could firmly close the door on the past, but right now there's a part of me holding on.

It all seemed like such an easy decision 8 years ago. I wasn't happy for various reasons where I was, I was in love, I was in my 20's, I emigrated to Canada. I didn't realise what that really meant for me, for my future kids, at the time.

I do really like Canada. I just wish I fit in more, that I had my old friends here, etc. Like another poster said I feel kinda split between the two. For sure if I went home I'd miss Canada - in fact last time I went home I was quite ready to leave after a month!
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapioca View Post
I think part of the problem is I haven't fully accepted I may never live anywhere but here. There is a side of me that wonders if I'll go home one day, or back to Europe (which is where Dh & I met). I think if I did that I could firmly close the door on the past, but right now there's a part of me holding on.

It all seemed like such an easy decision 8 years ago. I wasn't happy for various reasons where I was, I was in love, I was in my 20's, I emigrated to Canada. I didn't realise what that really meant for me, for my future kids, at the time.

I do really like Canada. I just wish I fit in more, that I had my old friends here, etc. Like another poster said I feel kinda split between the two. For sure if I went home I'd miss Canada - in fact last time I went home I was quite ready to leave after a month!
I can relate to this. I'm an American expat living in Beijing, China. My husband is Chinese and we have an almost 2 year old son who was born here. Although there is a very real possibility we might live in China forever, I don't think I'm really ready to give up on the idea of one day living in America again. I've only been back to the States once in the past 6 years, and that time I went back I missed China terribly, and I know that were we to move there now it would be pretty hard to cope. My son would probably get along fine, he's only 2 afterall, but I've been living outside of my country for so long that I'm not sure I'd really know what to do with myself there. It sounds backwards, but I'm also used to a certain lifestyle that would just not be realistic for us in America. So I don't know. I have days where I think definitely, we need to spend at least a few years in America at some point, and days where I think that I just need to suck it up and make the most of life here.
post #19 of 73
I am an American living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We've been here six months so far, and I had never been to Brazil before we moved here. I have an eight-year-old from a previous marriage who is staying in the States with her dad now (which tears my heart into pieces, but, I expect she'll be here with us eventually). Together, my Brazilian husband and I have a two-year-old daughter who, after only six months, is now speaking Portuguese almost exclusively. We also have another baby on the way, due six months from now.

Ugghhh, Brazil. Brazil has great beauty (mostly outside of Sao Paulo!) and very friendly people, but also huge crime, pollution, traffic, corruption, disorganization... I MISS my home country every day. I didn't know how good I had it! Was working full-time there, but, here, I am finding it very difficult to pick up the language, and now I'm pregnant, so it looks like it will be quite a while before I am working again!

There are good and great things about being here, but then there are things like I can't go outside of my neighborhood by myself yet. Bizarre feeling. I feel like a kid again. Not even a kid--a cooped-up teenager!
post #20 of 73
I am a french canadian and have been living with my american husband in the U.S for 3 years now. I like it here but I really wish I would fit in more. I miss my friends and family, but I wouldn't want to go back to Canada. The weather is WAY too nice here in California and I always hated winters growing up.

We are trying to raise our DS in both french and english but I'm scared he will stop speaking french to me when he starts school ( he is only 15 months old). I think it's good for him to be able to benefit from 2 different cultures.
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