I am often asked if I'm worried about the effect travelling will have on our children. It's not the groovy travel that people appear to be worried about. Holidays it seems, are deemed by society to be okay, you know, because everyone does that. The worry I'm meant to have, is the worry about them being psychologically scarred by mine and G's choice to live an expatriate life.
As a girl who couldn't have grown up in a more anchored, middle class, nuclear family, I get it. Our geographical family footprint, is not a traditional one. I understand that moving schools is a stressful thing, making new friends is hard, and returning to Australia each year with the hint of an accent or an unrecognizable pop culture reference, may set you up for the possibility of mockery.
I get it.
There are many things in life though, that may set you up for mockery from those who lack understanding. It's our job as parents to be there for discussion and education when this happens. If the toughest thing my children have had to handle is their over indulged expat lives, I may just need to remind them of that.
How G and I choose to raise our children is exactly that, our choice. And until the children are adults, the jury remains out for those with the concerns. Not for us though, as their parents we've watched them grow, we've had the conversation about travel, talked about the pros and cons, and tried to make the conversation an ongoing one. Is everyone happy where we are? Does anyone want to move home? So far, so good.
Naturally, the children are often perplexed by others ideas of what a "true" Australian is. I know they wonder what it would be like to live in the same place all the time, in the same way that as a child I dreamed of running off with the circus. A child in the country wonders about city life, while a city kid perhaps dreams of a dirt bike or a horse to ride. Grass, greener, always.
What I hope for at the end of all of this, is for children like Maya.
"Everyone seems to have an opinion about our families, but it doesn't seem like anyone is asking the kids how they feel".
I saw Maya Newell on QandA last night (she's at about the 34 minute mark), she was outstanding. When she mentioned her two Mums, all I could think about was how proud those two Mums must have been.
Here's a snippet of the movie Maya is working on.
Families come in many different forms. It is not our role to judge or decide which form they take. We know it takes a village (I have a small village looking after my own children at this very moment) but it's all about helping, supporting and being there in a time of need. It has nothing to do with judging.
*if you would like to pledge support in getting Maya's movie completed, you can do so here