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You Know You’re an Expat Mom When…

In honour of Mother’s Day, I humbly offer this ode to all those amazing women who organize international relocations, feather new nests in strange lands, guide their children through the choppy waters of integration, and generally hold their family together as they build new lives abroad.

You know you’re an expat mom when…

      You can reel off the police/fire/ambulance emergency numbers for several countries.

You don’t leave the house without a supply of tissues in your bag, just in case the public bathroom doesn’t have toilet paper.

You no longer use the word “bathroom.”

Your children come home from school speaking another language. Or, bizarrely, their mother tongue with a foreign accent.

You have to repeatedly tell the maid not to clean your kids’ bedrooms. How else will they learn responsibility?

People stare. A lot. And you actually get used to it.

You worry your children will forget their roots, and keep reminding them what things are like “back home.”

You no longer keep an emergency stash of goldfish crackers in your bag. You carry mami noodles instead.

You rush your child to the Emergency Room and have to use sign language to explain what’s wrong. You discover you’re pretty good at charades.

You often hear things like, “Tilde’s mom cooks the best kåldolmar. How come you never make them?”

You find yourself wondering if you should embrace your inner Tiger Mom.

You go to the skating rink with your child’s class, and everyone waits for you to execute a perfect triple axel. Because after all, you’re Canadian, aren’t you? You feel you’ve let your country down when you have to admit you can barely manage a single.

When you talk about home to your children, you have to stipulate which one.

Your kids could go through the pre-boarding routine blindfolded, and have very strong opinions about which airports have the best business lounges.

You worry that they’re spoiled.

You need a dictionary to read your child’s report card, and when you discover that pipelette means “chatterbox,” you’re so delighted to learn a new word that you forget to reprimand the chatty child in question.

You have to confirm that yes, you did send Santa a change-of-address card. Ditto the Easter Bunny.

Continue reading on I was an expat wife.

Have you got a few variations you think could be added to this list? Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

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