How to overcome the THREE main difficulties when being an Expat split family.
In this article, you can learn some tips on how to overcome the THREE main difficulties when being an Expat split family.
What is an Expat split family?
As the study on ExpatResearch established, an Expat Split family is :
An expatriate split family is where an assignee works abroad ‘unaccompanied’ while their immediate family members remain in the home country or another location.expatresearch.com
By the time boys were 16 and 13, Toru went to work in Sao Paolo and later to Los Angeles. We decided I would stay put in Amsterdam until the boys would graduate from school. In our case, we were an ex-pat split family, where dad was working abroad unaccompanied, while Susana and the boys remained in another country that was not ours.
It was challenging. But we made it!
Here you have, how to overcome the THREE main difficulties when being an Expat split family.
Focus on your top priorities
As they say, you are more productive and profitable if you identify and focus on the areas most important to your job. Likewise, we identified and focused on our priorities as an Expat Split family. That was our children. We worked on the fundamentals first. The Latin word ‘fundamentum’ means foundation – so we took action, built strong foundations, and had a clear time frame.
We answered these three questions:
How long do both boys need to finish High school? That did set up a clear time frame.
How often will we visit each other? That helped us chunk in smaller periods, so we were looking forward to the next visit.
What is the plan after the boys finish high school? It helps us all to understand where we will be in the future. For us, it was clear that boys would go to university in the UK, and Toru & Susana would be together either in the USA or Japan.
Communicating: Schedule a family time
Write an appointment in your work planner to set aside a realistic block of time for your family. This plan reduces anxiety over not having enough time for your loved ones while keeping you focused on your work. That is, set up a quick call to catch up with the daily routines. It helps both parties feel included in what is going on in home life. Toru knew when the football matches or theatre plays were happening. 😊
Balance your Expat split family life
Formally schedule personal visits too. So you make time for family, friends, your health, and fun because having a balanced life reduces stress and increases energy levels. Toru was able to take some time off and came to visit us, while the boys and I took the long school vacations to stay for weeks at a time with dad. It was fun! We took this opportunity to visit natural parks and cities we would not have known otherwise.
In conclusion, be clear on your priorities and design a plan with specific time frames. Make an effort to set up a purposely and inclusive communication plan. Finally, it all comes to balancing healthy family time and work time.
Do you want to know more about Expat Life and how to benefit the most out of it?
You may read my other posts or visit my website to learn how to invest in yourself and grow while living abroad.