Expatriation and balance…or how to achieve balance as mum, wife or spouse and woman, with the desire to grow and flourish professionally as well?

femme en equiliibre3

Balance … A word that is often used for… The quest for life … A trip or a destination?

Moments of life that often disrupt this fragile balance which is so diificult to find or recover….

Expatriation belongs to those moments of life that affect our balance by stiring up the standing water and turning our lives upside down. Doesn’t it? As a mother, a woman, a wife, do you feel challenged in your everyday life balance?

I have the chance to meet and accompany many expatriate women through my activity. It is their stories reflective of my own experience that have made me aware of this essential quest that we all have: finding our balance in this mixture of roles as different as complementary as being a woman , mum, wife, and also have this need to flourish professionally and earn its financial independence. A real need for professional fulfillment that emerges in respect of the time that we wish to have with our children. Is this too much to ask? I don’t think so…

But despite this deep search for balance,we realize that it is not so easy to put all this in practice, to juggle in everyday life, to listen to ourselves, not to forget ourselves behind our family, our husband, our children…

time management3

With repetitive expatriations that often follow each other… we feel very concerned about our family’s well-being so we usually start by „installing everyone” first! Then time seems to pass and run faster. An expatriation project is not so easy so build up for ourselves! This also means that we have to start or restart professionaly from zero all over and over again at each expatriation orreturn from expatriation in our home country.

And this ambivalence between the financial necessity of finding a job or, in contrary, the difficulty of making our spouse and our entourage understand that obtaining financial independence is essential to our balance (even if the family does not “need it”).

But above all a desire to take advantage of this opportunity that is expatriation to find a job that resembles us this time … As if expatriation offered us a chance to come out of our comfort zone and gave us wings to decide for once what we really want to do!

I could give you many examples I encountered… but the list would be too long and exhaustive.  Rather than focusing on the difficulties or the contexts in which this equilibrium is challenged, and where the woman finds herself against her will, often as a “wife of” or “mom of” … (the question: what does your husband do? No doubt, this typical question may sound very familiar to you!) I have preferred to highlight 5 key tips that will help you find your balance through your expatriation.

WORK LIFE BALANCE TIPS message on the card shown by a woman

Tip 1: I create the exptariation that resembles me

To live an expatriation that resembles you and which you like, the starting point seems to be that you should already know what you really want (or you don’twant). And if you take a moment to answer these questions?

– What do I really want to live through this expatriation?

– What’s important to me?

– What do I want to accomplish during this” parenthesis of life “?

– Who am I? What defines me and what I want to preserve during this expatriation?

I’ll let you take that time …

So, what do you think? Not so easy to answe, isn’t it? 🙂 If the answers do not come right away, allow yourself time to rethink and answer these questions a little bit later, until you manage to complete them with time …

Tip 2: I ALSO take time for myself

When I exchange with expatriate mothers, I feel that „Taking time for themselves” is THE most difficult challenge to put in practice… Time should be taken from everyday life: family life, the management of children who often finish school early, and it is not easy to organize which means that scheduling a moment for ourselves and considering it a priority is a big challenge!

And yet … Taking time for you, taking care of yourself at least once a week, will allow you to connect to yourself, your desires, your needs, your goals, to take stock … also a moment to regain energy. You will then be more focus, more present, less in frustration, because you will have had your time too. This time for yourself can be used to take a walk alone, practice sports, meditate, go out, but it can also be used to meet with friends to exchange, to share, to leave the daily routine…

So when are you planning to schedule time for yourself this week?

femme en equilibre4

Tip 3: I manage my emotions

The periods of change such as expatriation are moments rich in emotions … We leave a place and relationships to find another place unknown for the moment (or we return to our own country) where we will have to recreate links, a story, a journey of life.

The posture of the woman / mother is also not always easy to adopt. We often left a responsible job that we loved (although sometimes we felt it was a good time to leave). Loss of professional identity, loss of financial independence, loss of recognition in society which sometimes lead to a real loss of self-confidence and self-esteem…

In order to manage better our emotions, I believe that the 1st step is already to accept them, to confess them and to share them with our close entourage. Then, if we feel that these emotions surpass us and prevent us from advancing, you should not hesitate to get help to better manage them. It can be any expert can you trust: a therapist, a psychologist, a coach… The more important is not to isolate yourself with your problem and wait until things get worth but gather the courage to ask for help!

Tip 4: Professional growth and fullfilment is part of my balance

Have you recognized and identified that you need to be professionally nurtured to achieve yourself, feel fulfilled, regain balance? But how to do it? The idea of taking a job in the new country you arrived to does not seem to suit you in your life balance? You don’t speek the language of the host country? Or you may encounter some cultural barriers?

The most important is not to give up and  get exasperated when the these hardships arise!

What if you started your nomadic activity? You don’t necessarily have to be the employee of a company, you may decide to launch a freelancer activity from home. Or you may opt for a volunteer job to start with to meet and be surrounded by many people.

Manage your time, find a job that resembles you and that follows you wherever you go, the development of an activity (your clients and your income) that fits you and your personality in the long term

What if that was the key to your balance? Just like a kind of „professional red wire” that follows you no matter your expatriations or returns to your country…

 Tip 5: I surround myself and I share

To live fully your expatriation and to develop its equilibrium, will also depend on how you succeed in surrounding yourself.

Go and meet other women like you who wish to live the expatriation that resembles them. Sign in. Join them. And share around you.

Surround yourself with people who are pulling you up, who have already experienced this, who send you optimism, positivity. The connection can be established locally, online, by phone or personally face to face, that doesn’t matter!

Don’t isolte yourself, go out as much as you can to get to know local and expatriate people as well. Attend to cultural or entertaining programs, excursions, lectures to meet new people.

If you feel the need, ask someone to accompany you to put all the chances on your side to succeed this ambitious project and the expatriation that resembles you. This will allow you to reach the balance that you seek as a woman, mamma, wife and professional woman.



Article written in french by Anne Beaufreton and translated by Andrea Szepesi