I’m aware that sounds winge-y, but I’ve met enough unfulfilled expat wives to know I’m not alone. Of course, it applies to expat husbands too – but they’re still only a sprinkling – even in this modern age.
Travelling, seeing the world and exploring different cultures is exciting for sure, but add to that the pressures of settling a family with little or no support and learning a new language and ‘my dreams’ were soon buried under a mountain of everyday crises. By the time I looked up, I’d been 10 years out of the job market.
“Why don’t you find a job?”
Many careers not only require fluency in the local language, but also additional studies or a contact book that takes years to build. Available jobs often entail a big step, if not sheer drop, down the career ladder.
Kind advice often is to bury your degrees and aspirations and help out at the kids’ school or the soup kitchen or do a language class. This will make you feel useful again. Without dissing any of these things – there are many positives to them – let me just say that as noble and rewarding as these pursuits might be, they’re unlikely to provide you with the same mental stimulation, challenges, financial reward, status and fulfillment my husband enjoys from his full-time, professional job.
Of course, he works hard every day providing for the family, but so many times I’ve been tempted to carjack his taxi on the way to a work conference, rather than being left to find my ‘true purpose’ surrounded by dirty dishes and crying babies prepping for another coffee morning.