Moving abroad. What it means to be an "expat" mom

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Marie-Ange Demory
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More and more Del Paesene women are choosing to go and live abroad. Many do it to counter the consequences of the economic crisis, others find a job outside or follow their partner. There are also mothers or new mothers who, with their families, still live in Del Paese, but, precisely in this historical period, they are pondering whether to take flight and start all over again.



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We interviewed a Del Paesena girl who has been living abroad for a few years: her name is Vanessa Redaelli Johansson, blogger and mother of little Victoria. Vanessa lives in Oslo and her husband is Swedish. We asked her to tell us about her expat experience and her life as a mother in Scandinavia. Vanessa Redaelli Johannson also has a very popular Instagram page.



Expat mothers: a young Del Paesena mother who lives in Oslo

Vanessa Redaelli Johansson is a very young woman born in Del Paese, but who has lived in Oslo for seven years with her family. The blogger told us that being an expat mom isn't easy, especially when you are completely alone in a foreign country and there are no in-laws or parents around. Vanessa specified that living abroad, far from one's relatives, often means always being with one's family, without being able to take breaks or short "moments as a couple". «But, at the same time, I can assure you that it is a unique experience that enriches and opens the mind. Not to mention the fact that my daughter is trilingual, a gift that is unique to me! ».



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How is life abroad, or rather, in Scandinavia?

Redaelli Johannson explains that expat life is really tough. "Initially it didn't weigh much on me, but now, 9 months after Victoria's birth, my husband and I are starting to realize how precious the help of grandparents or friends and relatives is, even if only to be able to take a pause and very short moments for the two of us (which is fundamental for me in a couple, even when one becomes a parent!) ".



Also, being a mom abroad, for Vanessa, means having to fully adapt to a different culture and mentality. Therefore, it is necessary to have a certain flexibility to be able to acclimatize quickly. He adds: "Fortunately for me this has not been a big problem, since I have been in Scandinavia for seven years now and I think I have acquired a mentality probably more akin to the Nordic one".

What are Nordic mothers like and what is their lifestyle like?

Scandinavian mothers have a completely different mentality from Del Paesene mothers according to the blogger. «Some time ago I told on my Instagram channel about how it is a widespread habit to leave children to sleep outside in the stroller even when it rains, snows or the temperature is below freezing. I have received many messages from incredulous mothers who believed that babies could get sick sleeping outdoors. In reality, bacteria multiply much more indoors and in contact with other people rather than outdoors ».

In Scandinavia mothers are generally more permissive, less protective and very much love nature, mountain walks and sports, so much so that you can often find them around even jogging with strollers. They then immediately try to sensitize children to the external environment and, in particular, to nature.

What do we have to learn from them? And them with us?

«I think that Del Paesene mothers can surely learn from them not to be afraid of low temperatures anymore and that breathing a little fresh air is always good! I remember that in Del Paese, when I went to kindergarten, if it rained or if it was cold, we didn't go out to play and stayed indoors all day. While in Scandinavian preschools, you always go out to play in the morning, regardless of the temperature or weather conditions (certainly also because of the few hours of light) », she explains.

"Based on my experience, however, in Scandinavia there is no concept of a united family as in Del Paese and for me this is a fundamental value, which they should certainly learn from us", adds Vanessa.

Useful tips for parents who want to expatriate their children

Finally, the blogger mom intends to give some advice to women who want to move abroad with their families. Here are her suggestions:

1) "I recommend doing it when the children are still small because in this way they will adapt to changes more quickly and effortlessly".

2) "Then, if possible, I always suggest placing the children in international schools, where they will find other expat families similar to theirs and so it will be easier to gradually integrate into society".

3) "Another very important piece of advice is to find out about the health and education system of the country you are moving to: they are often structured differently than in the country".

4) "For the rest, I can only urge you to throw yourself into the new experience without fear and to prepare yourself by taking language courses: in fact, knowledge of English alone is often not enough, especially in Scandinavian countries".

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  • expat
  • families in scandinavia
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