Bonjour friends! I am not going to pretend that our travel road is always paved or that we are sipping margaritas by the sea. But what this lifestyle has provided us with is a life that we never thought was possible. We are able to intensely immerse ourselves into cultures different from our own, work from home, reduce our living expenses, learn new languages, live more authentically, remove external pressures and much more. However, by far the greatest benefit this lifestyle choice has offered us is the ability to spend copious amounts of time together as a family. Family bonding on the road has been a big benefit of the travel life.
Today I plan to get a bit more specific with the actual benefits of spending extensive amounts of time together. Are you ready?
I remember a day when we were ships passing in the night, over-scheduled kids and over-worked parents. There was no time for us to bond, we were just trying to survive the day. This cycle would repeat over and over again. Why? Because that is what “good” parents do. They make sure their kids get to try their hand at every activity, they make sure they have an active social life and they make sure they have the childhood that will yield the greatest future professional success (sarcastic undertone here). Family bonding, there was no time for that.
Flash forward 20 months and wow, have we bonded. According to the internet, family bonding is the time the family spends together interacting with each other over a group of activities or a project. It is nothing complicated and yet so many of us forget to make it a priority in our lives. I was guilty, some days we are still guilty, but mostly we are not. Family bonding on the road is easier because you are spending time together naturally.
We now play games, build stuff, volunteer, develop childhood businesses, and so much more as a family. These moments in time give us the ability to get to know each other on a level beyond homework, activities and social engagements. These moments grow family bonding on the road in new areas and bring us to levels I had no idea even existed within families.
In addition to family bonding on the road, I have watched Avalon and Largo build a stronger bond as siblings. Their bond has grown into one of respect, friendship and general care for each other’s well-being. Now, they are still siblings and they do fight, but the change over the last 20 months has been greater than I had every expected.
In our previous lives, we had no time for teamwork. Our family motto was “divide and conquer.” It was the only way we could accomplish everything we needed to accomplish. I always felt like we were four people on four different agendas and that I was required to live in all four worlds. Each night when my head would hit the pillow, I’d convince myself that tomorrow would be easier and we would take the time to smell the roses.
In order for this travel life with digital nomad parents and worldschooled kids to work, we have to have teamwork. Team Sueiro. Our roles are interchangeable and that goes for the children as well. Sometimes Will and I both have calls in the evening, so Avalon reads to Largo and snuggles with him. Sometimes Largo has tons of homework, Avalon has been in activities all day, and I have a deadline. Guess who helps Avalon with her schooling?
I love that our children know they are part of our team and that we need them. Plus, it’s great for them to observe my husband and I stepping outside of traditional roles. I see this as such a gift for them as they enter into adulthood and possibly choose a partner one day.
Will and I have been able to develop a deeper understanding of each child and how they function, an important part of family bonding on the road. It is truly a gift to have the time to understand what makes your child tick rather than just pushing them through their emotions to the next task on the list. Plus, it gives them the luxury of time to understand why they feel the way they do.
Being able to understand each child on a deeper level has made us more patient parents because we are able to deduct why something happened and sit with the child while they figure out an alternative solution.
We are by no means perfect and each stage and age offers its own set of challenges. But, we have become much more aware and in tune with our children’s needs through spending copious amounts of time with them and slowing life down a bit.
As our children age, their needs change. I am finding that emotionally, they need us to be much more accessible than in previous years. Our lifestyle choice has allowed us to be available for them throughout the day. Yes, we are working, but we can always stop to talk if need be. The more time we spend with our children, the more likely we are to be approached when these topics come up, because they know we are receptive and accessible.
Our daughter is entering an age where she has questions about her body, the opposite sex, and her emotions. I remember when we were in the States, these questions would always come up at the end of the day during snuggle time. Why? Well, that was the only time we had a moment to stop, think and reflect on the day. I was so tired at that point that I was not fully emotionally present. Most days I just wanted to get the kids to bed and sit down for the first time. Now that I am available during the day, these mini chats can take place when the topic arises. We have had some of the best emotional connections over a snack, or on a walk to an activity or during our morning routine.
We get to be there to watch them grow up. The way I see it, we have them for 18 years if we are lucky (some more and some less). Over the course of a lifetime, that’s a small number of years. I want to be present as much as possible during those years because once they fly away, they will be off on their own adventures.
Spending copious amounts of time together affords us the luxury of being present for all of it. We get to see them lose their teeth, discover something about themselves, rejoice in the simple moments, snuggle, read to them and rejoice at the end of each day that we were truly present.
When we spend loads time with our children, we become the biggest influence on them… not the nanny, the grandparents or the daycare. Of course, we want our children to interact with other adults during their time with us, but we also want them to be raised with our morals and values. Whether they choose to adopt them as they become adults is their choice, but while they are with us we hope to instill many internally motivated characteristics that project kindness. I am not saying that this cannot be done if you have limited time with your children, but it is much harder.
Well, I think this goes without being said. Kids are fun. Period. When you spend a lot of time with your kids you do get to be there for the fights and emotions, but you also get to be there for the FUN! Kids have energy, they have creativity, they have a zest for life and appreciation for the simple things. I truly believe it is the greatest gift to be chosen as their parents on this amazing journey.
There you have it, my list of benefits for spending copious amounts of time with our children and how we manage family bonding on the road. Let’s grow this list. Tell me your benefits.
Hope you are having a fantastic Tuesday.
I will meet you back here tomorrow for Inside A Traveler’s Walls! Yes, it’s back!!!!