With both feet firmly on Illinois ground, my eyes have gradually been drawn beyond survival and settling sights to the wider vista. I find myself noticing the places, the people, the way things are done and the way lives are lived.
And considering the culture we have stepped into.
From supermarkets to church to rules of the road to home-making and hosting, cultural indicators crop up all the time. Jonathan and I frequently mull over the differences, enjoying many aspects and pondering others that puzzle us.
Along with the huge geographical move has come the transplanting of my ‘being a mum at home’ gig. Nearly four years of mainly being at home with the boys has brought about various rhythms, routines and ways of making it work for me, and for them. Moving country, and culture, has brought with it necessary adjustments and a shift for us all.
As I’ve been trying to work out this new life of ours, I’ve been feeling out the ‘mumming’ culture over here…do they have the same priorities as me? How do playdates work? What do people do when it rains and the park isn’t an option? How do you do chat without a cup of tea in hand? What happens when your kid upsets theirs? Do they want to do ‘kids lunch/dinner’ together or is that weird? In this world of differently labelled ‘kid’ things, what words won’t be understood?
In many ways, it’s not that different and I’ve been so grateful for various fellow mums welcoming me, and the boys, into their worlds. We are enjoying the American way of life, although I am convinced that everyone would benefit from having more cups of tea together!
While navigating the cultural differences, I have found it difficult not to let my comparative, sideways glances dominate. That look to the left to check how I match up to the American standard of a ‘stay at home mom’. That look to the right that makes me think I should be doing things differently. That ongoing comparison that does nothing but bring insecurity and discontentment in my own heart.
The problem is that there’ll always be someone doing it ‘better’ than me. Thankfully, our identity doesn’t lie in whether we do instagram worthy activities or have perfectly behaved children. While my eyes are pulled sideways, I’m praying my heart would look upwards, and know the security and contentment I have in Christ above all else.