Today We Celebrate! The Trailing Spouse Keeping the Family Together

Today we celebrate! All of us trailing spouse moms and dads, who have chosen to follow their spouse’s/partner’s careers over their own, who have sacrificed to keep their family living at one place.

Today is not about what we’ve missed out on but what we have tried to create. A home, a family, a sense of security for the ones we love and a sense of knowing that we will always be there for one another.

We don’t know what direction our families’ lives will take in the future but we all try to do our best to shape our tomorrows. We may or may not succeed but we have to give it the best we’ve got. We all make our choices and some of us choose to put family first because we believe that is the best thing for us. That it’s better for our kids if our family stays together, providing more time to spend together.

Thanks to the visitors from Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) and, later, reiterated by the Director of our school, I now know that research has shown that one of the strongest factors “in protecting young people from getting into trouble with alcohol or other drugs are positive relationships with parents.” Again, according to research, if parents are uninvolved in their child’s life, it increases the likelihood of children becoming problem drinkers (

There are varied norms in different countries and many different types of families all around the world. By and large, they are all very happy and successful. I am simply stating that involvement with kids is paramount to any society where people organize themselves in families, whatever the shape, size and nature of family it may be! Yes, parenting can be accomplished from a distance but many of us trailing spouses have chosen to keep our families close.

So when you are asked for the umpteenth time as to where do you work, what do you do all day, give a broad smile and answer “I work very hard at home!”

FCD Educational Services is a nonprofit substance abuse prevention organization

11 thoughts on “Today We Celebrate! The Trailing Spouse Keeping the Family Together”

  1. Brilliant writing Ayesha and yes we celebrate!

    It is sad that “what do you do?” is one of the key questions we are asked as we build relationships. The reality is we would have a better go at those relationships if the question was “Tell me about yourself?”

    Last week in a pre-departure training session with a supporting partner we spent time working out her response to the “what do you do” question because it was important to her identity and self worth to have something real and honest to say to potential new friends. We got there and hopefully the answer will help her to build bridges to great friendships.

    1. What a wonderful way to start a conversation!: “Tell me about yourself”. And even more wonderful to know that organisations like yours are giving the much needed support to spouses and partners in dealing with one of the most awkward questions in the world.

  2. Absolutely!! thanks and I will enjoy celebrating my role today. So often as a parent – whether expat or not we beat ourselves up for what we do not do, rather than what we do do – today I will celebrate the time, love, support I do give to my two daughters and for once pat myself on the back! And you are SO right – our roles as parents should be a positive one that we are proud of and that forms a part of “who we proudly are”. I’m going to write that into my self description for when that dreaded question hits me again!

    1. Thank you! Wonderful to read your comment. We should really be celebrating every single day, instead of being apologetic about our lives.

  3. Lovely, Ayesha! And a reminder of our recent conversation over coffee, which left me marveling at my wonderful luck in having such amazing, intelligent, hysterically funny, and insightful friends in the “trailing spouse” community. Still struggling after 6 years to answer the “what do you do?” question, but less and less bothered by anyone’s response to my lame answer — I guess that is progress.

    1. So true, Susan. Couldn’t agree more with both of the points you make! And, sometimes, I still have to stop myself, even after all these years, from answering ‘Nothing!’

  4. Ayesha, thank you so much for these very good words of advice. I join all of us in celebrating being a full time mom.

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