Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Parent of the Week: Erica

I’ve got an extra special Parent of the Week- Erica. She’s an American. Who married an Englishman. Who now lives in the UK. Everybody now! But really, Erica has had some amazing adventures traveling back and forth with her kids, and, let's be honest, she deserves a trophy for even attempting it!

Tell me about your children.
I currently have 2.3 children. Joel is 3 and a half. He is the dream first child! So much fun. Interested in everything, very chatty and full of energy. Alice is just over 1. And again full of personality. She is very determined and loves her mummy! And baby number 3 is due in early May.

How did you meet your husband and wind up all the way in the UK?
I studied abroad in London for six weeks one summer. I met Phil the first weekend I was here and fell for him straight away. We got engaged 4 months later, (its not easy to date someone in a different country. Even a phone call was a challenge with a 6 hour time change!) and married 3 months later. Then I moved to London.

Can you see any big differences between American and UK parents?
It’s really difficult to say because America is really big and everyone has such different styles/ attitudes, but the most noticeable thing is maternity leave. Here mothers get a year off with each child. They are paid during this time and guaranteed their job when they return. Plus most jobs are very flexible with part-time/ job shares for parents who choose to return to work. I do stay home full time, but it means that there are lots of mums around me with little ones. I think this has helped with my transition into parenthood because I was surrounded by experienced mums. They helped with the cultural differences.

Have you traveled to the US with your kids? How did the trip go/What's your best tip for traveling with kids?
I’ve done 4 transatlantic trips with kids. Two with babies, one by myself with an 18 month old and one trip with my husband with both kids. I won’t lie; it’s a really long flight. At best it is 11 hours. Plus you have the journey on either side to and from the airport. Lots of food helps. Once they hit the magic age of about 18 moths and start to watch TV it gets much easier. Otherwise just go with a positive attitude and be prepared for the worst. Then I am always pleasantly surprised that it was easier than I expected. Sadly the hard work awaits you when you arrive. It’s the time change that my kids always find the hardest!

Tell me a funny story about one of the kiddos.
Joel has started asking "why" to everything! So I decided to give him a taste of his own medicine.

Joel- I'm hungry
me- why?
Joel- cause I want something to eat.
me- why?
Joel- stop being ridiculous mummy!

What American comfort items do you miss?
I am starting to miss less and less these days. There is always the feeling here that I am foreign so I guess I miss feeling normal. Something most people don’t ever think about. I am always the one with the funny accent! But I love it here, and I love that I get to live in such a great country! It feels like I am on always on an amazing adventure!

- Oh and I love Butterfingers! If anyone makes a trip to the US I always ask them to bring one back!!


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