We have recently celebrated one year living in Sweden. One year since I flew all three children, myself, 3 car seats, and four overweight suitcases, over to join Dadda to start our new lives together living in Sweden. It seems a good time as any to weigh up the pros and cons of this move, and to look at whether we feel we are here for good (hopefully, barring any silly Brexit shenanigans!).
- Four seasons: The photos depict us losing/gaining various layers as the year progresses! We love being outdoors, and immersed in nature, and now we have the chance to experience all the seasons fully.
- The great outdoors: The Swedish ethos of outdoor living was a huge attraction for us, and for living in Sweden. Don’t get me wrong, we did live in a beautiful part of the UK, but over here it is all much more natural, wild, and rugged. Being a larger country, with fewer people in, the natural spaces and wildlife are left well alone and thrive without such a heavy presence of mankind.
- Children are allowed to be children!! I need to let them run, climb, and explore. In the UK, this got me a lot of frowns (especially in parks) when I deliberately made a choice not to “helicopter parent” any of them, as well as letting them use apparatus how they wanted to (provided no one else was affected!). Plus in the UK, there are a lot of expectations of how children should behave, often making them suppress a lot of their childhood instinctive behaviours, and in turn dampen down their spirit, curiosity, and excitement about life. Over here it is a lot different. Children are expected to want to make a noise, run around, and climb. They are outdoors in all weathers, not cooped up because of some wind and rain. The Swedes have clocked onto the fact that children don’t want to, and won’t sit still like statues, but instead they expect them to be moving.
- Education: (and I know some will disagree here, but for us, it is what we wanted for our children). Having left a pressure cooker education system behind that has children exhausted, in tears, and feeling a failure, we are more than happy to embrace the Swedish positive approach to learning. It’s such a lovely environment. The lovely island school has turned out to be just what we wanted for our trio, and more.
- Slower pace of living: With three children, life can easily start feeling like a hectic race from the moment you get out of bed, until the moment you collapse into it at the end of the day. A huge reason for moving here was to slow right down, and commit to a much simpler way of living. It just seems a lot easier to do here. We have moved to a small island community, you can’t just pop to the shops to spend frivolously (the nearest are about a 30 minute drive), and there are no other material distractions, so life is lived at a more leisurely pace.
I could talk about the pros for living in Sweden for forever 🙂 However, those are the main ones for us and our family.
- Leaving family and friends behind in the UK: A year on though and we have met some very special people here living in Sweden, who have helped us to settle in and go out of their way to help us. They have become very good friends. Also, our summer was very busy with close friends from the UK visiting, and the whole year has seen many friends and family coming. It was hard leaving family and friends behind, and we do miss them a lot, but we are so grateful for those who have offered us friendship here in Sweden 🙂
- The language: This another harder aspect of living abroad. Our trio are now immersed in it during the week at school, but they are still on a very steep learning curve. Dadda and I are trying to teach ourselves. It’s hard learning a new language, but we try and at least begin to speak to the locals in Swedish (we’re lucky that so many are great at speaking English). With this comes other things that are very hard…school homework, when it does come home, takes twice as long as we have to understand it before we can help them with it. Everything takes longer due to translating along the way (very slowly) and sometimes this can be very frustrating.
- Lack of connection time between us as a couple: There are no baby sitters here (yet, cross my fingers!), and we have moved abroad knowing there would be no one-night escapes to get a yearly lie in, or no time alone without the presence of our three cheeky monkeys. As much as I know the younger years fly past in the blink of an eye, I wouldn’t ever say no to some peaceful calm time together, enjoying something as a couple outside of our four home walls. However, for now, we will have to take the evenings collapsed on the sofa once we’ve tucked the trio up in bed.
Again, there can be other tongue in cheek cons (for example living with the Systembolaget way of operating!!), but again, these were the main issues for us and our family living in Sweden.
If this family adventure does end up with us returning to the UK, at least there will be no “what ifs”, and so no regrets. We will have tried living in Sweden, and given it a go. The children will have experienced the world classroom, and a different culture, language, and lifestyle. However, I really hope we are here to stay now, as this was how we planned it.
I think we have all adapted pretty well so far. We seem to be integrating a little. I can’t say enough though about how much we love living here, and I feel that maybe we have found our place in the world that we can call home 🙂
If you want to learn more about how we came about moving to Sweden, our actual moving process and how it went, and life since our arrival, hop over to Mamma’s School and have a read. You can also follow our story in pictures (if you love looking at photos of beautiful Sweden) over on Instagram.