Home For The Holidays
Good|July 2017

If returning to your childhood home brings out your inner teenager, you’re far from alone. But a few simple steps could help stave off the drama this summer, promises family relationship coach Louise Armstrong – even if you are still living out of a suitcase…

With summer arrived, many of us turn our thoughts to long holidays escaping the heat, excitedly looking forward to catching up with family and old friends. Before we board the plane home laden with gifts, we relish the prospect of reunions, of returning to our old familiar way of life, the country we call home and, often, the cooler weather. But despite looking through ‘rose-tinted’ glasses, do you perhaps also see yourself as leading a double life, summer dictating the slipping from one you to another that only expats can really relate to?

I know that feeling. After landing back in the UK and spending just 24 hours staying with my parents, I begin to regress to that rebellious teenager I was all those years ago. I might be an adult now, in my 40s with my own three children, but when I’m sitting at mum’s kitchen table, pouring milk on my morning muesli and quietly minding my own business, and she asks what I want for dinner that night, not regressing seems impossible. I mean, does she not realise I’m incapable of functioning right now, let alone thinking what I’m going to want to eat in eight hours’ time?

As my old teenage anger levels rise, I’ll firmly shut the kitchen door and climb the stairs to wait for my turn in the bathroom (what happened to my en suite?). I’ll search for the jumper and jeans squashed in the suitcase laying in the corner of the bedroom, watching rain streaming down the window, as the kids ask what we’re doing today for the umpteenth time and I’ll think ‘take me back to Dubai please!’

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