Here’s my personal ‘Trailing Spouse’ performance review.

(Five years on, and I’m still counting on you all to add your own in the comments…)


  • You receive a friends and family discount card, and you have absolutely no-one to share it with.
  • You volunteer as a parent driver, and then get completely lost with 4 sullen children in tow.
  • When someone says “we must have coffee sometime”, your immediate response is “Now?”
  • You have 697 Facebook friends, and not one of them lives within 500 miles.
  • Skype refers to you as “a valued longterm customer”.
  • You carry snacks everywhere – most of your life is spent battling bureaucracy, your paperwork is inevitably a three hour problem solving exercise.
  • You routinely carry photocopies of everything from your marriage certificate to evidence of chickenpox immunity in your purse / handbag / glove compartment.
  • You are have a Google alert set up for “trailing spouse’, because it’s the easiest way to find your people who understand.
  • You loathe the term ‘trailing spouse’…
  • You’re suddenly doing playdates in three languages.
  • You can find wifi, anytime, anywhere.
  • Your intercultural catering relies heavily on cheese and tomato pizza and crepes.
  • Your first response when someone asks to visit is to check their baggage allowance and issue a list.
  • You know the luggage allowance for every flight to your location, and which airlines don’t weigh hand luggage.
  • Most marital disharmony centers around “selfish refusal to check bags’ on business trips, or reluctance to fill aforementioned bags with Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut chocolate, Branston pickle, Bisto etc.
  • You make your mother carry a Christmas tree to Kenya, complete with decorations.
  • Somehow, a single plane ride managed to erase your entire career history, and has been replaced with the phrase “What does your husband do?”.