Abbey Onn is a mother of three who has lived all over the world and is recently transplanted to Tel Aviv from Boston. She is a writer, traveler, educator and social activist who loves books, bell bottoms and the smell of New Hampshire air. She and her husband Oded left their careers and the over nine feet of snow in Boston to raise their kids close to family, eat more vegetables and wear short sleeves 300+ days of the year.
As a mom raising her three kids outside of the United States, people always ask me to compare living in Israel to living in the U.S. Business Insider just ranked the 19 best countries to raise your…family as an expat and rated Israel number three on the list based on factors such as education, healthcare and leisure. Upon moving to Israel almost two years ago, I also compiled a tidy list of reasons why raising my kids in Israel seemed to be working out, but with more experience comes more insight.… >> Read More
It’s funny how one phone call can clarify big life lessons. It’s not even 9 a.m. and I just finished an hour of Facetiming with one of my best friends in Brooklyn. As she packed her son’s…lunch, I drank my coffee and nursed my baby while we caught up on everything from work to kids to our mental health. When I called this same friend a year ago to tell her that my mother had died unexpectedly, she burst into tears on the phone. A few days later she and her… >> Read More
I knew I was lucky, but in the wake of Trump’s “maternity leave plan,” I realized just how lucky I am.
After the birth of my first and second children in the US, I was able to take 12 weeks…of paid leave before putting my children into daycare and returning to work. I remember the hours spent staring at those babies, nursing them, getting to know their every noise and look before leaving them with a caretaker at the tender age of 12 weeks. I also remember the stress of pumping and freezing milk,… >> Read More
A few weeks after the birth of my third baby, I realized that despite being surrounded by friends and family, I was on my own in a new way. For the first time since my mom passed away half a year…ago, I understood that I was in charge of taking care of myself from here on out. I started feeling weird in the afternoon, just a few stomach pains and the occasional ache, but by nighttime, I had a full blown flu: chills, fever, and sweats. The pain in my breast started a few hours… >> Read More
From the moment you get pregnant in Israel, everyone asks you whether you are going to stay in a melonit, or the baby hotel. Melonit is a full-on hospital that functions as a high-end hotel, replete…with nursery and staff, as well cappuccino maker and fresh pastries. When confronted with the question of whether to stay there, I never had an answer because there wasn’t an option in the US between public and private post-delivery care; on the surface, a baby hotel seemed superfluous at best. As my due date got… >> Read More
I felt shame at first. I didn’t think I could talk about it or tell anyone, but after weeks and months of silence, I need to share.
My son came home from the daycare one day and told me his head…itched. Without thinking much of it, I looked closer and saw colonies of tiny bugs crawling in his hair. I recoiled in shock. He had come close to having lice once when we lived in the United States, and the reaction was immediate: I bought the necessary treatment, watched, and waited, but it was a… >> Read More
My girlfriend and I have been having the same conversation for the last 10 years: How do we balance our ambition to do something in the world and our desire to be moms? Not a new topic by any means,…but one that we’re still not close to solving 10 years later. When my family and I made the decision to move from Boston to Israel, I preemptively sought out a therapist, knowing that such a large change would undoubtedly bring me anxiety. Rather than deal with the move, this therapist asked me an important question:… >> Read More
Free flight to the US paid for by work? As a recent expat, there should have been no question, but as a mom of two, I paused. I told my husband about the opportunity, already ready not to go, but he…told me I should do it. “Go for a week!” he said, encouragement I am sure he will regret the instant Maya poops in her panties (but I was in the bathroom, she says!) while Aviv is climbing the walls (he actually believes he is Spiderman). Of course I should go. Not only because it… >> Read More
In less than four months my two mini humans, Aviv (4) and Maya (2), have gone through some incredible changes. Four months ago they thought they lived with Elsa and Anna in Arendelle, everything…covered in white as far as the eye could see. In just one plane ride, the snow melted and everything became hotter—the language, the people, the weather—and with that heat came inevitable changes. 1. No English: As I explained in another blog, my kids have basically given up speaking English. I wish I could say… >> Read More
“Ima, efo ha ekdach maim sheli?” Aviv asked, clearly stressed out that he was not properly outfitted for his yom maim, water day, at the daycare. I understood the, “Mom, where is my something…water?” part of the question, but was at a loss for exactly what he was asking for. Because I didn’t answer in the split second he gave me, his stress level raised and he began asking over and over again, getting more and more agitated. I found a ganenet, daycare teacher, and asked Aviv to… >> Read More
My son, Aviv, sat perched on his Uncle Gil’s lap as Gil read him a book. Aviv cocked his head to one side, took Gil’s hand in his, and squeezed it. The look in his eyes changed and he looked…down, opening his hand. “Where is your hand? Dod Gil, where are your fingers?” Three and a half years--and more than half a dozen visits with his uncle--and this was the first time that Aviv noticed that Gil was missing all of the fingers on his right hand other than his thumb. “I was born… >> Read More
On our eighth morning in Israel, the morning before the Pesach seder, my husband Oded told me he wanted to return to the United States. Just a few hours before we sat to recount the story of the Jews…exodus from Egypt and return to Eretz Israel, Oded’s statement came as a shock. What could make him want to leave Israel only days after arriving? It took us months of conversations to make the decision to come here in the first place. Oded dropped constant reminders of all that is good in Israel in… >> Read More
My son’s first words to me when he woke up this morning were: “Mom, I want to sleep in our real house.” He uttered this sentiment while sitting amidst blankets on the floor of my parents’…living room, his toys strewn on the couch in front of him and upwards of 10 suitcases framing the room around him. We are five days away from moving from Brookline, MA to a town just north of Tel Aviv in Israel, and my son wants stability. In the last three weeks, we have moved… >> Read More