CBC: Raising Kids Around the World

December 19, 2008

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Monica Salazar (who was a guest on Natural Moms Talk Radio twice this year) and I decided to do a little cross blog conversing.

First, if you missed them, these were the topics Monica shared on the show: Fridge free living with pot-in-pot and Children and the urban environment. Monica is a single mom of a young son and owns Familia Libre.

I asked Monica,  “How do you think raising a child in Ecuador differs from raising a child in the States?” and she blogged her answer here.

Then she asked me,

“Do you think that living in another country or city would affect you so much that you would do major changes to your parenting or lifestyle?”

Hmm. I suppose it would depend on what country it was.

For the most part, the answer would be no. I agree with Monica when she said that,

“I believe that it’s not the place but the people you relate to and the way you build your “customized environment”

At the same time, there is much power in place. Our environment does affect our view. I can’t seem to find it now, but I mentioned this book once before on this blog and did a quick review: The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions

That being said, if you embrace instinctive parenting then most of your parenting practices wouldn’t change. Maybe your daily life would change however.

I don’t have any real experience with international travel. The only place I’ve ever been outside of the States is Ireland, where I lived briefly as a kid.

Was life different there?

Oh, yes. Very much so. We lived in the city and had no car. We walked or biked everywhere. I went to a Catholic, all girls school (which I loved by the way, including the uniforms that all the other girls hated!). I didn’t do the Catechism since I wasn’t Catholic, but that was the only option there.

Life in Ireland in the 80’s was like living in the States in the 50’s. You could let your kids run the neighborhood with no concern for their safety. Of course, a group of cheeky young Irish lads did try to run me and a friend down once! :)

Since everyone I knew was poor (except for a couple of wealthy families who traveled back and forth to the U.S. for business), it was no big deal to be poor. That is one thing I wish I could recreate about life in Ireland for my own kids. The simple pleasures. When people can’t get artificial happiness from shopping, they create it in other ways.

The Irish love to party. :)

We would get together with other families every week and sing songs, play instruments, read poetry, tell jokes – everyone had to contribute something. Americans are too concerned with not looking stupid to have fun.

Col de la Bretaye
Creative Commons License photo credit: Spigoo

One place I have never visited but I think would be marvelous for raising kids would be Scandinavia. With their family friendly government and social system, it seems the ideal place to birth. Women are guaranteed their jobs if they decide to return to the workplace, along with fantastic child care. Homebirth and midwife care is the norm, and infant mortality rates are low. Gentle discipline is the order of the day. Scandinavians seem to embrace a healthy, outdoorsy lifestyle (they invented the Skuut!) and aren’t obsessed with work but rather with having “just enough”. They even have a word to express this sentiment: “Lagom”, Swedish for “just enough”.

I would have a hard time with the long winters and less sun however!

So my question for Monica is this:

I’ve been a single mom for two years now, but it’s been your experience since becoming a mother. What do you see as your greatest challenge as a single mom, and how are you handling this challenge with grace?

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2 Responses to “CBC: Raising Kids Around the World”

  1. Monica@FamiliaLibre on December 20th, 2008 12:45 am

    Thanks for your answer! It was fun to find out that you read The Power of Place. I have the Japanese edition that read as a student, but I don’t dare to even open the book anymore. It was so hard to read! Not to mention it was another single-mum challenge…I’ll let you know when I post your answer.

  2. Monica on January 7th, 2009 12:06 pm

    Just left a response!

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