35 Reasons Expat Moms Crave Coffee

35 Reasons Expat Moms Crave Coffee

  Today is International Coffee Day but for expat moms, every day is international coffee day. Here are some reasons why expat moms really crave coffee—the sweet nectar of sanity.   1. Because it took you 8 minutes to translate the "crucial" information posted on your children's whiteboard at preschool   2. Cause sometimes tea just won't cut it   3. Because it's early and your child is giggling and shouting a new local word she just learned and you're not sure if it's a swear word or not   4. Cause a local mom invited you to her child's birthday party and you think you accepted although you're not sure if parents are expected to stay, leave, bring presents, eat cake, or none or possibly all of the above   5. Cause baking a local recipe required 5 conversions, 2 substitutions, and 7 minutes of translation   6. Because you woke up early to catch a plane to get your child's passport   7. Cause you need caffeine to manage driving on the other side of the road...
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10 Reasons Why It’s Awesome Being Knocked Up Abroad

10 Reasons Why It’s Awesome Being Knocked Up Abroad

This article can also be found on The Huffington Post. You’re living in a foreign country, you don’t speak the language, and you’re faced with new cultural customs and traditions that make your head spin. Your period is late, and you realize, “Oh my goodness. I’m totally knocked up abroad!” Don’t fret, my pet, for this is great news! You’re officially part of the most badass club of women to ever exist and I’ll tell you why. Here are the top 10 reasons why it’s awesome being knocked up abroad: 1. Living in a language bubble is super relaxing So many things get lost (easily ignored) when you don’t speak the local language. Is someone asking when you are due? You don’t know. And frankly, you don’t care. Being pregnant in the language bubble is blissful—nothing but you and your thoughts in your head all day long. 2. You’re a rebel almost every day In Turkey, it is superstitious not to allow a pregnant woman’s feet...
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A Virtual Baby Shower On The Riviera

A Virtual Baby Shower On The Riviera

By Patricia Bowden   I discovered I was pregnant on a beautiful day in the spring. I was elated to find that after a lifetime of traveling the world and finally settling down with a lovely Italian man, my final dream was only nine months away. The only downside was that I was living in Italy, far away from my friends and family. Being pregnant made me increasingly homesick. Being pregnant during the information age exacerbated that homesickness to new heights. I watched as many of my childhood friends, who were also pregnant, uploaded pictures of their baby showers. I felt completely isolated and forgot why moving to Italy was such a great idea. [Tweet "Being pregnant made me increasingly homesick"] I don’t remember when the idea hit me, but one day I suddenly found myself Googling “virtual baby showers.” It turns out that virtual baby showers are actually a thing. I quickly found a virtual baby shower hosting site that was perfect...
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7 Reasons Why Expat Moms Make Excellent Spies

7 Reasons Why Expat Moms Make Excellent Spies

Let's look at the facts—expat moms have all of the qualities needed for top spies including adaptability to new cultures and languages, the ability to survive torturous conditions of all sorts, and the ability to blend into new environments with ease and grace (sometimes). The TV series, The Americans was nominated for their first Emmy Award and is a brilliant example of why expat moms would make excellent spies. Secret agencies are missing out on a likely untapped resource by not pulling expat moms into the espionage field. Here are seven reasons why expat moms would make excellent spies: 1. Sleep deprivation torture wouldn't be effective on expat moms. Expat moms are experts at time zone changes and have already learned how to survive on minimal sleep thanks to years of babies, toddlers, and partners who toss and turn throughout the night. Need someone to travel halfway around the world on two hours of sleep? An expat mom is your gal. 2. The perfect cover. Nobody would suspect Jane down...
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What Does A Bike Have To Do With Parenting? Everything

What Does A Bike Have To Do With Parenting? Everything

Imagine you are riding a bike up a hill. The hill isn't that steep, but it isn't flat either. You shift down into second gear and have to stand to pedal at the same pace. Once you get to the top of the hill, you look back, and you think, "Wow. I'm kind of out of breath. That was a longer hill than I thought." Now imagine that you attach a bike trailer, one of those really snazzy fancy ones with seats for two kids, to the back of your bike. You head up the same hill but instead of easily pumping up the moderate hill, the hill suddenly looks massive, and your progress slows to a crawl while your leg muscles scream with every pedal forward. At the top of the hill, you don't look back or reflect on your accomplishment, but you collapse into a heap and wonder how you're going to do it again tomorrow without killing yourself. [Tweet "You...
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I Still Need Him To Need Me

I Still Need Him To Need Me

  I bend down and kiss my five-year-old son good night. I motion to sweep his hair from his eyes when the back of his hand wipes my invisible kiss from his cheek and I catch my breath. This seemingly natural reflex is new—wiping off his mother's kiss—and it was not something I had expected until years down the road. I thought I’d have more time before this milestone. With my kiss, a small token of love, his hand brushed away that moment of tenderness and in its wake planted the seeds for independence. These are the same hands with fingers that curled tightly around mine minutes after he was born. The same hands that I held while helping him stumble-to-walk. The same I now hold while walking to preschool every day. The same hands that cradled my face on an afternoon to hold my gaze with his bright blue eyes and said, "Mama, will you remember these kisses?" as he proceeded to cover...
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What To Do When Visiting A New Mom In A Foreign Country

What To Do When Visiting A New Mom In A Foreign Country

  Culturally, a new mother living in a foreign country may find herself in unfamiliar territory during the postpartum period. Everyone loves a new baby and visiting the mother is a great way for family and friends to show support and love. However, there may be different cultural expectations of entertaining guests or performing various postpartum rituals in keeping with the local customs. Giving birth in different cultures is always an adventure. Mothers should always expect the unexpected when living in a foreign country. In the article, Top 10 Rules For Visiting A New Mom there are some great suggestions for visitors of American moms but what can new moms in foreign countries expect from visitors? I asked mothers around the world about their experiences during that postpartum period, and they shared what is customary to expect from visitors as new moms in their local culture. What Should New Moms And Their Visitors Expect In Foreign Countries? Singapore In Singapore, the Chinese locals won't visit you for a month. Postpartum...
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I am your home

I am your home

  My voice is hushed and soft as I sing the lullaby to my two-and-a-half-going-on-ten-year-old daughter that I have sung to her since she was born. I had a lot of time on my hands to memorize the song during all of those hours rocking and nursing her when she was a baby. I've sung other songs to her, of course, but that one was my go-to. My favorite song about us. Singing a song about love and friendship seemed like a better alternative to the redundantly boring Mary Had A Little Lamb.   We used to rock in the oversized faux leather chair that we bought when I was pregnant with my son. That rocking chair has seen many sleepless nights. Many nights rocking babies back and forth held in my arms throughout the dark hours of the morning, night, and who knows when. Time has no meaning when you're upset instead of sleeping.   Today we aren't rocking but the song has the same calming effect.   "You be...
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Breaking the Mom-Guilt Cycle

Breaking the Mom-Guilt Cycle

"Please, Lucy. Mama went to six different stores to find that costume. Can you please wear it?" My heart crushed, my ears burning, and my inner self, the mother who promised never resort to guilt-trips, is disgusted that I am practically begging my daughter to wear this ridiculous outfit. Why do I care so much that she doesn't want to wear a costume? Why am I behaving like the type of mother I swore I would never become? Because Mom-guilt is a potent force and it takes an even stronger person to recognize it before it poisons your motherly influence. Don't ask me why, but Easter witches are part of Swedish culture and every spring, little children dress as witches and warlocks to hand out handmade Easter cards in exchange for candy. (It's basically like trick or treating, but no Swede would ever admit that.) After spending two days driving around town and frantically searching through six (or was it seven?) different stores, the...
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What Pregnant Women Should Know About the Zika Virus

What Pregnant Women Should Know About the Zika Virus

  In the past few days, both the US CDC and WHO have issued guidelines for pregnant women regarding the Zika virus and I wanted to provide more information based on the research I conducted. Zika is very similar to dengue—a virus with which I am intimately familiar.  I investigated two dengue fever outbreaks in Brunei back in my field-work public health days. All of the underlined text is linked to scientific articles if you want more information. Where is Zika now? There was an explosive pandemic in 2015 that has everyone at WHO and US CDC quite nervous, and for good reason. As of week 3 in 2016, the following countries have Zika confirmed cases: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela. January 13, 2016 a case was reported in Texas, US. January 15, 2016 another case was reported in Hawaii.   What is the Zika...
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