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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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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The Delightful Sounds Of A Serene Swedish Summer

The Delightful Sounds Of A Serene Swedish Summer

We have lived in four houses in the four years since we moved to Sweden. I was tired of the gypsy life and after watching the real estate market climb 15% each year, the window of opportunity for owning a house was closing rapidly. If we didn't buy a house soon, it would be out of our reach. We had to move quickly. After three months of searching and watching houses disappear from within seven days (or less) of posting, we bought our house in a stressful bidding war. My husband hadn't even seen the house we had purchased when we were signing the closing documents. Can we really consider that a win? The house needed a new roof, new windows, and a whole host of other repairs but it was situated on the back of a beautiful golf course and overlooked a pasture full of horses. The horses weren't there when I saw the house, but I hoped the current owners...
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Make Your Corner Of The World A Better Place For Our Children

Make Your Corner Of The World A Better Place For Our Children

My mom used to tell me, "Always leave the world a little better than how you found it." That meant everything from picking up litter on the street to being a kind and generous person in daily life. Positive contributions were the measure of a good life. I gaze at the two tiny blonde heads that are watching a cartoon in the living room. I hear my son inform his sister that, "This is the last show, okay?" as he sets a self-imposed TV limit for them both. They have no idea what is happening in the news around the world. They don't know that prayers for love and peace have gone unanswered and that hate and violence are dominating the headlines, hashtags, and hearts worldwide. The innocence of childhood will protect them from those horrific realities for a bit longer. Our job isn't to shield them from the evils of the world but give them the tools and knowledge to combat the...
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What To Do When Your Child Tells You They Held A Gun

What To Do When Your Child Tells You They Held A Gun

"It was real, Mama. It smelled like a real gun. But we didn't shoot it, we only held it," my son tells me while sitting in his bubble bath. He is five-years-old. After asking multiple questions, he continued to insist that the gun was real. My worst nightmare has come true—he was playing with a gun with his friends unsupervised. [Tweet "My worst nightmare has come true—he was playing with a gun with his friends unsupervised."] It is summer, and our neighborhood has lots of kids around the same age. It is perfect because we all open our doors, and the kids run in and out of each other's houses—never getting bored or bothering the parents. It's an ideal setup. Sure, parents are nearby, but nobody is hovering. Like a pack of roving wild animals, this pack of boys moves in a group from house to house, and they often get into trouble. If someone starts to cry, all of the parents emerge...
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Be The Dragon And Rekindle Your Creativity

Be The Dragon And Rekindle Your Creativity

Looking back, I feel ashamed. What type of monster am I that I felt so much enjoyment and excitement out of such violence? They were innocent poor peasant farmers who had done nothing wrong. But, at the time, I didn’t care. I was a dragon, and I brought the fury.  Everyone knows that imagination-based play is a crucial element of childhood. It improves our children’s language development and their ability to process the outside world. Children can experiment with various approaches to problem-solving through play, and it’s a crucial element of growth and development.  Because of this, there are a lot of good articles out there right now about how to foster imagination-based play for kids, but not as many about how to increase parents’ interest in it.  Imaginary play is also a nice way to escape your troubles. I felt relaxed when I was pretending to be a dragon with my children. I no longer felt the weight of a million worries about...
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The Ridiculous Lies We Tell Our Children

The Ridiculous Lies We Tell Our Children

One of the negatives of not understanding 100% of the local language is that I often miss exchanges on the playground between the parents and their children. However, depending on the age of the children, my basic Swedish language skills are enough to help me limp along and follow most conversations. Yesterday, while at the playground, my son was playing with his classmate from preschool. Her mother was standing nearby when both kids started to climb the tree. That's when I heard it—a ridiculous lie. It was in Swedish, but there was no error in my translation. Both kids climbed and laughed in the tree when the other mother said in Swedish, "Don't climb that tree. There may be snakes." Now, to her credit, perhaps she had seen snakes in that tree before but it is highly unlikely due to two reasons: 1) there are only two kinds of snakes in Sweden, and neither one is particularly dangerous and 2) I have never...
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Parenting During Abrupt Transitions—Burkina Faso and Sundae Schneider-Bean

Parenting During Abrupt Transitions—Burkina Faso and Sundae Schneider-Bean

Sundae Schneider-Bean is an intercultural specialist from the US who has traveled the world and expatriated to Switzerland with her Swiss husband. They moved to Burkina Faso for two and a half years with their young children and, finding themselves on neutral ground (not the US or Switzerland), really jelled as a family unit. Happy memories and experiences were sometimes interrupted  by new challenges as a parent when the country underwent country-wide demonstrations, a political uprising, a transitional government, and a coup d’état. While not ever necessarily feeling that she or her family would be targeted directly in these events, the terrorist attack in Ouagadougou left a feeling of uncertainty that was hard to shake. Parenting during abrupt transitions is never easy and often times we look to others to see what they would do in our situation. [Tweet "Parenting during abrupt transitions is never easy."] How did Sundae and her husband ultimately decide how to make a very difficult decision for their family?...
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Top 3 Reminders When Relocating With A Family

Top 3 Reminders When Relocating With A Family

There is a bold freedom when you move as a single person. The highway is open, and you are free to take any exit. Your destiny is unchartered, and the future is relatively carefree. In contrast, when you move your family, you need to be slightly more responsible. Those things that aren't priorities as a young single person are all of a sudden really important like researching daycares, schools, insurance, work visas, health care options, retirement plans—all of those issues become imminently important when coordinating a massive move as a parent. When we moved to Sweden, we fumbled around a bit and relied heavily on my husband's company to handle the logistics—that was a mistake. The woman organizing our relocation stopped answering our emails as soon as we set foot into the country. We were on our own and had not conducted any research prior to our rushed relocation—rookie mistake. Learning via trial by fire is never my preferred method, but it...
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The Big V Gets Zero Sympathy From Me

The Big V Gets Zero Sympathy From Me

My husband is a sweet, generous, and caring man. He buys all of the groceries, cooks all of the meals and is an extremely hands-on father. He showers me with affection and love even when I'm feeling gross, unwashed, and unkempt. In my opinion, he's essentially the Gold Standard for husbands and fathers everywhere. "But, Lisa, if he's so great, why do you want to cut off his balls?" you might be asking. Indeed, he asked me the same thing. To which, I replied, "You don't have to if you don't want to but then you'll need to find another woman to bear your children because I. Am. Done." We discussed the Big V—as in, vasectomy—and mutually decided it was the best option for closing our reproductive cycle as a couple or for him to find another woman to bear his children. We concluded that I had served my time. I was a good soldier. I had altered my diet, abstained from alcohol, carried...
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