Lately I’ve read so many articles regarding the so-called “mommy-wars”. They are all over the news, on magazine articles on blogs and even on TV. Every time I read a new article I’m surprised to find that alongside fulfilling the always challenging role of being a mom the expectations and pressures we put on ourselves to be perfect in everything we do are not only unattainable but exhausting.
When I think of these things, I’m just so glad to be in someway sheltered from it. I live in a completely different world. I live in South East Asia, and I’m not a local, so the expectations put upon me are quite bearable and, in fact, easy to fulfill.
From the day I became a mother and gave birth to my first son in Thailand (where the nurses pampered me with massages and asked me if I would prefer the Thai, Japanese or Western menu!) to the day I came to Jakarta with a big pregnant belly and was rushed thru the express lane in the airport, being a foreign mom in South East Asia has been a fun and eye-opening experience from day one.
Since becoming a mother I have felt nothing but support from other mothers that are in the same situation as I: away from our family and just trying to figure out what’s best for our kids. No judgment, but rather a sense of sisterhood where our daily bread consists of sharing our latest finds and fun anecdotes; including those involving our kids being swept away by a waitress and later returned to us with a chocolate mustache and smile in their face.
We do whatever we can with what is available. I’m not saying Jakarta lacks anything; it’s just sometimes difficult to find the things we are familiar with and trying to figure out ingredients in a foreign language can sometimes turn into an adventure in experimenting with a rice cereal that turned out to have fish as a main flavoring!
In this world, nobody cares if you breastfed your baby or if you started formula from day one. Nobody judges you if you wear your baby, stroll your baby or if you hold your baby with no other support than your bare arms and iron will. No shoes, no problem!
After reading hundreds of pages on parenting techniques and methods I have learned to just go with my gut feeling, learn from the culture that surrounds me and always remember where I come from and what matters to us as a family. In this world, moms support each other and pass on those beloved Eric Carle books as if they were worth their weight in gold. In this world, we don’t hesitate anymore when someone wants to take a picture of our kids with their cellphone camera. In this world, anything goes.
Where do you live, and has your country of residence influenced your mothering style?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ana Gaby from Indonesia. She can be found writing at Stumble Abroad.
Photo credit to the author.