Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?
I live in the Netherlands. Neither me, nor my husband are from there. I was born in Poland, but have been living abroad for a while (among others in Canada, Germany and now the Netherlands). My husband is German.
What language(s) do you speak?
Theoretically, I speak 5 languages – Polish, German, English, Dutch and French. However, to be frank I speak 3 of them really well (Polish, German and English), my Dutch is on its way to improvement, and I like to say that I speak half of French. I don’t know why but my French only works when the person I’m talking to doesn’t know any other languages. However, I have two French cousins and I wish I could speak it better. I speak Polish with the children, my husband speaks German and they learn Dutch at daycare.
When did you first become a mother?
I had my first child in 2009. It was also the year we got married, I was trying to graduate from university and we had an international move to arrange! It was a crazy year! 2 years later, my second daughter was born, and I am now a happy mom to three children, as my baby boy was born only a month ago.
Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work?
I am mostly a SAHM. However, my two other children attend daycare a few hours every day and I can have some time to devote to my blog. Occasionally, I give trainings in intercultural communication to Dutch people going to work in Germany or Poland and work as a freelance translator.
Why do you blog/write?
My blog started as trilingual in Polish, German and English. I wanted it to be many things: a space for me to write and share my stories in all these three languages and also a way to connect with friends and family back home. I then started reading up on multilingualism, which, coupled with the intricacies of expat life, became the main topic of my blog. I also decided I wanted to reach a bigger audience and have only been blogging in English. However, I also have a blog in Polish on a Polish parenting website where I can write in my own language.
How would you say that you are different from other mothers?
This one is tricky! I would say that I am different from monolingual moms (and moms who are not living abroad) in that I am a multilingual expat mom. I am a SAHM and only work from time to time which sets me apart from moms who work in an office. I could probably think of more differences, some of them cultural, others more due to personal character. However, I think that maybe we should focus on similarities rather than on differences? Just like all moms, I love my children and am doing my best to ensure their happiness.
What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?
More and more parents are raising children outside of their own culture. The challenge then becomes to pass the parents’ cultural legacy to their children. Often, this is met with misunderstanding from society due to negative stereotypes. On the other side it is important to raise children who feel at home in the world, who become citizens of the world.Then, with technology becoming an even bigger part of our lives, it is important to talk to the children about Internet safety and screen time. Also, I find that it can be sometimes very confusing to be faced with all contradictory parenting advice. However, we can learn from challenges. I believe raising children among other cultures is a great opportunity, and technology, if used wisely can enrich the children’s lives. And, I’d rather be confused by all these different parenting methods than have no choice at all!
How did you find World Moms Blog?
Through the wonderful blog of Kim of MamaMzungu which I found through another Facebook group we both belong to and I love reading her articles. I then noticed the World Moms Blog badge on her blog, and clicked, and loved all the great articles on that site. I then wrote an email, asking whether I could become a part of this great project and was accepted! I’m looking forward to sharing my insights into global parenting!
This is an original, first time post to World Moms Blog from our new writer in The Netherlands, Olga. Welcome!
Welcome to World Moms Blog Olga! Look forward to reading more of your posts!
Congratulations on speaking to your children in Polish and German! I know how hard it can be to keep that up, because both my husband and I were born in Italy but grew up in South Africa.
Although we’re both fluent in Italian, English is our “mother tongue” (easy test if you speak more than 1 language … the language you dream in, count in, and find easier to express your emotions in, is your mother tongue!) Unfortunately a “side-effect” of this is that my children aren’t fluent in Italian. We’re ALWAYS given grief by our Italian relatives because of this.
I have language-envy, Olga!! Welcome to World Moms Blog, and I’m so glad that you will be writing with us!!
Dear ladies, thank you for the kind comments! I am very honoured to be part of your wonderful team! Don’t have language envy, Jen- I was just very lucky to attend all these great language courses- and that my parents had the money to send me abroad! I am looking forward to reading more of your wonderful posts, and I sure have much to learn from you! And I’ll sure have fun writing my own!
Welcome Olga! I look forward to reading more from a fellow multi-lingual mom. 🙂
Hej Olga! Witaj na pokladzie wielu wspanialych i genialnych mam!
I am in awe of what you’re doing with your kids. My kids do not speak Polish but they understand. I have never thought it’s actually a hard work to keep the second or the third (etc) language alive when it comes to a multilingual families.
Glad to have you here!!!
Witaj, how great it is to meet another Polish woman here- the world is really a small place! I love your pictures, btw!And thanks for the nice comment!
Welcome Olga 🙂 Look forward to reading more of your posts.
We say in India, that the culture/language in India is as varied as the whole of Europe. We are multilingual here too, and it is always surprising for me when my son decides to show off his language skills in other languages which he learns from elsewhere(school/friends).
Yes, when I read about multilingualism, India is shown as an example of a country where it is perfectly natural to speak many languages on a daily basis. I’ve always dreamed of going to India, hopefully one day I’ll manage!
Kumusta ka, Olga? 🙂
Now you know how to say “How are you” in Filipino too! Lol. Looking forward to reading your posts. 🙂
Kumusta ka, Patty! Hope you’ll enjoy reading my posts, I still can’t believe my luck!
Hello Olga! Nice to meet you!
Welcome to WMB Olga. Wow, 5 languages . Hope to hear more stories from you from across the globe 🙂