POLAND: The Choice To Become A Stay-At-Home Parent

POLAND: The Choice To Become A Stay-At-Home Parent

crazy crewThink your intellectual and creative juices take a dive when you become a stay-at-home parent?  Think again.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post for World Moms Blog about my decision to become a stay-at-home parent.  Prior to staying at home, I was a U.S. diplomat for nearly ten years. Resigning to stay at home was not part of my plans.  I planned for a career in the Foreign Service and never really considered doing anything else.  When my son was born, that all changed.  I wasn’t ready to leave him, so I decided to stay at home.  Fortunately, we were at a place financially where I could choose to do this.

While I was happy that I could stay at home with my son, there were times when I mourned the loss of my professional life.  With the decision to stay at home, I thought that  it was downhill professionally from that point; that I wasn’t really qualified to do anything else other than be a diplomat, and thus I would likely move on to lackluster opportunities when the kids started school (I have remained a stay-at-home mom after the birth of my two daughters, as well).

But here is the good news:  I was wrong.  Completely wrong. Leaving a career that I knew I could not easily go back to opened up a whole new set of opportunities for me.  Ones that I was not previously able to explore because I had boxed myself in to a specific career path.

Ones that allowed me to stay at home with my children and continue to work at my own speed, on my own time, and discover new things about myself and my talents.

Shortly after I became a stay-at-home parent, I took up writing and started my own blog to preserve some of my sanity amidst the at-home chaos.  The writing not only allowed me to let our family back home know what we were up to (we lived in Thailand at the time), but allowed me to continue to do something I loved.  While I often wrote about adventures in parenting and travel, writing time was my time; my chance to unplug from parenthood, reflect, and continue to challenge myself creatively and intellectually.  I began to write with a purpose to help families new to Thailand learn where to go and what to do.  I learned that I could be a valuable resource to others while getting my “me” time.  This was fulfilling and exciting, but became even more exciting when I got a call from Travel & Leisure Southeast Asia to write for their family travel issue.  The thought of being a freelance writer had never occurred to me.  I had resigned to be a stay-at-home mom, so you can imagine my surprise when I received a job offer for something for which I had never applied.  I was up for the challenge, but also nervous about trying something completely new.

Luckily, my article was well-received and I began to write for T&L on a regular basis during our time in Thailand.  The opportunity also encouraged me to test my talent. I reached out to other major online and print publications and, within the year, had written for the New York Times, CNN Travel,  and others. Developing and pitching stories, writing for large audiences, and working with different editors was both challenging and exciting.

Each day I could give my undivided attention to my children, and each evening I learned something new about myself and abilities.

In addition to the freelancing work, reading to my children a good hour or two a day inspired me to delve into the world of children’s literature and pen my own draft of a children’s book.  I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and learned how to write for a young audience (note:  writing for little ones is not as easy as it seems).  I joined peer review groups, learned to give and take editorial criticism, and began the process of contacting publishing houses and sending my manuscript out for review.  It was nerve-wracking to try something so new and unfamiliar, sure; but it was thrilling.  Would I have ever done this had I not become a stay-at-home parent?  Not a chance.

half marathonI began to challenge myself physically, as well.  In addition to writing, running is another source of “me” time; one I use to recharge my batteries and reflect on my parenting, my relationships, and our transient lifestyle.  After the birth of my third child in 2014, I trained for and ran two half-marathons.  When arriving in Krakow this year, I formed a women’s running group.  As soon as the kids start school full time, you can bet I’ll be training for my first full marathon.

All of these things – the freelancing, the children’s book, the running – they grew out of my decision to stay at home with my family. My assumption that becoming a full-time mom would inhibit me from succeeding professionally was false.  On the contrary, letting go of my career and becoming a stay-at-home parent opened up new opportunities for me that I surely would not have explored otherwise.

Have you thought about what other talents and abilities you might possess?  How does spending time with your children inspire you creatively and intellectually? 

This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our mom to three and writer in Poland, Loren Braunohler.

The images used in this post are attributed to the author.

Loren Braunohler

Loren Braunohler is a former U.S. diplomat turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. She is a world traveler who avoids the cold (don't ask why she is currently in Poland). Former assignments have included Mozambique, Venezuela, Australia, Sudan, Thailand and Washington, D.C. She enjoys running, although she probably enjoys sleeping even more. Loren blogs about her family's international adventures and parenting at www.toddlejoy.com.

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France: New Writer Interview – Marie Kléber

France: New Writer Interview – Marie Kléber

Interview pic: FranceWhere in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I live in Paris. I am from France, Nantes, on the west coast. I lived in Dublin, Ireland, for a couple of years before coming back home.

What language(s) do you speak?

I speak French and English. I know a bit of Spanish and Arabic.

 When did you first become a mother (year/age)?

Two years ago, on Valentine’s Day I gave birth to my baby boy! I was 33.

Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work?

I thought I could stay home and look after my child. But then life decided otherwise, and I had to come back to France and search for a job. I found an Executive Assistant position and I can say now that I am happy to be a working mum, even if sometimes it’s a bit tough to manage it all.

Why do you blog/write?

I blog to share and learn, to heal. Writing is my best medicine. It gives me a place to be me and to rejoice with others.

I blog to remember what happens in life, how I overcome challenges, to remember the joy and the happy moments, life’s little treasures.

What makes you unique as a mother?

I am a free spirit. I don’t follow any rules. I find here and there the wisdom I need to raise my kid. I am only unique because my kid is unique. But I am no better than any other mum. Each mum is unique in a way.

I am learning every day. I can say my child is my best teacher. I am rebuilding myself with him, much stronger every day.

What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?

Being a single mum is a choice I made because married life was becoming a nightmare. I saved our lives by leaving. But some days I find it challenging to raise my kid on my own. I wish to teach him respect, tolerance, peace and confidence. I wish him to be free and in peace. But the outside world frightens me a lot. There is much craziness around. And I try as much as possible to focus on the beauty of creation and the little things that make a difference, to surround ourselves with love and compassion, empathy and positive people.

 How did you find World Moms Blog?

I met Salma when I started blogging. And she was such an inspiration to me that we became friends. She’s been writing for World Moms Blog for a while. My first encounter with the website was through her. And I found there the empowerment I was looking for, a community of women sharing and caring for one another.

These interview questions were answered for World Moms Blog by Marie Kleber. Photo credit to the author.

Marie Kléber

Marie is from France and is living near Paris, after spending 6 years in Irlande. She is a single mum of one, sharing her time between work, family life and writing, her passion. She already wrote 6 books in her native langage. She loves reading, photography, meeting friends and sharing life experiences. She blogs about domestic abuse, parenting and poetry @https://mahshiandmarshmallow.wordpress.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: #WorldMoms at #WorldBank This Week for #SMCSO15

SPECIAL REPORT: #WorldMoms at #WorldBank This Week for #SMCSO15

#WorldMoms at #WorldBank this week for #SMCSO15

NEW FINAL CollageFantastic news! Writers from World Moms Blog will be traveling to the World Bank Spring Meetings (#SM2015) in Washington D.C. this week to help spread the word about the ongoing dialog between citizens from Civil Society Organizations (CSO). World Moms Blog founder, Jennifer Burden, and contributor, Cynthia Changyit Levin, are thrilled to be headed back to the World Bank CSO meetings to represent moms around the globe concerned about the futures of ALL children no matter where they were born.

Civil Society meetings are bi-annual events hosted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  Non-government organizations like UNICEFthe ONE CampaignA World at School, and RESULTS send representatives to speak on panels to talk about development policies. Citizens from all over the world can join in and voice their opinions about the best ways to fight extreme poverty and speak out about how World Bank programs affect the lives of people in their countries for better or worse.

We’re honored to be lending our social media skills in a partnership that started at the 2014 RESULTS Conference when we met World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim and continued as we attended and blogged about the 2014 Fall CSO meetings. This spring, we’re returning to help the World Bank to engage in conversation with our audience of concerned moms on topics of importance to us as world citizens: Ebola, Education, Nutrition, and more. We’ll be live-tweeting flagship events and even hosting a panel discussion about social media and citizen activism to move the world toward education for all.

YOU can help take the meetings and the conversation about ending poverty far beyond DC! Please join the conversation by:

  • Following the Twitter hashtag #SMCSO15 and the Twitter accounts of @WorldMomsBlog@JenniferBurden, and @ccylevin so you can join in the conversation and re-tweet posts that you like using the #WorldMoms hashtag.
  • Joining live-streamed webcast events (listed below) and leaving your questions/comments on the webcast page for the moderators! Each event has a hashtag so you can engage with the panel and audience through Twitter.
  • Leaving a question for the World Bank in the comment section of this blog. We’ll try to ask it in the panel discussions and town hall meetings we attend or ask our contacts at the World Bank about it to get a response to you.

Here is the link to the full schedule of live-streamed webcast events. The list below calls out some of our favorites that we are most excited to attend. Pick one or more that interest you and join us virtually. You may even see us in the audience!

Creating Jobs and Improving Services: A New Social Contract in the Arab World

#breakthecycle and #menaeconomy

Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. ET
Join us for a live discussion where panelists will address the need for a new social contract to meet the demands of the current generation of citizens in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Power of Faith to Help End Extreme Poverty


Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m ET.
Location: World Bank Group Headquarters, Preston Auditorium & Online

Can people of faith help build a movement to end extreme poverty? Can they seize this opportunity at a time of conflict in some regions — some of it driven by groups claiming religious justification?

Latin America: In Search of Lost Growth


Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET

How can Latin American governments stimulate growth while preserving social achievements? What growth levels will countries of the region achieve in 2015?

2015 Spring Meetings Press Briefing: World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. ET

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim will address the press during the World Bank’s 2015 Spring Meetings.

The Power of Nutrition


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. ET

Join us for a panel discussion on the importance of investing in nutrition; the challenges countries are facing; and concrete steps towards scaling up high-impact programming for child nutrition.

Future of Food: A Conversation with Jim Yong Kim & David Chang


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET

Hear from a development banker, a renowned chef, an agricultural expert, a woman farmer, a culinary professional and others about the future of food, and how we can work together to feed the world.

Trust, Voice, and Incentives: Learning from Local Successes in Service Delivery in the Middle East and North Africa


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET

Join regional policy makers, practitioners and civil society representatives for a discussion on what it will take to instill adequate accountability and motivation among public servants and service providers toward meeting citizens’ needs.

Water Security for All in a World of Scarcity


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

Water security is emerging as the number one global risk in terms of development impact. An expert panel will share their experiences and solutions for addressing water scarcity challenges with a view of the social, economic, and political implications.

Ebola: The Road to Recovery


Date: Friday, April 17, 2015
Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. ET

WBG President Jim Yong Kim chairs this high-level roundtable at which the heads of state of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will present their Ebola recovery plans to finance and development ministers and international partners.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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UK: Interview with Michelle Pannell AKA Mummy from the Heart

UK: Interview with Michelle Pannell AKA Mummy from the Heart

me and kids July 14Hi all, I’m really pleased to have been invited to become a contributor to the World Moms Blog and I look forward to being able to share my British parenting perspective and getting to know you all. Mich x

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?
I currently live in East Sussex, which is in the South of England, a couple of hours from London. I have lived in England all my life and mostly in the south. I love it here as I live in the countryside and am surrounded by beautiful green fields but it is only a 20 minute drive to the nearest beach and I adore walking by the sea.

What language(s) do you speak?
Sadly I only speak English. When I was at school I found learning languages very difficult so I have never pursued a second language and this is something I regret.

When did you first become a mother (year/age)?
My son was born in October 2003 when I was 30 years old and then I had twin girls in July 2007 just before my 34th birthday. I am really glad I waited to have my children as it meant I was able to pursue a good career without any guilt about the hours I worked and I also don’t feel I missed out on any opportunities to travel and have carefree fun with my husband.

Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work?
Last year we moved from a large town to live in the grounds of a large Christian conference centre in the countryside. I resigned from my job as a staff trainer at a university and now I undertake some freelance writing. In reality most of the work I do is unpaid and I enjoy volunteering for a local food bank, at my children’s school and also here at the conference centre where I live. I’m also passionate about campaigning and being an advocate for those living in poverty.

Why do you blog/write?
My blog started as a way to update my parents on the funny tales of life with my three children. Gradually I found more and more people reading my blog and then I realised I was bitten by the blogging bug and started to share more regularly and on diverse subjects. I also felt compelled to demonstrate that Christians are just regular people too and we live imperfect lives, so I try to tell the story of my life through the lens of an imperfect Christian mother of three. I’m known for being very honest and I blog about the good, the bad and even the ugly of my life and it is through this honesty I have connected with many people who have related to my posts on compulsive overeating, miscarriage and imperfect parenting.

What makes you unique as a mother?
Every mother is unique; I do not believe I am anything special. We all travel our own distinctive journey and for me it is following my instincts and the beliefs of my Christian faith that mean I parent the way I do. With blogging I always tell newbies to find their own voice and not to imitate and I believe the same is true of parenting. Each mother knows what is best for her child and she needs to stick to her beliefs and parent with kindness and consistency.

What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?
As a 41-year-old mother today I am travelling a different path to the one my own mother trod. Never before has there been a time when there was such easy access to information, instant gratification and technology. Trying to ensure that my children are in-line with their peers without becoming old before their time or addicted to being online is a constant battle but one I think is worth fighting. Our move to the countryside last year has reminded my children of all the fun they can have by getting outdoors and playing together.

How did you find World Moms Blog?
In October this year I was privileged to attend the ONE #AYASummit in Washington, D.C. and there I met many inspirational women including Jennifer Burden, Cindy Changyit Levin and Nicole Melancon. After a few conversations it was clear that I had much in common with the values of World Moms Blog and Jennifer invited me to become a contributor. I’m super glad she did.

Welcome to the World Moms Blog Family, Michelle. We look forward to reading your posts.

Photo credit: Michelle Pannell.

Michelle Pannell

Michelle’s tales of everyday life and imperfect parenting of a 13-year-old boy and 9-year-old twin girls and her positive Christian outlook on life have made her name known in the UK parenting blogosphere. Her blog, Mummy from the Heart, has struck a chord with and is read by thousands of women across the world. Michelle loves life and enjoys keeping it simple. Time with her family, friends and God are what make her happiest, along with a spot of blogging and tweeting, too! Michelle readily left behind the corporate arena but draws on her 25 years of career experience from the fields of hotel, recruitment and HR management in her current voluntary roles at a school, Christian conference centre, night shelter and food bank. As a ONE ambassador, in 2012 Michelle was selected to travel on a delegation to Ethiopia with the organisation to report on global poverty and health. Then in 2014 she was invited to Washington, DC, where she attended the AYA Summit for girls and women worldwide. When asked about her ambassadorship with the ONE Campaign, she stated, "I feel humbled to be able to act as an advocate and campaigner for those living in poverty."

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KENYA: Interview with Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama of Mummy Tales

KENYA: Interview with Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama of Mummy Tales

Mummy Tales Kenya

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I am in Kenya, East Africa. I live in the capital city of Nairobi. This is my home country, and I have lived here all my life.

What language(s) do you speak?

I communicate in fluent English and Swahili, which is our national language.

When did you first become a mother?

I first became a mother in April 2011 when I had my first son. I became a mother for the second time in April 2013 with the birth of my second son.

Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you do other work inside or outside the home?

I work as a freelance journalist, so most of the time I work from home.

Why do you blog/write?

I blog because I have a passion for informing and educating people (hence my journalism work). I specifically blog about motherhood because there is so much information that we moms could do with. Especially, because there is no manual to motherhood, you just learn things along the way. So why not learn together and from each other?

How would you say that you are different from other mothers?

I really can’t say I am different from other mothers, as I see that we all go through the same challenges and have the same desire to give the best to our children. I can only say that I am extremely passionate about ensuring that our experiences and our learning moments as mothers are captured somewhere. I try to capture these moments on my blog.

What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?

For me it has got to be the fact that we are living in a very individualistic world, especially we who live in urban areas. Long ago, it was the entire village that would raise a child, but nowadays children are raised by their parents alone (and some are raised solely by the nannies as parents are too busy with work). When I was growing up, I knew all the homesteads within a 10 km radius, and could name all members of each household.

But that is not the same nowadays, where even knowing your next door neighbour is too much work! Society is so busy, with technology (computers, cell phones, video games) lessening the interaction of both parents and children. I fear my sons may never enjoy what ‘communal parenting’ is like.

How did you find World Moms Blog?

On twitter!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama of Mummy Tales.

Photo credit to the author.

Maryanne Waweru Wanyama

Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, a mother of two boys, writes for a living. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya with her family. Maryanne, a Christian who is passionate about telling stories, hopes blogging will be a good way for her to engage in her foremost passion as she spreads the message of hope and faith through her own experiences and those of other women, children, mums and dads. She can be found at Mummy Tales.

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