WASHINGTON, USA: Vanity, Tunics, and Silver Hair Linings

WASHINGTON, USA: Vanity, Tunics, and Silver Hair Linings

WP_20131209_003edI don’t make resolutions for the new year. December is so full of celebrations and commitments, and I find the idea of sitting down to think through the ways I need to improve myself and make the world a better place overwhelming. I’m a change-as-it-strikes-me-anytime-during-the-year kind of gal. When I can help someone or donate my time and resources somewhere, I do it. As for my personal development, I take stock often. So as I am writing this, with 2013 coming to a close, I’m not focusing on who I will be in 2014. Instead, I’m celebrating on a few key changes I made this past year. (more…)

Tara Bergman (USA)

Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Network!

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World Mom Feature: Loren Braunohler in Thailand

World Mom Feature: Loren Braunohler in Thailand

Today we have a special World Mom Feature post by Loren Braunohler in Bangkok, Thailand of Toddle Joy. If you would like to contribute a post and be featured on World Moms Blog, contact contribute2@[at]worldmomsblog[dot]com! 

Asian Woman with Caucasian Child

“In Asia, It’s a Fair-Haired Child’s World”

Whether I want to accept it or not, I’ve become Kris Jenner.  Yes, if being a full-time mom and keeping up with my children’s schedules, meals, nap times, and need for love and attention wasn’t keeping me busy enough, I am now their “momager”.  Quite by default, to be honest.

In the U.S., my children are just two more fair-haired toddlers bumbling down the grocery store aisle.  There is no additional pomp and circumstance; no extra drama to add to the already chaotic toddler lifestyle.  They are just themselves – Logan and Katelyn – growing up and doing typical toddler things – amidst a sea of other toddlers: some of whom look like them, some of whom look very different from them, thanks to America’s melting pot phenomenon.

But hop on a flight across the Pacific, and my two fair-haired children are received very differently.  So differently, in fact, that it is striking.  In Asia, they are rock stars.

They are mini-celebrities.  They are novelties.  And everyone, from the noodle soup guy on the street to the wealthy Mercedes-wielding apartment building owner, wants to get their hands on them.  And kiss them.  And squeeze them.  And talk to them.  And hold them.  And show them off to their friends.

There is our daily walk to and from the grocery store, which should take about five minutes each way, but instead takes ten or fifteen because of friendly people on the street who want a chance to entertain my children.  There are the constant photos, anywhere and everywhere really, taking pictures of my son ambling down the street with his sunglasses on or my daughter “helping” me shop at the Tuesday clothes market.

There are the restaurant servers who happily whisk my children away for a walk back to the kitchen to show them off to the chefs (bonus:  mom and dad actually get to eat together for a minute or two).  And there is the occasional passerby who videotapes my son as he indulges in a soft serve ice cream cone.

In the U.S., this kind of attention would be creepy to the point of suspect.  In Thailand, however, it is 100 percent normal and accepted.  In fact, to be completely honest, it would be odd if no one were paying attention to your fair-haired baby.

Although I had read about the attention that Caucasian children received in Southeast Asia, I was not prepared for the deluge of attention that would be lavished upon my children when we arrived.  At first it was difficult – and at times onerous – for me to deal with, but after two years in Thailand, I have learned to appreciate and understand this unique cultural difference. Thai people really love children, and they really, really love to interact with Caucasian fair-haired children.  We have had similar experiences when traveling in Hong Kong, Bali, and Cambodia.

If you plan to visit or make a move to Asia with your fair-haired children, be aware that this, too, will likely happen to you.  And as a parent to newly-minted mini-celebs, you have to figure out how to manage the overwhelming amount of attention your children receive, how they deal with it, and above all, how you deal with it.

Do your children meet their new-found “fame” with laughter, confusion, fright, boredom, or all of the above?  And what about you?  How do you deal with strangers going gaga over your offspring? What about holding them?  Photographing them?  Videotaping them?  Are you out of your comfort zone yet?

If I could offer you some tips, they would go something like this:

  1. Factor in more time to do, well, anything when you have your children out in public with you.
  2. Always, always be polite, even if you find the attention annoying or overwhelming.
  3. Learn to relax a little – you are in a new place and the rules are different.
  4. Don’t let it keep you from exploring the new things around you.

It took some time for us to get used to managing the attention Logan and Katelyn receive. There are days I wish we could walk down the street unnoticed and make it to our destination in record time. But for the most part, I am so thankful to be living in a part of the world where children are cherished, adored and loved – even if mostly for their novelty factor.

The constant personal interaction has shaped Logan and Katelyn into social and confident young people, and for this, I am eternally grateful.  Our only concern at this point is how much of a dive our children’s egos will take when we move home.  But that, my friend, is a bridge we will cross when we get there.


Loren BraunohlerThis is an original post to World Moms Blog by Loren Braunohler in Thailand. Loren and her family moved to Bangkok in November 2010.  A former U.S. diplomat who served in Mozambique, Venezuela, Sudan, Washington DC, and Thailand, Loren resigned from the U.S. Foreign Service in July 2011 to be a full-time mom to son Logan, now age two and a half, and daughter Katelyn, age eleven months.  In 2012, Loren started Toddle Joy, an online blog and resource for expat parents of young children who are new to Bangkok.  

Through her blog, she hopes to inform and inspire others about the joys of raising a toddler, both in general, and in a place like Thailand, where children are continuously adored and amazed by the world around them.  Loren is also a freelance writer and has published pieces in Travel +Leisure (Southeast Asia) and Bangkok Mothers and Babies International (BAMBI) Magazine.  On the web front, she regularly contributes to Expecting Expats.

Photo credits to Loren Braunohler.


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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WASHINGTON, USA: Less than 24 hours in NYC…by myself!

I am sitting at a gate in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) waiting for my flight back to Seattle.  You may be wondering…”How does she have time to sit and write with two girls while she is at the airport?”

If my girls were with me, I definitely would NOT be writing.

I would be mulling this post over in my head while I watched them burn off steam running over and under seats before getting on the six hour flight back home.  The beauty of this story is that I got the weekend off from mommy duty to travel east 3,000 miles to go to a wedding in New York City!  I know, I mean, I really do know – LUCKY ME!!  (more…)

Eva Fannon (USA)

Eva Fannon is a working mom who lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her hubby and two girls. She was born and raised on the east coast and followed her husband out west when he got a job offer that he couldn't refuse. Eva has always been a planner, so it took her a while to accept that no matter how much you plan and prepare, being a mom means a new and different state of "normal". Despite the craziness on most weekday mornings (getting a family of four out the door in time for work and school is no easy task!), she wouldn't trade being a mother for anything in the world. She and her husband are working on introducing the girls to the things they love - travel, the great outdoors, and enjoying time with family and friends. Eva can be found on Twitter @evafannon.

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NORWAY: So Long Jimmy Choos – Hello Uggs

I remember a long time ago, before my wee lad was born,  I would notice mothers or pregnant women, and  I seemed to notice that there were two types: the ones that were beautiful, elegant and always poised and the other type, who weren’t.

I would think “why don’t they look after themselves?” I mean, how difficult can it be to put on a pair of nice high heels and some mascara?!  Why didn’t these women make a little bit of an effort?

There was never a question in my mind what type of mother I was going to be! ( And just in case you were wondering, I was going to be elegant, always wearing clean and freshly ironed clothes, my handbag matching my shoes and so on) (more…)

Astrid Warren (Norway)

Astrid is a Norwegian thirty something, married, working mum to a wee lad who is almost three and a baby born in 2012! She grew up in Norway, but moved to London, England after she met her husband. After living there during her twenties, she has since returned to Norway and settled down in her nation's capital of Oslo to raise her family. She finds herself slowly turning into her own mother as her free time is spent reading, walking, knitting and meeting up with other mums for coffee. (Ok, she still secretly loves going to the pub, too!). However, there isn't much time for any of the above, as she now enjoys spending most of her time crawling around on the floor, while playing with her children! Check out her blog, Quintessentially Burrows. She's also on Twitter @MrsSWarren.

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