World Moms Blog Special: In 2014 I Am Going To…

World Moms Blog Special: In 2014 I Am Going To…

6615492433_6d71a2c981Welcome to 2014! As we bid farewell to 2013 with all of its ups and downs, we are ready to look forward to the year ahead of us. Some of our World Moms have shared their resolutions. Read and enjoy, and add your own resolutions in the comments!

The European Mama from The Netherlands: Learn to read sheet music and play the piano. Have one or more of my blog posts published on a high quality website. Get paid for my posts. Learn more about blogging. Be a better parent. This mama has blogged about her resolutions.

Nicole @ Sistersfromanothermister from Florida, USA: In 2014 I need to find my center. My world seems as though it has been upside down for so long, I need to center my life to focus on what is most important. I need to take care of myself, so that I can take care of others. I need to strive for change on what I can control and let go of all that is beyond that control. And the relationship I have with my girls is all that I make it, and I cannot ‘fix that for anyone else’.

Tara B. from Washington, USA: Play more!

Mrs. P. Cuyugan from the Philippines: I need to seriously de-clutter. Our stuff is all over the house, my email inboxes (yes, all of them) are out of control, everything is just out of order. Even my thought process is messed up. I need to get rid of a lot of junk and try to sort things out and make sense of everything in my life right now. That’s my promise to myself for 2014.

Maureen @ Scoops Of Joy from Indonesia: My 2014 resolution is to focus on my health even more. I’m fighting uterine fibroids and changing my way of eating to avoid surgery so that will be the center of my 2014.

Susan Koh from Singapore: My mantra for 2014- Less Stuff, More Life. I’m aiming to find contentment with what I have, decluttering and purging what I don’t need in my life from toxic friendships to too many cereal boxes that I think I’ll need for crafts with my daughter.

Jennifer Burden from New Jersey, USA: There is one person that I could be spending more time with lately…my husband! My resolution is to make more couple time this year! And family hikes with the kids! And I was thinking the other day that I really want to drive a race car, a totally new desire for me. Not sure if the race car is for this year’s or another year’s resolution yet. I’ll let you know!

Sarah Hughes from New Jersey, USA: I want to step back this year and slow down. Less non-family responsibilities (other than work) and be absolutely 100% present in the moments with my children. Oh and I need to lose 15 pounds, it’s a must!

Karyn @ Kloppenmum from New Zealand: To eat cake, drink wine and have as much fun as is humanly possible.

Mom Photographer from California, USA: Exercise more. Organize more. Eat more. Reading books, more. Being more happy with what I have instead of thinking about and longing for what I don’t have. And funny thing, because driving a racing car is on my bucket list, Jennifer, and just as you, I am not sure if it’s doable in 2014 but definitely sometime in the future.

Elizabeth Atalay from Rhode Island, USA: I am not big on New Years Resolutions, as is evident in the same 10lbs I’ve been talking about losing for years now! That said, Family, friends and travel are paramount, but I’d like to connect the dots a bit more, and this year I intend to start making mini-documentaries as digital content,oh, and I’d like to really make a positive difference in the world through my work somehow.

Mama Aya from New York, USA: To find some time for me! I have been really burnt out lately between the kids, working full time, traveling for work, de-cluttering so that we can sell our place and move, etc. It is affecting everything in my life including my relationships with my husband/mother/friends and is causing me much stress. I resolve to do things for myself, like spend time at the gym or go for a manicure, regularly so that I can be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend!

Mamma Simona from South Africa: My resolution last year was to stop making resolutions!

Kirsten @ Running For Autism from Canada: To give myself permission to follow my dreams instead of neglecting my passions so that others can shine. To understand that there is room for what I want to accomplish while still being supportive of my husband and children.

K10K from Belgium: I have two. (1) I will finally finish at least one of the books I am writing and find the courage to send them to a publisher. (2) I will hide an encouraging or funny little note or drawing in my kids’ lunchboxes once a week.

World Moms Blog wishes moms all over the world a happy and fulfilling 2014. So, tell us your New Years resolutions!

Photo credit: toolmantim. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

Kirsten Doyle (Canada)

Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny). Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels. When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum. Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!

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NETHERLANDS: My Child is Not Me

NETHERLANDS: My Child is Not Me

Olga & Her Daughter

Left: The author, Olga Mecking, when she was growing up in Germany. Right: Olga’s daughter today in the Netherlands.

Sometimes, I find myself rediscovering simple truths about life in general and parenting in particular. My latest epiphany is this: “My child is not me.”

On the contrary to all the books and articles out there that tell us that we will grow into our parents, I don’t think this is the case. I think that while our parents influence our lives, we’re still separate individuals with our own thoughts, ideas and opinions.

And never has this simple truth rung more true to me than it has when my eldest daughter started school. I’ve been very worried about sending her to school at the tender age of four. I thought back to my old school days and worried and worried. And worried some more because my experiences weren’t all that great.

But this is when I realized: my child is not me! Pretty much everything about her will be different.

I was born and raised in communist Poland and went to school shortly before Communism fell. As much as I love my country, going to school in these times wasn’t so great.

We had to learn everything by heart. Language teachers weren’t too good. Classes were huge and the teachers were strict, even to the point of giving bad grades for pretty much anything. Nobody knew anything about bilingualism, and I was even lucky to have German classes offered at my school, as bad as they were.

But my child is not me.

She goes to school in a modern, Western country and has been speaking 3 languages from birth. Her teacher is amazing and lets the children play a lot. They go outside for recess and learn letters and numbers, and they even went on a school trip. In my daughter’s school, it is normal to speak two or more languages.

As a child, I was shy and timid. My idea of a good day was, and still is, to stay at home and read a book. School proved to be too much for me at times: too loud, too big. On the other hand, I was often told to sit still, be organized, and listen when all I really wanted to do was run around.

But my child is not me.

She seems to be more of an extrovert than I ever was. She could be outside all the time, playing, jumping, swinging, playing with other children; and, she seems to enjoy school.

I even often receive photos from her teachers. Guess who of all the children in the pictures has the biggest smile? My blond beautiful daughter.

When I went to school, we were taught about computers, but seldom used them for school. We were told that learning is hard work and were given grades for our work, even for our paintings. After school, I totally stopped painting.

But my child is not me.

She thinks learning is fun and can use all the great apps for learning, and she has a great selection of books in all the languages that she’s learning. She loves getting her hands dirty with paint and uses them to paint on a large piece of paper. She paints the funniest creatures and people, and she gives them funny names.

My daughter and I both have straight blond hair. Many people tell me she looks like me. I think I have an idea who she got her willpower and stubbornness from, but my child, she’s not completely me.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Olga Mecking in the Netherlands. 

Photo credit to the author. 

Olga Mecking

Olga is a Polish woman living in the Netherlands with her German husband. She is a multilingual expat mom to three trilingual children (even though, theoretically, only one is trilingual since she's old enough to speak). She loves being an expat, exploring new cultures, learning languages, cooking and raising her children. Occasionally, Olga gives trainings in intercultural communication and works as a translator. Otherwise, you can find her sharing her experiences on her blog, The European Mama. Also take a while to visit her Facebook page .

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CHICAGO, USA: BlogHer International Activist Panel 2013

CHICAGO, USA: BlogHer International Activist Panel 2013

Upstairs in a quiet little room, tucked away far from the madding crowd – were four of the most inspirational women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  They came from far and wide, each with a story to tell, of lives we can hardly imagine. Yet here they were – ready to share and let us peek in their windows and see their souls.

Not too many of the thousands of women attending BlogHer 2013 even knew that these women were here, how far they had come, how they had poured their hearts into the words that had earned them scholarships to be in the United States.

So very far from where they called home.
So very far from the lives we often take for granted.

Every year for around 5 years now, BlogHer has opened a competition across the globe to invite female activists to write in and tell BlogHer why they should come and tell their story. An all expenses paid trip from wherever they may be to share with us sometimes the unspeakable, sometimes the heart wrenching and always the uplifting on how just one person can make a difference.
This year there were four scholarship recipients:

  • Zeng Jinyan from Mainland China – both her and her husband, an AIDS activist, have been on house arrest, and she was listed as one of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 People Influencing the World in 2007.
  • Ayesha Sultana, an activist since she was 19, her family from Pakistan and now residing in Canada spoke of the time her father attacked her with a knife at the dinner table as her mother did nothing.
  • Jennifer Tosch, an American living in Amsterdam and the founder of black heritage tours, after she followed her mother’s mysterious past to Europe.
  • Purnima Ramakrishnan from India is the writer of The Alchemist; Senior Editor of World Moms Blog; activist for vaccines, maternal health and the girls of India; and also my friend …

I was so very taken with their words, that it did not occur to me between wiping my tears to take even one photo. I have only this one of my dear friend and also the founder of World Moms Blog, Jennifer Burden and the lovely Purnima Ramakrishnan, side by side … but I could not love this shot more!

 

purnima-471x550

This is Purnima’s very first trip to the United States, flying alone and such a teeny soul she was taken for an unaccompanied minor. I hope that you visit Purnima’s corner of the blogosphere The Alchemists Blog – she has so much to share with the incredible work she does for The Gates Foundation, GAVI Alliance, and The Huffington Post to mention a few!

There were many tears shed during this session.

These are voices that cry out to be heard.

Their stories are of hardships, struggles, and loss.

But their eyes shine as they tell of what they hope for the future and about realizing their dreams.

Since 2009, these ladies who have received the BlogHer International Activist Scholarships have walked the halls of BlogHer with incredible stories to tell, of the lives they have led, of countries far away where politics reign supreme, democracy may never reach and injustices prevail daily. They make a difference in a world, leaving footprints of change where most of us have barely left an imprint. They need us to share, to speak, to join forces and say that no matter where in the world our fellow sisters are, we are indeed all sisters – a mantra so very dear to my heart, here, at World Moms Blog and in the community I am building at Sisters from Another Mister.

As a single Mom raising two girls in Boca Raton FL, my hardships are few. Sure my emotions are drained daily, but I never doubt that I can conquer my fears and rise to where I need to be. These women have shown extraordinary courage, they break barriers for women everywhere and their stories are to be brought to the light. As a Mom, I strive to be an example to my children. Writing for Shot@Life, working with the UN Foundation and a member of the Global Team of 200 because my heart feels the need, and so that my children can see that there is more than what they see in this plastic world we live in.

In the words of BlogHer;

Ayesha Sultana, a Pakistan Native residing in Canada, writes at Dance of Red to shed light on gender violence and sexual violence, and its wider impact on society.

Jennifer Tosch comes to us from The Netherlands, where she works to explore and share the ‘hidden histories’ of the African Diaspora throughout the world, many of the stories focus on Africa and the former colonies of the Netherlands, through her site and Facebook page, Black Heritage Tours.

Purnima Ramakrishnan lives and works in India, creating support and raising awareness for mothers and children through her personal blog and as one of the Senior Editors of World Moms Blog.

Zeng Jinyan was honored in both 2007 and 2009, but was unable to attend due to being under house arrest in China because of her blog and her husband’s work as an environmental and AIDS activist. (Her journey has been well-documented here on BlogHer.com.) Named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007, Zeng Jinyan was allowed to move to Hong Kong and can travel. We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to host her. Finally.

I hope that you look them up, that you follow their work, that you can know their names … and be proud of the mark that women are making on the world!

These women, they are more. They are change … and thank you to BlogHer for letting their lights shine every so brightly. They bear witness to my children, this next generation, and I pray they will raise the torch and carry it forward. So BlogHer ladies, if I may be so bold, next year, bring these ladies into the ballroom, let the spotlights lift their causes, let the thousands of women who descend on this conference feed their souls, take in the spirit of the scholarship winners and carry their energy home.

When we see what they have achieved alone, imagine what we could do together?

This – this is Life Well Said.

Thank you.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor, Nicole Morgan of Sisters from Another Mister in Florida, USA. 

Photo credit to Beth Rosen. 

Sisters From Another Mister

Sisters From Another Mister ... A blog born from the love of 'sisters' around the world who come together to lift eachother up no matter where they are on their life journey. Meet Nicole, a transplanted British born, South African raised, and American made Mom of two girls living on the sunny shores of South Florida, USA. A writer of stories, an avid picture taker and a keeper of shiny memories. Sharing the travels of a home school journey that takes place around the globe - because 'the world truly is our classroom'. Throw in infertility, adoption, separation, impending divorce (it has its own Doom and Gloom category on the blog) and a much needed added side of European humor is what keeps it all together on the days when it could quite clearly simply fall apart! This segues nicely into Finding a Mister for a Sister for continued amusement. When not obsessing over the perils of dating as an old person, saving the world thro organisations such as being an ambassador for shot@life, supporting GirlUP, The UN Foundation, ONE.org and being a member of the Global Team of 200 for social good keeps life in the balance. Be sure to visit, because 'even tho we may not have been sisters at the start, we are sisters from the heart.' http://www.sistersfromanothermister.com/ https://www.facebook.com/SistersFromAnotherMister https://twitter.com/thesistershood http://pinterest.com/thesistershood/ Global Team of 200 #socialgoodmoms Champion for Shot@Life and The United Nations Foundation

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GUEST POST: Education in the Netherlands

Brody's first day of school in the Netherlands.

Brody’s first day of school in the Netherlands.

There are things in life that I have never found intimidating. Specifically with my own education. I come from a family where I was the first to go on to college and eventually graduate. I filled out my paperwork, I applied for student loans, and I made sure that everything I had to do was taken care of, either in person (waiting outside of the counselor’s office for hours on end) or through mindless games of guess-that-phone-extension with the registrar. My parents didn’t know how to help me and that was OK.

In light of this over self-confidence when it came to taking care of myself and my education- I never thought much about the education of my children. Back in the States my oldest started a toddler program two years ago- three days a week for a couple of hours just so that his new twin brothers and I didn’t suck the life out of him. Finding the right school (easy, it was a friend’s suggestion), enrolling, and becoming a part of the program was no big thing.

In essence- everything has been easy with regard to early education up until now. My family and I moved from South Carolina to The Netherlands in November of last year. I wasn’t in a ‘rush’ per say, to get the boys into a preschool program, but I feared expat isolation, lack of friends and exposure to their new culture.

When we went house hunting, our biggest concern was what kind of schools were in the area. It had to be very close to home (walking distance) and they had to welcome us. Outsiders. Americans in this small Netherlands village. (more…)

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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