by Ketakandriana Rafitoson | Aug 11, 2016 | 2016, Adolescence, Africa, Africa and Middle East, Alcoholism, Boys, Girl Child, Girls, Madagascar, Parenting, World Motherhood
I’m the mommy of two boys. I’d love to have a girl, but I’m a bit afraid to give it a try because I’m not sure how to raise a girl. Malagasy women and girls face many challenges, and I’m not sure I’m equipped to teach a girl what to do in order to succeed, or just to survive.
I’m a woman now, but have been a girl too and I know that it’s not easy. I learned this at a very young age while I observed what happened at home. My father (may his soul rest in peace now) had a serious addiction to alcohol, and he used to beat my mother – a lot. My younger brother and I witnessed many fights and abuse. These scenes are printed in my mind forever, though I pretend I’ve forgotten them.
My father drank because he was not happy with his life. He was a skilled musician – he played classical guitar and traverse flute like a god – but he never shined as a recognized virtuoso. He didn’t make much money, and Mom had to work very hard to support our household. I think Dad didn’t like this. He felt emasculated. He felt miserable. Instead of trying to overcome his problems, he drank in order to forget them and took out his anger on my mom.
Violence is such a mystery to me. I was 10 when my parents divorced, and I already knew many things children shouldn’t have to know. My dad died two years after that. He most likely died while drunk. Someone got him to hospital where, because he was unconscious, he couldn’t tell the doctors that he was diabetic. They used inadequate medicines and he died. We only found out the day after. I went to see him at the hospital and when I stared into the empty bed where he was supposed to be, the nurse just told me “The guy who was there died this morning,” without any other comment. Well, okay… Something broke inside of me.
I will not share more details, because I want to spare my mom and my brother. But I will say that the three of us are all survivors of addiction – a silent war millions of people suffer around the world, every day. We all found different ways to overcome it. For me it is hard work and activism, with a particular focus on promoting and defending women’s rights. Adversity shapes our personality in ways we don’t expect. All we have to do is to find enough strength in our hardship in order to rise again.
Now, back to my boys. I would like to find a way to teach them how to respect girls and to grow up to be gentlemen, but I’m not sure I am getting it right. My mind is full of doubt. I’m not self-confident. Motherhood is an amazing, yet terrifying, adventure. Am I a good model for them? Should I tell them this horrible story of growing up affected by addiction, so that they can understand what I mean? How do we raise good boys and girls? I don’t have the answers but expect some from you, fellow mothers….
It feels good to share my story, sad though it may be. Writing is like therapy for me. Girls deserve better and everyone must do their part in order to improve the situation. Silence is not a solution. We have to stand against injustice at every opportunity. Whatever your fight is, and whoever you are, I m standing with you to say RESIST, HOLD ON, better days are ahead!
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Ketakandriana Rafitoson, our new contributor from Madagascar.
Photo courtesy of David Goehring / Flickr.
by Karyn Wills | Apr 27, 2016 | 2016, Motherhood, New Zealand, Oceania, World Motherhood
It’s one of those things I never saw coming before I was a mother: The value of adults behaving badly around my children.
In fairness, most of the adults my boys get to interact with are fine people, who behave with maturity, have decent principles and who take responsibility for their actions. And I’m not talking about those who swear, or drink alcohol or smoke, or who have different beliefs or ways of raising their own children. Accepting that others are different in many ways is something the boys are well on the way to understanding, and these things are superficial when all said and done.
I’m talking about: the value of experiencing adults letting them down; the importance of hearing adults blame others for their own inaction or mistakes; the usefulness of having an adult’s words and actions not line up with one another; and the great learning involved when they are around adults who are manipulative, bratty, unreasonable, show blatant racism or sexism, or who are down right mean and nasty.
With these, the boys all go through the stages of mourning. Sometimes the mourning process is longer than others, depending on the closeness of the relationship they have with the adult in question. When it’s a distant relationship, it might be a casual comment or discussion in passing – the emotional impact is minor and the processing, swift. With a closer relationship, they are usually are angry or sad enough to tell me what has happened, although I have also occasionally had to remind them not to simply tell me what they think I want to hear. There seems little value in processing half-truths, and there is no value at all in having me take on a rescuer role merely because that’s what they imagine I want to happen.
There is immeasurable value, however, in discussing unhealthy drama triangles where those roles of rescuer, victim and persecutor play out, in order for the boys to recognise them and avoid them, or at least extricate themselves from in the early stages. It is useful to recognise narcissistic tendencies, adult bullies, and the difference between genuine remorse and manipulation. It is good for them to know that there is a big difference between passive-aggressively saying yes, while meaning, no, and politely but honestly declining. (That doesn’t work for me, is often enough.) They have learned who can be relied upon to keep their word or who is worthy of respect. It is to those adults whom they turn for protection and advice. Equally, they are learning which people are not principled or who consistently cannot be relied upon.
As a solo Mum, I often have times when others are caring for my children. It seems vital that they know which adults are safe and which are unsafe, not just physically but emotionally, too.
Sadly, the have had experiences where they needed to know those differences. I don’t belabour the points, but we have been through it all more than once. The 14 and 11 year-olds get the full works, the six year-old gets a very watered down version. We always discuss any positive aspects they think the person has and we then go on to list the many adults they know who don’t behave in these ways. The experience always comes before the lesson.
I finish these discussions by pointing out they can choose the behaviours they wish to embrace and those they wish to reject.
I’m all for a magical early childhood where all adults are heroes and heroines and imaginary beings are real things, but from around the age of nine this magic seems to naturally begin to subside. Rudolf Steiner called this the Nine Year Change and I have found that to be a useful label. From around then, my older boys have come out of their dream-world and into a world that is quite scary and overwhelming at times; a world in which they realise I cannot always protect them; a world in which they realise they must learn to look out for themselves. Like other life skills, I am a firm believer in helping them to recognise healthy and unhealthy people of all sizes and those adults behaving badly are a wonderful learning tool. A tool I never expected, but one I value all the same.
Have you had to help your children reach an understanding around an adult’s bad behaviour?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Karyn Wills of New Zealand. Photo courtesy of idreamlikecrazy / Flickr.
Karyn is a teacher, writer and solo mother to three sons. She lives in the sunny wine region of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand in the city of Napier.
by World Moms Blog | Sep 17, 2014 | 2014, Guest Post, South Africa, World Motherhood
Today we welcome a guest post from South Africa! Karien Potgieter is a full-time working mom of two kids aged two and under. She loves nothing more than to load up the double jogging stroller and set off on adventures with Little Miss K and Baby J – together they dream of running the world! You can follow their adventures at www.runningtherace.co.za. Here, she introduces us to what she calls, “Planet Parenthood”. It’s a hoot! Read on…
Becoming a parent for the first time is a bit like entering a whole new universe. For nine long months little old ladies scare you with old wives’ tales; complete strangers feel enticed to make unwanted comments about your body shape; and discussions with your caregiver border on TMI. But no-one tells you about Planet Parenthood – it’s one of the best-kept secrets of humanity.
A parent’s first encounter with Planet Parenthood happens even before the birth of an offspring. Whether you have a natural home- or hospital birth, or a C-Section, you’ll quickly find that there is no such thing as dignity in your new galaxy. What was once considered to be, ahem, private business, isall of a sudden out in the open for entire medical teams to see. And the weirdest thing about it? No one bats an eyelid. Not even you, because meeting your bundle of joy is way more important. Welcome to parenthood.
The second sign that you now find yourself in a new solar system, is the fact that sleeping, which was once regarded asbeing vital to performing your daily tasks with gusto, is all of a sudden optional.
Who wants to sleep when you can party around a crib all night anyway? And don’t let the fact that others, who are not from the planet of parents, intimidate you with their well-rested physiques and bushy-tailed appearances – looking fresh is way overrated anyway.
But those are just your initial weeks on Planet Parenthood. It gets way, way more interesting than that. Squeamish? You’ll soon get over it. Because there is no such thing as being prissy about bodily fluids on Planet P – everything goes. In fact, everything goes all over you! Gone are your days of going to the shops without boogies on your sleeve. Or in your hair. Or organic pumpkin puree artistically smeared all over your shoulder. It’s your new normal – and you’re okay with it.
Strings and strings of hard-earned tertiary qualifications are furthermore also of zero relevance on your new planet. Because instead of having hoity-toity discussions with others about the nation’s contribution to global warming, or the pros and cons of fracking the Karoo, the majority of your conversations for the next three or four years will revolve around Pajanimals. And Telly Tubbies. And the risks involved with sitting too close to the sofa’s edge. And what will perhaps surprise you the most, is that you will actuallystart looking forward to your daily dose of Shaun the Sheep. And Justin’s House. Don’t you even try to fight it.
Perhaps the reason why everyone is so hush-hush about PlanetParenthood is the fact that it grows on you.
After the initial shock that comes with finding yourself in completely foreign surroundings, you find yourself adapting. And growing. And liking it more and more. Until suddenly, one day, you realise that you don’t want to live anywhere else. Viva Planet Parenthood!
This is a guest post from South African writer, Karien Potgieter of www.runningtherace.co.za.
Photo credit to the author.
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.
by Maman Aya (USA) | Feb 4, 2013 | Childhood, Motherhood, Parenting, World Moms Blog, World Motherhood, Younger Children
We live in New York City, in one of the busiest areas, mid-town Manhattan and there are many benefits to living in the city. The kids go, regularly, to museums. I walk 10 minutes to get to and from work. When the kids were babies, I was able to walk home and nurse them at lunch time, or we would meet in the park across the street if the weather was nice. I have a doorman who can accept any deliveries when I am not home. I can shop for my groceries on-line and schedule a delivery whenever I need to. On days where I am working late, I have hundreds of restaurants literally at my finger tips and can order any cuisine to be delivered.
There are also many cons to living in the city. We, the 4 of us, live in a 2 bedroom apartment, approximately 1100 square feet (102.2 square meters). I know in other countries this may seem like a rather large apartment, in fact, my cousin in France lives in smaller apartment than us with 2 boys. But in the US, where everything is bigger, such as the furniture, serving portions and cars, it feels small. Especially when I look at the house that I could buy, for the same price, in the suburbs. We don’t have much space for storage, which is probably not such a bad thing, since it gets me to purge lots of unused items.
The biggest downfall though, in regards to my children, is the lack of outdoor space. Sure, there are quite a few parks and playgrounds within walking distance, as well as the beautiful Central Park, which is either a short cab/bus ride away (or a long walk on a nice day). However, there is no backyard where the kids can play and run while I prepare dinner, or while I clean. So instead, I pop in a movie or turn on some favorite cartoons for the kids to watch while I do those things.
I have some ground rules set regarding TV watching: basically, no TV before 6 pm, and it is off when we start dinner. In the morning, they can watch something while I prepare breakfast, and on school days it’s off at 8am (on weekends, I allow it a little longer while we clean). The only exception to these rules are when there is a sporting event that my husband wants to watch during the weekend day, or if they are really too sick to do much else. (more…)
Maman Aya is a full-time working mother of 2 beautiful children, a son who is 6 and a daughter who is two. She is raising her children in the high-pressure city of New York within a bilingual and multi-religious home.
Aya was born in Canada to a French mother who then swiftly whisked her away to NYC, where she grew up and spent most of her life. She was raised following Jewish traditions and married an Irish Catholic American who doesn’t speak any other language (which did not go over too well with her mother), but who is learning French through his children. Aya enjoys her job but feels “mommy guilt” while at work. She is lucky to have the flexibility to work from home on Thursdays and recently decided to change her schedule to have “mommy Fridays”, but still feels torn about her time away from her babies. Maman Aya is not a writer by any stretch of the imagination, but has been drawn in by the mothers who write for World Moms Blog. She looks forward to joining the team and trying her hand at writing!
by Ewa Samples | Jun 13, 2012 | Breastfeeding, Family, Media, Motherhood, Parenting, Poland, Polish Mom Photographer, World Motherhood
A while ago, during a nice lunch in a restaurant, I had to feed my two-month-old daughter. The moment I put her to my breast (completely covered, by the way), a constant whispering and eyeballing from a table across us made me feel like I was doing something wrong. These were young people, among them a mother herself. (more…)
Ewa was born, and raised in Poland. She graduated University with a master's degree in Mass-Media Education. This daring mom hitchhiked from Berlin, Germany through Switzerland and France to Barcelona, Spain and back again!
She left Poland to become an Au Pair in California and looked after twins of gay parents for almost 2 years. There, she met her future husband through Couch Surfing, an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals.
Today she enjoys her life one picture at a time. She runs a photography business in sunny California and document her daughters life one picture at a time.
You can find this artistic mom on her blog, Ewa Samples Photography, on Twitter @EwaSamples or on Facebook!
More Posts - Website