I think it’s important when raising a bi-cultural child to find a balance between both the mother’s and the father’s upbringing and cultural backgrounds. The truth is, it’s not always that simple. As a single mom who is raising a Half-French, Half-Egyptian boy, I can say it’s quite tricky most of the time. My son’s father is not very involved in his life. He is around, but Skype chats are not the best way to establish a peaceful and steady relationship while teaching a young child about a far-away culture.
I decided that I could be the one talking about this other part of who he is. We started with a small photo book that I built from photos that I took on a trip when we were still married, showing the country, the village where his dad grew up, his dad’s family members and some nice spots around. Whenever he wants, he can ask me to have a look at it.
We have other resources at home, such as books and songs. I don’t speak Arabic but I know a couple of words, so we learn them together.
As he is growing up, I am keen for my bi-cultural child to know the culture from another perspective: the food and tastes of Egypt, the colors, the history, the way people are living, and how they are different from us.
For this, Internet is of great help.
When it comes to religion, I use books. I am interested in religion in general and I’d like my son to learn more about it. As his dad and I could not agree on anything, I decided not to give my son any religion. He will choose later. Still, we are talking about it, about Islam and Christianity.
As a matter of fact, I wanted to take him with me to Egypt, but right now things are too hectic and crazy with his dad. So I made a long-term plan to go to Egypt with him, when he’ll be old enough to travel without any worry.
Some days I would love to have somebody to do this for me, somebody I could rely on when I don’t have answers to some of his questions, as I have my part to deal with too. I have to be careful not to overdo things and accept that sometime my child does not want to hear about his dad and his dad’s story.
But I have to say it’s a relief that I don’t resent the culture and the man. It is helping my boy to know about his roots, the roots that will help him grow stronger and understand that our world differences are a chance.
And you? Tell me, how are you teaching your bi-cultural child about cultural differences?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Marie Kléber of France. Photo credit to the author.
Where 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.
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