Motherhood and me

Sinnataggen - a statue in Vigelandsparken in OsloI guess motherhood is quite similar in most cultures – at least in the cultures that I am familiar with – all though there will always be slight differences in how things are done, and the expectations to you as a mother. Here in Norway we get a year in maternity/paternity leave (both parents have to take time off to make it a year – my husband took 4 months), and after that it is  quite common to send the little one to a nursery/daycare, and you can of course argue that it is to early for the little one – but anyway – that is the way we found was best for us. I find the employers here are very understanding when it comes to employees with children – my boss has never even raised an eyebrow when I have had to stay at home with an ill child, and I also am very lucky to have flexible working hours – I can work from 7am to 3pm no problem (which allows me to pick up the wee lad from his nursery in the afternoon).

We live in Norway but have close family in both the UK and the US and every now and then we discover some cultural differences in the way we are parents, and the way we raise our children. We are very lucky to get advice from different people around the world. In the beginning I must admit I found it quite stressful as I felt like nothing I did was right – as there would always be some other advice (e.g. to swaddle or not to swaddle)- but I have realised that it is quite the opposite; I am doing it right – as I can always find some advice that support what I am doing – if I can’t find it here in Norway I look elsewhere.

As the wee lads paternal grandparents live in the UK they also have special expectations to politeness (apologies to all the british reading this, I know I am exaggerating here), but (and let me remind you that the wee lad is not yet two years old) they are trying to make him say “thank you mummy” when ever I hand him something. So I give him his drink – and then I will hear one of the grandparents in the background saying “thank you mummy” – now I am all for being polite and saying thank you – but the wee lad can hardly talk as it is! If he said three words in one go I would probably fall off my chair!

One of the biggest challenges I have as a mummy in Norway is the winter – we are just at the start of it now – it will get cold, very cold, but that doesn’t stop us from going outside, and this year I have a feeling that there will be lots of playing in the snow; sledging, maybe skiing, making snowmen, having snowball fights, and generally jumping around in the snow… but how do I make sure that the wee lad doesn’t get cold (or wet)? How many layers of clothes should he wear, because it is also important that he doesn’t get too warm! Oh – and in the nursery they sleep outside in their prams – and there too I have to make sure that he is wearing the right amount of clothes… I am sure I will find the answers eventually – as I have before – just taking one day at the time, and looking at the other children in the nursery to see what they are wearing!

Anyway – I was asked to write about own culture and motherhood, but as usual my articles end up being more of a rant than anything… I think that no matter where you are a parent you will have different challenges, but I am really hoping that having been influenced by several different cultures will make the wee lad more open and more understanding of the world around him (more than his mother is anyway) when he grows up.

— This article is part of the World Moms Blog Link Up

 

Photo credit to Cebete  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cebete/2614924385/ .  This photo has a creative commons attribute license.

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21 Responses to “Motherhood and me”

  1. That’s the best part of World Moms Blog – getting to read about what other moms do. This link up is a greta idea. I can’t even imagine cold and snow in winter and trying to keep kids warm and dry. I guess we have the opposite problem in Australia and are trying to keep our babies cool in the heat of summer.

  2. It’s amazing how different parenting is in different cultures, yet here we are, nodding at the commonalities of wanting what’s best for our children and wondering if we’re doing it right!

    • I know, isn’t is strange! I love reading about all the other mums out there thought, as the more I read, the more I feel that I am not alone in questioning myself sometimes, and that again makes me somehow feel more confident as a mother!

  3. I agree with you that motherhood is quite similar in most cultures. I think that the most of the differences come from our parents and ours personalities plus the culture.
    Funny thing, my daughter is not 2 yet, as well, and her first word(s) was “thank you”. she says is over and over again, and not necessarly when she suppose to. like when she wants something she points at it and says: “thank you, thank you, thank you” louder and louder. She picked that up after my husband (American) who says “thank you” every single time I do something for him, I say something to him, etc (that’s a cultural thing).
    Speaking about the right age for kid to be taken to the nursery or day care. In Poland it used to be 3 months! Yes, only 3 months and nobody cared what you’re gonna do with your kid. If you had grandparents to take care of your child it was great if you didn’t… oh well… there was plenty of public day cares to leave them in. In not so many countires families have the comfort to decide for one parent to be a stay at home parent. I am really happy to have that comfort but… oh well there is always but… (but now I’m ranting). lol
    great post, btw!

    • Good to see that I am not the only one who likes to rant – I love to read a good rant too though! 🙂 3 months sounds very young doesn’t it – bit I guess those kids grow up just fine as well – so no matter what we do, I guess we have to do what is right for us and our family 🙂

      • oh yeah… both my siblings were raised by those public day cares and they both grow up “just fine”. When I was born my grandparents moved to town and they babysat me until I went to school. Very much appreciate their help.
        Speaking about winter… as a child I LOVE IT!!! But now I’m happy I don’t have to deal with it, anymore.lol

  4. Wow! I’m thinking of a cold Norwegian winter and your little guy sleeping outside in his stroller! That is so interesting, Asta. Thanks for sharing this post on motherhood and culture for the World Moms Blog linkup!

    Jen 🙂

    • I haven’t quite got used to the idea of him sleeping outside in winter either, but it is apparently the done thing, and some of my friends thinks it is quite strange that I didn’t do it from the beginning… I love to share, so thank you for reading!

  5. I love the glimpse of your story here, Asta! There’s nothing wrong with rants- it’s speaking from the heart which if we’re doing it right, what this mothering gig is all about!

    And as for Winter- wows! I so hear you! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment Galit – glad to hear you didn’t mind my rant – it always happens; I sit down to write about a subject, but by the time I finish I am writing about something else – I guess I am far to busy being a mother than to sit down and focus properly… that is my excuse anyway 🙂

  6. It’s so interesting to read the different cultural backgrounds we are coming from yet we are united by our love and what’s best for your children. Thanks for taking me to Norway, Asta 🙂

    • I know – I have loved reading all the posts in this World Moms Blog Link Up – so nice to learn more about other cultures – and like you say – we are still united by wanting what is best for our children!

  7. I really enjoyed your post and can relate … albeit from the other side of the world! I was born in Italy but have lived in Cape Town since I was a “wee lass” meself! 🙂 Enjoy the snow … I haven’t had that kind of fun in 34 years!
    Best wishes from Sunny South Africa! 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment! I am sure we will be enjoying the snow this year (luckily it is not here yet) – but it will be the first year the wee lad will be trying cross country skies – I can’t wait 🙂

  8. I hear ya about the word “Thank you”. My son was taught to say Sorry, Please and thank you in his play school when he was 2. Amidst all his baby babble, when he could not even speak more than 10 words, he could say sorry and thank you. Sometimes it is all just overwhelming… I mean let babies be babies for a while :p lol!!

  9. Wow, did I read correctly – a year off for maternity/paternity leave! In Singapore, moms get up to 4 months of maternity leave and the dads? Well, it all depends on what the company gives – a few days at most. But the government does give 6 days of childcare leave each year. So we are still fighting for more paternity leave – so can’t blame us for the low birth rates! When it comes to parenting, I have a tendency to google for answers and read what other moms are doing, instead of asking my mom or mom-in-law. I guess it’s because of the ‘generation gap’ but I’m so thankful for the internet because whenever I’m faced with a problem and get to read what other moms did, I feel so encouraged and relieved at the same time because I know the problem really isn’t so big after all 🙂 Btw, I teach my boy baby signs and he knows how to sign ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ and he uses them all at the appropriate moments. It’s amazing how much they can pick up even at a young age – so I guess it’s never too early to start teaching them about manners and politeness 🙂

    • Most families here have 2 children, but having 3 is getting more and more common actually!
      I agree they are never to early to learn good manners, but I have found that it means that us grown ups also have to use those manners! 😉

  10. My Iranian mother-in-law was convinced I was killing my son when he was a baby and I would let me sleep outside in his pram (it would have been about -8 outside) when we lived in Norway. He loved it and was a very healthy child. She still would like to wrap him in cotton wool and carry him around to keep him safe, although she is about 4 ft tall and he is now well over 6 ft…. 🙂 I learnt to trust myself as a mother and use my own instincts, but the various cultural expectations can be a challenge!

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