Welcome to Mommy Mondays, my one day of the week to muse on all things momma.
I spent the weekend with a mother of two who grew up in China and a mother of one who grew up in Sweden.
If you want to learn a lot about your own parenting, spend time with mothers from other countries.
Prior to this summer, these are woman that I didn't know very well. Our husbands are in the same fantasy football league, and while they were enjoying the bond of a fake draft, we took our children to a nearby city for a few days of eating and shopping.
As women do, we talked and talked. We have radically different backgrounds, radically different parenting styles. The Chinese mom and I talked about what was and was not good about the Tiger Mom method (also what was and was not offensive about it). The Swedish mom and I talked about how we felt in the first moments after childbirth (for her: profound and beautiful, for me: relief and exhaustion).
I watched while both the Chinese and Swedish moms spoke in native tongues to their children. We want to give Pigtail and Pirate a variety of experiences, but we are very much a straight American family. I felt a little envious of this until the women described how they sometimes felt lost, not truly belonging to either their home country or the country where they've now attained citizenship.
I spend a decent amount of time around other mothers. I learn from them all the time. But something about this unique experience - mothering alongside women with an entirely different frame of reference - has made an impression on me. I am grateful and humbled.