What Traveling Taught Me About Parenting!
While on vacation in Peru I found myself drawn to the mothers and the children I saw, especially in the small villages. Women with colorful alpaca blankets tied around their shoulders, corn on one side, baby on the other with other young children following in tow, a brother and sister selling flowers on the side of the dirt road play fighting with each other, a mom working with her children playing by her side.
I remember seeing one boy about 3 years old walking down the street trailing behind his mother screaming, “Mama, Mama!” She was carrying heavy bags and she kept walking, going farther and farther out of sight. It disturbed me. I thought to myself, "Will he be able to catch up? Why isn’t she waiting for him? Will he be okay?" Then I thought, "I don’t know the circumstances who am I to judge? Maybe he knew his way home and she trusted that he would be safe."
So while at first the environment and circumstances may seem very different than my life in the US, if you take a closer look, it really isn’t that different. While I have never carried crops from a field, I do remember living with my baby daughter on my chest in the Baby Bjorn as I chased my toddler son around and while kids in my neighborhood are not selling goods on the side of the road at 6, I certainly see the same playful mischief between my children, and we all know how hard it is to juggle work and kids.
What I realized is that no matter what your life looks like or where you live, as moms we are all trying to do the same thing. We are trying to take care of and do what is best for our families, as best as we can.
With the recent talk about different parenting styles from “Superior French Parenting” or to last year’s “Tiger Mom” and the debate over whether one way is better than the other, it’s easy to get caught up in judging others or trying to do things a certain way. I think in the end how you parent is based on different financial, cultural and environmental circumstances and we may have to adapt our parenting styles to work for our families. Will your kids turn out differently because of it, probably, but that doesn’t make one way right or wrong.
What do you think? Traveling made me put things in perspective and to realize as moms we have a bond and it doesn’t matter that we don’t speak the same language or do things differently. When I see a mom struggling in the airport, or trying to get her kids fed, or trying to work and take care of them, I just get it.