A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom


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The difference between protection and over protection

The Difference between protection and over-protection

Perhaps it’s because I am neurotic, paranoid about my children’s physical safety or just because I think too much about things, but the term over-protection has grated on me. I would think “how can you over-protect?” Then, it hit me, when people speak of others – negatively – as being over-protective what they really mean is that the children are being sheltered. Because, after all, protecting our children from harm is a god-given and natural instinct.

Here’s what I think about the difference between protection and over-protection.

PROTECTION IS ABOUT:

1) Health and safety. It is our job to teach our children how to stay safe, remain safe, and act wisely. This will encompass many different things from their infancy to their adulthood. At first, we teach them not to climb on bookcases, the sofa, walk into the road or play with knives, the hot oven or the neighbor’s mean dog. As they grow older we teach them about strangers, how to ride a bike, good driving skills, which neighborhoods to avoid, etc. In the training aspect, I believe we can focus on this fairly heavily, though not to the detriment of other areas of training. Continue reading


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How to Choose a Baby Name

A Mother Far from Home

How does one go about choosing a baby name? This may seem pretty self-explanatory, but I think choosing baby names is so fun and ultimately very important. I read once that you can seriously put your children at a disadvantage with the name you give them. There are certain names (and not ones that are simply ethnically diverse) that will make your child seem like a joke when they are at a job interview in a nice suit speaking to a potential employer. “Ketchup, why did you decide to become a teacher?” “Bounty, tell us about your strengths.” You may not like it and it may not be fair, but using our children’s name as a way of expressing our own creativity and preference for nonconformity is not always a great idea.

What to think about when picking a name.

1) Names that run in the family, even way back. A great way to start thinking about names is to get family members to make lists of all the names they can think of that run in the family in both genders. You may find a name or two you’d forgotten about but that are timeless. I think this is a great tradition and being able to keep a name running in the family is special, at least in my book. My grandfather (who I was very close to) was named Buford. Now, that was way big back in the 1920’s but just not something I wanted to inflict on my son. Nor did I think papa would mind. So, I shortened Buford to Ford and, voila, my son’s middle name was born. You don’t have to confine yourself to family names or carry down a name to the fifth generation (is that not reserved for royalty?) but sentimentality has its place.  Continue reading


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To Breastfeed or not to Breastfeed

A Mother Far from Home

I was going to title this article Breastfeeding: Does it or does it not suck? But since I’ve already used that when talking about pacifiers, I thought I’d just be a grown-up and use a nice title.

Now, this article will not enter into the age-old debate on breast vs. bottle. Breastmilk is natural and therefore free and easy. Formula is a medical miracle that enables mothers to feed their babies if their milk supply is low, if they are working full-time, or if they choose to feed by the bottle for whatever other reason. It is a huge blessing that formula is an option today! For us, I had my first child out of my home country and she was born in Scotland, a country with a renown midwifery program and with heavy emphasis on breastfeeding. So that’s why I took the plunge. Additionally, we were stone cold broke so it wasn’t even a choice.

However, I remember having numerous conversations back in the States about breastfeeding and the general consensus was that it was just kind of, well, not weird, but, yeah, sort of weird. Women who, prior to getting pregnant, don’t feel particularly maternal and think that bottle feeding is just easier and less personally invasive. Even today, as any mother can probably agree, 75% of my Facebook feed are friends who are mothers. And, the majority of my friends from the States are bottle feeders and the majority of my friends from elsewhere are breastfeeders. It makes me think. Perhaps, if most people around you bottle feed and most babies you’ve ever been around (if you’ve been around many) were bottled fed, then many women don’t even consider breastfeeding. Continue reading


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How to Teach Your Children Patience

First time moms, this will help you immensely in the years to come. Mother-of-a-few who really needs to teach this lesson, don’t worry, you’re covered too. Remember, building patience takes time and discipline not just for them, but for you too.

Children are born wanting what they want when they want it. Don’t we know it. As an impatient adult I knew it was important to instil as much patience as possible in my children so they did not end up as frequently frustrated as myself. Learning to deal with frustration is a basic life skill and there is no time to start than when they are…one day old. Okay, that may be too early. Day three is better, at least you’re home from the hospital then.

The best way to go about this is to let your children learn to wait from an early age. Not waiting for the sake of “teaching them a lesson” but just letting them learn to understand that they can’t have everything instantly. If they learn to wait as patiently as they can at their age they are much more equipped to deal with it as an adult. And let’s face it. Life will be easier for you at home.

There are many ways to do this. Having it on your mind early that “patience is a virtue”
will help determine a loose strategy for creating a child you enjoy being around. Children who are patient are more pleasant company because they don’t resort to whining at the frequency of other children. Whining, my friends, is the enemy.

Practical tips to foster patience in your child:

1) Make them wait in the high chair/booster seat/chair for a set time during meals. Just because they finished their spaghetti in a record 57 seconds does not mean they can be excused. While you might not make them sit the entire 45 minutes you do while sipping your wine, having a standard time of around 30 minutes is acceptable. If the child knows they cannot leave the table just because they inhale their food, they will eat slower and be more likely to engage with you as they grow older. If they have done this since Day 1 (of being at the table with you) it will not be something you have to “punish” them with, it will simply be a way of life in your family. Continue reading