I am happy and I feel dh and I have done a good job of bringing together our cultures and experiences and helping our children grow up bicultural.
So I wanted to start a post about the good things in multicultural families/relationships. What do you enjoy about being in a multicultural family? What are some tips/experiences/compromises/etc. that make your family work?
* To see the similarities in our families (both from large families w/ lots of talkative sisters; both "food oriented" families; both fairly "casual" or relaxed about most things).
* I think in many ways any marriage or partnership is in some ways a "cross-cultural" or "multicultural" relationship, because even couples from similar ethnic backgrounds have different "cultures" in their birth families. For example some WASP families will have roast beef for X-mas dinner and others, turkey; and for some the "Dinner" will be at 1pm and others, at 7pm.
* To learn and become familiar w/ each others cultures.
* To talk about differences openly and try to see possible issues coming up and decide how you want to approach them as a couple.
*To present a "united front" to both sets of natal families.
* If you're from a Euro-American family, do not see yourself as "culture-less". There's an old New Yorker cartoon I remember seeing when I was very young. A "haute WASP" family is sitting around a dinner table and the daughter of the family (~ 12 years old) is asking "Are we ethnic?". The answer is, of course, yes! So I said to people in HK "In my culture it is important for young children to be in bed by 8pm." Or, in my culture, we let the children run around and get sweaty and even play in the mud." Or, "In my culture, we encourage girls to climb and exert themselves and don't say 'that's playing like a boy'".
I totally agree with Skreader on pretty much every point she made because that’s the exact recipe that makes a successful relationship. Every family has their own “culture” even if they come from the same ethnic background, so you find that common ground with each other, have open communication, learn about each other and always present a united front.
DH and I have mutual respect for each other, we try to be understanding and most importantly we keep an open mind and we celebrate our differences. Since having our first child, DH and I realized that we are in the process of creating our own unique family “culture” that is markedly different from both our families.
We love that DD is multiethnic and will be growing up multicultural and we chose to honor that by reflecting her heritage in her name. Our last name is Polish and so we choose to give DD an Irish first name and a Chinese middle name (which follows my family’s naming tradition). The only side not represented in her name is the German side, so we’ll have to figure something out for that.
He appreciates my culture and vice versa and although we don't dwell on our cultural differences, we know they are there and they are respected and a part of our lives and most importantly, our children's lives.
Cute story: My dd had to do a family project for kindergarten and she had to write about things her family does together and then end it with one special thing about her family. She wrote about bike rides, trips to coffee shops (for cookies ), going to playgrounds and her last sentence was:
One special thing about my family is that the boys are white and the girls are brown.
My mom did not think I should let her turn it in, but I thought it was great that she thinks that is ONE thing that is special about our family. My mom really couldn't articulate why she thought something was wrong about the sentence, but I thought it was great. She's proud of her family, all that we are, and all that we do.
Humanist Woman Wife , & Friend Plus Mama to 6 (3 mos, 2, 9, 13, 17, 20)
Momma to DD (12/04) and DS (11/09) .
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!
Our different cultures don't really get in the way that often......maybe because I met DH in his home country. I know where he is coming from (usually) when he does something a little "different." But really, he's a little Western and I'm a little African in the things we do and like, so we really just meet in the middle. A lot of the things I do are that are more APish are just natural to him. IDK.....baby's crying.....culture is very little conflict for us.
s - JW writing wifey to j (11/03) and mommy to s (10/04), l (8/08), j (8/09), and little s (12/12)
Well, the fact that lots of my "AP" ideas are what's "NORMAL" in DH's culture. (he says babies raised in what we would call the "mainstream" way don't "feel the love they need" like babies who sleep with their parents, are breastfed, etc.) We agree that those are NEEDS of our babies. (When I asked him about EC one day, describing it, he said that's what they do there, that's just "normal" and no, he does not know how they know how to do it, That's my next big adventure, I think, I would like to learn.) non-throwaway diapers are "normal' too.
We enjoy each other's cooking/foods. (I introduced DH to the concept of slapping peanut butter on bread and eating it, he introduced me to peanut butter as an ingredient in foods other than cookies--his eggplant dish, salad he makes, soup....sounds nasty, tastes great )
Respect for family/elders. My mother lives with us, and I don't know that DH would've married me if I WASN'T this type of person. I'm her only child, it's what you do. We're also both very family-oriented, as in when he is not at work, (or sleeping due to his weird hours), we are together. We both have our friends and our interests, but they have their place and time--secondary to our time as a family.
Also, the vast majority of meals in our house are eaten at our table as a family. This is the "norm" to him. Even on a road trip, he will stop and eat in the fast food place or whatever, it is not in his makeup to eat in a moving vehicle. Or eat a meal in front of a TV.
Having a stay-at-home mom is "normal" to him and he agrees this is what our children need, not a daycare.
I think his influence has been extremely good for all of us. back to the meals example, I was raised mainly eating in front of a TV or while reading a book, separate, alone. The table was a place you ate at the relatives' or on holidays....I am very happy that our children are not growing up with that 'norm'.
lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
i broke up with my ex when i was (unplanned) pregnant and returned from the us to germany. so he lives in the us and me and our daughter live in germany, for 3 years. we have only been communicating over the phone/email, but soon soon soon - next month: - we will be travelling to the us to visit him! :
despite the physical distance, we have a deep and good relationship. of course i am the one who takes care of dd and makes important decisions, but my ex and me discuss a lot and i try to involve him in our life as much as possible.
what i found great and made me happy is that we actually both have the same idea in regards to how to raise a child! we both want a loving environment for dd, we both see the need of individual and respectful and attached parenting including (extended) nursing, co-sleeping, physical contact to the child (like babywearing), critical opinion versus vaccination, cloth-diapers etc. i am very happy that we share the same opinion on that one! i would definitely not be very compromising on this issue
so that issue definitely works for us!
as far to the rest, i cannot really say much since our actual relationship was not very long.
2 different Valentine's days to celebrate.
A daughter who won't sunburn as easily as me
Having 2 teams to cheer for in the world cup (especially since the US is normally kicked out right away!!!)
Starting my baby of already speaking 2+ languages
Being able to say I don't understand if I get any weird questions from the inlaws
What works: Honestly, DH and I are so similar you'd never guess we didn't grow up in the same country (or even continent for that matter!). Even when we have differences, which rarely (if ever) are do to cultural issues, we always make a point to talk to each other about them before we go to other people. I'm still new at being a mommy to a biracial child but so far we haven't had too many problems.