Saturday Sidebar: What is your one word of the year?

What is your "one word" for 2013?

What is your “one word” for 2013?

This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Alison.  She asked our writers,

“What is your one word of the year which is going to guide you like a beacon?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Alison Lee of Malaysia writes:
“My One Word is Do.” More about it here.

Documama of USA writes:
Here is my post for the word of the year.” (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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LAOS: Traveling As a Mom

LAOS: Traveling As a Mom

IMG_6076-001After flying our twin toddlers half way around the world four months ago, and taking three trips within a month recently, I was certain that I would have some ingenious insights to share on traveling with children. I thought that in addition to the universe of tips out there…from how many diapers to pack, kinds of toys to bring, useful apps to download, to reminders about extra clothes for yourself, and the triumvirate panacea of patience, sense of humor and a thick skin… that I would have new pearls of wisdom to add. Yet I do not because there is a lot of good advice out there that really covers it all.

The insight that is new to me about traveling with children has more to do with traveling as a mom – the mom herself as a traveler, the pre-kids adventurous, curious individual, and how she must now navigate the pursuit of travel, mentally and logistically, with young children in tow.

The need to know:

I have always loved to travel. For business or pleasure, I had no fear of the unknown. Language barriers did not intimidate me from taking a four-month work assignment in Tokyo. Checking community ride boards each day to determine my next destination while traveling in Africa did not make me anxious. There was never a second thought to exploring on foot the crowded streets of Istanbul or Hong Kong or Barcelona for the entire day. (more…)

Dee Harlow (Laos)

One of Dee’s earliest memories was flying on a trans-Pacific flight from her birthplace in Bangkok, Thailand, to the United States when she was six years old. Ever since then, it has always felt natural for her to criss-cross the globe. So after growing up in the northeast of the US, her life, her work and her curiosity have taken her to over 32 countries. And it was in the 30th country while serving in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan that she met her husband. Together they embarked on a career in international humanitarian aid working in refugee camps in Darfur, Sudan, and the tsunami torn coast of Aceh, Indonesia. Dee is now a full-time mother of three-year old twins and continues to criss-cross the globe every two years with her husband who is in the US Foreign Service. They currently live in Vientiane, Laos, and are loving it! You can read about their adventures at Wanderlustress.

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INDONESIA: Go Outside and Play!

INDONESIA: Go Outside and Play!

photo for shaulaEvery day, my 5-year old son asks if he can ride his bike. Rain or shine; straight off the school bus, and often way too early on weekend mornings. With the training wheels off and his helmet on, he’s ready to go.

Lucky for us, this is possible. We may live in a chaotic city of 10 million, but our quiet street is a welcome oasis – a dead end lane with just 10 houses and 20 other children to play with.  The older kids all attend different schools, but usually gather when they get home – riding bikes, swimming, playing at each other’s houses, exploring tropical backyards, and visiting the “farm” (a.k.a community garden) at the end of the road. It’s a pretty ideal set up for our family.

With its crumbling sidewalks, crazy traffic and lack of parks, Jakarta isn’t known for its public green spaces or outdoor culture. Although there are plenty of family-friendly activities here, a lot of kids spend much of their free time indoors  – in cars, malls and air-conditioned play areas.  I don’t know of any public playgrounds or parks near where we live, which makes us even more grateful to have safe outdoor spaces at home.

The many benefits of outdoor play are well-documented, contributing to physical and cognitive development, emotional and social well-being, creativity and imagination, a sense of community, and (more…)

Shaula Bellour (Indonesia)

Shaula Bellour grew up in Redmond, Washington. She now lives in Jakarta, Indonesia with her British husband and 9-year old boy/girl twins. She has degrees in International Relations and Gender and Development and works as a consultant for the UN and non-governmental organizations. Shaula has lived and worked in the US, France, England, Kenya, Eritrea, Kosovo, Lebanon and Timor-Leste. She began writing for World Moms Network in 2010. She plans to eventually find her way back to the Pacific Northwest one day, but until then she’s enjoying living in the big wide world with her family.

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CANADA: Childcare Troubles

IMG_1574Childcare.  No word conjures such stress and anxiety in the mind of a working mom as “childcare.”  There are countless little things that can cause enormous problems.  Your child is too sick to attend.  Your child care provider is too sick to care for your child.  Your child care provider is late.  You are running late to pick up your child.  Never mind possible personality or caregiving style conflicts.

Stress.  Anxiety.  Too many problems to solve while juggling too many plates.  Eventually one of those plates will drop, and who picks up the pieces?

For me, just the experience of searching for a childcare provider for my oldest child was the single most stressful experience of my life.  I spent hours on the phone, calling centres, trying to be put onto their waitlists in hopes of getting a childcare spot.  I visited centres and caregivers, asking about programs, schedules, and meals.  It was harder to plan than my wedding, and as it turned out, more expensive.

In the Greater Toronto Area parents who hope to have licensed childcare for their child are told to put their child on waitlists – when they are about 3 months PREGNANT with that child.  You might have a chance at a spot by the time your twelve month maternity leave is over – that means your wait is at least 18 months. (more…)

specialneedmom2

Angela is a Special Education teacher who blogs about her super-powered special needs family. She has a 3 year old with Prader-Willi Syndrome and a 5 year old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Sensory Processing Disorder. The odds of these random genetic events occurring at the same time are astronomical. "When you add our typically developing one year old baby boy to the mix, you have a very busy household!", she explains. Angela admits to having too many appointments, too many school problems, and being generally too busy as she tries to live life to the fullest. Please visit her family at Half Past Normal for more of their adventures! If you want to connect to chat, you can find her on Twitter @specialneedmom2 If you are interested in Special Education policies and procedures in Ontario – or just some excellent strategies and accommodations – please check out Angela's other site at Special Ed on the Bell Curve.

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SOCIAL GOOD: Small Project, Big Impact: Making Birth Safe in Laos

SOCIAL GOOD: Small Project, Big Impact: Making Birth Safe in Laos

This post is the second installment by  Kristyn Zalota, Founder of CleanBirth.org, about her work in Laos. To read the first post in the series, “One Mom’s Mission to Save Lives in Laos”

Tahoy mother and 3 day old baby. Tahoy women have 8-10 babies, many of whom die.

“Off to Laos!  I am really doing this!”, I enthused in a text to a friend en route to JFK for my around-the-world flight.  I was headed to a remote province of Laos to provide local women with Clean Birth Kits (essential birthing supplies: picture instructions, absorbent sheet, soap, cord clamp, sterile blade that prevent infection) and training on safe, hygienic birthing practices.It took me 48 hours to get to Thailand, due to a delayed flight, and I was worse for the wear on arrival.  En route from Thailand to Laos, my stomach hurt from travel-induced anxiety, malaria pills were causing another kind of digestive distress and I was sleep-deprived.

Plus, I didn’t really know where I was going: a cell phone number from my Lao partner organization, OVC, was my only information. Arriving in the Thai-Lao border town, Pakse, I obsessively dialed my contact for hours until she answered.  Much to my relief, she picked me up and drove me from Pakse to Salavan, where OVC is based.

My first day in Salavan, I knew that the stress and discomfort of travel were well worth it.  I saw immediately, that the directors of OVC, Nong and Nyai, were women that I could work with.  They are efficient, hard-working, committed and generous.  For more than 10 years, they have been providing medical, educational and agricultural support to ethnic minorities in this remote region.  They believe in empowering the local people: seven of OVC’s staff of twelve live in the communities and are ethnic minorities themselves. (more…)

Kristyn Zalota

Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to CleanBirth.org. She holds a MA, has run small businesses in Russia and the US, and has volunteered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Uganda on projects related to women’s empowerment. After having children, Kristyn became an advocate for mothers in the US, as a doula and Lamaze educator, and abroad, as the Founder of CleanBirth.org. She is honored to provide nurses in Laos with the supplies, funding and training they need to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in their villages.

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