Ever since I was a tiny girl and they’d ask me what I’d want to be when I grew up, I always wanted to be a mother.
“An artist! And a Mommy!”
“A teacher!! And a Mommy!
“An art teacher!!! And a Mommy!”
As I got older and realized I actually had no idea what I wanted to be, one constant remained unchanged—the wanting to be a Mother.
I gave myself a deadline of age 26 to have my first baby by. Beyond that, I didn’t put that much thought into what my dream family looked like. I have known plenty of people, almost always girls, who had all kinds of things planned out about their future children. They’d have a boy and a girl, the boy first, or all boys or all girls or a one-and-only. And they always knew what names they wanted to use.
I had no idea what I’d have (of course neither did they, really), nor was I hell-bent on any particular names. I guess I kind of figured I’d only have girls, but I think that’s because I only had sisters and so I visualized families that way. How many kids? What names? I had no idea.
So somehow we ended up with two girls and three boys. We had a girl, we had a boy, we had a vasectomy. We had a foster baby boy and adopted him, and then when his birth mother had another boy and then another girl, we fostered and adopted them as well. Our family gets noticed quite a bit, besides being on the large side, we are also racially mixed.
Women in particular seem very inclined to ask me a lot of questions about my children. Many of them indicate that they have always been interested in adoption themselves, and a large number tell me that their husbands didn’t want to pursue it.
Then, an acquaintance asked, “How did you and your husband decide to adopt?”, and I had to laugh when I realized how little thought we put into it; especially now that we know so many adoptive families who have told us about the many hours of research and soul-searching they put into making their adoption decision. Ours was nothing like that. A book about adoption caught my eye at the thrift shop so I bought it. My husband saw it on the counter and said, “Adopting would be nice.”
Upon further recollection, it occurred to me that most of our biggest life decisions were made with very little discussion. Getting married? We can’t even remember whose idea it was. Having kids? Well I definitely had to push for that first one since I was the one who had given myself an age deadline for but after that it was easy. As a matter of fact, when the caseworker called me about our second foster son, I said yes to her on the phone and then remembered I ought to call my husband and verify that with him.
Naturally, he agreed in a heartbeat, because apparently that’s how we make the big family decisions around here—with our hearts.
This is an original guest post to World Moms Blog by Gina Sampaio, a lifelong actress and activist who lives in rural New Jersey with her husband and five children. She likes to challenge the notion of what being a stay at home mom means by not only staying busy with her kids but also with acting, writing, social activism and rabble rousing in general. Gina blogs about her daily adventures with kids, crafts and cooking, navigating a post-foster care transracial open adoption and the ongoing journey of surviving a sexual assault at www.facebook.com/SisterSerendip.
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.
This morning, I received news that a friend’s little boy had died. During the weekend, he was wading in a river with his dad and brother, and he got pulled underwater by a current. He was immediately taken to hospital, and the doctors and nurses tried oh-so-hard to pull him through while we – friends and family members – held vigil at our computers, anxiously awaiting updates.
Luke was just seven years old. He was a vibrant kid with his whole life ahead of him. When he woke up one morning, he was excited about a day of fun with his dad and brother. Two days later, his parents are having to talk about funeral arrangements and child-sized caskets. There is no possible way for me to imagine what it’s like.
But when I look at my younger son, who is just a few months older than Luke was, my heart gives an almighty twist. I am hit hard with the realization that this is the kind of accident that could happen to anyone, that life is so incredibly fragile, that nothing should ever be taken for granted. (more…)
Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny).
Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels.
When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum.
Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world.
Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!
In the last five days, the Philippines has been under a slew of storms, heavy rains and flooding brought about by the tropical storm Trami. It has claimed lives, displaced thousands, and left much of the northern part of Luzon (the Philippines’ northern region) in drenched shambles.
A tragedy? Yes. But quite normal in our country, unfortunately. We go through this every year, every monsoon season. Imbalanced infrastructure, compounded with the problems of informal settlers, i.e. squatters and poorly managed drainage systems: these are all “part and parcel” of what our nation has gotten used to when the rainy season strikes around this time of year. Add that to the current corruption scandals involving pork barrel abuses in our country, and you have quite a mess, served “Pinoy” style (or, as we like to say, halo-halo, i.e. “mix-mixed”.)
Poverty. Politics.Calamity. These are words flooding my social media news feeds lately. Some are angry at the state of the nation — and rightly so.
But, despite the negatives, the “Filipino spirit” holds up. I’d say it does so every year, especially in times like these when unmerciful monsoon rains strike our nation’s morale down to all-time lows. Inasmuch as there are angry tweets shaking virtual fists and fingers at corruption in the government, there are hashtags of hope tweeting updates about relief efforts, blasting out encouragement in the face of calamity. (more…)
Martine is a work-at-home Mom and passionate blogger. A former expat kid, she has a soft spot for international efforts, like WMB. While she's not blogging, she's busy making words awesome for her clients, who avail of her marketing writing, website writing, and blog consulting services. Martine now resides in busy, sunny Manila, the Philippines, with her husband, Ton, and toddler son, Vito Sebastian. You can find her blogging at DaintyMom.com.
I mentioned in previous posts how I am madly in love with my children and how I take care to express my love to my children. I even wrote about different love languages to express our love to our kids. I was always crazy about children, especially babies and toddlers. However, a little while ago, I had a wrong belief that once they go to school they are not that tender and young, and this belief was the cause of depriving me of enjoying many beautiful years of my elder son’s childhood.
My elder son was six years old when I gave birth to his younger brother. Of course, all my attention was shifted to the newborn baby, and as he was rarely sleeping at night, I was extremely exhausted, impatient and nervous. It took me a whole month to realize that my elder son had became such a low priority in my life. Taking care of the newborn baby, the house works and all these details brought my elder son to the background of my life. All I was taking care of was sending him to school and lettin him do the homework, and I totally neglected his emotional needs as a child. (more…)
Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.”
She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.”
Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.”
Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.
This just in! World Moms Blog is listed for a 2nd year in a row by Forbes Woman in their “100 Best Websites for Women 2013“! The news came to us through a Facebook Fan, and we are literally OVER THE MOON across the continents abuzz with the great news!
Forbes says, “We couldn’t be happier to present the fourth annual list of FORBES 100 Best Websites for Women than we are today—for this year more than any other this has been true collaborative effort by dedicated staffers, contributors and ForbesWoman readers. For that reason it just might be—dare we say it—the best list ever.”
What does Forbes Woman look for in choosing their top 100? They say, ” Informative and compelling content, sure, but also smart design, engaged communities and a voice that speaks to and for the female reader.” And also, “these 100 websites look to educate, inform and entertain you in ways you won’t find in the mainstream.”
And what Forbes said uniquely about us, “For a truly global perspective on motherhood, World Moms brings together writers from the US and Canada to Australia, China, India and Japan to discuss parenting across cultures.” Here we are in pictures on the Forbes site, too.
Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India.
She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls.
Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.