Lately, my new pipe dream is to go back to school to study family life in different cultures. I am interested in all of the many ways people rear their children. I keep telling Andrew that when my kids are in school I am going to join one of those crazy graduate programs that will send me to live in the bush for six months. Instead of enrolling in classes, I thought it would be fun to contact people in my community to give me a head start into how their culture raises children. Each week I will showcase a new family so we can all learn how different cultures take on the task of parenting.
I am starting with an American family and will branch off to other cultures as the weeks progress.
Question #1: What is your family heritage (cultural background)?
We are both "Americans."
I am 50% Swedish and 25% Native American and 25% of everything else. My husband and I are not quit sure what's all in there to be honest with you.
Question #2: Do the majority of mothers breastfeed or use formula (and why)?
I think this one in my perception goes 50/50. I think that here in the states it is quite common for both parents to work or if you are a single mother you have no choice but to work. I have known some mothers that continue to pump while they are working. I personally was able to be a stay at home mom and solely nursed until my son was around 6 months old. With our society here there is a really big push for breastfeeding because of the health benefits and the closeness. I think that the push goes a little too far at times and makes mothers feel guilty if they are not able to nurse or have chosen not to for their own personal reasons. I am speaking from experience here. I don't think any mother should feel guilty. All it comes down to is love. That is what our babies are going to remember growing up is if their parents loved them, not if they were breastfeed or not.
Question #3: Where do family members sleep within the home?
My son sleeps in his bedroom in his crib and my husband and I share a bed in our bedroom.
Question #4: What are the common roles of the mother vs. father?
My husband works out of the house at a 9-5 job. I take care of the home, baby, shopping, cooking, cleaning, bill paying. He is a great helper though when I need it.
Question #5: What does a typical day look like for a mother?
Get up about 1 hour before my son does and get some reading and realxing time before I start my busy day. Once he is up we have cuddle time and play for a bit. We eat our breakfast together and then it is back to playing. I try to get some things done during the day, toddler willing, and in between play time. He takes his 2 hour nap after lunch and then we start making dinner before daddy gets home at 4pm.
Question #6: Who takes care of the children if the mother works outside of the home and how much does childcare cost?
Daycare unless you have a close knit family support system that can help to care for the children. I am not sure what the childcare costs are since I have not had to use them yet. I have seen some pay between $8.00 to $15.00 per hour.
Question #7: What are the common discipline tactics used with children?
Time outs are a big one. At my son's age that does not work well yet since he is only 13 months old. We tell him no and try to redirect him to distract him from what he is doing. That seems to work well for now.
Question #8: How does your culture perceive children?
They think they are cute and adorable but everyone cringes when they think about their children becoming teenagers.
Question #9: How does your culture show affection towards children?
Awwww, oh how cute. Give a little squeeze to the cheeks. Hugs and kisses you know the typical.
Question #10: What are some typical games played with children or played amongst children?
Patty cake, peek-a-boo
Thanks Tasha and next week we will meet Malia from the Pacific Islands. If you know of anyone who might like to submit answers, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.