Because of the fact that we are a family made up of two nationalities, I am always interested to hear how other families in similar situations live their lives. And I thought you might be too.
For this month’s installment of Multicultural Family Life I asked a blogging pal from the Irish Parenting Bloggers to share with us how she and her family survive their multicultural family life.
Becky is a parenting & lifestyle blogger at Cuddle Fairy (www.cuddlefairy.com
). Her blog’s motto is that there’s positivity around every corner. Under the handle @cuddlefairy, she’d love to hear from you on social media!
1. Tell us a little about your family’s background – where you’re from, where you’ve lived, where you are now.
I grew up in NY & lived there until I was 26. My husband is from Ireland and we decided to move to Ireland to build our house and start our family. We have lived in the West of Ireland for the past ten years. We have three kiddies. Our oldest son is 8, youngest son is 6 & our daughter is turning 3 in the new year. There are times when I’m homesick but I really love having my children grow up in Ireland.
2. What languages are you children exposed to? Do you have a preference for American words over English words or vice versa?
Our children are bilingual – they speak Irish English & American English. 😉 They are learning Irish in school. There are so many words that are different in American English & Irish English. I had to consciously change several words, which was very difficult at first but they are part of my vocabulary now. One word I had to change was pants to trousers. In the US, pants are trousers. Here, pants are your underpants. One day someone laughed at my son for saying pants & I felt so bad! Trousers was such a foreign word for me at first. Also, the pronunciation of certain words are very different. One example is garage. I say these words with an Irish-ish accent for the kids’ sake. When I visit the US sometimes I forget my American words!!
3. How do you handle holidays and ensuring your children see their American relations regularly?
Unfortunately, we don’t make it over to the US that often. The airfare is quite expensive for a family of five. When we do travel over we stay for awhile & try to see everyone. My husband’s family lives near us so the kids have plenty of family for the holidays. Also, some of my family flies over regularly to visit.
4. Do you or your other half have any of the stereotypical traits of your nationality? Has this had any effect on your life in Ireland?
Oooo interesting question! I remember when my husband’s family would visit us in NY. We’d always go to the pub which was really strange to me. I had never gone into a pub with my family before. Pub culture is totally different in the US. You don’t see kids or families hanging out together in bars – it’s a totally different atmosphere. Living in Ireland, we often go out to eat at a pub & wouldn’t think twice about bringing the kids. I’m sure I have some terrible American stereotypes that I don’t realize lol
5. How different, if at all, would your life be if you lived in the US rather than Ireland?
I think our lives would be very different in the U.S. We were living in the NYC area before we moved. Housing is so expensive & we’d have to send our kids to private schools there. Unless we were earning huge money, we wouldn’t have a big back yard like we have here. I think country living is great for kiddies. We could have moved to the country in the U.S. of course & had a similar house but we wouldn’t live near either of our families. Having my husband’s family near by is a big plus!
6. Have there been any child-rearing differences between you and your husband based on the mentality of your home countries?
No, happily!! I can’t think of one example so that’s good.
7. Are there any Irish customs you’ve adopted in child-rearing or anything else?
People are much more laid back in Ireland than in the U.S. I’ve become more relaxed as an individual & as a mother. Although having more children makes a person more laid back too I think. I’m sure there are other things that I can’t think of. I don’t notice my changes until I’m back in the U.S. & they stand out to me then, like how I pronounce certain words.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us Becky! It is clear that even though you are a native English speaker in an English-speaking country, language issues still pop up now and again.
It is great to hear that you have settled in well to life in Ireland and that it has given you the chance to raise your children in the countryside and near their relations.
Fingers crossed the future will allow you the opportunity to bring your children over and back to the U.S. now and again so that you can share more of your home culture with them.
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