Bicultural Parenting Confessions

Bicultural Parenting Confessions cultural identity bilingual parenting  suegra spanish Mi vida mexican culture la pequeñita mija biculturalism

Mija dancing with her abuela at a Michigan festival

Confessions of a Bicultural Mom

Bicultural Parenting Confessions cultural identity bilingual parenting  suegra spanish Mi vida mexican culture la pequeñita mija biculturalism

Mija and her honorary tío / padrino Lucio

This past year has been busier than ever and I’ve felt guilty too many times about living in the Midwest and about not immersing our daughter enough into Mexican culture.  It’s been hard.  We’re far away from our family and friends who influence our Latino roots most and we haven’t always done enough to connect in this community for various reasons.

This past holiday I saw a lot of other parents chatting about getting together with their families and cooking up traditional Latino foods or visiting with their abuelos, tías and cousins.  I have to admit I’m a little envious and also a little disappointed in myself.  For all I’ve done to keep my daughter’s life full of Mexican influences, moving away from our friends and familia has felt like the worst decision I’ve ever made.  Slowly I see bits of our heritage slipping away.

It’s been on my mind a lot these days and I often wonder what we could have done differently or how we can possibly afford to go back.  Unfortunately, Michigan doesn’t exactly have the best economy these days, so that feels like a virtual impossibility.

I’ve talked about it numerous times here in the last year that hubby and I want to move back to Michigan to be near our families, or venture off to Texas or Mexico, near our primos, to immerse our daughter in all things Mexican.  We’ve even talked about Spain, Peru, California or Chicago in order to have more access to Spanish.  Ultimately we’re still unsure about what the best move is for our family, but we know that it needs to happen soon…or everything might just slip away from us.

I’m sure there are other parents out there who have these same worries.  This is just one confession from one mom who worries about how to keep our culture alive.  No matter what I do, it just doesn’t feel like enough here.  It’s a lot of work and it doesn’t come easily.  If we lived in a region where Spanish language and Mexican culture were more prominent, it could be a more dominant part of our life, like it was in Michigan.  Or maybe moving back to Michigan IS the answer?

Qué piensas?  What would you do?

 

Comments

  1. White Mom says

    We’re struggling with a (sort of) similar problem. I would love to buy a house– we could get something decent in the outskirts of Seattle but I don’t want my kids to go to school in a predominately white environment. I want them to grow up how I did. It just doesn’t make sense to be tied down to a ridiculous mortgage in order to be able to do so. My daughter is not bicultural like your little cutie so I don’t know what it feels for your family to feel your culture slip away from you. I say do what’s best for your family– but I know that’s not easy!

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild says

      Thank you. I can definitely relate and I don't want my daughter to grow up whitewashed, so that's part of the struggle. I also want her to identify equally between "Mexican" and "American" so the Mexican side obviously has to be emphasized for that to happen here, where there are so few Latinos. We are definitely going to make a move, it's just a matter of when and where. Thanks so much for the support!

  2. discoveringtheworldthroughmysonseyes says

    You have a few options besides the “radical” and very “costly” move… you can Skype or video chat on Facebook with your daughter, and the familia to keep in touch. They can speak Spanish, etc. to her. You can go on vacation for a few weeks back home to Michigan to reconnect, and re-energize yourself; or they can come and visit you, and spend some time with you, and the family. Make an effort to meet other parents with children and create your own cultural play dates. Celebrate all of your Mexican holidays, and make a big deal about it! Your daughter will remember, and she will thank you for it. Hope this helps! I know how you feel, been there done that! Hugs!

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild says

      Thanks Frances! These are all great suggestions! I wish we could do Skype, but none hubby's family really has computers. One of my sisters does, so we Skype her, but she's not a Spanish speaker. That is such a great idea though and I love the idea of playdates. Lily does have some playdates here, but speaking Spanish is difficult at times to get enough Spanish in.

      We always celebrate Mexican culture on holidays because it's such a great opportunity to make a lasting impact. I want to do more though and I appreciate all the crafts and ideas that you share for adding culture everyday. :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by to help amiga!!

  3. biculturalmama says

    I feel the same way, too, in the sense that my family is in the Midwest and think if my daughter was around my immigrant parents more she'd organically absorb more Chinese culture. It's harder being away as I'm not fluent myself and we spend more time with my husband's family since they're nearby – which is great for family time, but of course she's mainly immersed in one side of her heritage then. I do make efforts to expose her to Chinese culture, but it's harder when everything has to be planned and a trip somewhere to get that if you know what I mean. Ultimately you need to decide for yourselves what you want to do as there are so many factors to consider. The answer will come to you eventually – you'll know in your gut.

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild says

      Maria, I can definitely relate. English is dominant here and for two non-fluent Spanish speakers, it gets rough. I feel very lucky that regardless, my daughter is now at the point where she is very interested in her Mexican heritage and Spanish language. She has such a strong interest in our heritage right now, that it pains me to be here and to, in a way, deprive her from that at this critical time when she is so open to it.

      Everyday I think about moving.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience. This is what we're going through here and we really feel like we just need to take a leap and make something happen. I'm starting up a relocation savings account and like you said…following my gut. ♥

  4. Tara Prater Castillo says

    Going through the same thing on my end. I really wish my son had more latino/mexican influence in his life besides his daddy. I wish we had his dad's family close by so we could visit often. My Spanish speaking friends live on the other side of Atlanta so visiting with them often makes it hard as well. None of my hubby's relatives have skype (although it might not be far away because it seems like computers are popping up in everyones homes like crazy). I love the skype idea.

    Right now, it's just his dad and I trying to teach him Spanish and teaching about the Latin holidays etc. We are doing the best we can but it is extremely hard. Since hubby travels a lot, I feel like it is all on my shoulders sometimes.

    This is a great topic. Glad to see we are not the only ones struggling with this issue.

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild says

      Tara, keep it up girl!! I know how you feel. I struggle with this all the time and sometimes I just get angry at myself for not continuing with my Spanish way back when, because now my daughter wants more and I don't know how to give it to her. I never did my study abroad in college and we moved away from our family (i.e. our Spanish roots), so it has been hard. I have a lot of guilt about it and I also have so many fears about my daughter not connecting enough to her roots to feel that she can claim "Mexican". My husband went through that as a child, and I won't let it happen to my daughter. A move is coming…it's just a matter of when and where.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm there amiga…and glad I'm not alone. ♥

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