One of my favorite things about living in Fort Worth is the diversity found here. Not only does that mean I can get my hands on authentic food from around the world (pho, curries, gyros, samosas . . . you name it), but I also get to spend time with women from all backgrounds, religions, cultures, and ways of thought.
I am pretty passionate about spending time with people that don’t look and think like me. It’s too easy to surround myself and my family with those are just like me. I won’t ever grow that way. I need people who will challenge me, love me, and push me in different ways. And I want the same for my son. I want him to grow up knowing there is more to life than what he, a white male, will experience. I have been fortunate enough to develop deep friendships with women from all over the world and they have not only taught me about their lives and cultures, but they have also shown me how to be a better friend and mom.
Hospitality. There are piles of borrowed dishes stacked high on my kitchen counters right now. This is because it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to leave a friend’s house without them sending me home with a treat. A mug of chai, fresh bread, sweets, or a literal entire meal. Upon entering their homes, we are met with endless plates of food and overflowing cups. My son has left friends’ houses with a tub of snacks, just because. I am constantly learning how to be hospitable, and my international friends truly make me step up my game. And while I do love food, it’s about more than that. They are going above and beyond to make me feel welcome and a part of their lives. They do it so well.
Mothering Advice. No matter where you travel on this planet, there will be advice on how to parent. Some of it is great, some not so much. But I am so thankful for the perspective my non-American mom friends give me on raising my toddler. I can’t even begin to try and describe the various ways of parenting found in the different cultures my friends represent. The bigger picture I have learned is that the American way isn’t the only way. There is much to be gleaned from cultures that have different values, schedules, milestones, etc. Babies are thriving all over the world — so why not look into what other cultures have going on?
Family. I love the way my international friends value family. I have found so much value placed on individualistic thinking here in the USA. My sweet friends from abroad have shown me the beauty of the value of family. They model for me how to think of the greater good of the family, how to include everyone in our son’s life, and how to make room for help from family members.
Community. If there is ever a group of friends that are committed to loving my family well, it is my international friends. They come alongside me, let my son roam free in their house, feed us all, comfort me when I am struggling, pray for me, and are just my deep friends. They let me ask questions that might be taboo. They encourage me to be more generous with my resources, time, and energy. They ask me about life here in America and I help them navigate this culture and way of life. Though they might need me in certain areas, I feel like I am the one who benefits wildly from their wisdom, perspective, and friendship.
I encourage you to find those in Fort Worth that come from a different country or background than you. Listen to their story, hear their words of wisdom, and invite them into your home for some coffee. Chances are, we have a lot to learn from those who don’t look like us. Let’s celebrate the differences and rejoice that though we all have learning to do, we can do it together.
A great place to meet other mamas in the Tarrant County area is to join Neighbor Groups. These are free Facebook groups hosted by the Fort Worth Moms Blog as a way for ladies to meet and build community. We have regional and topical groups. Visit our Neighbor Groups page to find a complete listing.