“Do you work?” We just moved back to the Washington, DC area and that is the second or third question I get from the other moms I meet. I don’t mind the question, as I navigate my way through finding friends, meeting neighbors, and getting involved in school PTAs and soccer groups. Realistically, the answer does affect how two moms will relate to each other. I work part-time from home, and if both of us are home then we are potential car poolers, exercise buddies and kid back-up plan providers. We’re just generally both around.
That dynamic is of course different if one or both of us is working and balancing an entire other world. There is definitely the potential for friendship, as yes working and stay at home parents can be friends, but there are understandably more time constraints and planning involved.
I always assumed I would be a full-time working mom. My mother did it, and it worked out just fine. I never lacked for attention and we have always had a wonderful relationship. The number of mothers in the workforce was steadily increasing and I was going to be a part of it. But when my son was a few months old, we moved overseas to a developing country and then another, and then another, for my husband’s job and I was the trailing spouse. After a while, I found that I enjoyed being home.
My decision was met with little controversy for an expat in the developing world. Being a stay-at-home parent is the norm for a trailing spouse, for whom there are often not many jobs available even if you do want to work. But moving back to the DC area, the capital of where do you work and who do you know, I dreaded the stay-at-home mom brand. Eight years ago, when I left with my newborn, being a stay-at-home mom seemed to get more negative than positive press as a general rule.
As my move date got closer, I got defensive with friends who asked what I was going to do when I returned when really they just wanted to know what my plans were without judgment. I was ready for a fight, and armed with a, “But I will work part-time from home!” missile in case I wasn’t up for field combat. I even found myself defending myself to my husband who would repeat, “I support whatever you want to do,” while I unnecessarily presented my case.
But when I got back to Washington, most people seemed to be over the stay-at-home verses working mom debate. Beyond what it means for a person-to-person relationship (can we go to yoga together on Tuesday or let’s meet up over the weekend) it doesn’t seem to matter as something important on people’s character rating spectrum. People assume you are doing what you do, working or home with the kids or a little of both, because of your circumstances and what you think is best for your family. Is the war over?
The next surprise I had was to find out that the number of stay-at-home moms is actually increasing which maybe adds to its new status as an acceptable modern role for women. A recent analysis of government data by Pew Research Center found that the number of stay-at-home moms has increased from 23 percent in 1999 (a “modern-era low” according to Pew) to 29 percent in 2012.
The majority, two thirds, of at-home moms fall in the “married with husbands who work” demographic. But that should not be construed as everyone who is home is choosing not to work, according to Pew. “The broad category of ‘stay-at-home’ mothers includes not only mothers who say they are at home in order to care for their families, but also those who are at home because they are unable to find work, are disabled or are enrolled in school.”
And while the numbers are increasing for stay-at-home moms holding post-graduate degrees, the overall number of moms at home who have traded law offices for tennis skirts and PTA meetings is a minority. A stay-at-home mom, according to Pew, is still more likely to be non-white, foreign-born, have a high school diploma or less, and living in poverty. In fact, on the last statistic, the number of stay-at-home moms living in poverty has nearly doubled since the 70s.
It seems like the more important issue is are most stay-at-home moms choosing to be there. Based on the statistics, it seems like there are a lot more factors at play than whether they like it or not. Poverty, lack of employment options, low education levels, will all lower a mother’s options. And if that is the face of the stay-at-home mom then the question is not why does she want to be there, but is that her choice. This makes those of us that have the choice let go of the defensive arguments and be a little more thankful.
By Suzette McLoone Lohmeyer
A few weeks ago my children and I were invited to stay on a remote farm in the Western countryside of the Republic of Georgia. We are moving back to the U.S. in a few weeks, and a trip outside the city sounded like a good way to escape the stress of packing, planning, organizing and saying the many goodbyes that take a toll on children and adults alike.
We set off late morning (no Georgian does anything before 10am – a strict no rush policy I have come to appreciate) and drove down the highway that eventually turned into windy mountain roads, then down along the seaside, until we reached a narrow gravel road that led to a tiny village of houses high on a hill. It was an old tea plantation during Soviet rule, with acres and acres of tea. But now just a few sprigs of tea popped up here and there pushed up against weeds and wild blackberry bushes.
A large gate opened at the end of the road, and our host immediately apologized for the state of the house, although it looked to be one of the better ones in the neighborhood. It was her parent’s house – the place where she was born and raised. They were doing a few renovations and there currently was no electricity or water. She politely showed me to the outhouse, next to the chicken coop and provided a bucket in case the children or I needed to go in the night (much too dark to try to make it to the outhouse after 9). And I was instructed on how to use the well if I needed water for tea or cooking, and proudly shown a bucket of frothy fresh milk from the cow. I nodded politely. My host spoke no English – only German and Georgian. And her parents just Georgian. And my German, while I call it conversational, is tragic at best.
After the tour I felt every bone tense. The children had run off into the woods to goodness knows where, the well was poorly covered, the milk I was being offered was straight from a cow who was still mooing for the milking to continue, and I could actually see the fleas hopping off the black, friendly dog rubbing against my right leg. The chicken pecking at my left shoe was the least of my problems.
For dinner we ate khachapuri – a traditional Georgian pastry of bread and cheese. It had a different taste – so fresh and warm and unlike what we order at the Georgian restaurants back to the capital city of Tbilisi, where we live. Wine in plastic water bottles was served and tasted better than anything I had in a bottle. With a little help from the wine, I started to relax and look around. Everything was simple, happy, and fresh.
It was 11 or 12pm, but Georgian children stay up as late as they like, and neighbors wandered in and out wearing bathrobes and slippers with babies and children to chat and drink wine or tea. In the morning the kids were fine despite a lack of sleep - energetic even – off in the woods in their pajamas collecting fruit and eggs, and helping the grandmother milk the cow.
By the second day, the children and I had mastered the outhouse and the bucket. And although hand washing wasn’t easy we managed with a bucket of well water and promptly gave up on showering altogether (we did get one shower in at a kind neighbor’s).
I even relaxed about the kittens nibbling on any leftovers in the kitchen that would inevitably be nibbled on later by children and then the kittens again and then possibly the dog or the rooster if either could manage to get in the house.
On the third day, I let go. Anyone who has been able to escape modern civilization knows this feeling. It isn’t the same feeling that you get when you go to a spa or a vacation home at the beach – places you have everything you need and the time to use it. This was about letting go of all those things you think you need.
The kids had rosy cheeks, running noses, skinned knees and their clothes were absolutely filthy. At one point I found them completely covered in mud in a pig pen playing with tiny piglets. They ran through the streets freely to neighbors houses and through fields.
The cows strolling down the streets were lazy and beautiful. If I was looking for the kids I would often find them in the old tea house where they used to dry the tea. Now it is a gathering place for children to practice the latest dance moves or chase each other with sticks. The local girls showed us Georgian dance and something that went along with a Katy Perry song.
The grandfather who spoke no English gathered fruit and vegetables and presented them to me – so proud they were his own and begging us to return to September when the rest of the fruit was ripe. We met with neighbors who had known each other for generations and each with a story more interesting than the next.
I am not saying it was an easy 4 days. I could never quite get over the fleas and the first thing I did when we returned was scrub everyone down from top to toe. But it was a form of meditation that I had not experienced since I was a child.
We’re back in Tbilisi now and packing, organizing and going to goodbye parties. We have no furniture and we can’t find anything we need when we need it; and each day seems to be met with a new sort of chaos as we move from one life to another. But our weekend away made us realize we don’t need much. The bowl I am so attached to and the set of sheets I love, or those candleholders that I chose so carefully at the bazaar – none of it really matters. And if it gets lost in the shipment or breaks, it will be fine. Frankly, a little time away makes you appreciate that all that stuff is just stuff. Although I do still find running water exciting even after a few weeks back in the city.
By Suzette McLoone Lohmeyer
“Where are the women?” was my first thought driving through Muscat, the capital city of Oman. Groups of men sat outside rows of white shops and houses, chatting and drinking coffee, or kicking a soccer ball around, strolling along the beach. I spotted one or two women walking with their husbands and children, but for the most part there just weren’t any in sight.
The Hungarian friend I was staying with explained that although the sultan of Oman has set rather lenient rules on dress and activity for Omani women (compared to many of Oman’s neighboring countries), tradition rules the cultural norm. Women mainly socialize in the house, and only are out for shopping or trips often escorted by their husbands or other male family members. And when they are out, their families require that they wear a black abaya – a long robe that covers their full body except for face, hands and feet.
This was my first time in Muscat or anywhere in the Middle East, and I felt very out of place. I was constantly worried that I was exposing too much knee, and felt practically naked on the beach in a bathing suit. And while every Omani I met was polite about what I am sure they saw as indiscretions, I wondered what it was like for my friend living in this culture day to day and raising two girls (one a tween) and how she dealt with some of the culture shock that I only had to get used to for a week, but that she has dealt with for 6 years.
My questions to her were, what is it like being an expat in Oman full time, and how does it compare to what is acceptable for Omani women. And in between these two worlds, is it a place a Western teenage girl can find herself. Here are a few excerpts from our interview.
What are the cultural norms for women in Oman? And are there state rules or family rules that most women must abide by? How do Omani women spend their time and does that vary by age?
There are state rules that are equally for men and women like sex outside marriage is illegal. I am not aware that there are any laws just for woman. Sultan Qaboos, the ruler of Oman for the last 43 years, wants to keep traditions. For this reason Omani men and women have to wear traditional outfit for important meetings, celebrations, etc. It is white dishdasha with head dress for man and black abaya or traditional colored outfit for women. The original outfit for women was very colorful. At the countryside they still wear those beautiful colorful dresses with almost see through matching scarfs but it’s less frequent in Muscat. Around the time when we arrived the Sultan gave out a warning for tailors not to alter the cut of the traditional dishdasha. Seemed a bit funny.
Although most Omani women cover their hair and wear black abaya it’s not regulated by the state. There is a very wide range how local women dress here from western clothes with uncovered hair to black abaya, covered face and sometimes even the eyes are covered by this scarf.
Once I saw a family where the parents were in traditional clothes but their teenage daughter was dressed in western clothes without headscarf. It is not very frequent though. A white headscarf is part of the school girls’ uniform. Boys wear white dishdasha and kuma (traditional hat).
Omani women are encouraged to study and work and be less dependent on man. A few years ago they passed a law that employers must provide rooms for breastfeeding mums if their baby is brought to them. There are great scholarships available for women to study abroad.
Omani woman love to shop. The shopping centers are always packed on the weekends. They also spend a lot of time visiting family. My Omani colleague said that they spend every other weekend with her family. Younger Omani women are more modern, they go out for coffee and lunch, and spend a lot of time in spas and fitness centers.
On the weekends whole big extended families go to the beach or to the park for a picnic.
You have 2 daughters - one of which is entering her pre-teen years. How do you think it would be for her to be an adolescent expat girl in Oman? And what is life like for an adolescent Omani girl?
Life can be quite restricted for adolescents here, both girls and boys. Due to the heat and distances they rely on their parents transporting them to meet friends, etc. Taxis are safe for boys but not so much for girls.
For expat girls it can be hard that they are stared at or unable to wear the same clothes their age group wears in their home country. They can’t even go for a walk holding hands with their boyfriend. Man and woman are not allowed to hold hands or kiss in public. What is interesting is that it’s accepted that two men hold hands.
Our oldest one is still happy here but we are already thinking about it that we might have to move away in a few years time somewhere where she can enjoy more freedom. Adolescent Omani girls spend their time mainly between school and family.
So why do we want to move away for Luca’s teenage years? We are not really part of the local community here. Local women don’t come to us for a cup of coffee in fear our husbands might be home and that would not be appropriate. Small children are allowed to play with our children but once they reach adolescence they don’t mix anymore. They are very friendly but we are still a bit isolated. Their daily schedule is also very different from ours. In the hottest time in the afternoon they usually have a sleep/rest and are up till later than the western expat children. I would like the children to be able to socialize with a wider range of people than their school mates.
As children are transported everywhere they are less mature than children elsewhere. It is true about being careful in the traffic, using public transport or understanding everyday dangers like talking to strangers or going somewhere with them. They are taught these but they rarely have to face any real situation. We would like Luca to go to university in NZ or England and would like her to be prepared for full independence.
How are expat women received in Oman - both tourists and those who chose to stay in Oman to live and work? Is there a difference?
Expat women generally are respected. Sometimes this respect comes in strange forms. Our neighbor was very friendly with my husband but never even said hello to me in spite of that I occasionally visited his wife. When I mentioned it once someone explained that he is just being respectful. However most man are more open and happy to help foreign women. They are a bit more open toward tourists.
If young guys get a bit too familiar it’s enough to mention the police to scare them away. I was told they would be punished paying unwanted attention to a woman whether expat or local.
What were some of the culture shocks you went through when you moved to Muscat?
When my husband applied for his current job in Muscat I hardly knew about the existence of the country and we had to look on the map to see where are we planning to go. When he was offered the position we did some research. We didn’t find much on dress code so decided to go with the suggestion of the Lonely Planet; conservative dressing, no shorts for men. We found that dressing is really relaxed but not always consistent. Once my husband was told off by the person renewing his car registration for wearing a casual T-shirt.
The first shock was stepping out to the arrival hall [at the airport]. It seemed that there were only men there, most of them wearing pants and a long shirt of the same color. Later I learned that it was traditional Pakistani outfit.
And they were all staring at us. It took some time to get used to people staring at us. They stared when we went to a local shop, driving by in a car, going to a restaurant rarely frequented by expats.
At the time we arrived the temperature was well over 40 degrees Celsius. It was shocking to see the mainly Indian and Pakistani workers working outside in that heat. The funniest (and sad) was to see that when a western engineer went to do some inspection or measuring etc. a worker would follow him holding an umbrella above him. Strangely, although the people were so much worse off than us, I could never see hatred or envy in their eyes.
By Suzette McLoone Lohmeyer
When I imagined having a daughter I pictured a mini-me: strawberry blond hair and freckles, an introvert, maybe a bit shy, who is happiest snuggled on the couch with a hot cup of tea and a crossword. When she was born with a thick tuft of jet black hair, I was undeterred – babies often lose their first hair and what grows back can be dramatically different. We could still share the red-headed gene, and sit together under the umbrella on the beach after playing in the water, applying our SPF 50 and moaning about how pale we were in summer and admiring our lovely skin in winter.
By age 3, her soft brown hair had settled over olive-skinned ears, and it was clear our bond would not be over freckling and sun burns. But no matter, there was still the bond we would share over the things we would both surely love – and I was convinced we’d spend time snuggling on the couch watching the latest BBC mini-series in no time.
When she turned 4, her extroverted personality really began to shine through and it did not include anything quiet. And while she will find me for a quick hug, snuggling takes much longer than she has time for. She developed into a leader – sharp and brave, never hesitating to solve problems or set the rules (sometimes too many rules), with a level of confidence I have never had. She hates walks unless we have an approved destination. When she enters a room, she makes sure everyone knows it, and when she stays home sick from school, she never fails to point out how, “All the kids at school will really miss me.” Add to this that she is very, very loud – at all times.
Images of quiet walks and tea time began to fade away and, for a long time, I struggled to connect with her beyond being there when she needed me – but she rarely does beyond the regular skinned knee or bad cold. When a friend asked my son whether he protected his little sister, he replied with surprise, “Bridget? Oh no, she is brave enough to protect herself.”
I noticed it wasn’t only me struggling. She was jealous over my easy relationship with my son (my actual mini-me, freckles, books and all). He and I have long discussions and find humor and interest in what we did in our day – laughing over jokes that only we get, and he loves to sit next to me on the couch and help me with my crossword.
The best I could hope for was that Bridget and I could find something we shared when she was older. But I worried that time would never come.
One May afternoon, I had the window open, one ear listening to the kids playing outside while I chopped vegetables for dinner and one ear to NPR. We live in a developing country, so good prepared foods are not available, making each dinner a long process of going to several stores for meats and vegetables and cooking that starts from scratch. And I admit cooking is not my forte. I cook to provide healthy food for my family. I cook to save money. I do not cook because I love it. But I have made it a meditative part of my day – baking away while I listen to the radio or some mindless show on TV.
But on this warm, spring afternoon, it became too quiet outside, which as any parent knows means trouble. I turned off the radio, and called through the screen, “Everyone okay?” My son replied, “Just looking for bugs. I’ll show you later.” But I didn’t hear my daughter’s voice.
“Bridget, everything ok?” I called again.
I almost chopped off my thumb mid-onion when my daughter loudly replied directly over my shoulder, standing on a stool she had silently moved just behind me. “You’re chopping it wrong Mommy,” she said. “It won’t look nice that way. Can I do it?”
I shooed her off the stool and out of the kitchen, saying she was too young for knives, irritated she had surprised me like that. Plus, the idea that the child who treats every dinner like she is a magazine food critic (and a cranky one at that), wanting to help with dinner was ridiculous. I turned my NPR back on low and heard them both looking for bugs outside - my son complaining that her loud voice was scaring them away.
The next afternoon, as I stood facing the chicken I had to separate, rinse and marinade, and a mountain of vegetables to wash and rewash before chopping; I heard the kitchen stool dragging along the floor behind me. And then there Bridget was again, asking me what was for dinner. I replied with one of the usual dishes. “I think I can help you make it really good,” she said in her ever-confident voice.
“No, no, you can’t handle raw chicken – you might get sick. Go play with your brother outside,” I said maybe a little too sharply. She stomped off again – this time with a few tears.
Twenty minutes later, halfway through making my marinade, I saw that Bridget had quietly returned to the kitchen and was sitting on the floor, petting the dog, and watching me. That the loudest child in any room of children (we actually got her hearing checked because she speaks so loudly) was willing to sit quietly to observe me cooking dinner brought on a shock of realization that she loves cooking so much she is willing to do whatever it takes to be a part of it.
I turned off the radio and asked if she wanted to help. Bridget jumped up off the floor, brought a small apron out from behind her back that had come with a child’s kitchen set, pulled up a stool, grabbed a piece of raw chicken and begin to rinse it in the sink before dropping it in the bowl of marinade.
She cracked eggs, basted meat, and sautéed onions – handling the kitchen like she had been doing it for years. I wondered how many times she had been watching me when I didn’t notice. Or did this skill come to her naturally?
From that moment on, as long as I am in the kitchen, she is by my side – literally. She actually leans on me a bit while we work – occasionally giving me a kiss on the cheek. Maybe it wasn’t only the cooking. Maybe we finally had something we could do together; and although we are in the kitchen for different reasons, maybe that doesn’t matter so much.
When I hosted a baby shower a few weeks ago, she had the menu planned before I had even sent the invites (which she also asked to pre-approve). And she stood by me that long Sunday morning chopping, sautéing, arranging. She insisted on coming with me to choose the flower centerpiece because, she explained, “I am just better at that than you Mommy.” And she’s right. The only thing I did on my own was to choose the cakes to buy, and nobody ate them. She shook her head after the party and sighed, “You should have let me come to the bakery.”
Bridget is still 6 – at the baby shower she had too many cookies and got fussy and fell asleep on my lap with crumbs all over her dress. But the next afternoon she was back by my side while I chopped my way through a lentil stew.
My kitchen is different now. The music and the TV are gone so we can discuss preparation and presentation (the latter I never gave a thought too until she joined me). It is certainly much less Zen. I spend half the time over her shoulder making sure she doesn’t chop her finger off, burn her arm, or put her hand in her mouth after touching raw meat. My sister and I call this kind of kitchen assistance, “kitchen hell-p.” But I never shoo her away anymore and I’m not sure if I did, she’d listen.
The kitchen is her domain, her happy place, and it is a place she knows she can find me every afternoon. I look forward to returning to the states this summer, with the ease of takeout and the vast array of prepared dinner options. But I think I will cook a little more from scratch than I used to when I come to live in the U.S.
By Suzette Lohmeyer
In 2006, Colorado native Stephanie Chachkiani, her triplet infant girls, her husband, and three of everything a baby might need, boarded a plane for a new life in the Republic of Georgia – a former Soviet country with a set of traditional values for women that Stephanie has found makes raising girls easier in some ways and a challenge in others.
Sofia, Makayla, and Lucia, now 8, are heading for the tween years in a strongly orthodox culture that expects girls to remain virgins until marriage, marry young, raise and care for children and sick family members, and perform all domestic chores, while sometimes holding jobs. And like in most patriarchal societies, the social and religious doctrines set in Georgia expect a woman to “Obey man, behave as he wishes and place her own wishes and demands second,” according to a report on gender in Georgia by UN Women released last year.
The same report also noted that men are generally “more free” than women when it comes to moral standards and a social life. “It is acceptable for men to be in the street at night, whereas similar behaviour is less acceptable for women. It is common for men to have an active social life (for instance, frequent and lengthy feasts), while similar behaviour by women might cause negative comments in the community toward her. It is considered that men unlike women are ‘forgiven’ for more. For instance, society is more tolerant of men cheating, whereas women cheating on men is unacceptable.”
While in Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi (where Stephanie and her family live), women are working, driving, and hanging out with friends, the ideal of the traditional Georgian woman does not always parallel how Stephanie wants her girls treated. She explained, “I do not think that as a whole, women in Georgia are valued for all that they are and do. They are very sacrificial and many of them do not get the respect and appreciation they deserve, especially from the men in their lives. I think they are often taken for granted and held to a different and much higher moral standard than men, often without complaint as that is just the way things have always been.”
But for Stephanie and Nika - Stephanie’s husband and a Georgian national - the good outweighs the bad when it comes to girls growing up in Tbilisi. Sometimes, Stephanie says, those traditional Georgian values actually make raising girls there easier for them.
“Because Georgia is so traditional and girls are expected to be so well behaved or have high moral standards, I actually feel more at ease raising girls in this culture. While, of course, we as parents try to instill high moral standards, values and self-respect in our girls, we all know that society can also play a big role in shaping the life of a person. So, I feel blessed that our girls are able to be raised in such an environment,” Stephanie explains.
She also believes that America hasn’t solved the problem of how to raise strong girls either. “As for women in America, I feel, much to our own fault, women are objectified so much on television, the internet and on the streets that says, ‘Look at my body before you get to know me.’ I feel it should be the opposite and I think we are doing a serious harm to our girls when we allow them to think it is okay to dress provocatively. Our bodies are a beautiful gift that should not be shared with the entire world. We can look pretty, even sexy, without having to bare ourselves. That, to me, is sexy!”
For Stephanie and Nika, life in Georgia with triplet girls is something they knew they wanted early on. The support system provided by Nika’s family, the way children are received with ease in restaurants and other public places, the affordability of childcare and daily life, and the good aspects of living in an orthodox culture, they explained, made it the best decision for their family.
“We always knew that we wanted to raise our children here as Georgia is a very warm culture, especially toward children. The fact that we had triplet infants was motivation for us to move here sooner than later, especially because we could afford to have a fulltime nanny help out.”
Nika added that there is less helicopter parenting in Georgia, giving kids more space to create strong friendships – something he wants his girls to experience. “I definitely feel that it is a lot safer for my kids to play outside here, compared to the U.S. We don't have to watch over them as hawks from our windows. And I think kids hang out with each other more and become closer friends. Relationships mean a lot in Georgia and I want my kids to grow up surrounded by them and understand their value.”
Stephanie said the cultural divide is easier because she and Nika have a more American marriage than traditional Georgian. They spent time before they married getting to know one another at Colorado Christian University where they met – and now work as a team instead of in predetermined roles.
“I would say that our marriage definitely follows what would be seen as the typical American norm. In Georgia, often the husband and wife marry early and therefore, do not get a chance to really know and fall in love with and respect one another. From there, they follow the traditional family roles of moving in with the husband's family, and quickly becoming pregnant, the wife stays at home, while the husband works.”
Still, Nika said, they do sometimes clash over the smaller things in daily life that they attribute to being raised in different countries. At mealtimes, he said, food that is “normal and tasty to him” might not be to Stephanie. This sometimes influences how the girls feel about certain foods, which can lead to a larger discussion of what should be normal in their house. “There are times when these disagreements lead to conflicts, because we both think that we are right and none of us want to change our opinion and give in. I guess we just need to be more considerate of each other.”
But when it comes to raising confident girls, who can make their own life choices, Stephanie says she and Nika are a team and have set their own rules even though Georgia might not be quite on the same page.
“An ideal woman for me is a woman who is truly happy in her life, no matter the life she leads/chooses. For some, that may be the stay at home mom who dotes on her husband and children. For others, it may be the independent career woman. I believe that a woman (any person) should be able to live the life he/she chooses. That ideal may not be acceptable or understood by many in this culture, but it is understood by enough to make me feel free to be who I am here. For the rest, I simply don't have the time to care what they might think. This attitude in itself (not living to please or impress others) is not typical for Georgia, but that is slowly changing with time as well and I think it is healthy to have a balance of both. Live a moral life that makes you happy so long as it doesn't harm others around you.”
For now, Stephanie says, the girls are thriving and don’t seem bound by the traditional roles around them. When asked what they want to be when they grow up, Lucia replied an artist and a singer, Sofia said she wants to own a bakery where she does her own baking (and possibly also sing and dance), and Makayla wants to be a spy, a forensic scientist, or a clown.
By Suzette McLoone Lohmeyer