Raising Kids in a Multicultural Relationship
I want to share one of my most challenging relationship moments with you. Not because I want to re-live it (believe me I do not!) but because I imagine many of you can relate.
(Deep breath…here it goes) Back when my husband I were dating, the conversation came up about the future of our relationship. Things had been going well for a few months and now it was time to see where this was leading. Since I’m Jewish and my husband is Muslim, one of the first things that came up was how we would raise children. It was important to him that we raise them Muslim and it felt like I would be betraying my roots and culture if they didn’t identify with being Jewish. We also come from very different cultural backgrounds (he’s West Indian and I’m White and Jewish) that made it really unclear how we would navigate a life together.
I remember feeling that if we couldn’t figure this out our relationship would be over. I felt overwhelmed, scared, confused, and hurt. We struggled to have conversations (which included both tears and anger) about how we could raise children, what our families would think, and how our relationship would realistically work long term. Our conversations kept going in circles. At that time I wished I knew someone that had been in my shoes or someone who had the answers from working with people that had been in my shoes.
I frantically searched the internet looking for organizations, people, books, articles, and anything else I could find on multicultural relationships, interfaith relationship, and Muslim Jewish relationships (which no surprise here, really not much existed). I was looking for a roadmap for how to figure this out. But instead we just kept having conversations that sounded like we were on repeat. We both had strong opinions and couldn’t figure out how to move forward.
Well fast forward a few years and we are married with 2 kids.
But our journey of figuring it out shouldn’t have been that hard. That is what made helping other multicultural and interfaith families so important to me. It’s how I decided to create the Mix Match and Blend toolkit. It’s because multicultural and interfaith couples and families should have what they need to feel confident in how to solve problems and grow together.