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Russian parents - unique challenges

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While editing photos from the last winter journey, I was reminded of a scene that plays out all over Russia in the brutal winter months. It doesn't matter where this photo was taken, because it's symbolic of almost every city I've driven through during all my visits to the country. Usually it's mothers struggling to push a stroller on unclear roads or sidewalks covered in snow, ice, and most often a combination of both. Or, they labor to carry a heavy stroller and child up or down steps in metro stations. I began to wonder whether the country in which you live matters when it comes to raising children?

I think so, for conditions everywhere aren't the same, though the motivation of any good parent around the globe is the well-being and development of their child. In the U.S., I rarely see situations like this and there are several reasons why. First, we're a lazy society, and elevators or escalators exist in almost all major shopping centers or transport hubs. Second, most people have cars, and aren't struggling to walk everywhere in bad weather conditions for basic chores or necessities in life. Outside of big cities, parking is rarely an issue, and even in big cities there are plenty of garages but you will pay a lot to park in them in places like Washington, DC (around $25/day), and in New York City the cost is even more astronomical. Finally, we're a heavily regulated society, with a lot of laws on both the Federal and State level.

What is the result of all these laws? There are personal burdens you must bear, or face some kind of consequence. In the U.S., store owners, and even home owners in certain residential areas, are required to clear sidewalks and pathways, otherwise they face fines. Similarly, local officials are under pressure from their constituents to have safe road conditions and timely plowing in the event of major storms. If they fuck up, they will be held accountable in most cases and face public outrage, or the loss of their position in the next election cycle. Yes, many Americans are whiners, and don't wish to struggle so much in daily life. First World problems, but also First World benefits because leaders are required to act, not merely exist and sit on their thrones. I already showed you how my sister's suburban neighborhood responded after a blizzard a few months ago. The post is here. We also frequently close major highways and roads when they become extremely hazardous due to ice or snow to prevent accidents and deaths.

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I look at this photo and immediately panic due to the unsafe conditions. Imagine if the driver was irresponsible or drunk, coming up this hill at a high speed? The mother and her child are right in the pathway of danger. So, in my view, there are unique challenges to parenting in Russia, and all countries. For those in the U.S., you can share the frustrating challenges of raising children here.

The best parents are selfless, and play one of the most vital roles by raising intelligent, healthy and well-rounded humans who will contribute something positive to the world in the future. I've never once felt an obligation or desire to have this responsibility, and the reasons why are well-known to readers and documented here.


What do you think is the most challenging aspect of parenting?

P.S.: Yes, I know there are many wonderful and rewarding aspects of having children, but this post is about the challenges. Similarly, there are lots of pros to living child free. A personal decision, as all things in life.


Comments

( 127 comments — Leave a comment )
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moskitow
Apr. 1st, 2016 11:57 am (UTC)
You can add houses without elevators to this challenge. I used to live on the fourth floor......A child, a backpack, a stroller and bags with food up and down several times a day. Well, good thing was I didn't have to go to the gym and didn't have any problems with my weight!
I had many challenges here in America as well: no sidewalks in suburbs(that's how they solved the problem of fines for uncleared sidewalks!). Lots of junk food everywhere you go with your child. It was a disaster. Advertisement without any control whatsoever during kids programs on TV(and then your child is bombarding you with all the stuff she wants you to buy).That's why I've got rid of the television altogether!
Then in high school the big problem was drugs....
Never again....One child is my maximum. If I knew before, I would've been child free. Too late for this now :)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 12:01 pm (UTC)
In my area, there are sidewalks in most suburbs. I guess it depends on where you live. :) Sure, advertisements are targeted based on the programming, so during kids shows they are promoting toys, games, etc. and during sports events they are promoting beer, cars... Isn't this a common marketing strategy in all countries? Now I live with my nephew for weeks at a time, and become so exhausted. :)) I have the best of both worlds - child free, but still surrounded by tons of kids, not bearing the ultimate responsibility for them. This arrangement works best for me.
(no subject) - moskitow - Apr. 1st, 2016 12:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 12:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peterkaymd - Apr. 1st, 2016 03:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
aborigen72
Apr. 1st, 2016 12:12 pm (UTC)
Специально создаём трудности,чтобы их преодолевать;))
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 12:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, otherwise most Russians are bored in life. Struggle is a foundation of their soul. :))
anlestr
Apr. 1st, 2016 12:12 pm (UTC)

Есль яндекс правильно перевел то, самое сложное в воспитании ребенка, не навязвть ему свой сценарий жизни. Дети не наша собственность. Мы как родители можем подготовить ребеночка к самостоятельной жизни, а не проживать жизнь за него, словно паразит. Но при этом важно сохранить близкие и теплые отношения! Это сожно, это не близко нашей культуре. Но такой баланс делает счастливыми и родителей и детей.

peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 02:00 pm (UTC)
Привет. :) Согласен!
Привет. :) Согласен! - montrealex - Apr. 1st, 2016 02:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
But thank you, grammar nazi. :)) - montrealex - Apr. 1st, 2016 02:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sorry, I have no shame. :)) - montrealex - Apr. 1st, 2016 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Sorry, I have no shame. :)) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 03:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: But thank you, grammar nazi. :)) - den_dark - Apr. 2nd, 2016 08:34 am (UTC) - Expand
very rude and aggressive by itself. - montrealex - Apr. 2nd, 2016 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: very rude and aggressive by itself. - den_dark - Apr. 4th, 2016 02:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
maksipes
Apr. 1st, 2016 12:32 pm (UTC)
o man, as far as I'm concerned most americans are idlers and liars. (I don't want to be rude, sorry me if it does) Just look at theyr streets after a blizzard.Usually they don't even try to clean them! They are waiting for when it melts! You can even see this in your own post about a blizzard. As for me I can't see there much efforts to clean the streets. People cleaned only their driveway.

Edited at 2016-04-01 12:33 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 12:34 pm (UTC)
Excuse me, and why do you think most Americans are "idlers and liars"? Probably most of the luxuries and tech systems and platforms you use were created by Americans. :)) I wrote my post during the blizzard, and even while the snow was falling, people in the neighborhood were cleaning it up, and there were plows on the streets.

Edited at 2016-04-01 12:36 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - maksipes - Apr. 1st, 2016 02:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrey_kaminsky - Apr. 1st, 2016 03:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrey_kaminsky - Apr. 1st, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maksipes - Apr. 1st, 2016 03:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 03:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maksipes - Apr. 1st, 2016 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
hiding88
Apr. 1st, 2016 01:27 pm (UTC)
Another stupid post writen for a cheap populatiry. No suplrise you are such a good friends with Macos)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 01:48 pm (UTC)
Why is the post stupid? It's merely an observation from my travels, and there is no "yellow" title in the style of macos. :) Btw, I also want to say that for you such scenes are totally normal, but for an outsider they are still unusual and different. Every time I'm in Russia and see people walking in the middle of nowhere, or fragile old ladies trying to make their way down horrible sidewalks or streets, it still shocks me. You are just immune to it, because this is the environment in which you have become accustomed.

Edited at 2016-04-01 02:04 pm (UTC)
elksi
Apr. 1st, 2016 01:31 pm (UTC)

Its not about law or lazy society. It is russian tradition - to walk with pram for 3 hours every day. So they just choose new routs for walk, sometimes uncomfortable.

peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 01:58 pm (UTC)
Walk 3 hours a day? And when do they work? :) No, it is also about laziness and not taking care of your surroundings.
(no subject) - cecille_abril - Apr. 1st, 2016 02:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 02:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elksi - Apr. 1st, 2016 02:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
perycalypsis
Apr. 1st, 2016 01:48 pm (UTC)
A case for Mulder and Scully
A young man from USA Colin Madsen - a student of one of the universities of Irkutsk - missing in the village of Arshan in Buryatia, not far from Baikal on 27 March.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 01:58 pm (UTC)
Didn't hear about it, but I'll research it online. I like such mysteries.
(no subject) - perycalypsis - Apr. 1st, 2016 02:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 02:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - perycalypsis - Apr. 1st, 2016 02:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
ottonturk_g
Apr. 1st, 2016 01:49 pm (UTC)
lol. You should add an article about this problem in neighbour Canada!
I don't believe that all pedestrian roads are cleaned there.
But problem of Russia in bizzard and mug on the pedestrian in huge cities. It trust that fucking beaurocrats are driving by cars. They don't care whether pedestrians are well. There children also don't care it.
So i really want one day to see them all hanged.....
About the problem it is exaggerated: there are many north cities in the world in Finland and Canada Nunavut region where it is not possible to clean.
Cars are not so important like public transport, bycicles and medicine and emergency care help
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 01:57 pm (UTC)
In Canada, I was only in the Yukon Territory and it was not during winter months. In Russia, it's good to be an official, or holy person. :) Because most church areas and pathways are always cleared, for instance as I wrote about in Vologda. The rest of the sidewalks in the city area were covered in huge holes, snow, puddles, ice...but look at the churches. :))

 photo 883278_900_zpsptwxyxsf.jpg
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Apr. 1st, 2016 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
voleala
Apr. 1st, 2016 02:14 pm (UTC)
O, yes! The country matters. Everyday I feel lucky that I raise my twin daughters in Southern California, specially when I think about my lj friends with twins also from Russia or other cold places and how they have to put layers and layers of clothes on their kids to take them out for a walk.
I have no complains.
So far, the most challenging aspect for me is the lack of sleep.

P.S. I totally respect (and understand) other people's decision to be child free.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 02:20 pm (UTC)
There is little respect for the child free lifestyle here on LJ and RuNet, unless you happen to be a man. :)) Then, of course, it doesn't matter if you're older, single and child free. No one judges single, childless male bloggers in the same way they judge me. Thus, it's logical to conclude that for many sectors of Russian society, women are still expected to marry, pop out babies, and any other life choice is "abnormal", or seen as a waste of a woman's life. There are many ways to make positive contributions to the world - procreation is only one of them.
yermakoff
Apr. 1st, 2016 02:16 pm (UTC)
The gov. Prepares its citizens to win any war :))) mothers, kids, all - are prepared to become SWAT soldiers :))

Ofcourse it's a joke.

The issue is with layers of irresponsibility from minor local MP up to top of the governor.

Saying that - people agree to take and live thru these conditions by default as they dont even know that it can be different!

But I think it will change, but it wont take overnight. Decades and decades.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 03:01 pm (UTC)
Exactly - they don't know it can be different, nor do they demand it. So, everything stays the same. :) Change is slow, but there is hope for the future. And it's good to have some battles and hardships in life so you're more prepared to deal with adversity, which finds us all at some point. As you stated with your SWAT/war analogy. :)

Edited at 2016-04-01 03:01 pm (UTC)
andrey_kaminsky
Apr. 1st, 2016 03:50 pm (UTC)
Деффки
Physical activities saves women from sagging of boobs. If the second coming of Christ will occur, he will come here and precisely for this reason.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 03:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Деффки
You're wrong. I have big boobs, and they don't fluctuate much in size or gravitational pull, despite my constantly shifting weight and activity levels. :)) But I suppose for some females, it's different. So, there must be some other incentive for Christ to make Russia his landing place during the second coming. I'm sure you can think of some. :)
Re: Деффки - andrey_kaminsky - Apr. 1st, 2016 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Деффки - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 04:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Деффки - andrey_kaminsky - Apr. 1st, 2016 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Деффки - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
kremlin_curant
Apr. 1st, 2016 03:51 pm (UTC)
Russians love to be patriotic. It means you mustn't complain to some inconvenience in your life as i.e. to have the good sidewalk for the mothers with trollers. Otherwise you can be call the traitor of the motherland.
andrey_kaminsky
Apr. 1st, 2016 04:12 pm (UTC)
Да ты гонишь:)
Отдохни, ослабь свой натиск на сеть. Очевидно же, что уже перегрелся:)
(no subject) - kremlin_curant - Apr. 1st, 2016 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrey_kaminsky - Apr. 1st, 2016 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kremlin_curant - Apr. 1st, 2016 05:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
dkfl
Apr. 1st, 2016 04:06 pm (UTC)
No single new school has been built in my city for the last 30 years.
Parenting is a permanent struggle in crowded cold environment with bad ecology.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 04:53 pm (UTC)
In what city do you live? Quality of life always varies depending on city and region. I can't compare my life here in Northern Virginia to life in rural Alabama or Tennessee.
(no subject) - dkfl - Apr. 1st, 2016 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
irisha8787
Apr. 1st, 2016 04:38 pm (UTC)
As someone mentioned above, they walk not because they don't have a car, but because it is required. 3 hours of walking with a stroller a day. They say fresh air (and cold air during winter) is good for kid's immune system (although I don't know if there is any fresh air left outside - hehe).

Did you know that in the US the average amount of time kids spend outside is less than the amount of time outside prisoners spend in jail? also.. that kids stopped exploring, they are pretty much not allowed outside anymore. When i was growing up, we would run around the neighborhood all day without supervision, go to school by ourselves, crossing the streets, buying groceries, etc. Anyways I got off topic, but in Russia mothers believe that the kid should go for a walk and go to a playground every day. If the mom is working, then whoever is watching the kid should push the stroller for hours (grandmas for example).
After the kid turns 7, they go to school and then do homework at home, while waiting for mom to come from work. They learn not to use matches, not to stick scissors in the power outlets, not to light curtains on fire.

peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 04:52 pm (UTC)
I really didn't know about this Russian tradition of walking with a stroller three hours a day...first I've heard of it. You think American moms never take their kids to playgrounds? :)) I don't know why you think they "aren't allowed outside anymore." The amount of time a child spends outside varies, of course. My nephew and other small cousins play outside all the time in nice weather, and there are always tons of young kids running around my parent's neighborhood on bikes. I just looked at my iPhone and grabbed a few shots of all the outside fun they have, including playgrounds, sports, etc. However, it's definitely a global phenomenon that kids are now more attached to iPads, electronic devices, etc. I've seen it even in Russia many times in Moscow, where kids are playing on an iPad, or other device on the metro or at the table. Different generation, different ways to entertain themselves. This unfortunately has a negative impact on imagination and exploration. :((

 photo IMG_9937_zpsrlk7gmas.jpg

Edited at 2016-04-01 04:59 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - irisha8787 - Apr. 1st, 2016 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 1st, 2016 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - irisha8787 - Apr. 1st, 2016 06:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Apr. 2nd, 2016 12:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - qi_tronic - Apr. 2nd, 2016 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 2nd, 2016 08:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skifa - Apr. 1st, 2016 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 2nd, 2016 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
voron_degtyarsk
Apr. 1st, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
Почему данный блог всё время вылазит в русскоязычный топ? Он должен быть в другом разделе. Модераторов - на мыло)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 1st, 2016 05:30 pm (UTC)
Because my readers are 95% native Russian speakers who understand English, and most of them are living in Russia. Plus, I'm part of the Cyrillic sector of LJ. But this post isn't hanging in the TOP, so not sure how you found it. :)
(no subject) - fiona_stockwell - Apr. 4th, 2016 02:16 am (UTC) - Expand
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