Raising Multi-Culti-Kids in our Global World

Raising Multi-Culti-Kids in our Global World

My twin daughters, for those who don’t know me well, are half Lebanese half Canadian.

For some people, that means we must eat a lot of hummus at home. For others, they wonder if I will ever take them to see where their Dad is from. No matter the culture, people always have some wild generalisations. But no one ever stops to ask the real question: “What is it like raising kids in between two cultures?”

I could tell you how fabulous it is, and that my daughters are not yet two and can understand quite a bit from three different languages. I could tell you that we eat amazing dinners of tabouli and shish tawook. That’s all true, but what’s truer is that raising a blended family is harder than it looks. Many people are under the impression that Canadians don’t really have a set “culture”. I can honestly say that nothing makes you discover your culture more than raising blended children.

When you raise blended kids, you are constantly searching for the perfect balance of both your families’ beliefs and traditions, and when they conflict you are left feeling guilty (hello, mom-guilt) and questioning “who really had it right?”.

The truth is that only you (mom and dad) can figure out what works best for you and your little one(s).

I’ve learned that doing things “right” doesn’t exist. I’m especially thankful that I have twins because it enlightened the fact that every child is different, and what works for one child may be completely different for another.

For those that know us very well, they know that one of my daughters already seems to take after the Lebanese side of the family. She loves their music and dancing to the sounds of both Arabic classics and pop. My other daughter absolutely hates loud music and prefers to listen to Dora the Explorer’s soundtrack (even better!).

But both of my daughters will sit in the back seat of the car and sing along to E’tazalt El Gharam. They both love turkey dinner and sleeping in t-shirts as soon as spring comes. They have warmer than average baths and they didn’t use blankets at night until they were well over a year old. They would eat Knafeh for every meal if they could and most importantly they know that they are surrounded by love from their Gilly & Popsy, Teta & Jedo, Aunts and Uncles, and 3amto.

And yes, I do hope to take my kids to Lebanon to see where their Dad is from and meet all of their extended family as much as I hope to take them to the sandy beaches of PEI and the Rocky Mountains. What comes first we will have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading!

-Mary Ellen

With this blog, we (Kate & Mary Ellen) hope to give you a glimpse into both of our lives as we raise our 3 blended-family children (and an international business) in our multi-cultural world. 




2 thoughts on “Raising Multi-Culti-Kids in our Global World

  1. Beautiful story from a loving family. I often wondered how you managed to bring 2 cultures together. I wonder the same about Kate. You are both blessed to have loving parents. I can only speak about Michael & Gill as I don’t know your in-laws. Am sure they are supportive too. Grandchildren are very special!
    The kids are lucky to be able to try all of these different foods. I love Lebanese cooking. Elio can send me a recipe any time..
    You’re both doing a wonderful job raising 2 lovely daughters. Keep it up and keep me posted.

    Much love,


    1. Jane,

      Thank you for the lovely comment.
      Both sides of the family are head over heels for the girls.
      There is an Arabic expression that says “There is no love greater than the love for the children of your child”.
      I hope to see you and Jerry soon. Here is a recipe for the chicken I mentioned in this post- Shish Tawook. There are lots of variations for this dish, but this is how we make it here.

      4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
      1/2 cup of lemon juice
      1 heaping tablespoon of garlic powder
      6 tablespoons of plain yogurt
      6 tablespoons of olive oil
      1.5 to 2 teaspoons of black pepper
      ⅓ teaspoon of paprika (optional)
      1+ teaspoon of salt (or to taste)

      Lebanese Garlic Paste to be served with shish tawook
      1 cup Yogurt, 1/2 cup Lemon, 1 heaping tablespoon Garlic Powder, 1 teaspoon Salt, 1 teaspoon Pepper)

      Mix all ingredients well together while rubbing the chicken
      Place in a covered container and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour (but I recommend doing it overnight for extra tender chicken)
      After marinating, remove from container and skewer the chicken
      Grill on medium-high heat for 12-18 minutes maximum
      Remove them from the grill, place them in an open pot and let sit for 6-8 minutes

      Serve with garlic sauce as mentioned above. It’s also great in pita bread as a wrap with cabbage, finely chopped parsley, lettuce, pickled turnip, tomato etc.

      Love to you both,
      Mary Ellen

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