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As more and more of us travel the world and meet people from vastly different backgrounds, we are increasingly on the search for multicultural names. Many people try to find names that work in both cultures and languages in terms of pronunciation and spelling, but have you ever considered using a name that genuinely has roots in two (or more) languages?


Below are some names that, due to glorious serendipity and the finite ways that humans can put sounds together, have distinct origins in two cultures.

1. Anima—Anima is a name that could work in so many languages, blessed as it is with easy spelling and pronunciation. It works equally well in the East and in the West, as its roots can either come from Latin, where it means “soul,” or from Sanskrit, where it means “minute, tiny.”

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2. Anita—This one may surprise many of you. Anita is probably most familiar as the diminutive form of Anna, but did you know that Anita is also a Sanskrit name meaning unguided?

3. Arya—Arya is becoming increasingly common in the West, as a variation of Aria and, most recently, as a nod to Game of Thrones. However, Arya is also a unisex name in India meaning “noble”.

4. Asa—In English-speaking countries, Asa is best known as a biblical name stemming from the King of Judah. In this Hebrew context the name means “healer”. However, Asa is also a Japanese name with an equally pleasant meaning: “born in the morning”. While they do have slightly different pronunciations (AY-sa vs AH-sa), this is one cross-cultural name that could really work in an increasingly global world.

5. Asha—Another Game of Thrones name, Asha claims two distinct heritages: In India, it is a feminine name derived from the Sanskrit word for “wish” or “desire”. In Africa, Asha is a Swahili name derived from the Arabic name Aisha meaning “life”

6. Azami—This name is ancient in both the Persian and Japanese cultures, yet feels fresh and modern. The Persian meaning “thistle flower” and the Japanese meaning “greatest” make this a fabulous choice for the globetrotting family raising a plucky daughter.

7. Basia—In both the Polish and Hebrew languages, Basia is pronounced “Basha” and is a diminutive of another name – Barbara and Batya respectively.

8. Baz—Baz has come into prominence since the fame of Australian director Baz Luhrmann introduced us to it (which is ironic given that he wasn’t born with the name!). In English-speaking countries Baz can be short for Sebastian, Basil or Barry; however in Kurdish communities, the name Baz means falcon.

9. Caris—Caris is often used as a variation of the Welsh name Carys, meaning “love”; but it is also a name that is derived from the Greek word Charis meaning “grace” or “kindness” (the same root word as Charity or Carita). Either way, this name has a beautiful meaning.

10. Duska—Like so many of these names, Duska has two equally lovely meanings. Occasionally seen as a feminisation of the English word dusk, Duska is also a Croatian name meaning “soul” or “spirit”. If claiming the Croatian heritage, the pronunciation is “doosh-ka”.

11. Evander—Boxer Evander Holyfield brought this name to wider attention, which is appropriate given the meanings that can be attributed to this name. The Greek name Evander means “strong man”, while the Scottish name derives from the Norse term for “bow warrior”. Evander feels modern despite these two ancient roots and would work well among the 21st century’s Xanders and Evans.

12. Haris—Occasionally used as a variation of the English name Harris, Haris with one r is also a Bosnian name meaning “cultivator”. Harrison is still a popular name in the West, but the time might come when Haris, its multicultural cousin, might start getting a look in.

13. Idris—Thanks to charismatic and talented Idris Elba, Idris is probably one of the most famous dual citizens on this list. As an Arabic name, Idris means “to study” and is the name of one of the Koranic prophets. As a Welsh name, Idris means “lord”. Both roots are powerful and positive, making this a great choice for a cosmopolitan child.

14. Kala—In the Tamil culture, the name Kala means “virtue”, but over in the Pacific, Kala is the Hawaiian variation of Sarah, a name that means “princess”. Kala has strength as an international name beyond these roots as a name that is easily pronounced in most languages.

15. Kamal—In both the Hindi and Arabic cultures, Kamal is a masculine name that stems from quintessential cultural symbols. In Hindi, as the masculine version of the name Kamala, Kamal evokes the lotus flower; in Arabic, as one of the ninety-nine qualities of Allah, Kamal is associated with perfection.

16. Ken—Could it be time to reclaim this one from Barbie? Ken is a Japanese name meaning “healthy; strong,” while in English is it used as a shortened form of Kenneth, a Gaelic name meaning “born of fire” or “handsome”. Ken would work so well for parents looking for something that is powerful and positive in both the East and the West, if we can get past the doll!

17. Kim—Kim has not two but three heritages, making it truly international! In Scandinavia, Kim is often used as a shortened form of Joachim (meaning it is pronounced Keem). In Vietnam, Kim derives from the word for gold and is used as a feminine name. In the West, Kim is used for both boys and girls, often as a standalone name in the case of boys, and as a shortened form of Kimberly for girls. Kim is sometimes seen in Russia as a name used by Soviet die-hards as it is an acronym of the Communist Youth Party. Who’d have thought a Kardashian could be so cultured?

18. Laila—Laila is best known as one of the many spellings of the Arabic name Leila / Layla meaning “night” and in this vein has shot to popularity in the US (currently in the Top 200). However, the Sami people of Finland have long used this name as their version of Helga – a version which is probably more pleasing than the original to most English speakers.

19. Lina—In Latin-based languages, Lina is often used as a diminutive of any of the dozens of feminine names ending in -lina, such as Carolina, Adelina, Selina, Evangelina etc. In Arabic, Lina is a stand-alone name meaning “tender”. Over in India, Lina is also a stand-alone name derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “united”. A name that works in so many cultures is a bit of a superstar in this age of the global village.

20. Lulu—As a German diminutive of Louisa, Lulu is a cute-as-a-button girls’ name that feels modern and spunky. Lulu is also an Arabic name, meaning “pearl”, and could be used by anyone fond of a gemstone name.

21. Malik—In Arabic, Malik is a powerful name meaning “king”. But less well-known is Malik’s Greenlandic roots – there, Malik means “wave”. So there you have it – a name that works in the desert and in the snow.

22. Nia—Being short and sweet is almost enough to make any name international – but Nia has roots in both Africa and Wales. In Swahili, Nia means “resolve” or “purpose”. In Wales, Nia is used as the local variation of Irish Niamh, and therefore means “bright”. Nia has a third claim to multiculturalism in that it is and also has significance as the fifth day of Kwanzaa – an African-American celebration honoring African heritage across the African diaspora.

23. Noor—Dutch parents have long used this traditional diminutive for Nora or Eleonora as a stand alone name – so much so that Noor now has its own diminutive: Noortje. As such Noor is a perennial favorite of the Top 100 in both the Netherlands and Belgium. However, Noor is also an Arabic name meaning “light”. Wouldn’t Laila and Noor make a cute sibset for an international family?

24. Paz—Most of you will be familiar with this Spanish girls’ name meaning “peace”, but did you know that Paz is also a Hebrew name meaning “gold”? In its Hebrew usage, Paz can be both a feminine and a masculine name.

25. Raisa—In Yiddish, Raisa is “rose” and in Arabic, the name is the feminine version of Rais meaning “leader”. Beyond the Middle East, Russia claims Raisa as a name harking back to a 4th century martyr. Raisa works in so many places – a true rose of a name.

26. Samir—Samir is an Arabic name meaning “companion in evening talk”, one of the most fabulous name meanings out there, we think! In Sanskrit, Samir means “air” and is therefore a popular name in India as well. Samira is the feminine version of the name in both cultures.

27. Talia—Talia is an Indigenous Australian word meaning “by the water” and is common as a girls’ name in Australia (sometimes spelled Tahlia). Talia is also a Hebrew name meaning “dew from God.” Talia can also be used as a shortened form of the Russian name Natalia.

28. Zahara—If Angelina used it, you know it must be multicultural. Zahara is a Swahili name meaning “flower”, and is also a Hebrew name meaning “to shine”. In its similarity to the name of the desert, Zahara is likely to retain a distinctive and exotic feel to it, even as Zara becomes more commonplace.

Originally posted on Nameberry.

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So far 2020 has been a year of big changes for Meghan Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Earlier this month the royal couple announced their plans to step back as senior members of the royal family. Initially, the plan was for the couples to retain their royal tiles and raise their "son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born" while also give themselves the space to work and live in North America. Sometimes young parents have to make tough choices to do what's best for their new family and that can mean making changes that impact your family of origin.

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On Sunday, during a speech at a charity event for Sentebale (an organization Prince Harry co-founded to get support children living with HIV in Southern Africa), the Duke of Sussex explained that stepping back from being a senior royal wasn't easy but had to be done.

"The UK is my home and a place that I love," he explained. "That will never change...The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly," he said. "It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven't always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option."

This follows the Queen's announcement earlier this weekend. She stated that her family has found a way for Harry and Meghan to move forward, and it means they're not only not senior royals anymore, they do not have HRH titles (His Royal Highness or Her Royal Highness) anymore and "are no longer working members of the Royal Family."

The statement from the Queen reads, in part: "Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.

"I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.

"I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.

"It is my whole family's hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life."

The Queen's statement explains that Harry and Meghan have "shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home."

Basically, they're serious about being financially independent and they're going to pay rent on the cottage.

Untangling family issues can be hard, and it is difficult for anyone to imagine what it must be like to live this out on the world's stage. In her statement, the Queen said she understands the role the intense press scrutiny has played in the couple's decision to forge a new path, and that they will always be her family.

Whether you're leaving the royal family to move to Canada, or just trying to explain to your parents that your own family needs to move to another state, the challenges are real.

Here's to a new chapter for Harry and Meghan and all the other new parents writing their own stories.

[This post was originally published January 18, 2020. It has been updated.]

News

Motherhood is a juggling act. Whether you have one child or many, work outside the home or don't, have a partner or are doing this whole thing solo, you are always juggling something. So how on earth do we keep up the act? How do we ensure no ball gets dropped?

We don't.

All of us, every single one, lets something slip through our fingers on some occasion or another. And that's totally okay.

A friend from college recently commented on Instagram how peaceful and sweet my children seemed. I laughed out loud, and not an endearing chuckle, a wholehearted cackle. What a glorious and erroneous idea that my children are peaceful and sweet. I have three of these beautiful monsters, ages 12, 5 and 4 months. Our house sounds more like a child run circus than a zen meditation retreat.

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It is true that my children are sweet at times. And I will admit I try very hard to create a peaceful life and home, but those are not the two words I would ever use to describe our family. I might choose words like rambunctious, spirited, passionate and intense.

What I realized as I simultaneously smiled and snorted in laughter, was that I put a lot of work into creating a life on social media that looks just like that. Peaceful and sweet. I choose my words carefully, I edit my photos and of course choose only the best ones, the ones where everyone is smiling and we appear to love each other. The pictures of my children pulling each other's hair, stealing snacks and shouting that they hate each other don't get quite as many likes.

Don't get me wrong—my children often smile and we do love each other very much. But by carefully curating the life I post on social media I have unintentionally created something laughable. What a jolt to realize the very thing I'm striving for makes me laugh out loud when someone names it. Is there anything more inauthentic than that?

I am working to strive for authenticity and perfect imperfection.

I make mistakes, hurt those I love, burn dinner and that is what makes me human.

I drop the ball every single day in some large or small way—and that's okay. It is to be expected really.

It's what can give us the gift of connection. We can connect with one another via our faults and our vulnerabilities. We starve ourselves of this by pretending to be perfect.

As I write this I'm sitting in the front seat of my car in the parking lot of our local skate park, my youngest is napping in his car seat, my oldest is wearing a helmet and pads and is driving his new BMX bike as fast as he can up and down hills and ramps set at odd angles with weird curves among them.

This moment feels ideal t. The breeze blows through my open windows as my oldest is getting a great workout and my youngest slowly wakes up cooing.

We can only enjoy the moment if we are present within it. When I live my life constantly in a state of distraction, constantly keeping my eyes on all the balls I'm juggling, I'm not enjoying any of it.

I am not a master juggler at this moment in life. I don't think what I'm doing even looks like juggling. I do not have my eyes on all the balls, I am not even attempting to catch or toss them all in that perfect arc that looks so magical.

I prefer to relish these kinds of moments, soak up their joy, their peace, their sweetness and to do that I have to let go of the charade, I have to accept imperfection in the form of letting some balls drop.

I want to live a life full of authenticity and joy in the simple moments.

I want to live without the pressure of doing it all.

I want to give myself the gift of not doing everything the way it should be done by the imagined deadlines that cannot be met.

I want to enjoy my rambunctious, passionate children.

So I let the ball drop—and I'm okay with that.

Life

Feeding your new baby can be a beautiful experience, but it can also be really hard. We at Motherly have talked about it. Amy Schumer has talked about it. And now Kate Upton is talking about it, too.

Upton and her husband Justin Verlander became parents when their daughter Genevieve was born in November 2018, and in a new interview with Editorialist, Upton explains that while she loves motherhood she didn't always love breastfeeding.

"Having VeVe has changed my life in such a wonderful way," she explains, adding that in the early days of motherhood she felt "so much pressure"..."to be doing all these things, like breastfeeding on the go—when the reality, for me, was that breastfeeding was sucking the energy away from me. I realized I needed to calm down, to allow my body to recover."

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Breastfeeding can take up a lot of a mama's time and energy in those early weeks and months, and while Upton doesn't explicitly say whether she switched to formula, combo fed, pumped or what, it's clear that she did give herself some grace when it came to breastfeeding and found the right parenting pace by taking the pressure off of herself.

Upton took the pressure off herself when it came to her demanding breastfeeding schedule, and she's also resisting the pressure to keep up with a social media posting schedule.

"I want to be enjoying my life, enjoying my family, not constantly trying to take the perfect picture," she says. "I think my husband wants me to throw my phone away. We talk about it in the house all the time: 'Let's have a phone-free dinner.' We don't want [our daughter] thinking being on the phone is all that life is."

Whether the pressure to be perfect is coming from your phone or from society's conflicting exceptions of mothers it's a force worth rejecting. Upton is loving life at her own pace, imperfect as reallife can be.

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After the treat-filled sugar rush of holidays and birthdays, it can be hard to get back on track with eating healthy as a family. (What can I say, I love cake—and my kids do, too.) It's totally okay to hold your boundary for sugar in your kid's diet, no matter what that boundary is. And you can do it without being the bad guy.

Putting a positive spin on "the sugar issue" (letting kids know that they can have treats sometimes, but not all. the. time.) will help prevent sugar becoming an ongoing power struggle, which nobody wants.

Here are a few phrases that can help your kids eat less sugar, without creating a power struggle over treats:

1. "Holiday and birthday treats are so fun, but they're not for every day."

Acknowledge that all of the extra treats were fun (they were!). You can talk about how some foods are for special occasions and others are the ones we eat every day to have strong bodies and feel good.

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2. "I feel so much better when I eat lots of fruits and vegetables."

Instead of putting the emphasis on why sugar is bad, try focusing on all the good reasons to eat healthy foods. You can talk about how eating carrots gives us strong eyes, eating oranges keeps us from getting sniffles, or eating kale helps us feel good and have lots of energy for playing.

3. "Which fruit would you like to have with your lunch?"

Keep it fun by letting your child choose which healthy foods to eat. Two or three choices are fine. You can let them help pick at the grocery store or let them pick from the options you've selected—the important thing is to offer choice.

4. "Let's see if we can make a rainbow on your plate!"

Who doesn't love rainbows, especially among the under-six crowd? Use their universal appeal to your advantage and encourage kiddos to make their own edible rainbows.

Make it extra fun by writing a checklist with colored pencils, one checkbox for every rainbow color, and bringing it with you to the grocery store. Let your child choose one item from the produce section for every color.

5. "You can choose one treat with dinner, but candy isn't a choice for snack today."

Make sure kids know that they will still be able to enjoy treats sometimes. Instead of saying "candy makes you crazy," or "sugar rots your teeth," just let them know when you're okay with them having a treat. It may be every night after dinner, only on Friday nights, or it may not be until Valentine's Day, but having a clear boundary will help reduce the constant pleas for sweet treats.

6. "I think treats feel more special when we don't have them every day."

Talk to your child about how part of the fun of holiday treats is that they're out of the ordinary. They are special traditions we get to enjoy each year and they help make the holidays feel magical. Just as it wouldn't be as fun if we had a Christmas tree up all year or wore a Halloween costume every day, treats aren't as fun if we eat them nonstop.

7. "I hear that you really want candy. I can't let you have it right now, but it's okay to be disappointed."

Let your child know that you empathize with their feelings about not being able to eat what they want all of the time.

Sometimes children just need to be heard. It might be more important to them to know that you understand their feelings about treats than to actually get a treat.

8. "Let's think of a healthy treat we could get at the grocery store next week."

Brainstorm with your child and come up with a list of healthy treats you could bring home from your next grocery shopping trip. This might be a kind of fruit they haven't had in a while, a granola bar you don't usually buy, or the makings of a fun trail mix.

Part of the fun of treats is the ritual—you can still enjoy the sweetness without the extra sugar.

9. "Would you like to bake with me?"

Carry those fond memories of making Christmas cookies together into the new year to help wean kids off the holiday high of constant treats. Just find something you're okay with your child eating regularly, like a healthy muffin recipe, baked oatmeal, or energy bites—whatever meets your own nutritional guidelines for your family!

10. "I noticed you didn't sleep well when you ate those treats before nap time. Let's think of a better time for treats together."

You can explain the effects of sugar on the body without vilifying it. Sometimes just saying sugar is bad makes it all the more desirable or pits you against your child. But that doesn't mean you can't give them the facts. Just tell them plainly that sugar makes it harder for them to sleep well, makes it harder for them to concentrate, or whatever other effects you've seen.

Here's to a healthy 2020—you've got this, mama!

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