A recent article in New York Magazine entitled, The Real Reason You’ll Never Be Able to Parent Like a French Mom, shares that France is having more babies than ever before.
Meanwhile, in the US, a recent report by the Urban Institute found that women, particularly millennial women, are “reproducing at the slowest pace of any generation in U.S. history”.
Interesting, right? Naturally you’re probably wondering why that is.
Maybe it’s because in France, new mothers get 16 full weeks of paid leave and an allowance, courtesy of the government, for each child?
Or maybe it’s because the overall perception of raising children in France is different than in America?
As you may or may not know, the brains behind La Petite Crème, an outstanding line of natural diaper care products, are two French women who can speak directly to what it means to be a French mommy.
Read on to see three differences between raising children in France vs child-rearing America.
Difference #1: Food & Table Manners
In France, children are taught from a young age to properly use silverware and eat from adult plates (China). They even start using metal silverware in daycare.
In America, there is no standard in raising children with table manners. Metal silverware is considered dangerous and mom needs to be around to ensure their child does not hurt himself.
Difference #2: Terrible 2's
This common American phrase used by parents across the nation does not exist in the French language. Instead, French parents adopt the attitude that children are not “little adults” and view their darlings as little people looking for limits. Look and you shall receive.
In America, parents view their terrible two’s monster as “the boss” of the house and work to accommodate their most pressing needs. At night, parents drink wine and wonder how they got themselves into this mess in the first place.
Difference #3: Adult Time is Expected, Not Desired
In France, mothers value their free time without the filter of “mom guilt” hanging over their head. They teach their children early on that mom and dad have needs as well, and they will be taken care of. It is also perfectly normal for a French mother to spend a day (or even a weekend, oh my!) away from her children without being shamed by other mothers and the rest of society.
In America, mother’s guilt is worn as a badge of honor. Women who have children are now mommies and must tend to their babies with the zeal of a lion protecting her cubs in the wild. A day or weekend away from the baby is considered abandonment, but you’ll need to find a babysitter before you get that far anyway.
What do these three differences have in common?
They all acknowledge that the parents were there before the child.
Much like "put your oxygen max on before assisting others", French parenting is based on the concept that the child is to fit into the existing parents' life.
At La Petite Crème, we believe there is no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting – by why not consider a way that makes YOUR life easier?
Michelle Dempsey MS, CPRW
A Native-New Yorker with a heart as big as her personality, Michelle has made South Florida her home. As a mommy and wife, Michelle devotes her life to making the people around her feel loved, happy and important. When she is not writing, she can be found enjoying the outdoors with her family, enjoying Fort Lauderdale life with friends, and indulging in coffee, from sunup to sundown. Michele is the author of The Trusted Mama.