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Navigating the intricate journey of motherhood involves a tapestry of challenges and triumphs unique to the experience. Infusing innovative strategies and adopting a fresh perspective can elevate this expedition into a profoundly fulfilling and delightful adventure within the complex realm of parenting. However, within this transformative journey, a thought-provoking dilemma emerges when cultural norms unnecessarily add complexity to the already challenging landscape of motherhood.
Ana Gildersleeve, a notable Spanish mother celebrated on TikTok, has garnered widespread recognition for her candid evaluation of the less-than-ideal customs that American mothers often grapple with. She shares why, and many moms agree. After living in Kansas for ten years, she said she thought she was depressed but then realized she was just living in the wrong country- where parenting is plain boring.
Here are her top reasons for thinking this.
1. American Moms Have No Social Life During the Week
She says that all working adults seem to just hang out at their homes after work. Or for parents, they go home after their kid’s activities. She noticed there’s a lot of time spent at home during the week, and all the “going out” time is planned for the weekends. In Spain, most parents are out socializing at playgrounds after school.
2. Playgrounds Aren’t Parent Friendly
She also notes that playgrounds in the U.S. are boring for parents. In Spain, she notes that many playgrounds have coffee shops or bars attached to the playgrounds so that parents can socialize with a coffee or glass of wine while their kids play.
As a frequent traveler to Europe with kids, I can vouch for this. Parks are always in close vicinity to parent-friendly activities.
3. Play Dates Need to Be Scheduled 2 Weeks (or More) in Advance
This is one that I totally understand because we keep our family schedule flexible, but most American parents do not. The Spanish mom says all she needs to do in Spain is text her friends 20 minutes before heading to the park, and a few of them will likely show up. Whereas, in the U.S., play dates are often planned weeks or even months in advance.
4. There’s No Village
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but Americans spread out across the country, often away from their families- taking that village away. Ana notes that most families try to stick closer together, especially when their kids are little.
5. Grandparents Aren’t Involved
Ana says she’s noticed that American grandparents don’t want to help “raise” their grandkids. She notes that the mentality is different in Spain, that her parents (and other grandparents) want to help and love being involved in their grandkids’ lives. They do it because they want to, not because they have to.
6. Strict Bedtimes That Require Parents to Drop Everything
Eva says American parents are very strict about bedtimes. She’s noticed that no matter what a parent is doing, and even if they’re having fun- they’ll drop everything to get their kids to bed on time, as early as 7. If you’re out later in the U.S. with kids, someone might perceive you as a “bad mom.”
On the other hand, she says strict bedtimes are not a thing at all in Spain. She says if parents plan to stay out late, they’ll bring a stroller for the kid to fall asleep.
7. Parents Adapt to Their Kid’s Schedules
She says in the U.S., parents go out of their way to adjust to their kid’s schedules. In Spain, kids learn to adapt to their parent’s schedules and learn the world doesn’t revolve around them.
8. Moms Are Expected to Be Boring
Finally, Ana notes that moms seem to lose their spark after having kids in the U.S. Moms feel guilty about hanging out with their girlfriends or going out for a night of fun without kids. In Spain, moms aren’t expected to become “boring” and are encouraged to stay social for their own mental health and self-care (Amen to that!).
9. Kids Are Expected to Behave at All Times
There are many places in the U.S. where kids are expected to behave (i.e. no tantrums or loud behavior)- such as restaurants, stores, and even airplanes. This makes moms leery of going out anywhere since no kid is perfect. Eva points out that all places in Spain are baby and kid-friendly- no need to stay at home, just bring them with you and figure it out! Europeans tend to be much more open-minded to kids out and about, as they’re everywhere.
10. Pressure for Moms to Be Perfect
Perfect kids, perfect clothes, always put together… some moms feel these expectations weighing on them, which keeps them hiding at home or feeling anxious about their life. Spanish moms recognize the importance of balance and self-care, which means the house won’t always be perfectly clean or the kids dressed to a tee- and that’s alright.
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