French Parenting Myths Busted by Parisian Expat City Mamas
But being pregnant in Paris does give you superpowers #fact
BY Sarah & Amber OF Becoming maman
Guys, MAD CITYKIN CRUSH ALERT. We struck up a friendship the way friendship is struck up these days…on the gram. One day Becoming Maman slid into our DMs and we’re not sure if it was the phrase “Pram cam” (you must check out this genius video series) or “expat moms doing stand up comedy in France” that had us hooked, but we knew we had met Citykin spirit animals who were just surrounded by better behaved kids, more fashionable parent friends and carbs that somehow made you lose weight the more you ate them. Speaking of everything being better in France…..we needed to know if it was true. Amber is English, Sarah is American but their kids are French. They created a comedy show exploring the complications and the hilarity that arises when raising your children in a different culture and in a different language.They are raising French children one bilingual tantrum at at time and they are here to dispel ALL the French Parenting Myths:
French Parenting Myth #1
French kids are super stylish. TRUE.
Yeah that toddler definitely looks better in their sweater than you do, and theirs has snot and food on it! What gives? It must be something in their baby genes or potentially bébé jeans. Watching French children at the playground is a real-time ad for Jacadi. And yes, they do wear tiny baby scarves. Chicness is hereditary apparently.
French Parenting Myth #2
French kids don’t throw food. FALSE...but mostly true.
I mean my kid has her French passport and has also definitely chucked some some spaghetti on the ground. I vacuum under the table after every meal like the best of them. But at 2.5 years old she can also use cutlery and drink from a cup. Oh la la! French people take their meals seriously and it starts from birth! Baby led weaning is looked at with raised eyebrows. Finger foods, even for adults, are a no-no. Just watch a French person eat a burger with a knife and fork and you’ll wonder what planet the Gallic live on. To complicate issues, high chairs don’t exist in restaurants in Paris. Children, even the smallest ones with the worst motor skills, are expected to sit à table during the meal clutching a fork like it was a French flag like the rest of their fellow citizens. How’s that for égalité? I’ve witnessed with my own eyes a group of under 3s sitting patiently at a table covered with bonbons and birthday cake waiting to be served. Just like, sitting there, with no chaos! I took photos to send to my Mom because she couldn’t believe it. BELIEVE IT!
French Parenting Myth #3
French kids sleep through the night. TRUE-ish.
In all my years here I’m still trying to crack how the hell an entire nation of parents is managing to put their 3 month old babies to bed and get some rest!!! I’m not sure if you have to pass through a French vagina to get some kind of enzyme or they simply close the door and say “Goodnight chérie” with zero guilt or fucks given. However, when digging deeper I do realize new parents lose all sense of time. A night suddenly becomes defined as 4 consecutive hours of darkness, because compared to 2 hours of sleep that is night! And most of my French girlfriends seem to qualify this as STTN. However, more research is needed. I’ll check back after #2 is born and try to get my French citizenship in the meantime, just in case.
French Parenting Myth #4
French kids don't snack. FALSE!
I have one word for you: GOUTER. Not only do they snack but it has a special word and time during the day! Yes, I said time. Every day at 4pm French children get wild with their goûters. French kids may eat pretty balanced food at mealtimes but when it comes to the goûter they don’t mess around. Trust me no one is eating organic kale chips. Anyone care for a chocolate sandwich? The tartine au chocolat is a generous slice of baguette, buttered, with a chocolate bar wedged in between. The couture version of a s’mores. True it is only ONE snack a day but when the school bell rings they rush to the boulangerie and stuff themselves with delicious cakes. All while their mothers look on wishing they could do the same….there’s a reason french women don’t get fat! But that’s a different book and article...
French Parenting Myth #5
French parents are laid back and in control. FALSE!
You won’t find helicopter parents here. French parents are too busy living their own best lives and giving over total control of their children to the well-oiled machine that is the French education system. They aren’t necessarily laid back, but extremely trusting of the system which screams 60 million French people can’t be wrong. Children are handed over to the very capable hands of the crèche, public daycare, at 3 months old and are then seamlessly passed from crèche to the public preschool maternelle, which is now mandatory for all children starting at 3. After that they keep cruising to elementary school and beyond. French schools are free, reliable - when the staff or teachers aren’t on strike, and serve 3 course meals at lunch. Who needs to worry! Also why else are we paying ALL the tax dollars, I mean euros.
French Parenting Myth #6
French kids are well-behaved. FALSE.
French kids are assholes. Actually all kids are assholes - have you been around any kids lately? And that’s kind of my point. French kids aren’t really so different, although French children do speak amazing French. Who needs Rosetta Stone when you can birth your own French tutor! But seriously, the French do things differently but they don’t have all the answers. But if they do my French husband has done a terrible job of passing that information on to me. I’m stumbling through parenting with my little Parisian family one bilingual tantrum at a time and trying to bring some humor along the way.
So much do you love Amber and Sarah?!? Have no fear, they have a podcast so you can continually hang out with them! Go download their podcast.