Don't want to be a kiasu mother? Get some tips from the world's most relaxed mums!
These lessons on how to be a relaxed (and happy) mummy, all the way from the Netherlands, are just exceptional.
According to a UNICEF report, Dutch children are the happiest in the world and so are their mothers.
When most other mums around the world are running after their kids, stressed and frazzled, how do Dutch mums keep their cool? What are their secrets to staying happy and relaxed?
Mihal Greener, writing for The Washington Post, has lived in the Netherlands with her three children for seven years, and believes she knows the answers.
Here are five lessons that we can all learn from the Netherlands and Dutch mums on how to chill… and stay that way!
1. Minimum competition with other parents
We know how much pressure there is on parents in general to “keep up with the Joneses”.
So if your neighbour throws a unicorn-themed party for her little girl, then of course you must outdo this and throw a bigger and better party with unicorns and rainbows.
This is not the case in the Netherlands. Even though Dutch mums live in one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, and therefore there really is no hiding from their neighbours, they just don’t feel the need to compete.
As Greener explains,
“Parents aren’t pulled into a vortex where each birthday party needs to be bigger and better than the last, or where clothes will determine social standing at school.
“Kids’ parties are simple and, most importantly, ‘gezellig’ (cozy). They are usually celebrated at home with a small circle of friends and spending around 10 euros ($11) on a gift is perfectly acceptable.”
2. Kids aren’t expected to fulfil the unfulfilled dreams of their parents
One of the things that Greener noticed was that Dutch kids’ accomplishments (or shortcomings) aren’t judged as a product of their parenting.
She recollects how surprised she was when a Dutch parent casually mentioned how her son was smarter than a friend of his.
Greener wasn’t taken aback because of the actual information, but rather, the way it was offered: “matter of fact, devoid of ego and without a hint of subtext that this somehow made her son better than his friends.”
3. There is little pressure on kids
In a culture where there is little or no pressure on adults to stand out or be different, there is also no pressure on kids to be exceptional.
Dutch primary schools usually don’t dole out homework, and even better — students have one afternoon a week off school!
Greener explains, “Dutch children are given lots of autonomy and the freedom to explore, while parents aren’t burdened with the expectation that their child has to be the best in order to succeed.”
4. A mum-friendly work culture
Over 70 percent of Dutch women work part-time — and this is believed to contribute hugely to their relaxed, easy-going nature as mums.
This ultra mum-friendly work culture “gives Dutch women the freedom to stay engaged in the workplace, earn money and nurture a professional identity while still having time to meet a friend for coffee.”
Working part-time gives women the ability to enjoy motherhood and their careers… and this makes them great at both.
5. A supportive government
The Dutch social welfare state provides an important safety net that takes a lot of pressure off parents and kids alike, says Greener.
Schooling is mostly free, or nominal fees are charged. In addition, compulsary health insurance takes care of most medical expenses. In addition to all this, Dutch parents “even get an quarterly stipend from the government to help cover the costs of raising a child.”
Wish you could head to the Netherlands right now, mums? We sure wish we could!
Do share your opinion about this article in a comment below. We would love to hear from you!
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