I’m an American mom. I think I differ somewhat from my peers in that I embrace dirt (I love for my kids to be outside playing in the dirt or mud or forest); I’m not afraid for my children to come inside soaking wet from playing in the water or dirty from dirt. But apart from that and lots of reading, I’m still an average American Mom. I have no idea what that actually means (I can’t think of an accurate description of “American mom”), but I know I am: 1) American and 2) A Mom. So there you go.
When I was approached to review the book, Stuff Dutch Moms Like by Colleen Geske, I agreed because the title alone is intriguing. What DO Dutch Moms LIKE? With a good mixture of satire and truth author Colleen Geske breaks down the responsibilities of motherhood and explores what Dutch mom think. Covering topics from pregnancy to sleep schedules to mom guilt to education, Dutch Moms all have an opinion.
I read this book in one sitting; it’s a small, thick book, but the format includes eye catching graphics and cute little cartoonish “mom” characters, making the entire read fun and informative. There are also lots of pictures of Dutch parents interacting with their children. The subtitle says, “A celebration of Dutch parenting and why Dutch Moms have it all!”. That certainly catches one’s eye!
Stock full of information, I did take away a few gems from the book. One, was the lack of helicoptering by Dutch Moms. Children are allowed to be little and to explore the world. This is not negligence, this is giving children a safe place (home/parents) to return to after exploring with the parents hovering. I also loved the extensive talk about Daddy Days. Dutch Dads regularly schedule entire days to spend with their kids. WHAT A GIFT! That is a treasure of time for those children. My husband does this and it makes me so grateful for the way he intentionally builds into the lives of our children.
I did notice that a lot of the comments by the Dutch moms comparened their parenting philosophies to those of American Moms in the book. I didn’t think they were being mean in their comments, I just think it may have been the only other nationality that they knew to compare their philosophies to (one mom mentioned American mom bloggers). They talked about how foreign “Mommy wars” seemed to them. One comment, in particular stuck out to me. A Dutch Mom discussed how they had moved to the USA and their child’s teacher was talking with the parents about the child’s test score results. Finally, the Mom asked the teacher, “Is my child happy?” The teacher was astonished, but the Mom went on: “I have found children learn and thrive when they are happy. Is my child happy to be in your classroom?” I have spent a lot of time thinking about this; shifting the focus away testing abilities to how is the child thriving makes children less of a statistic and more of a thriving and growing little human.
A lot of parenting books tell parents what they should and shouldn’t do. Stuff Dutch Moms Like weaves in humor with how the Dutch parent. It’s funny, but with a kick too. If you are looking for a lighthearted parenting book, I recommend Stuff Dutch Moms Like!
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