Motherhood

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

We are thrilled to launch our third annual installment of Motherhood Around the World. First up: My friend Penny lives with her husband Hugo and one-year-old Oscar in Amsterdam. (We were lucky enough to visit her a few years ago.) Here, she shares 16 surprising things about raising a child in the Netherlands…

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

Penny’s background: When I moved to Amsterdam for work in 2011, my first impression was that it was a beautiful, incredibly international city. Not only are there tourists from all over the world (often, far too many tourists), but there is a big “expat” culture here. There are lots of young people in their 20s and 30s working and living here, hailing from all parts of the world. That makes it very easy and navigable to live here as an expat.

A few years ago, I met my husband Hugo, who is French, and we now have a son, Oscar. We live in the east of Amsterdam (Oost), which is a mellow, family-friendly area right on the river. It’s not only super livable, but also has a great mixture of cultures. We’re total Oost fans now.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

On biking everywhere: You see an unbelievable number of bikes on the street at any given moment. The school rush hour in our neighborhood is hilarious to observe; I’ve never seen so many people with young children either on their bikes or biking next to them, all waiting patiently at the stop lights, then taking off like Formula 1 drivers as soon as it turns green. It’s a circus out there.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

You can recognize expat babies because they’re the ones wearing helmets. We bought our son a huge one. Already our six-year-old neighbor has asked, Why is he wearing a helmet? At least we’ve made it through the first year.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

On family bikes: Many parents have one, two, three, even four children’s bike seats. Bakfiets, or cargo bikes, are popular, too. You’ll also often see a little kid riding their own bike alongside a parent holding onto their shoulder. Kids get super comfortable riding from a young age, often as early as two years old. They start off with a wooden balance bike, with no pedals. If they walk fast enough, it starts gliding.

On toughness: People here bike so quickly. Google Maps will give a walking, biking and driving time for trips around Amsterdam, and for biking and walking we double it for ourselves because the Dutch are so much faster than we are, probably because they’re twice as tall. For the Dutch, it’s unquestioning that you would bike in all weather. The kids here are also often “underdressed” by American standards — for example, not wearing hats or mittens. They have a sense of being super tough.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

On childbirth: Holland is one of the few western countries that still regularly does home birth. [Twenty percent of births in the Netherlands are done at home, compared to less than 2% in the United States, England, France and Germany.] They treat pregnancy as a normal, healthy thing; it’s very de-medicalized. For a person like me, that’s great, since it’s very easy for me to get anxious about medical stuff. I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting and found it helpful, but a bit frustrating. Here, it’s super chill; you use midwives unless you have a medical concern — like if you’re high risk, or have gestational diabetes — in which case you’d see an ob-gyn. You don’t have a guaranteed space at a hospital when you go into labor, because it depends how busy it is that day; so you rank the hospitals in order of your preference, and your midwife calls around asking if they have space. We went into the hospital at 6 p.m.

We had a huge birthing suite and bathtub. They have a culture of no epidural, no intervention of any kind. I ended up giving birth on a stool because, apparently, a squatting position is more ergonomic for facilitating a baby-exit. (This is what mine looked like.) Our midwife was right in front and could put her hands underneath to catch the baby. Hugo was super involved and adorable; he cut the umbilical cord.

You’re kicked out of the hospital as soon as you can pee and take a shower. I foolishly could do that by 1 a.m., so although we had gone into the hospital at 6 p.m, we were home by 2 a.m. The reason this is okay is that they send a person called a kraamzorg to your house every day for eight days after the birth, for a minimum of three hours, to take care of you and teach you how to care for the baby. It’s wonderful.

But since I delivered in the middle of the night, we couldn’t call the kraamzorg until the next morning. Between 2 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. we were on our own with no clue what we were doing; I had barely learned to breastfeed; it was the most terrifying night of my life!

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

On maternity leave: You get 16 weeks, and you must take a least four before the due date. That’s all fully paid. There’s good parental leave, too. This year, I’ve taken six hours off per week, which basically ends up being a whole day. [You are entitled to parental leave when you’ve been working for the same employer for at least one year and are caring for a child who is younger than eight years of age. Both parents are entitled to parental leave.]

On childcare: A lot of babies will start at a crèche (or government-subsidized daycare) around three months, once their mother’s maternity leave ends. Oscar goes to an amazing crèche. Holland is one of the most popular places for part-time work, especially with women, so many kids are in crèche just two days a week or so. Our son is in four days a week. It’s great. Some people have nannies, as well, and of course grandparents often are very involved, too.

On work/life balance: On Wednesdays, kids have a half a day of school, so typically one parent will take Wednesday afternoons off. There’s generally a good work/life balance, and there’s more respect here if you want to make that balance — it’s easier to find a place that won’t frown on you for it. It’s funny, I didn’t realize how much I said “good job” or “good work” to our son; my French husband is always like, why does it have to be about job or work, he’s a little kid? Now I say, “Well done!” I don’t think there’s a Dutch idiom we say to kids that matches good job or good work.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

On playgrounds: There are awesome playgrounds with cafés or restaurants right next to them. Kids climb up really steep ladders and go down crazy slides. There’s certainly a culture of the family setting up shop with a picnic, and parents having wine while the kids play. My friend’s husband, who is Dutch, says he doesn’t think the playgrounds should even have the sponge-y ground; kids should learn to toughen up. One random thing: There are very few baby swings, I have no idea why. These are the sort of things you can’t get answers to!

On making friends: This is definitely something we struggle with. Although the Dutch people we’ve met have been friendly, it has been difficult to get to know them on a deep personal level. I liken it a bit to Minnesota, where I’m from, and even Seattle, where I lived for a number of years: people are super friendly but there’s a limit to how close they’ll actually let you get. Now that I’m a mother, I wish I had more mom connections. Amsterdam is also such a city of expats and movement that as soon as you make new friends, inevitably some of them move away. All that being said, in our new house, we share a common terrace with five apartments. Everyone is Dutch, and there are six kids. There are a few with whom we feel we could really be close friends, but it takes time, of course.

On being down-to-earth: The Dutch ethos that I’ve been taught both in classes and by Dutch people is to be normal. Basically, the Dutch credo is “doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg,” which means “just be normal, that’s already crazy enough.” The idea is that essentially you shouldn’t try to stand out from the crowd too much or be better than others. There’s no push to make your kid be the best or fastest or craziest.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

On used toys: Every year, on King’s Day in April, there are “kindermarkts” or kid markets where little kids (with their parents) sell and buy used toys. Before I had a kid I thought it was cute yet logistically nightmarish, but now that we have Oscar I realize the sheer genius. This year we got two enormous boxes of amazing blocks for two euro. The kids are so fired up to buy and sell and negotiate. Many sell pastries or lemonade, or arrange carnival games that people can pay to play.

On fashion: Do you know the blog Stuff Dutch People Like? Number one, most Dutch women are tall with a straight build, so they can pull off clothes that someone like me cannot. Like, pants that are baggy in strange places. Dutch guys aren’t afraid of brightly colored pants or shirts, and often have semi-long hair styled with gel. The dudes are insanely tall — the average man here is over 6 feet tall. Many Dutch women are also super tall and wear super super tall heels; these women must be 6’3″ when all is said and done. I’m like at their boob height. One trend right now for women is tennis shoe wedges (like these). It’s like the Pontiac Aztek in a shoe form.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

On food: The Dutch love bread and potatoes and sausage. The most famous Dutch meal is stamppot, which is basically mashed potatoes with sausage and maybe kale all mixed in, in the wintertime especially. I borrowed a Dutch kids cookbook from a friend, and it said that from a very young age, you can give your kids a crust of bread to chew on, now you can give them potatoes. It felt very Dutch. Kids here also chew on giant Grissini crackers, those pencil-sized breadsticks. We started giving them to Oscar and he just freaking loves them.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

A lot of Dutch kids also eat chocolate sprinkles on bread for breakfast, called hagelslag.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

On restaurants: People sit at cafés right along the canals. Many restaurants have a kid corner, with space to play or a basket of toys. When we go out, we usually get drinks and dinner, and there’s great live music. Crowds around town are typically pleasantly mixed in age — from the twenties up through the seventies. It’s a good mix, it’s a nice city for that. You don’t feel like you’re old turning 40.

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

16 Surprising Things About Parenting in the Netherlands

On children’s stories: Jip and Janneke, from the 50s or 60s, are still very prized. They’re drawn in silhouettes, so there’s no sense of race. They’re best friends, a boy and a girl, who hang out and have adventures. All the kids have Jip and Janneke rainboots and lunch boxes.

On gender equality: I’ve noticed that little Dutch girls often speak loudly and are not afraid to voice their opinions. Equality is very important here in general. Boys and girls don’t seem to be raised differently, where girls should be demure. Men do not hold doors open for women. Guys do not pay for meals on dates; you split the bill.

Looking ahead: Amsterdam is a great place to raise a child, and we feel very lucky to be here. It’s the kid-friendly, comfortable and urban-yet-relaxed lifestyle that definitely appeals. Plus, for an American, to be so close to so many amazing European destinations is still a thrill — three hours to Paris by train, a short flight to London or Berlin or Bordeaux… Still blows my mind.

Thank you so much, Penny!

P.S. 14 more Motherhood Around the World posts, including Japan, Mexico and England

(Photos courtesy of Penny Sheets, as well as a bike photo from Stuff Dutch People Like, bakfiets from Esther, hagelslag from On My Journey, kid markets from Winkles, stamppot from A Hungry Bear Won’t Dance, and a few from my and Alex’s vacation photos.)

  1. Nikki says...

    Thanks for this, Penny! I’ve been in the NL for 1.5 years now (originally from the US and born in MN) but most of my friends don’t have children so I’m hoping to meet some new people through classes or something. Please let me know if you have suggestions :).

    • Hi Nikki,

      I just happened to see your comment while reading this — I moved to the Netherlands about a month ago with my husband and our 13 month old daughter. I have been looking for ways to meet other mamas around here, so if you’re interested in chatting or meeting up, send me an email! chelseago at gmail :)

  2. Kym says...

    does anyone have any recommendations for meal delivery or diaper service in Amsterdam for new parents? Thanks!!!!

  3. The Netherlands is truly an amazing place to have and raise children. I think the bike is one of the most important and influential reasons – especially for expats. Everyone I know who “moves back home” misses their bikes (and their kids on bikes) the most.

  4. Whitney Robertson says...

    I loved this! My family and I lived in Einighausen, Limburg for almost 2 years. I often traveled up to Amsterdam to visit a knitting store I love there (was Penelope Crafts – now Stephen and Penelope). I feel that Penny’s observations are right on. She hit on so many things that made me nod “absolutely” and I would add that some other Nederlands interests include: strupwafflen, drop, koffee, outdoor markets for food shopping, cheese, scarves on everyone (even if no hat and gloves), the color oranje, leggings for women and skinny jeans for men, Sinter Klause, chocolate, dogs, New Year’s, flea and antique markets, economy airlines, shark’s teeth and tiny cars. Thank you Penny for sharing your Nederlands with us.

  5. Jill says...

    The kindermarket is BRILLIANT!

  6. Ellen says...

    My mother is Dutch and all of her family still lives there so a lot of this post is familiar. It’s funny about that saying ” just be normal… ” that was how we were raised. She never pushed to be showy or that we HAD to be the best. I also love Jip and Janneke. Finally that potato, kale and pork dish was my nightmare when I was a kid. My mom used to make often and every time it was served I cried!!! I’m sure it would be delicious now hahah.

  7. alfredo ciano says...

    Netherlands . a Country on the Water for an High Quality of Life…

  8. Ninni says...

    I love this series too! Not having kids in a loong time but still this is so interesting. I’m from Finland which is pretty similar to Motherhood in Sweden, but there are differences. You’ve written about “Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes”, and this year Finland was the second best place for mothers*, so that could be interesting read for other mothers :)

    (*http://www.pelastakaalapset.fi/en/topics/news/?x99673=3356833)

    • i agree with you ninni…

  9. M. says...

    Would love to see Canada featured this time around!

  10. emma says...

    love these motherhood posts!! thank you!

  11. Megan says...

    Love this series! So excited for future posts.

  12. Gill says...

    We visited Amsterdam for a holiday recently & had a fantastic time (with 4 & 2 year old). My son went on the very same slide that’s pictured. What I noticed was just how laid back the parents were & just how happy the kids seemed. Could learn a lot from them (we were visiting from UK)

  13. Marlooz says...

    I’ll be your friend Penny! I’m 13 weeks pregnant at the moment and love making new friends. I also am very fond of the States (lived in SF for a while) but I’m always happy to be back in The Netherlands. The ‘doe maar normaal dan doe je al gek genoeg’ culture is something I wholeheartedly agree with. :)

    • Penny says...

      Hey Marlooz, congrats on the pregnancy! Ha ha I’d be happy to be your friend! :) Feel free to email me at gmail (pennysheets) if you’re up for it!

  14. Rikke says...

    Copenhagen (and Denmark) is just like Amsterdam on so many levels. You should come and see for yourself :-). Especially the biking culture and the way we raise the kids, although we have 1 year of maternity leave – typically 24 – 28 weeks paid by the employer and the rest from the government. Danish women (moms) often work 37 hours (some as do I: 30 hours) per week as do the men. We have fulltime kindergarden/daycare which is primarily financed by the government. We pay between USD 200-500 for that – the rest is publicly financed – giving both the parents the possibility to work equal hours :-)

    Hi from DK, Rikke, mom of 3

  15. Bethany says...

    Sounds so much more kid/family friendly than (at least) where I live in small town Kansas. I really feel like the U.S. likes to put family on the back burner to work or our adult selves. Kids should be top priority, they are our future. Rant finished, now please excuse me while I move to the Netherlands… :)

  16. My husband and I spent a week in Amsterdam with our three year old last summer. We had a fantastic time. We loved eating lunch in the canal side cafes, and our son loved the waffles and crepe-y filled pancakes available at every meal! Our best day was a trip to the theme park Efteling, about an hour outside the city by bus and train. Set in a forest, it has a dark, beautiful Grimms fairy tale quality that appealed to us both (we’re artists) and enchanted our son! We went in August and it was not at all crowded, even- just a relaxed, memorable day.

  17. Claire says...

    I love these posts! I’m so glad they’re back!

  18. Stephanie says...

    I moved to Amsterdam 3 years ago for work, note she doesn’t mention that the Netherlands is persistently ranked the most unfriendly place to settle as an expat and that has been my experience! However once you get over that it is a nice place to have kids.

    • Gertrude says...

      Love the efteling. Live here 35 years and miss it as my son is 15 now and not interested in going with his mom. Lol

    • Nikki says...

      It’s true… making friends is hard here.

  19. LB says...

    Great post! Penny mentions how tall the Dutch are several times. About 12 years ago The New Yorker ran a feature about the tallest people in the world. Guess who? The Dutch! If anyone’s interested in tracking it down, it’s well worth it; it was a fascinating article.

  20. I lived in the Netherlands for 9 years total. Both my kiddos were born there. Everything you’ve written is spot on and just as I experienced and remember. So many great things about living in this country – the Kraamzorg being just one of them!

  21. Carlien says...

    As a dutch mom living in Canada I read a lot of familiar things, even our oldest daughter, now twinty one, wore Jip en Janneke boots! I only miss ‘de box’. But maybe that is our mistake of not befriending you and inviting us into our house. I babysit here in Canada and still wonder why babies do not have a ‘box’ to play in. It is a safe place and gives all members of the family a break! According to a dutch mom of course 😉

    • Penny says...

      Hi Carlien –
      Ha, believe it or not we also have a baby box! But I guess I didn’t realize it was a Dutch thing in particular, so didn’t mention it here. It is pretty great, although we don’t take full advantage of it really…

  22. Trista says...

    Thank you so much! We are in the process of trying to move to Amsterdam and I kept hoping you would cover the Netherlands in your series.

  23. I don’t have kids and won’t for a while but I think this post and series is SO intriguing!! :D I love reading about different cultures and it makes me so badly want to get out of the US for a while. There are so many things here that seem so antiquated, frustrating and just not healthy in comparison to so many european countries. :D Thanks for sharing!!
    xx
    xx

    Lauren Jade
    Lauren Jade Lately
    ‘Simplifying Life, Maximizing Happiness’

  24. Lindsay says...

    Fun to read, as we just went there a month ago. We loved riding bikes there and I actually brought home the chocolate sprinkles and had it on toast this morning! My favorite thing there was yogurt where they topped it with crumbled ginger cookies and put kiwi at the bottom.

  25. Erica Nelson says...

    I love this series, and though I haven’t commented before, I’ve been a fan of this blog for years. I read the whole piece thinking “wow, that’s crazy….I almost raised our daughter in Amsterdam (I also worked for UvA, but my husband is British and stayed based in Brighton). Wow…I totally get the MInnesota/Dutch personal boundaries thing because I’m Minnesotan and have worked with loads of Dutch people. Wait…who is this person and why does she seem so familiar?” Omg, it’s Penny Sheets! Shout out to Penny — we went to the same highschool, I dated her brother, and apparently we shared the same employer and expat family status without knowing it. It is a small, small world indeed.

    • Penny says...

      Erica!! Ha I can’t believe it. How are we living parallel lives?? Are you still in Brighton? If you guys ever travel here please look us up! If you’re up for a catch up, please write me at gmail (pennysheets). Fun!

  26. Isabelle says...

    I think the thing that appeals to me the most is the bike culture. I love seeing all those kids on one bike! I commute on my bike with my daughter, but it’s a challenge if we have another kid. There are obviously solutions, but to see it everyone on the streets and be so part of the everyday would be so amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Angela says...

    I second the idea of making this into a book! Am I the only one who both can’t wait to devour these articles but at the same time don’t want them to end?! I found myself starting at the beginning and reading it again. Magic.

  28. I always thought that “going Dutch” was a phrase the English used to call Dutch people cheap. I had no idea it was a real thing. Very interesting. Also would kill for some hagelslag!

    • Kate says...

      I’ve never taken ‘going Dutch’ to mean that the English think the Dutch are cheap! I’ve always assumed that it simply means to split the bill.

  29. Vicky says...

    Would you ever do one of these types of articles on mothers living in poverty? It might help raise awareness to local issues regarding the hard life women in the US have.

    • Angela says...

      Great idea! That would be an interesting read.

  30. mimi says...

    Great series, great article!!

  31. Ellen Tio says...

    So much fun to read this, as a Dutch mom to a two-year-old with little red rainboots with Jip en Janneke on them ;)

  32. Rebekka says...

    I was so waiting for this new series – so inspiring! Thank you!

  33. Samantha says...

    You have no idea how happy I am that this posts are back! I had an awful day with job interviews and this definitely cheered me up:)

  34. Kate says...

    Really interesting post. Incidentally, in the British Isles, splitting the bill on a date is known as ‘going Dutch’ – now I know why!

  35. Amy Lauree says...

    I love this series SO much!! This really makes me want to move to the Netherlands. Sheesh. Sounds amazing.

  36. As a Filipina mom living in Amsterdam, I really enjoyed reading this! This perfectly sums up what my life is like raising a toddler in Amsterdam… well, except for “most” restaurants having a kid corner with toys. Maybe in the (more kid-friendly) Oost, but try and ask for a kid’s corner in any restaurant in the Centrum, Jordaan and West and you’ll get a lot of blank looks!

  37. Yes!! My favorite series is back :)

  38. i love these so much joanna! they are fascinating!! thank you so much for sharing them!!!

  39. Sabrina says...

    She is spot on about Minnesotans. Friendly, yet distant. I’ve lived in MN my whole life and it’s so true. I’d probably fit right in in Holland.

  40. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I LOVE this series! I’ve recommended it to every parent I know :) The cultural differences of parenting and social life are fascinating to me, and I love being able to see them through an outsider’s eyes. Keep it comin’!

  41. Heather says...

    I am not a mother but I love this series!!!

  42. I just love this series – I’m british, and although I’ve travelled, I’ve only ever lived in the UK and it’s where I’m bringing my family up. I think about living elsewhere a lot and what differences it would bring to my life, I’d love to take the leap! I think the best thing about this post is the “just be normal, there’s enough crazy!” line, it’s such a good thing to remember. Life is stressful and anxiety-inducing enough without pressurising ourselves to be extraordinary all the time. Let’s all just be ourselves, I’m fairly sure that’s cool enough! :)

  43. Nancy says...

    I’m so happy this is back.

  44. Allison says...

    As a Canadian expat living in Amsterdam, this was a lot of fun to read. It is a great city to have a family in. Both my children were born here and the chill attitude to pregnancy was fantastic for me and the care I have received surrounding birth has been excellent. While not as common here, there ARE baby swings; you just have to know where to look! In Oost, you can find some at Marriottplein for sure. Oosterpark had one before the current construction, so presumably it will be back when that is completed. In Centrum, there is one at the playground by the Groot Melkhuis in the Vondelpark.

    The Dutch frequently say “Goed So” to kids, which is the equivalent of saying “good job” or “well done”. I have started trying to avoid that type of praise entirely after reading this article: http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/five-reasons-stop-saying-good-job/

    • Neena says...

      Actually, “Goed zo” translates into “well done”, there is no literal translation in the Dutch language for the “good job” idiom.

    • Marieke says...

      Well done would translate into ‘goed gedaan!’ I avoid it all together, same reason as Allison (reminds me too much of puppy training).

      As a Dutchie, temporarily in Seattle, it still amazes me how Americans shout out ‘good job’ every time their child puts one foot in front of the other.

      We only use it sarcastically, like when my husband finally unloads the dishwasher :)

  45. This is a lovely article! I love this series!

  46. This was super interesting. It sounds like the Dutch people have a very similar look on life to New Englanders, specifically Mainers. I was raised in California, so many of the ways in Maine are still things I am getting used to (people tend to be hardier and baby children less).

  47. Katie says...

    I’m not a mother, but I love these posts so much. Amsterdam is one of my all-time favorite cities!

  48. erin says...

    My grandparents came to Canada from Holland and Belgium… and while Canada is obviously a lovely country, a part of me feels like I was meant to be in Holland. I loved Amsterdam and this post makes me wish i lived there too.

  49. So interesting to learn from different cultures, love motherhood around the world!! The kids market is a perfect idea. My kids would love that! And, I’ve tried those mashed potatoes once. No words to express the deliciousness…:)

    Alina
    http://www.eclecticalu.blogspot.com

  50. Michelle Kortland says...

    So funny to read this (I live in The Netherlands! ) I also agree on the kraamzorg that teaches you things about your newborn and cleans your house and makes dinner etc..could not have done the first week after giving birth without her! And yes hagelslag is very nice fot breakfast :-p

  51. As a South African mother living in Boston, I got mad reading about the work/life balance… Americans have a crazy work ethic. I had twins and we’ve had some health challenges since they were born almost 2 years ago, with lots of therapy and doctors appointments. I have a very understanding work team but there was no give on any time off or part time hours until we were up and running in our new reality. I think my work suffered, and really no one was a winner. My hope is that some day the US would accommodate their families more.

    • Kirstey, me too! I’m a native Californian but I still think our maternity policy sucks!! My son is also going to multiple therapies per week and it’s tough!

    • hi Charity! A great thing that happened recently is that we can now take allocated sick days for doctors’ appointments… did you know that? I think the policy came into affect a couple weeks ago. So now I can save my vacation time for, you know, actually getting some time off!

  52. Ilona Costelloe says...

    Yay! I LOVE this series. This one is great. The kids’ toy market idea is fab.

  53. Kelly says...

    I enjoyed this so much! I think I’m the only one that thinks that leaving hospital right after giving birth as a positive. I wanted out as soon as possible with all three of my babies :) Anyway, thanks for sharing! Wishing we could implement this life style a little more in the States!

    • erin says...

      I agree – being in the hospital after a baby feels like the worst place. The interruptions and noise… Because all was well with me and the babies, i couldn’t wait to go home. (Maybe because my husband and I both work in the hospital)

  54. I cannot even express how much I love this series! If you turn it into a book, I will be the first to buy it (or help you with it…I’m a freelance editor/proofreader! ;)). This one was so great–all of the Europe ones are my favorite since I’m such a Europhile; they just set me off dreaming of raising my kids there! Can’t wait to see the others in this installment!

  55. Mallory Kay says...

    I am so glad this series is back! I am young, just married, and very much thinking about how I would like to raise my children someday. I read and reread this series, because it inspires me so!

  56. I love this series even though I’m not a mom. Actually I’m not even married yet! But I find it so fascinating to see how raising a child can be so different just by living in different places. I went like crazy through the past post on this series, so I hope there will be many more in the future.

  57. I don’t think I could choose a Cup of Jo favorite, but the Motherhood series is the bee’s knees! I enjoy reading these so much.

  58. Elli says...

    Yayyy I’m so happy this series is back!!! This has become one of the highlights of the summer, I’m so looking forward to reading all of them. Though now that I’m back at work and thinking about work/life balance as a mother, it’s a lot more painful (rather than just interesting) to hear about how everywhere else seems to have a better work/life balance and be more supportive to working mothers. When will the US catch up?? Also, I LOVE the child flea market, that is a brilliant idea. I wonder if we could organize one in my neighborhood…

  59. Chris says...

    The “Seattle Freeze” is not exclusive to Seattle. The way adult strangers act toward each other is shockingly odd and sad. As far as I can tell, it exists all over.

    • Claire says...

      Here here! As another Seattleite, I agree that while me may not be the easiest folks to become fast friends with, it’s equally difficult in other places, too, like New York. I met so many great people in NYC that I’d be friendly with, thinking, maybe can we be friends? And then I’d hear nothing. It seemed to me that people respond better to specific questions – do you want to go to this park with me? or Do you want to see this movie with me Friday? – more than an open-ended “let’s get together sometime,” and I feel like that’s true other places, as well.

      On another, more related note, I’m so excited to read a new series of MATW, they’re so much fun!

    • erin says...

      i found the same thing living as an adult in Toronto

    • Kristen says...

      I actually found New Yorkers to be very easy to make friends with. They may seem intrusive and a bit rude, but they are interested in you, and once you are friends, you are friends for life. Minnesota nice is more superficial, similar to LA. Pleasant but distant.

  60. very interesting article. I live in Poland – it’s not so far away from Holland but completely different. One of the most difference I’ve noticed from your article is the way women are treated during pregnancy and after they gave a birth to their child. Well, it must be really stresful leaving hospital just few hours after but they have great care from “kraammzorg” at homes so maybe it’s not so bad :)