The Refreshing Chill of French Motherhood

A mom finds a new perspective on parenting after moving to France.

Katie Sue Webber
Katie Sue Webber
Mom to two sweet little boys. Helping moms is her passion.
Last updated
April 11, 2023

Alix O'Neill, a British woman who moved to the south of France with her husband and toddler, noticed a distinct difference in parenting attitudes. While British mothers often engage in a "hyper-parenting" culture, French mothers take a more relaxed approach. French mothers are more likely to return to work sooner, whereas British mothers often take longer maternity leaves and may face judgment for returning to work too soon.

French mothers also have a more self-assured approach to parenting, taking ownership of their opinions and choices without feeling the need to explain themselves. They prioritize their own well-being and identity, recognizing that being a mother is only one part of their identity.

Alix recalls confiding to her Parisian friend that she felt like a bad mum because she’d leave her son to his own devices in the park. Her friend rolled her eyes and responded “You Anglophobes think good parenting is spending every second with your children and ignoring your own needs. But this won’t help them to become independent adults. If you don’t take care of yourself, what good are you to your child?"

French parents also tend to be more authoritarian in their approach to discipline. They may comment on how a child is dressed or behaving at the dinner table. Additionally, while British children may be less well-behaved as children, they may become more social and creative as adults.

Alix’s experience highlights parenting cultural differences and suggests that learning from the difference can help parents can better navigate the challenges and joys of raising children.

Read more (via Marie Claire)

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