Society – The French Mom, Myth or Reality?

The French Mom is a concept. I guess it was invented by foreigners, most of the time, American moms living in France and writing books about how the French moms raise their kids (Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, by Pamela Druckerman being the most famous here in France).

According to those experts, the ‘French mom’ is the perfect mom. She knows ancestral secrets shared from French mothers to French daughters, tips to be the perfect parent with the perfect kids. Cause YES, Perfection is everything. The French mom is perfect, perfectly dressed, with a perfect make-up, perfect husband, perfect job. And obviously, their children are perfect (perfectly dressed, well-behaved, handsome boys and pretty girls, intelligent etc…). The French mom is proud of her kids, they reflect how perfect she is.

So, I guess the question is: Is the French Mom a myth or reality?

Let me tell you something. I am French. I lived in Paris, in the countryside, in the ‘banlieue parisienne’ (the suburbs surrounding Paris). If it’s true that we have some principles that may be weird seen from the outside, we are not as perfect as it is said. We suffer from Post-Partum depression, sometimes we were awful (but so comfortable) clothes, kids at the grocery are screaming because they want candies that you don’t want to buy etc… The thing is, French parents are overwhelmed, and there is a TV Show showing bad parents with awful kids helped by a ‘Super Nanny’.

So, all the French moms are not as perfect as they are presented in the books. However, the majority of us try our best to raise kids that would fit in our society. And the French society can be extremely cruel with parents. I guess that’s the reason why we are under pressure and that we do everything we could in order to have the most perfect kids ever (or at least, not to be ashamed by their attitude in public!).

That’s what this is all about, that’s why our kids are less noisy, maybe more quiet, well-dressed and well-behaved…it’s because of the judgmental French society we live in. French moms are extremely competitive. I don’t know if it’s the same elsewhere, but here, moms are judging the other moms and jump to conclusions just by comparing their kids with the others’. If you want your kids to be invited at everyone’s B-Day party, you need them to be as perfect as a French kid is supposed to be. And it’s not enough. YOU, as a mom, you MUST be as a French mom is supposed to be (the perfect devoted mother, who can be good at raising kids AND good at work, well-dressed – French tradition! – etc…)

After reading books about French Parenting, I’ve decided to share my French mom life with you, because even if I loved reading those books, I think they lack of authenticity and realism. What’s more, who can better tell French moms’ lives than a French mom?

Bienvenue !


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