Friday, February 11, 2011

The Glamorous Side of Stay-at-home Mommyhood

We're back from our Swedish vacation and a much-welcome breath of non-Turkish air; as much as I love Turkey, I need to get away every so often. And I'm back with renewed energy to tackle my many roles: wife, mother, teacher, friend ...

The women of Stockholm made stay-at-home motherhood look glamorous, never mind easy. Slender mothers dressed in Swedish-casual were everywhere, and rarely alone -- meeting in cafes, whose generous entrances and wide aisles easily accommodated their prams; at outdoor skating rinks; or at child-friendly places such as Junibacken, the amazing indoor play area dedicated to everything Astrid Lindgren. (I wish I'd taken a photo of the fifty-or-so buggies locked up outside in the 'parking lot.') Small groups of moms would stop and chat on street corners, there still being ample room for other pedestrians to walk past them on the wide Stockholm sidewalks, which seemed to have been made for prams!

And on the subject of prams -- interestingly, the ever-sleeker, sportier, lighter buggies so in fashion elsewhere were nowhere to be seen; Swedish women seemed to prefer wide, low buggies squatly suspended above four wheels, reminiscent of my mother's own Silver Cross. The most popular brand seemed to be native Brio.
Indeed, Sweden in many ways seemed dedicated to promoting family life. I visited the most beautiful children's bookstores, and a peek at the Swedish-language books for 0-24 month-olds revealed the most imaginative, creative and interactive books the likes of which I have yet to come across in Toronto. The clothing and toy stores I saw were full of beautiful classic Swedish children's items that made me want to be a kid again -- that, or have ten more babies. And public buses are free if you board with a baby carriage!

A little research quickly taught me that most Stockholm mothers I saw have careers, but that they are enjoying their one-and-a-half years of maternity leave. And once they do return to work, their husbands often take their own three months' leave before sending their kids to daycare. And even then, nobody seemed to work more than 35-hour weeks!

1 comment:


    Hi Cecile,
    Glad you had such a nice vacation in Sweden!
    The above is a link I found on a blog I read for a company in Turkey that sells really nice bags, purses, etc.
    Thought you might enjoy looking through it.
    Have a great day!
    Lorraine aka Lisa's Mom