Going Dutch! My Reflections on ‘Stuff Dutch Moms Like’
I’ve written at least a few times before about the importance of valuing diversity. My husband and I are working hard to raise children with a sense of cultural awareness. We want them to be open and accepting of the differences among people. The recent opportunity to review Stuff Dutch Moms Like presented the opportunity for me to model this curiosity & acceptance. After all, moms can’t just talk the talk. Walking the walk is a powerful teaching tool as well.
Standard Disclosure: I recieved a free copy of this book to facilitate my review. Although I may receive monetary compensation for a post, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission from purchases you make through the links in this post (at no additional cost to you), which allows me to continue providing free content on the blog.
about ‘stuff dutch moms like’
Stuff Dutch Moms Like is the newest installment from Colleen Geske’s series on Dutch culture & lifestyle. Geske takes a light, topical approach to the major issues affecting most mothers worldwide. Geske writes from the unique viewpoint of having been raised in Canada and moving to the Netherlands as an adult. This framework allows her to clearly contrast the two cultures. She brings additional frames of reference into the narrative through conversational anecdotes from parents with a variety of backgrounds through out the book.
Topics like pregnancy, delivery, maternity leave, and raising children are all tackled in Stuff Dutch Moms Like. The book takes a light hearted tone, more ‘pleasure reading’ than ‘text book’. Although it does provide a substantial amount of cultural information, it does so in a very readable way. The adorable illustrations and colorful photographs spread throughout the entire book are engaging.
my unique viewpoint
Although my circumstance is certainly not unique, it’s also not incredibly common. As a result, my role as a bereaved mother informed my point of view while reading this book. In theory, the ideas of laid back parenting, freedom for children, near-elimination of maternal guilt, and low-intervention births all sound incredible. However, for me, they just aren’t my experience. Losing my son in a completely unpredictable and unlikely way has caused me to be the helicopter mom the Dutch try to avoid.
His death meant my births would never be simple or routine. Although much more complicated than this explanation, my middle boy ultimately died as a result of an asymptomatic infection within my uterus. Rationally, I know it was nothing I could control or prevent. But he began dying inside my body, so my chances of living without mom guilt? Zero. I can’t feel safe letting my living children ride bikes without helmets or play out of my sight at a public playground. The fear of losing them as well is too palpable for me. Though Dutch ideals are not one-size-fits-all, they were certainly interesting to learn about.
my final thoughts
Setting aside that particular personal frame of reference, Stuff Dutch Moms Like is a quick, enjoyable read. As trained birth and postpartum doula [little known fact alert!] I found the sections on prenatal care, birth, postpartum support and maternity leave fascinating. Having previously attended a ‘Birth By The Numbers‘ lecture presented by Dr. Eugene Declercq, I know statistically how the United States stacks up among its peers. Reading Geske’s book provided a more personal look at the actual disparities that exist.
Each mom will approach the reading from their own viewpoint. Certain portions will resonate more strongly with them based on their own life experiences. (Check out what my friend Vicki from Babies to Bookworms thought when she read the book!) Stuff Dutch Moms Like is a wonderful choice for mothers who like learning about other cultures or countries. It will likely be a favorite among parents that enjoy foreign travel, as well as those interested in a more laid-back approach to parenting.