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.

STUFF DUTCH MOMS LIKE BOOK COVER
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.

STUFF DUTCH MOMS LIKE BOOK INSIDE

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.

STUFF DUTCH MOMS LIKE BOOK INSIDE

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.

STUFF DUTCH MOMS LIKE BOOK INSIDE

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.

STUFF DUTCH MOMS LIKE BOOK INSIDE

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.

STUFF DUTCH MOMS LIKE BOOK COVER

Where are you raising your family? Do you think the culture you parent in contributes to your happiness? Let me know in the comments below!
Are Dutch moms really the happiest? Check out my review of Colleen Geske's newest book, What Dutch Moms Like. Are Dutch moms really the happiest? Check out my review of Colleen Geske's newest book, What Dutch Moms Like. Are Dutch moms really the happiest? Check out my review of Colleen Geske's newest book, What Dutch Moms Like.

14 Comments

  • babiestobookworms

    I love how you tied your own experience in to the reading of this book. It is amazing how we are all so different and yet want the same things for our kids. Great review!

    • Kate

      Despite all the different life experiences, there are definitely some universals to motherhood! Thanks so much!

  • Elizabeth Uchealor

    I can relate to how you feel about losing your child, I lost my baby girl too, stillbirth and like you say. It makes it more difficult to just let go of your kids out of your sight. Besides the world is no longer safe anymore. One has to be careful. But like i always say, you do what works for you.

    • Kate

      I am so sorry for your loss, Elizabeth- it’s such a difficult experience. It’s nice to know I’m not the only mom who isn’t totally laidback and carefree though!

  • Meredith from Mommy in Leggings

    I’ve read your other posts on your little bunny, and it just makes my heart break…I can’t even imagine. But I also feel like I’m a helicopter parent, and whether there’s been a reason why or not, we only have this one life with our littles, and so I don’t think we should feel bad about it at all, just because there’s books like this, or the bringing up bebe book (which I really did love), that tell us how we “should” act or parent. It’s so personal, and while I do love the books, I always need to remember to put it all in perspective 🙂

    • Kate

      Love your input Meredith… You’re absolutely right. We’re all doing the best we can at this parenting thing, and no book or parenting approach will be right for every family.

  • Chanel Mynt

    This was such a great read that highlighted some personal aspects of yourself as well as the book. Motherhood is a journey in itself, and it’s always interesting to see alternate perspectives. My mind is still blown when I think that there are countries who respect mothers enough to allow 52 weeks of maternity leave. Such a big world we live in, and exploring cultural diversity is an absolute must.

    • Kate

      You’re right, Chanel. It’s absolutely astonishing to compare the statistics and standards world wide when it comes to maternity and post partum care for women… The range is just staggering.

  • projectlifewellness

    Sounds like an interesting book that Mom’s everywhere can enjoy and relate too. Thanks so much for sharing your own personal story as well<3

    • Kate

      Thanks for checking it out!

  • Stephanie Lowry

    Sounds like a very interesting read. I’m very sorry for your loss, I can absolutely see how that would make you more cautious. And there’s nothing wrong with that! You are an amazing mom.

    • Kate

      Aww, thank you, Stephanie! <3

  • Ana

    Born in Sunny South Africa to Portuguese parents my upbringing was already very different to my Afrikaans friends. I’m now a mom to two boys my oldest has special needs (the dr said he had a genetic disorder that came from me his mother – for two yrs I loved with the guilt and daily blame, after seeing a new paed and a plethora of genetics test it finally confirmed there were no genetic abnormalities) the disabilities my son has was due to the lack of oxygen at birth due to poor hospital care.

    Easter weekend over lunch my mom-in-law threw it in my face that I’m a helicopter mom who is in for a great shock when my boys get older and eventually leave.
    I was so hurt , each of their milestones is such a victory for me , I’m not nieve my boys will leave home someday but I’m raising them to not be burdens on society but assets, who are respectful , who have learnt from example that family comes first , who treat others the way they want to be treated so if that’s her definition of a helicopter mom constantly glued to my children’s hip then hurray for me I will continue to embrace my method of parenting.Nobody knows my reasons for wanting my children close or how I protect them ……..

    • Kate

      I’m so sorry that your family are not all understanding of your need to keep your boys safe and close. It is very hard to feel like your parenting approach isn’t good enough- especially since we’re all just sort of making this up as we go along, and doing the best we can. Remember that you know your kids best, and are the best mom they could ask for.

Everywhere
%d bloggers like this: