Have you heard the news? Dutch moms are happy. Like seriously happy – and not that fake/smug type of happiness that seems to pops up all over your Facebook feed. They are, well, oddly content. Want to have some of what they are smoking this year?
Read on for our top 5 tips to make you as happy as a Dutch mom in 2017:
1. Quit it with the helicoptering
Dutch moms are great at letting their kids be kids and enjoy their freedom without an anxious, overprotective parent hovering nearby at all times. As a result, Dutch kids learn to navigate and manage complex social situations on their own from a young age. And guess what? Dutch parents are a lot more relaxed as a result. Sounds like a winning situation to me – so kids: swing, climb, and wade off for some independent adventures. Stick your fingers in the sticky stuff, jump on that wobbly, unsupported object and pat the cranky-looking beast. Mama’s hanging up her aviators and letting you have all the independent fun you crave. I will, however, be here with the bandages and boo-boo kisses, in case you need them.
2. Loving space ♥
A Dutch midwife once said mothering is, ‘Just like being on an airplane. You must put on your air-mask first before the baby’s. Otherwise everyone suffers’. Wise and grounded words. 2017 should be the year of the “me-time” parent. I could do with a few massages, a regular gym date, and a spa trip or two. Take care of yourself first and feel no guilt in the process. Your kids will thank you for it. Now, where did I put the number of that travel agent in Bali?
3. Channel the zen
We’ve seen them in action. We’ve collectively marvelled at their calm parenting skills. This is the year we are going to channel the ‘Dutch-mama-calm’. All together now – ‘OHHHhhmmmmmm’. But remember: shouting obscenities in your head is cheating. Ok? You’ve got to channel the calm until you are the zen Dutch mama herself. Of course the fact that the majority of Dutch moms are able to work part-time does help considerably in achieving the zen-like state. So, if you can somehow manage to work a little less in 2017, go for it!
4. Banish the guilt
When my kids are miserable I go through the catalogue in my head of what I could have done /avoided/ changed to ensure my cherub’s eternal, blissfully contented state. The late night guilt is currently taking centre stage, and seriously comes between me and my Zzzzzzzs. Dutch moms feel less guilty, and that’s a good thing. This year is, ‘So long guilt-gremlin. Hello wine, Netflix and a solid 8 hours fret-free sleep.’ I’m looking forward to packing my guilt fairy’s bags and sending her on a solo journey to the land of Somewhere Else.
5. Sprinkle sleepy dust on the kids
Ever complained to a Dutch parent that your kid doesn’t sleep only to have them look at you bewildered and ask, “Why? Are they sick?”?! Well this is the year of the sleeping baby, so buckle up and apply the magic three-code Dutch trick to happy sleeping baby: rest, regularity and purity (Rust, Regelmaat en Reinheid). Get them on a schedule, keep them calm, clean and well fed. Shhhhhhhh don’t wake them. There’s nothing more beautiful than a sleeping child.
It turns out “going Dutch” in 2017 might just be the best parenting advice yet. Why not give it a try yourself? And no, you don’t need to move into a windmill and wear wooden clogs while doing so…unless you really want too.
p.s. Our new book – Stuff Dutch Moms Like – investigates why Dutch mothers are so darn happy and how they truly manage to have it all. Filled with amusing anecdotes, tips and tricks, Stuff Dutch Moms Like takes an inside look at parenting in the Netherlands.