21 Feb Seeking Work Life Balance? Be French

America’s parenting culture – 100% sacrifice and devotion – dooms working parents and it certainly doesn’t reflect our reality; 70% of children now live in households where both parents work. Even the research shows that intensive parenting causes kids to suffer. The reality and the research scream for a cultural change.

Unexpectedly, France has the answer.

I recently had lunch with bestselling author, Pamela Druckerman, who was hard pressed to think of many French moms who don’t work. Here, directly from her new book, Bebe Day by Day, are 8 ways that French culture is a better fit for American parents:

1. “The French ideal is that no one part of your life – not being a wife, a worker or a mom – should eclipse the other parts.”

2. “Even those in stable marriages calculate that not making their own money would leave them financially vulnerable in case of divorce. And they think that, sans paycheck, they’ll lose status and decision making power at home, and become less interesting to people outside of it.”

3. “The reigning view in France is that if a child is a woman’s only goal, everyone suffers, including the child.”

4. “French moms understand the temptation to feel guilty. But they don’t want to spoil their precious free time. When they meet up for drinks, they… take pride in being able to detach from their children and relax.”

5. “French women want other adults to see they have nonmom lives too. They know that if you act (and dress) as if you have a fascinating inner life, you may soon find that you actually do. “

6. “A Frenchwoman who spends most of her free time shuttling her kids between extracurricular activities isn’t seen as a devoted mom – she’s viewed as someone who has dramatically lost her balance.”

7. “French women don’t feel selfish for caring about their appearance. Looking good improves morale and makes you feel more balanced.”

8. “Parisian mothers think it’s perfectly reasonable to weigh the impact on their own quality of life when making choices for their child.”

So the next time you are tempted to take the path of guilt or imbalance or blame, infuse your parenting culture with a bit of c’est la vie.

Samantha Ettus coaches working parents through her nationally syndicated weekly radio show, best selling books, regular keynotes and television appearances. Connect with her on Twitter here.

To read this article on Forbes, please click here.

Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author & corporate speaker. The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction will be released in September.