I spend a lot of time listening to parents around the world complain. In Kiev recently, a working mother told me the joke about how Ukrainians are raised by same-sex couples: their mothers and grandmothers.
Pamela Druckerman is the author of three books including Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. She’s also a contributing opinion writer at the International New York Times.
PARIS — It’s 1944, in occupied Paris. Four friends spend their days in a narrow room atop a Left Bank apartment building.
My family was once invited to lunch at a chateau owned by a friend of a friend. As we drove our rental car up to the giant castle, my kids gasped and said, “They must be rich!”
There’s a scene in the new French film “The Jews” — a comedy about anti-Semitism — in which a fictional president describes his plan to rescue France’s economy.
A fellow I know arrived at work recently to find that his company had hired someone new, and given the woman his exact job title. Soon afterward, he said, higher-ups cut his department’s budget and stopped replying to his emails.
After yet another terrorist attack in Europe, can life return to normal?
Soon after my book Bringing Up Bébé appeared, in 2012, I discovered an animated video made by a company in Taiwan. In it, a woman who’s supposed to be me drinks red wine and teaches her child to paint the Mona Lisa.
THE day after the terrorist attacks in Paris was one my children won’t soon forget: They got to watch kids’ television all day long.
It is a perfectly normal dinner party until someone stands up, checks his phone, and says: I think there’s been an explosion, at the Stade de France.
When I moved to France 12 years ago, it was like arriving in an unfriendly paradise. Sure, hardly anyone spoke to me. But there was national paid maternity leave and free preschool. Practically everyone seemed to agree on the need for strict gun laws, and access to birth control and abortion. Not only did the whole country have health insurance; most undocumented immigrants could get medical and dental care free. (Cruelly, their thermal bath cures weren’t covered.)
SAME BOOK: US AND UK VERSIONS
“Marvelous... Like Julia Child, who translated the secrets of French cuisine, Druckerman has investigated and distilled the essentials of French child-rearing.” —NPR
“’I’ve been a parent now for more than eight years, and—confession—I’ve never made it all the way through a parenting book. But I found Bringing Up Bébé to be irresistible.” ” —Slate
“Self-deprecating, witty, informative... But however much she admires the ‘easy calm authority’ French parents seem to possess... will Druckerman manage it herself? Her efforts to do so add a compelling narrative to this fascinating study of French parenting.” — The Guardian (London)
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