Thursday, May 20, 2010

maybe we'll move to scandinavia next

Where the good mothering is. I just read this short (short) article delivering the news that Norway is the best place to be a mom and Afghanistan was "at the bottom of the 160 countries listed." The U.S. is near the top at number 28 but "below Greece, Portugal and virtually all of Western Europe," ranking "just above Poland and most of the former Soviet bloc."

The rankings don't surprise me - the healthcare and maternity leave in many European countries is generally more equally generous for women of different socio-economic statuses than what you'll find in the States, and the article points that out - but what did surprise me was the photograph chosen to banner the article.

It's a photograph of a group of presumably Afghan women wearing abayas and veils, standing in a stark mountainous region, organizing great big bags of food or other supplies. No kids in sight. I'm wondering why the Times didn't post a photo of a pale, rosy cheeked Norwegian mom luxuriating in her extended maternity leave, two fat little babies on either side.

There's a book called Material World: A Global Family Portrait that came out several years ago. It's definitely worth checking out from your library to see a quick comparison of average households the world over. I read it shortly before moving abroad and was fascinated by the different normals.

Perhaps a book about mothering around the world would be interesting to read. See what it's like to be a mom in Argentina, or in Los Angeles. See what it's like to be a mom who stays home or a mom that is the breadwinner. What does the day look like for a mom in Kenya as compared to the "to do" list of a mom in Slovakia?

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