I find horses to be some of the most majestic creatures on earth, and every time we visit friends in Norrköping, we usually slow the car down to gaze out at them as we drive by the horse clinic (Hästkliniken).
This past weekend, I had to stop.
I counted 14 out of 20 strollers on a sunny Stockholm day sporting a plastic coffee cup holder. No, it seems I’m not your average Swedish mom. I am one of 2,7 million mothers residing in this country and according to Statistics Sweden the majority are called Eva. According to my meagre quantitative research most also boast the nifty coffee cup gadget. I, however, own neither name nor accessory. And I probably haven’t read the going rate of parenting books either.
Still, there are some universal truths to being a parent wherever you are in the world. Like sleepless nights – hence the need for a caffeine kick within easy reach, quite possibly. With that said I find myself typing this first post at 5am after flicking through chapters of The Contented Little Baby Book and The No-Cry Sleep Solution – I have a sizeable library of US and British child-rearing literature kindly donated by fellow moms but despairingly overlooked by this one. Until now.
I choose sleep over selected bedtime reading. Photo: Christine Demsteader
These maternal gurus write that my near three-month-old son should now be well-versed in a four-hourly feeding routine by now. In fact, I should have set the pattern rolling shortly after he took his first breath in the open-air. The Swedish healthcare system, however, continues to encourage me to feed on demand – a fair method methinks since I advocate it personally. Put philosophically, I’m hungry, therefore I eat. (Feeding on demand seems somewhat strange in a country where just about all office workers feel compelled to leave their desks for lunch at 11.30am prompt.)
But back to the matter in hand, being a first-time mom in my non-native land leaves me somewhat stuck in no man’s land. Should I take heed and hark back to the way things are done back home? How about comparing notes with fellow moms from my motherland? Or should one sit back and fully embrace the good guide to Swedish parenting?
I succumbed to both caffeine and consensus in the end. Photo: Christine Demsteader
While I’m keen to expose my Englishness on his upbringing, I hope to avoid conflict when choosing my way over the Swedish superbaby highway. This is just one of many considerations I intend to explore further in this Mamma blog. For now though, it’s unlikely I’ll be changing my name to Eva but those practical café latte holders seem more appealing by the minute.