French moms have the most children in Western Europe–because it’s possible for them to, thanks to government .
Quartz released a report showing recent data for the trends for babies born in the EU in 2015. What the data showed is interesting, to say the least. For instance, French women are having nearly two kids each, which is about what it needs to “keep its population steady.” Italian moms, however, only usually have one child.
Here is why French moms may be having more kids more easily, according to Quartz and the Eurostat report:
1. French women actually get paid to have babies. Yup. You read that right. Per Quartz:
“They get 16 full weeks of paid leave for the first and second child, and 26 for the third. They also get a government allowance for having kids based on their income, including supplements if they want to go part-time or hire a nanny.”
2. They actually have childcare people can afford. Here’s what this looks like: From six weeks of age, babies are able to enter childcare on a sliding scale based on their parents’ incomes. Moms also have access to chefs who make food, whether in childcare or at school, and kids are “even introduced to foods in a scientifically proven way to make them less picky.”
3. Since school starts at age 3 (and it’s free), moms have more time to do stuff for themselves. After the three years of preschool ends, kids also stay late at school, until about 6:30 p.m.–which means moms can work if they can/want to, volunteer, pursue a hobby or passion, drink apertifs or eat fromage with friends, pursue the art of amour, and look chic etc. Because moms are people too, not just round the clock workers.
I don’t need to tell anyone how U.S. childcare is insanely expensive–or the women are often forced to choose whether to stay at home or work a job just to pay for childcare.
Or how moms often don’t have a work/life balance, can’t find proper rooms to pump at work, etc. There are so many articles touting French women as these magical beings. But turns out, they just have a lot more help.