Welcome to the second edition of Dear Frau. It's kind of like Dear Abby, except with an international twist. If you have a question, be sure to contact the Frau and maybe it will be featured on next week's Dear Frau.
We’re moving from the U.S. to Baden, Switzerland. I am a stay-at-home mom and have two kids (ages 1 and 3). I am worried because it seems like most people that move to Switzerland are married with no kids. Do you see a lot of families in that area?
The Frau knows it's hard to believe, but The Internet lies sometimes. It may seem as if most expats in Switzerland don't have kids, but that is because most Swiss expat bloggers are married with no kids. Most parents don't have time to keep up a frivolous thing like a blog. They're too busy trying to determine what the heck their child, who now speaks Swiss German, was saying.
But the Frau digresses. There are hundreds of Americans with children in Switzerland. Many of them never leave. If you don't believe her, check out The American Women’s Club of Zurich. This organization especially caters to American women and their children. The Frau found out the hard way by joining and then feeling left out because she was ohne Kinder.
Anyhow, Switzerland loves families and will probably grant you those coveted B-permits right away because you are a stay-at-home mom and that’s what this country desires all women to be. That first morning the Frau went out in Baden, she saw hundreds of women pushing baby carriages, sitting at cafes smoking, and buying groceries. Don’t people work here? She thought.
The answer is no. Many married women do not work in Switzerland, and this includes the foreigners. The thing is, Swiss society does all it can to keep it this way. They keep stores open only until 6 p.m. They send children home from school at lunchtime. And childcare isn’t readily available (or affordable) unless there are grandparents nearby.
That said, the Frau thinks Switzerland is a wonderful place to raise children if one of the parents is committed to staying at home. And your kids will love Switzerland because the big slide parks haven’t been taken down and replaced with boring plastic tubes in order to avoid lawsuits and therefore avoid fun.
But the Frau is no expert on kids so here are a few other websites to check out:
Mami Zeit is a website for international moms.
Swiss Family Mac is a great blog written by an American mother of two. You don't have to be a mom to love Mrs. Mac's sense of humor.
Now, the Frau has run out of ideas. Anyone else have some advice? What’s living in Switzerland like with kids (or family members that act like kids)? Any other resources or blogs to know about for our newcomer? If you've got a blog about being a mother abroad, please leave a link!