This morning on my way to work I had a personal epiphany.
-I’m on my way to work!
-I’m not feeling stressed!
-The kids are happily in school or childcare that my husband and I can afford!
These may seem like silly things to revel in, but not for parents who have tried raising kids in countries that don’t offer adequate support for parents.
Pre-kids, I had a great teaching career with a balanced social life. While trying to raise kids in England and the USA, I assumed the role as a full-time mother, mainly because the countries we were living in didn’t provide enough support (financially and socially) to justify and enable me to return to a career that I loved. How horrible is that?!?!
Now, looking back on my decision to stay home, I have to admit that I was longing for more. Not more money (although it would have helped), but rather, more of a balanced life; great career, happy family and peace of mind all neatly wrapped together in a pretty box with a beautiful ribbon on top. Sounds too good to be true…
Well, truth be told, you can “have it all” but you will have to move to Sweden!
After reading the articles raving about Sweden being one of the best places to raise children and be a mother, my husband and I decided to make the move. We knew that we needed more support than what was on offer in the US and England, so we decided to give it a go!
We’ve only been here 4 months, but we’re already amazed with the support this country offers. Education (all the way through university) and childcare are either free (funded through taxes) or significantly more affordable than where we’ve lived before. Even most of the private schools (friskola) are free! Additionally, the government provides amazing financial support for parents on maternity/paternity leave, as well as a monthly allowance per child. These are just a few of the benefits, but there are many more!!
But hold on a minute…aren’t taxes crazy?
It depends. Some taxes are higher, but to be honest, I think the difference is that we’re actually experiencing the benefits of paying our taxes. It’s not just being filtered through an inefficient system of government waste.
In the end, the real benefit is peace of mind. Now, I’m able work part-time and feel happy about it because I’m not feeling financially burdened with extortionate childcare and education costs. I didn’t realize how stressed I was over these issues until I moved to Sweden and didn’t have to worry about them anymore.
Is Sweden the perfect country…no, but I think the system here promotes a healthier and happier lifestyle, especially if you are trying to raise 5 kids!