It may seem like most of my blogging has to do with dog doo. That's correct because, unfortunately, when you are mom in Paris dog doo is an ever present companion. Plus don't forget that I have two French Fries under the age of five so my world is filled with references to pee pee and caca everyday. That said, while I hate the dog doo part of Parisian life, there are several things that j'adore about being a mom in France. Et voila!:
Maternity Leave The legal limit today is 16 weeks paid leave, but the European Commission is going to pass a pan-European law making the minimum paid leave 18 weeks long. That almost makes me want to go back to work and have another baby just to get paid to take time off! 18 weeks is a whole lot better than what moms get in the USA although it's not as generous as Ireland's 42 weeks, but hey, who's complaining?
Parental Leave of Absence Once your maternity leave is finished, you can then take a parental leave of absence up until the third birthday of your child and be guaranteed to have a job waiting for you at your company when you come back. While the leave is unpaid, it sure is nice knowing you can stay home and enjoy those first wonderful years in your child's life and have a job to go back to (if you want).
If baby #2 comes along you can extend your parental leave for another three years and the government pays you around 650 euros a month to stay home with your kids. I have a few mommy friends who are on baby #3 and have been on leave for nine years with the safety net of knowing that they are always guaranteed a job if they want it.
All mothers are working mothers in my opinion. At least in France you get paid for staying home and doing the most important job ever!
Personal Trainer / Nutritionist Feeling fat and out of shape? Need help getting on a diet to help lose the extra baby weight? Well live in France and get all the help you need for half the price! How? Well here's La MOM's petite secret that most moms don't know exist and therefore don't take advantage of... and it's completely legal!
Need to get back on the road to Mommy Maintenance? Well just invite a personal trainer into your home to help out. Pay your trainer with cheques emploi-service (service checks) and you get to deduct half of your trainer's fee from your taxes. So a session that costs 40 euros/hour actually costs only 20 euros! The key is having someone provide a service for you in your home and paying them with the checks. Everyone does this with apartment cleaners or babysitters, but nobody I know (besides moi!) has taken it a step further and extended this nice little tax benefit to exercise! My trainer stretches with me at home (therefore fulfilling the in-home service side of the deal) then we jog on over to the Park Monceau for a workout.
Same thing goes for eating right. Use a nutritionist (or a personal trainer who moonlights as a one) who makes house calls. Have them come over to clean out your fridge, counsel you on what to eat, then compile your food shopping list. Easy as pie (but don’t eat that pie!). You know the saying, “A minute on the lips a lifetime on the hips.” Well that’s definitely true in Paris with all the yummy pastries and pies seducing me from the boulangerie’s window display everyday. I would have serious weight problems if my personal trainer and nutritionist didn't keep me in line...for half price!