Saturday, August 11, 2018

I'm in Croatia!

A while back I was interviewed by Magda Dežđek of Sensa Magazine, a Croatian women's magazine, about French parenting. Like I know anything! Below are my answers in English, which she then translated into Croatian for the actual article. I hope I'm as funny in Croatian, ha!

View the original article in Croatian

French kids have a reputation of being very well-behaved. Why is that?
I think it’s partly true and partly just reputation. It’s true that at mealtimes you won’t see kids running around restaurants as much (or as loudly) as you would in, say, the U.S. But I’ve definitely seen my fair share of tantrums and naughty attitudes!

Why are French parents so strict?
As an American, I think even my parents were somewhat strict, and their parents even more strict. I feel like only recently have Americans loosened up their parenting styles to what we see today. It seems the French haven’t done that (yet).

What are the most common rules and boundaries (regarding sleeping, eating, playing, manners, studying) that children need to obey?
It seems most French kids have a bedtime that is pretty well adhered-to. You rarely see French kids snacking between meals, and I think that helps them stay behaved during meals because they’re actually hungry and will sit and eat! They almost always say hi, bye, please, and thank you – something their parents do as well, contrary to the stereotype that French people are rude. I don’t know as much about the schoolwork since my kids were 2 and 4 when we moved from France to the U.S.

French parents are not ‘obsessive’ with kids like other European nations. For example, they need to have their “grown up” time in the evening and “grown up space” (so that children’s toys are not allowed in the living room). Can you explain that or maybe give me some examples?
I had always heard this before having my own kids but I never managed to make it work for me! My husband and I are what the French call “fusionnels” with our kids – we make them way too much the center of attention and don’t always leave enough time for our own needs and space. Although when you have four people crammed into a tiny one-bedroom apartment, space is all relative anyway!

Is it true that they don’t hesitate to small acts of violence? And, on what occasions?
It could be true but I haven’t really seen it.

I’ve read also that French kids are more patient (and, even so that they don’t have ADHD like in other countries). How are French parents “training” children’s patience?
If you find someone who knows the answer, could you share it with me? I feel like I observed most other French children having patience but couldn’t figure out what the parents were doing differently than me. Even the parents I asked couldn’t really articulate it. I’m guessing it has something to do with the above, where they (consciously or subconsciously) don’t put the child at the center of everything.

French mothers are not plagued by guilt. They do not spend time second-guessing themselves, how so?
I think a lot of American parents feel they need a “parenting style” and many research a lot before having kids. Whereas I feel like French moms don’t put as much thought into it, they just seem to do whatever their parents did or whatever comes naturally to them as far as parenting. Therefore they don’t feel the need to question it because they’re not even really thinking about it. And it seems to be working for them!

One of your books is about potty training in France, can you tell me more about it?
Sure! I wrote Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer while I was on bed rest for 14 weeks with my second child. I wanted to write a follow-up to my first book, Confessions of a Paris Party Girl, which was about moving to France and falling in love. Once I had kids, a sequel was a natural step! The book’s title is a bit misleading – my kids were too young to be potty-trained at the time I wrote the book – but the sentiment is still there: It’s all about the ups and downs of having kids in Paris. It’s a mostly humorous account of what I went through, with some heartwarming bits thrown in.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A new book about Paris...

Do you like reading books about Paris? I assume so, if you're here reading my blog! And while I wish I could say that I had written a new book (I'm still too crazy-busy to give that much attention right now), I did recently publish a book by fellow Francophile author K. S. R. Burns through the boutique publishing house I co-founded, Velvet Morning Press. So if you're looking to set off on another journey to France through the pages of a book, look no further than Paris Ever After!

Paris Ever After is an engaging tale about Amy, a food-obsessed American trying to start a new life in Paris. Much like me when I first moved to Paris! Though Amy's story is fiction, it feels so real. K. S. R. Burns gets even the tiniest details right, painting a vivid picture that drops you right into the sights and sounds of Paris. Just be careful not to step in any dog doo or trip over any cobblestones!

Here is a little more info about this delightful novel:

Find Paris Ever After on Amazon!

Can Amy’s rocky start in Paris turn into a happy ever after?

Amy didn’t realize how stale her life was until she jetted off to Paris without telling a soul—not even her husband—and had the adventure of a lifetime. Now as she tries to establish herself in the City of Light, she finds that despite a fun (and quirky) group of friends and the ability to indulge in French pastries whenever she wants, reinventing her life is much harder than she imagined.

Then on Amy’s thirtieth birthday, two unexpected visitors leave her wondering if she will soon be saying au revoir to Paris and the new life she’s struggled to build. Her estranged husband, Will, shows up—but is he interested in reconciliation or separation? And a young woman who arrives on Amy’s doorstep unleashes chaos that could push Amy out into the street.

As Amy’s Parisian dream starts to fall apart, she must decide: return to the stability of Will and Phoenix (if that’s even still an option) or forge her way forward in Paris? Amid secrets and surprises, set in enchanting gardens, cozy cafés, and glittering Parisian streets, Amy must choose between two very different worlds. And each has a claim on her heart.

Praise for Paris Ever After:

Magnifique! Fall in love with Amy as she stumbles through her new life in Paris, gradually learning what means the most in her unscripted world. Burns’ dry sense of humor and intimate knowledge of Parisian life are woven through the story as perfectly as the Hermès scarf in one of the book's most unforgettable scenes. Heartwarming and full of colorful characters, the surprise-filled narrative is smart, wry and poignant. You won't want to put it down. Five stars!
- Patricia Sands, author of the best-selling Love in Provence series

A roller coaster of a ride, Burns’s Paris Ever After takes us on a fast-paced adventure, the plot plunging through the streets of Paris and right into the hearts of its beautifully flawed characters.  Readers—buckle your seat belts, hang on to your hats, and get ready for unexpected twists and turns. Full of wit and humor, this novel is unputdownable! - Samantha Vérant, author of Seven Letters from Paris and How to Make a French Family

Embark on a new journey … pick up Paris Ever After today!