### Surprised by Outcomes: Mom’s Experiment with European Parenting

While many individuals eagerly anticipate the weekend, Rini Fey, a mother of two, found herself dreading the endless array of play dates, birthday parties, and trips to the local playground that consumed her weekends in Calgary, Canada.

Struggling to meet the ceaseless demands of parenthood, 34-year-old Fey realized that she was devoting every moment of Saturday and Sunday exclusively to her children. Consequently, she began to resent weekends, feeling drained and deprived of personal time.

“I was constantly preoccupied with planning activities to keep my toddler engaged. Our days were packed with visits to the zoo, indoor play areas, and kids’ events, leaving me with no time to recharge,” shared Fey with Newsweek.

Drawing from her upbringing in Europe, where a more relaxed approach to parenting is common, Fey decided to make a change. She now dedicates Saturdays to self-care activities and reserves Sundays for her 3-year-old and 6-month-old.

“I felt a sense of emptiness on weekends because I hesitated to involve my kids in activities I enjoyed, fearing they might not find them engaging,” Fey explained. “My husband noticed my perpetual low spirits, prompting me to realize that I missed doing things for myself.

“Consequently, we adopted a weekly routine inspired by European customs. Saturdays are for grocery shopping, hiking, library visits, markets, or coffee outings with friends, while Sundays revolve around one or two child-centric activities.”

Contrasting Parenting Approaches

Parenting methods vary across cultures, with European parenting often characterized by a laid-back attitude that allows parents to pursue personal interests without sacrificing time with their children. In contrast, American parenting, as noted by Cristine Legare, a psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin, tends to prioritize constant learning opportunities, turning parenting into a competitive endeavor.

While enriching experiences are valuable, Legare emphasizes the importance of balance for parents. She suggests that involving children in everyday tasks can also be educational and contribute to their development of self-regulation and adaptability.

Legare elaborated, stating, “Children benefit from engaging in a variety of activities, including those that cater to the entire family, fostering exposure to diverse environments and interactions with individuals of various backgrounds and ages.”

Social Media Response

Since adopting this new approach, Fey has experienced a revitalized sense of balance and well-being. Her Instagram video on February 4 (@ownitbabe) garnered widespread attention, accumulating over 8.5 million views and 332,000 likes within weeks.

Reflecting on the reaction, Fey expressed gratitude for the positive feedback received, despite encountering some critical responses typical of parenting discussions. Many individuals shared their personal experiences and parenting choices, indicating a shift towards including children in daily routines, a practice common in many cultures worldwide.

Among the numerous comments, one user highlighted the importance of children cherishing time spent with their parents, regardless of the activity. Another commenter resonated with Fey’s message, recognizing the need to reframe their perspective on weekends. A third individual acknowledged the potential of Fey’s approach in preventing mothers from losing their identity amidst parenting responsibilities.

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