Stereotypes, they are everywhere and they’re even more exaggerated when you move to a different country. Here are some anecdotal, sweeping generalisations, based on my own experience as a British Mum in Berlin (meant as tongue-in-cheek).
You’re worried about the lack of gas and air offered as pain relief during birth at the hospital
Watching ‘One Born Every Minute’ on BBC iPlayer (via VPN) has us excited about the prospect of a bit of nitrous oxide to take the edge off labour pains, but when the midwife looks blankly at us when we mention laughing gas, we know that things are done slightly differently here. There will be NO LAUGHING!
You miss Boots
Ah, Boots! We should write you a love song! You have everything we could possibly need for us and our babies. From Tommy Tippee to tampons, nappies to Nytol: All in one place. And even more if it’s a ‘big Boots’.
You don’t understand how you’re dressing your kids wrong
When it’s 20 degrees outside, it’s summer for us. Why do our babies need socks? Hats? Aren’t those for WINTER?
Public holidays and celebrations are a source of great confusion for you
St Martin’s, cue the British mums tearing apart the internets in an attempt to find ‘those stick things with a lamp on the end’… We don’t even understand what Nikolaus is and Fasching? Is that like Halloween but in February? Christmas gifts are given on the 24th December. And why are there fireworks on New Year’s Eve and not on 5th November?
You (still) don’t understand the concept of ‘Abendbrot’
What actually is this strange idea of dinner that involves open sandwiches with cheese or cooked meat? Didn’t our kids just eat that for their afternoon snack? It’s not, tea, dinner or supper. Very confusing, but easy to prepare!
You take teabags everywhere with you (and you know where to buy them)
Even to the hospital when you go to have your babies. Because ‘Frühstückstee’ doesn’t muddy the waters like Yorkshire tea does. You also know the best places to buy teabags is in your local ‘Asiamarkt’
Your blood pressure increases exponentially with the number of playground visits you make
Even if you’ve lived in Germany for a long time, you still cannot get used to the seeming lack of attention to health and safety when building playgrounds. You helicopter parent your kids whilst noticing the German parents are looking at the Smartphones or giving you passive-aggressive side-eye.
You have to ask Google what those giant cone things are that kids are given when they start school
It’s a ‘Schultüte’ by the way and they’re filled with sweets, stationary and goodies.
You forget to get milk/bread/nappies/<insert really important thing here> and it’s Sunday
Yes, Sunday closing is a thing here. And it sucks.