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The MILF is not a thing in France. 

That was my biggest takeaway from the book Bringing Up Bébé, by Pamela Druckerman, an American journalist living and raising her kids in Paris. My children are grown, but I had to read this book because it is a Venn diagram of fascinations: parenthood, children, culture, and France? Yes, please!

That the French have no concept for a MILF is more profound than it appears. Let’s unpack it.

It isn’t a concept in France because there is no assumption that becoming a mother changes a woman’s primary identity. There is, rather, the assumption that she remains herself, which naturally includes sexuality and all the other things that gave her life meaning before motherhood, such as her romantic relationship and her paid work. Accordingly, French women are all entitled to a one-year paid maternity leave and their children to a place in an excellent state-supported daycare from the age of 3-months, which makes them feel valued and free, which makes them feel sexy.

Becoming a mother doesn’t change her primary identity also because there is no assumption that children are all-consuming. There is, rather, the assumption that babies will start sleeping through the night between two- and four-months of age, can learn to entertain and soothe themselves, and can learn to eat adult food with adults amiably from toddlerhood. Accordingly, they teach babies to do these things, so they do, more or less on time.

When you believe that women who have children are sexy, you construct culture and infrastructure to support it. When you believe children are competent to learn things, you teach them.

What you believe in, you create.

Believe in Your Desire

I wish this book had been around when my I was raising my children. I recommend it if you’d like to learn the specifics of how French parents teach children to sleep and eat and manage to be generally less anxious than American parents. In addition to offering interesting observations, she’s funny and a great writer. 

But what this book really reminds us is that it’s all made up – our concepts shape our reality – so let’s make up what we want! 

You create an outcome you don’t want when you believe in limitations.

You create an outcome you want when you believe in your desire.


This formula is true in all aspects of life, but let’s be guided by Bringing Up Bébé and focus on family.

Dissolve Your Limiting Beliefs

I admit I believed in the MILF as a concept – mom jeans and minivans were proof enough. But what was more painful to me was my belief that children are picky eaters. 

I never gave it much thought, but I saw kids’ food on commercials and in restaurants and grocery stores. So, when I had a child of my own who was a picky eater, I was chagrined but felt that was just the way of it. I couldn’t make him eat, and I didn’t want food to be a battleground. So, I gave up and meekly hoped he’d grow out of it. The end.

But is it true that kids are picky eaters? Let’s do The Work on that thought. It is my favorite way to dissolve beliefs that limit or hurt and open up creative thinking.

Can you be absolutely certain it’s true? No. Where do I find that no? I know children who are not. I myself had some pickiness, but my parents never indulged it. Their belief in my ability to learn to eat like them helped me to believe it, too, and I got over it.

How do you react, what happens, when you believe the thought that children are picky? I feel bad in my body, hopeless, and helpless. I can think of nothing but “fighting” him and “battlefields,” and give up before I start. I treat my child like a tyrant and incapable of learning.

Who would you be without the thought? I would restore my leadership in this situation. I would believe that he’s capable of learning, and it’s my job to teach him. 

Gone is the black-and-white thinking of either he’s a good eater or it’s hopeless. Gone, too, are the concept of control and meals as a battleground. In their place: calm confidence.

Your Turn

What result in your family life are you dissatisfied with but settling for? Find the belief under it and dissolve it – make it “not a thing” in your life! It’s the first step in creating what you really want.

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