10 Ways You Know You’re an American Mom in Spain

1. You bring your baby everywhere

I’m talking ev-ry-where. I’m talking the grocery store, post office, shopping for a few fall wardrobe pieces, coffee dates with friends, breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates with your significant other or your girl gang. It is totally acceptable and entirely common place to see newborns go everywhere with their parents, and its really pretty great. No one will be giving you the evil eye for having your baby out and about.

2. You shamelessly breastfeed in public

Boob can be at the table during dinner, afternoon coffee, and evening cocktails and absolutely no one bats an eye. I’m looking forward to going back to the States so I can practice my “boobs are food” speech on the first person brave enough to shame me.

3. You can’t find much American mom swag

Forget about ordering famous swaddles like the Ollie, Halo, Love to Dream, Zipadee Zip, or Merlin Sleep Sack. Forget about a nice white noise machine, forget about strollers with a holder for your coffee incorporated in. (The privilege this sentence is dripping in is not lost on me.) You’ll survive, but if you read the blogs with all the “must haves” you better be sure Amazon ships to Spain first. Spoiler alert–they usually don’t. My best advice? Make your list of American must-haves before baby is born and cross your fingers family can bring it over.

Even better? Check out this expat mama, Clarissa, who has lots of great baby swag and is based in Madrid, which makes for even easier shipping! Charlie’s Footsteps has lots of great toys and tools for newborns and little ones!

4. Everyone judges your kid’s bedtime

…for being too early. My own mother is shocked my kid goes to bed passed 7pm. Everyone here is shocked he goes to bed before 11. Damned if you do…

5. Your child dresses better than you do

My kid has way more “hand wash only” clothes than I do. You know what they say…when in Spain, dress as the Spaniards do. If it isn’t me, it might as well be him.

6. Your little girl probably got her ears pierced

…at birth. Absolutely no judgement here. Ten years ago when I first came to Spain I was super against this–you know, unnecessary gender assignment and what not–but I’ve really come around and to be honest, I would probably get my daughter’s ears pierced at birth too. Add it to the list of things that would shock and appall most American moms, 100% of gen z, and loads of woke millennials.

7. It was *really* difficult to decide your child’s name

Let’s run down the list of requirements the name must fulfill:

-Cannot be someone you don’t like (being a teacher, this eliminates a LOT of options)

-Cannot be too common nor too weird

-Cannot have difficult letters to pronounce in English or Spanish like the R in Spanish or the J in English. (I really liked Jack but Spaniards would inevitably pronounce it Yack and….yeah, no.)

-Should sound more or less the same in English and in Spanish (or in your native language if it isn’t English)

Add to this my requirement that it also couldn’t sound like an old man name, and that pretty much narrowed it down to two names for us. Not an easy task, friends!

8. You’re constantly told your baby is cold

It could be over 100 degrees and if your baby is in only a onesie, be prepared for the neighbors to comment on how “fresquito” he is. God forbid it is passed September 1st and he isn’t wearing socks. The abuelas will be appalled and promise you that he *will* get a cold.

9. Your maternity leave was LIT

Okay, it isn’t Finland or Sweden but Spanish maternity and paternity leave is still fantastic. As of 2020, moms have 16 fully paid weeks off, plus 120 hours for breastfeeding which can be taken once you go back to work and therefore make your work days shorter, or accumulated as 20 more days added to your mat leave. Dads have 12 paid weeks off, and in January 2021, as long as all goes as planned, they will have 16 as well. If your vacation time falls somewhere after baby is born, (summer for me), then you’ll have an extra long time off. I have from July 3rd to January 7th because of how it all worked out. Most American moms and dads are not so lucky.

10. You don’t have a babysitter

Let me clarify. If you’re lucky enough to have the Spanish abuelos nearby, maybe this doesn’t apply to you. If, however, the abus are not close to home, you probably are doing this whole parenting this pretty much on your own–I see you, mama! Going out to dinner means moving around babe’s schedule and bringing him along because hiring the teenager who lives next door for a few hours is definitely *not* the norm in Spain, and also, see #1. Your kid is your most expensive accessory (see #5) and is, more likely than not, just as much a part of “date nights” as your partner is. C’est la vie!


Are you a mom or dad raising your kid in Spain? What did I miss? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “10 Ways You Know You’re an American Mom in Spain

  1. Great read! I couldn’t agree more with the issues regarding choosing a name- especially being a teacher!. I am guilty of swooning over the baby clothes!


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