Ana Gildersleeve, a mom of two, posted a now-viral video saying, 'I think being a parent in the US is way more boring and isolating than in Spain.'
With the evolution of social media, learning about different cultures and traditions has become easier than ever. From Nordic parents leaving their kids out to sleep in strollers to Italian kids drinking wine with dinner, the culture shock is real. Recently, however, another mom went viral after she compared the parenting differences in Spain, her home country of 18 years, and the US, where she has lived for the past ten years. Ana Gildersleeve, a mom of two, posted a now-viral video on TikTok saying, "I think being a parent in the US is way more boring and isolating than in Spain." The video amassed over 2 million views, and many Spanish parents related to what she said in the video.
Gildersleeve was inspired to spark this conversation after her family took a trip home to Spain, and she ran into an American couple who had just moved there, reports BuzzFeed. “I think being a parent in the US is way more boring and isolating than in Spain. Someone told me, ‘I thought I was depressed, but I was just in the wrong country.’ And that’s when I was like, ‘I need to talk about this.'” She continues by saying, “First of all, most Americans don’t do anything fun during the week after work, especially if you are a parent. This feeling of isolation is something Gildersleeve touches on heavily in her video. After having children in the US, she noticed that parents usually save their "social events" for the weekend and dedicate their weekdays to work and parenting.
"Monday through Friday, most Americans do not socialize with other people," Gildersleeve said. "They go straight home after work or, if you're a parent, after your kid's activities. In general, Americans save social events for the weekends. They spend a lot of time in the house." She adds, "In Spain, we're out all the time — Monday through Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. When the kids are done with school, you go to the closest playground to the school and socialize with other parents." Playgrounds usually have a coffee shop or bar attached, and parents often have a glass of wine with one another while watching the children play.
Gildersleeve also highlighted that in the US, she had to schedule playdates a week prior or sometimes months in advance with other parents. But in Spain, she would easily send a quick text to ask if another parent was home, and if so, they immediately scheduled a day in the park 20 minutes ahead of the meeting time. In terms of isolation, the 28-year-old said, "I feel like most Americans don't have a village at all. Moving around the country is pretty normal here, but in Spain, most people live close to their families," which gives both parents and their babies a familial sense of belonging to their extended family. Another big culture shock came when Gildersleeve noticed that "parents stop what they are doing — even though they are having fun — because they need to put their kids to bed at 7 p.m."
"If you see a kid awake past 8 p.m., it's like 'You're a bad mom,' but in Spain, it doesn't matter where you are. If you bring the stroller, the kid will fall asleep." She notes, "In the US, we separate children's activities from adult activities. Parents organize their lives around the children's schedule, but in Spain, children adapt to the parent's schedules." After the video went viral, fellow Tiktok users living in both Spain and the US weighed in on the accuracy. "Couldn't agree more," one person wrote. "I lived in Spain for a year and I loved that we did things during the week. I hate living for the weekend," commented @simplyhilton. "I agree with your perspective and I'm born/raised in the U.S. 🥰 Spain sounds fun for parents!" said @boogiewoogie1st.