Our next Motherhood Around the World post highlights Mary Frances Davidson, who lives with her six-year-old little girl and five-year-old child in Reykjavik, Iceland. She works for the United Nations University Fisheries Training Program. Here, she discusses insidious mythical beings, swim exercises for infants, and how extraordinary the nation is for single parents…
Mary Frances’ experience: Ten years prior, I moved from Seattle to Iceland to get a graduate degree in Environmental Science at the University of Iceland. I wedded an Icelandic man and we had two youngsters; despite the fact that we’re currently separated, I adore it here and plan to remain. We live in a comfortable storm cellar loft in the capital city of Reykjavik. We’re just a 15-minute stroll from the water, and the air is perfect with a crisp, salty smell.
On the wild scene: Iceland is a peculiar and wonderful nation. On the off chance that you drive 30 minutes toward any path outside of Reykjavik, you’ll wind up among magma fields, cascades, fjords and ice sheets. It is striking, however incredibly cruel. At the point when the climate is terrible, it’s awful. Now and then the frosty breeze is strong to the point that it will cut your cheeks, truly. However, individuals here don’t comprehend the idea of taking a “snow day.” Life continues, regardless of the climate. My child now and then watches out the window in the first part of the day and reports, “The climate isn’t too terrible today, Mama. The trees are not moving!” There is an uplifting viewpoint that encourages us endure. I have ended up receiving this, saying things like, “In any event it isn’t blustery,” or “In any event it isn’t snowing,” or “At any rate it isn’t excessively cold.”
On being a little nation: Reykjavik feels like a little town where everyone knows one another. It isn’t strange to see extremely well known individuals in line at the supermarket. I once shared a network hot tub with Bjork. The President is recorded in the telephone directory. [The whole nation has a lower populace than Cleveland, Ohio.]
My child’s educator gave the class a task: Each tyke needed to go for a stroll each day to visit the home of another child. Instructors took photographs of every understudy remaining at his or her front entryway, and afterward made a guide of the area with every one of their homes. Presently when we’re strolling near, my child will arbitrarily point and state, “That is Soley’s home!”
On names: My little girl is Elsa Maria Kolbeinsdottir, and my child is Finnur Atli Kolbeinsson. There is a patrilineal naming framework in Iceland, so my children’s last names are gotten from their dad’s first name, Kolbeinn. Elsa’s last name implies little girl of Kolbeinn, and Finnur’s methods child of Kolbeinn. At the point when individuals wed, they don’t change their names. It’s not befuddling on the grounds that everybody is alluded to by their first name. Indeed, even educators, specialists and different callings that would regularly utilize surnames in the U.S. pass by their first names. My little girl will call her instructor “Margaret” at primary school one year from now, and our specialist is named Gudbjorg.
On single parenting: Three years prior, I isolated from my children’s Icelandic father. The social frames of mind toward marriage and separation in Iceland feel altogether different than in the U.S. There’s no shame or unthinkable around being a solitary parent. The American story appears to state everybody’s objective ought to be to get hitched and have children, and that separation will contrarily influence youngsters. Every one of that was experiencing my mind when I was endeavoring to choose whether our separation was a smart thought or even a plausibility — it set aside a long effort to arrive. In any case, when I told individuals in Iceland that we were getting a separation, the reaction was frequently, ‘I’m sorry to learn that, yet it occurs.’ Nobody asked, ‘What happened?!!’ They didn’t require the subtleties or an analyzation. I was apprehensive about the judgment, yet there was none.
On marriage: People don’t get hitched as frequently in Iceland. Despite the fact that we got hitched when I was pregnant with our first kid, it’s normal for couples to date for a long time, at that point have a child and perhaps move in together. What’s more, when the child is more established, they may get hitched. Out of the considerable number of couples I know, I can consider perhaps a couple of who got hitched before having a child. [Studies demonstrate that 67% of every Icelandic infant are conceived out of wedlock.]