Jun 202011


(asked by Anat from Israel)

I’m a single mom of 2 boys ( twins), 6+ years old. (I’m divorced but their father isn’t active in raising them)
I’ve worked in hi-tech for many years and recently was suggested to relocate from my work to Paris for 2 years. (I live in Israel)
Beside the amazing work opportunity for me and the great experience for the kids, I worry about being a single mom in a foreign, maybe even hustle environment.
My question is what do you know about the French people/government approach for single mom, liberal ? conservative ?

Thanks in advance

Hi Anat,

First of all, a little side note about being careful (you, me and everyone else) with “general political terms” when talking about different countries. What I mean here is that words like liberal and conservative have very different meanings from country to country (one can add socialist, republican, democrat, libertarian and many more to the list).

In France, the word conservative is very rarely used (in a French context that is) while the word liberal means only one thing and that is economically liberal, that is in favor of a society that is as capitalistic as possible with as little government involvement as possible, in other words conservative in an English-speaking context!

That being said, I’m not sure what your definitions of those words are, but I will assume that in the Israeli context, liberal means “normal sane people” and conservative means “religious nuts”.

In that case, rejoice, we have very few religious nuts in France. I definitely think that there are way too many, their number seems to be growing by the day, but it’s still way below what you can encounter in many countries, Israel included.

What I mean by that is that there’s little to no-stigma against single moms in France coming from the general population. I’m sure the few religious nuts from any religion that I just mentioned don’t like them very much, but those people are generally easy to avoid.

What about the government?

Well, despite the fact that our current government is not the most open-minded, the good news is that it has nothing against single moms and I’m pretty much sure that the C.A.F. (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales) has something for them. For those who don’t know, the CAF is a governmental organization whose jobs is to financially help families that need it, that includes families with several children (the main reason France is the rich country with one of the highest birth rates some people say) as well as single parents. Wikipedia tells me that single parents do get an allowance, according to their revenue.

I guess this answers your question.

If you have any follow-up one, hit the comments.


More Questions Answered:

  5 Responses to “Single Moms in France?”

  1. I think I can comment on the ‘people’s’ approach. I see very little stigma associated to single parents in France, as opposed to the US for example. I don’t know about Israel. A very large number of families are ‘familles monoparentales’ in France and, although it is often acknowledge from these families statistically have more difficulties in their life (relationships, school, poverty,…), being a ‘famille monoparentale’ is rarely badly considered from a moral point of view. Divorce is also very common and not frowned upon, unless maybe from a few religious nuts, but they are really few and you may very well never meet one.
    To give you an idea, the last two main candidates for presidency were a single mum of four (single as in non-married living with the kids’ father, or at least pretending to do so), and a divorced and remarried (and soon to be divorced and remarried again) father of three and step-father of two kids (now respectively 3.5 and 3 kids!). The family situation of these candidates barely raised eyebrows in the population as far as I can tell.
    Depending on your situation, you can ask for an ‘allocation parent isole’ to your local CAF. Being a single parents also puts you in a ‘priority list’ for some benefits (like day care, moderate price housing).
    Enjoy your stay !

  2. Thanks, David. : )

  3. Frenchman, you should be careful not to label religious people or organizations for that matter, as ‘nuts’. These people do not look down on children or single mums at all (I know this from experience). They actually encourage everyone to be aware of their needs. They encourage governments to look after these single parent families. That’s why politicians are careful not upset religious organizations because they advocate family values and support government funding to those in need. Just because someone is religious, does not mean they are ‘nuts.’ It is rather broad brush you paint otherwise! Besides you should appreciate all the wonderful things that religion has brought to France- art, music, architecture, culture, tradition…etc… France would not be France if this were not the case!
    I hope you are not offended by my post to you.

    • Dear Juliet,

      First of all -and I’d be embarrassed to have to give you an English lesson- when one says “religious nuts”, nuts is the noun, religious is the epithet. As such it means “nuts that are religious” and it, by no means, implies that all religious people are nuts.
      However, that being said, that it happens that most of them are.
      I mean, how sane a person can be when they believe in a big bearded guy in the sky, dudes with wings and whatnot, when they’re older than 7.

      Now, I have no problem with people believing foolish things as long as they keep it to themselves. And usually people or organizations who describe themselves as “religious” do it because they want to “use” their religion one way or the other.
      So, sure not every religious person is like that. And maybe Australia is a bit saner and definitely more liberal than many countries.
      But go tell that to Muslim girls that are being stoned to death, American Bible Belt single mothers who are ostracized by their neighborhoods. I don’t know how the Jews deal with them, but, wait, Anat is from Israel and she’s the one who worries about that.
      Maybe we can assume that the picture is not very pretty either.

      Meanwhile in non-religious countries (basically Western and Nothern Europe) what is the situation? The one that I described. Not only there is no issue at all with single mothers, but they even get government help in countries that haven’t turned totally capitalist and haven’t forgotten that the role of the government is to help its people, especially the ones in need.

      And as far as the argument of “look what religion has brought to France” it’s cute, but it’s a different paradigm (and while Notre-Dame was being built, people who didn’t please the Church were being burned), and do you sincerely think that the architects, painters and other artists wouldn’t have existed without religion?
      No, it’s the other way around actually. Because of the grip of religion on the country, if they wanted to exist as artists, they had no other choice but to do it within the frame of religion.

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