Lately I have split my magazine reading between the interior design ones that I always read, and some magazines devoted to becoming / being a parent. O’s brother’s wife M-J gave me four editions of a Spanish magazine called Ser Padres, which is actually free (for the moment?), my blog friend Brysselkakan gave me an old edition of the Swedish magazine Mama and as interior design and parenthood are combined in the Swedish magazine Family Living I have bought some of those myself.
I am aware that this will be an unfair comparison, but I would still like to make some remarks about the different parental magazine styles in Spain and Sweden. The unfairness is due to the fact that we do have parental magazines in Sweden that are more similar to the ones in Spain – at least, that’s what I think, I haven’t actually read any of them (I am thinking of Vi Föräldrar (Us Parents) for example). But I wonder, are there similar parental magazines like the Swedish ones below in Spain??
Ser Padres is a magazine full of interesting articles about everything from medical and health advice to shopping tips and what to feed a baby / toddler / child. I haven’t read all of the articles yet but I like that part of the magazine is divided into chapters for different ages, and that they also have articles about real families (for example living in the countryside vs in the city etc) and even travelling. Lots of hands-on advice, and several pages are devoted to answering the readers’ questions.
The article Cosmética para el bebé drew my attention but fortunately most of the article talked about shampoos and soaps, not about cosmetics as in make-up as the title would make a non-Spanish speaker to think. However, it also mentioned different types of Colonia, because, just like the Belgians, Spaniards apparently like their babies to smell… something else than baby! It’s funny (or NOT), but I have always heard that the smell of a baby is one of the best smells ever. I knew that this is a cultural difference, just like the piercing of ears on small new-born baby girls, but there is no cologne / perfume getting near my baby, that’s for sure!! Except for this little difference, I would say that the advice I have read so far is very similar to what I have read in Swedish parenthood books and magazines.
NB. If you look closely at the four babies featured on the cover pages of the magazines, you might notice that they are all blonde and at least three of them have blue eyes. Interesting, don’t you think, in a country where most people have dark hair and brown eyes! (and the two women featured on the Swedish magazines below have brown hair, but they are actually both of foreign origin)
As I mentioned in the beginning, the two Swedish magazines I have been reading are not really the same type of magazine as Ser Padres, and I am not even sure that glossy, cool, fashionable parental magazines exist in Spain!? Correct me if I am wrong! Mama is like a combination of a fashion magazine with a parental magazine with still some interesting articles but maybe not as serious as the Spanish one. The articles are shorter and more easily digested than the advice-filled Spanish articles. There are always a few celebrities mothers / parents interviews, and the focus is very much on image. Both Mama and Family Living I would probably call “parental life style magazines”, with FL being a more interior design oriented version.
What annoys me about these two magazines is: the titles – why do they have to be in English? Is it more cool / catchier? Do they seller better? Actually it seems to be a Swedish magazine phenomenon which I discovered last Christmas when I went to the local news agent’s (Pressbyrån) to try to find a magazine in English for O – it seemed that more than half of the titles were in English (about cars, music, whatever!) but when I looked closer, I realised that nope, the articles were written in Swedish. On the Mama cover page there is a reference to an article called Har ni hamnat i IVF-hell? (“Have you ended up in IVF hell?” but the two last words are in English!), what’s wrong with using the Swedish word for hell? And I remember reading the editor’s column (in one magazine or the other) where she wrote about her kettle, I am sorry but who talks like that in Sweden? I thought it was called vattenkokare but then again, I guess I have been living abroad for too long!?
Nevertheless, I enjoy reading all these three types of magazines. The Spanish ones I read to get an idea of how parenthood is perceived in Spain, which is important as I am expecting a little half-Spaniard, and I want to know what to expect from the Spanish part of the family… The Swedish magazines I read, not so much for information, but for the pure enjoyment of reading a glossy magazine focused on parenthood. And I would definitely rather buy Familiy Living than Mama.
If you are wondering, no I haven’t had the opportunity to check out any French / Belgian parenthood magazines yet…