Single Mother Family (Portugal & Finland)

Jul 02, 2020
Multiculturalism Family Life

The Family: the Mother is from Portugal, a student who has been living in Finland for 13 years. Her children, a boy who is in the 4th grade and a girl in the 1st grade, born in Joensuu (East Finland). Today they live in Espoo for 7 years.


Picture Credits to sehetki Photography


“One Language at Home”

At home, the family speak only Portuguese as it comes natural for them. The kids also feel more comfortable talking Portuguese and want to speak it instead of Finnish.

“Summer Vacation in Portugal”

It is especially important to the family to visit Portugal every summer, to know the kids’ roots and where their mother is from. Spending time with friends who have kids in Portugal is also a part of the vacation’s experience.

“Portuguese Community Growing in Espoo”

In Espoo, there are more families from Portugal who are friends to the family. The awareness to Portuguese holidays also increased within the community.

“Safety, Education, Equality, Nature and Support in Finland”

The mother considers living in Finland as an advantage because Finland’s safety, education system, and nature. The fact that there is a forest close to their house helps especially in these corona times, where the forest is a pleasant and safe place to spend time in. Other factors such as the lack of corruption and the fact that schools provide all students lunch, are also advantages of living in Finland. “I would not survive as a foreigner single mother without the help and support I got from the Finnish system. The Finnish system focuses and support families with kids”, the mother added.


Picture Credits to sehetki Photography 


“Isolated in Joensuu”

The main obstacle for the mother was when she lived in Joensuu, there she felt the culture differences the most. The mother shared with me one example when a stranger judged her parenting ways:

“I was in a café place in one summer evening with my previous partner and a Finnish friend, the time was 20:30, and my 1yr son was with us. We had a coca cola, water, and some snacks. Suddenly, one drunker came to us and accused us of drinking alcohol and complained that my son was using pacifier. I felt very annoyed by this man’s words and the way he interrupts our good time. After this incident, my partner didn’t want to go out again with our son “that late” (20:30!!). In my home country it is very natural to spend summer evenings outside even with a baby, and nobody will judge my parenting skills and talk to me in a hurtful way. I felt like in prison, that I had to stay at home in certain times because I have a baby”.

“Nowadays, while living in Espoo, I didn’t experience any hurtful talk towards me. I also adapted to the Finnish ways and cultures because I have been living here for a long time”.


Picture Credits to sehetki Photography

Shared Values (the family share with the Finnish culture)

Best Advice


“Use Facebook’s groups, make the best of social media to get as much of information, help and support you need. As a foreigner, you are not always aware of your rights and the help that you deserve to get. After a difficult relationship with a Finnish partner, I felt completely alone with no support, I was scared I might lose my children. With the support I got from good social networks, I didn’t feel like I’m stuck in Finland, I chose to be here, and I enjoy living here.”


Picture Credits to sehetki Photography

Written by: Dana

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