In Finland, we are leading the way in equality, education and empowerment of women. Finland as a Technology Superpower fits well for working mothers – and some secret powers ease the everyday life of families. Porridge, synchronized skating, and startup dads who cook dinners.
It’s a typical Tuesday morning traffic jam in our home, with two adults and three kids running around and grapping some Finnish superfood breakfast: porridge, blueberries and rye bread. Various activity packed mobile calendars are checked, various backpacks are stuffed. Before leaving the house there is the obligatory ‘Find your hat/shoe/mitten‘ game. Today it’s my eldest daughter who wins the race and makes her way out first. She is 10 years old and takes a bus or walks 20 minutes to the school by herself.
I take the other kids to school and daycare. My younger daughter has just started her first grade in a Finnish-Russian school, as it is the closest language school to our home. Russian is an important language because of the strong business and tourism links with our Eastern neighbour. After a 15 minute bike ride through Helsinki’s central park, our green commuting corridor, we arrive just in time. I’m grateful that as a parent my responsibility is to deliver the child to school and after that one of the world’s best school systems takes care of the rest – including a free nutritious lunch. There are no tuition fees, of course.
Today I’m working at home. It saves time from the commuting and is easy with all the documents saved in the cloud and the handy apps for connecting with colleagues. I skype with my colleagues in China about upcoming marketing activities. Thanks to our well-designed digital work environment and fast network, I can work efficiently from just about anywhere. It’s nice when the tech functions so well that you almost forget about it.
In the early afternoon, my eldest daughter arrives from school. She’s in fourth grade and her school day lasts 5-6 hours. After school, it’s time for homework, hobbies and free time. She’s really into synchronized skating and her team Sunlights practices five times a week. It’s a great way to get the ten hours of physical exercise per week recommended for school kids. We’re hoping that synchronized skating will get the Olympic status soon, since Finland is the best in the world at this sports!
Here’s the family heading for a summer cottage hopping. In a country of five million people, we have over half a million summer cottages.
Around 5pm my spouse Tomi comes home and starts preparing our dinner, while I take the younger daughter for her piano lesson. Tomi is part of the emerging generation of Finnish startup entrepreneurs. Seven years ago, he started with three other Finns a digital consulting company that has expanded to four countries and employs over a hundred people. In Wunder’s Helsinki office, the digital experts who code smart web solutions wear woolly socks in corporate colours and send digital hugs to each other in appreciation of a job well done. Finland’s dynamic startup scene is among the most exciting in the world and blooming with tech innovation.
In the evening, it’s time to dream and enjoy the peace and quiet of home. It is comforting to notice that many of my friends, and myself too, have found time to dream – and to fulfil those dreams even in the midst of the middle age rush hour. I think that, if anything, qualifies Finland as a superpower.
When I stop to think about it, both the dreaming and the busy life of a working mother are enabled in many wonderful ways by the technology, education and intelligent systems we have in place.
And yes, it also makes a difference that Tomi knows how to cook.
About the Author
In her daily work, Mari promotes Finland as a Technology Superpower for international companies looking for the next location for their Next Big Thing. In her leisure time, she enjoys every bit of living in it.
Top image: Helsinki Marketing/Jussi Hellsten