Shameless mom

Every now and then I can picture my school period again, whilst thinking about my current life as a parent. I mean, sometimes it feels like you go out and play and sometimes you feel really bored, staring at the clock. Another parallel is that you do actually learn a lot. And  of course parenting comes with a lot of ‘homework’ as well.Littleluxlion

One thing that really got clear to me these past few weeks is how toddlers don’t embarrass themselves, aren’t ashamed or are to busy pleasing others. Though kids are looking at examples in life and towards their parents, they don’t have a lot of standards yet. This makes them free as a bird and a joy to watch.

How I enjoyed my son demanding wearing his sisters’ clothing. How discovering new things in life and learning about anything is without prejudgement. What an example! It becomes clear to me that I don’t need to teach my kids to feel free and follow their strong will to develop their talents and learn about life. Like I already mentioned in this blog. I just have encourage it.

I love the words of the song of ‘Emili Sandé about learning to be free:

Littleluxlion
You’ve got the words to change a nation but you’re biting your tongue
You’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence afraid you’ll say something wrong
If no one ever hears it, how we gonna learn your song?
So come on come on, come on come onYou’ve got a heart as loud as lions so why let your voice be tamed?
Maybe we’re a little different, there’s no need to be ashamed
You’ve got the light to fight the shadows so stop hiding it away
Come on, come on” 

The reason I write this, is that in a certain way I feel like I am holding back. Maybe people will say that I am adventurous, with taking lots of risks in my life and not holding on to securities. That is true and I am proud of that. The most regrets I have in life are because I made the wrong choice, instead of holding back.

These regrets came from trusting the wrong people, miscalculating the situation or denying my intuition.  That made me sometimes weak. In the end, I believe experiences in life make you humble, more empathic and self-concious about your resilience and confidence. I think that is what people mean with that it makes you stronger. Only, writing just that (stronger) down, feels a little hollow.

LittleluxlionWhy I am still feeling like holding back? The most challenging in life is not to follow your patterns, but to change some of them. To do believe in what you are capable of it and go 100% for it. I went to Luxembourg with a mission. That mission is to do what I love  besides my ‘homework’ as a mother. Now, 6 months after giving birth to Chloé, I do feel I really want to develop my talents in a productive way 100%. Follow my heart and ambitions instead of choosing the easy way for the reason of certainties.

Let’s do this shamelessly, without prejudgments, without standards and add that strong will to learn things in life.

Thoughts: Hero

Sometimes in life, at the worst moment you will have a memorable and inspiring experience. This happened to me last weekend when I was visiting my friends and family in Rotterdam.

Chloé and I went on a ‘girls only trip.’ Looked very much forward to it and this happy little lion is almost always joining me with a big smile on her face. Actually nothing really changed about my opinion towards her since I wrote my ode to her.

Now, she is a six month old baby andI try to adjust my schedule as I can be very enthusiastic trying to meet up with lots of people. Looking back, I still should have planned more peace and rest for Chloé. With a 4,5 hour drive and getting much attention of an enthusiastic family and little sleep during the day, the dinner with friends at night started as a nightmare. Although I did expect a little resistance of her sleeping in a pushchair, it got worse than that…

As I tried harder to calm her down, she panicked more and more. I didn’t feel ashamed among the other guests, however I did feel horrible not being able to calm my babygirl down. Stubborness came over me, just trying to wiggle the pushchair back and forth, forth and back. I was just out of ideas of what to do. Then, a man suddenly stood next to me. With a calm and deep voice, he asked me; “Can I help you? She is really panicking…”

The way he asked this question was crucial. He sincerely wanted to help me and asked for a yes or no. Whatever I chose was fine with him. This feeling opened a way to listen and think again. There was very little room for others with a desperately crying baby next to me. He looked at me and started asking questions about Chloé. I answered them and already the situation eased down. He held her for a minute and gave some advice. One of his advices was how to ease a child down when it’s upset. He mentioned that the art is finding a balance between attention and neglecting. He softly holded Chloé against him, while talking with a deep and soft voice to me and moved her just a little from left to right as he explained. She eased down.

I got curious about him and wondered about who he was? “Who are you?” I said to him. “With all these questions it is hard to believe that you are just a concerned person.” He answered me;” I am a paediatrician specialised in neonatology and besides that I have two daughters.” I immediately trusted him.

This man was special. You just know it in an instant. With Chloé calmed down, I could actually start conversations with my friends and take a look at the menu. But then, Chloé started crying again. I didn’t manage to calm her down again. I immediately walked over to “the doctor” and asked him for help. It’s a fragile boundary; asking for help as a mother. Sometimes people really just make you feel bad or are obviously or indirectly judgemental.

The best way I can describe this, is that he helped from his inner strength; obviously a lot of experience and confidence about his knowledge and skills. He didn’t want to hear a thank you. His motivation wasn’t likely to be external focussed, but really from the heart.

The day after I was still in thoughts and one friend that was joining me that evening, looked him up on the internet. As a doctor he coaches people among different therapies, being specialised in helping people through traumatic events as he has seen a lot as a paediatrician. Also in his personal life, coming out after 20 years marriage with a wife and two daughters had thought him valuable lessons.

I am grateful and inspired meeting this man. I learned about my daughter and learned about life. Being confident and do what you love, with the use of all your experiences in life can make a difference. This man didn’t need a lot of words to tell me that when I met him. A true hero.

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts: How to be a fit and strong mom?

With Chloé almost 5 months, I notice times are changing. The development of Chloé is really visible now and she is obviously getting stronger. Last week, I witnessed her first real turn from back to belly and this week she’s already moving a lot more.

LittleluxlionMy own physical condition is also a lot better since I gave birth. I feel a lot of motivation to get stronger and fitter. Mentally and physically I really need to gain a little bit of “me” back after two years of non-stop pregnancies and breastfeeding.

My goal will be to gain strength, flexibilty and fitness. I felt strong, fit and flexible just before my first pregnancy. Went to the gym five days a week for different exercises. Played tennis, was active in yoga and boxing.

LittleluxlionWith two under two, being at a gym five days a week doens’t seem realistic. However there should be more into it than I am doing now.

No need to lose any pregnancy kilos. I actually never understood the motivation behind “losing weight”. Losing sounds so depressing. You lose your wallet, you lose hair on your head or lose a beloved one in your life. So what’s the fun of losing weight? It won’t make me realise my goals.

Littleluxlion

This summer I will definitely orientate myself for yoga or pilates places in Luxemburg. A closer look to Chloé’s back to belly turn shows me babys have a ‘winning’ spirit. No is not an answer. They achieve their goals with curiousity and a good balance between perseverance and relaxation. I will follow her spirit. Let’s make it happen and win myself back.

 

 

Holiday favourites: 5 must-have baby items

In one week we are driving to France and having our first family holiday with two kids.  We don’t have a huge car and even if we had, I like to be flexible, pragmatic and travel light.

I noticed when I was pregnant I was overwhelmed by all the ‘baby lists’ and recommendations. I didn’t have a clue where to start, what to prioritise and where to store all these items.

Luckily I already had some friends with babies that warned me not to buy too much of everything, because in the end you surely don’t need all. How thankful I am for that!

As a mother of two under two, I noticed that some items are very helpful. I want to share my favourites with you and am very curious about your opinion. Which item are  you definitely taking with you?

1. Cozy Baby nest
In the Netherlands these items are trending since last year. I totally understand why! When born, Chloé was very little and found it hard to sleep in her cradle. That’s why we bought the cozy nest.

It is safe, very light and easy to carry. This helps you out while travelling. No campingbed needed. For my trips abroad I always bring this one with me. 

Also I find it very helpful at home. During the night I carry Chloé out of the cradle in her nest and breastfeed her in bed while she is in the nest. This way we can continue to sleep safe together in bed.

2. Stokke Newborn
I remember doubting a while before buying this. The Stokke chair is fabulous anyway. It is well prized, as you can have it up to 6/7 years for your child.

With Jules running around I didn’t dare to put Chloé on a bouncer on the floor. So after one month we decided to buy it and I like it very much.

In a jiffy you take the newborn on and off the Stokke chair. So if guests arrive with kids, we’ll get it off and have an extra chair. Chloé can always sit on any surface with the newborn, like a dining chair of on the table. To France we are planning to bring it with us, instead of a bouncer. Perfect solution and still traveling light.


3. Hydrophilic diaper Done by deer
Hydrophillic diapers are indispensable for me. I use them for a lot of things during the day. Not only when we’re out, to lie on when I change diapers, but also for protection from the sun when she is in the stroller/carrier, delicate breastfeeding and for cleaning when Chloé is nauseous.

Why these hydrophilic are my favourites? They are fashionable. I love these diapers. They come in two sizes, different colours and have a loop on it, which is uncommon. This way you can hang them anywhere and eventually I’ll keep them as towels for the kitchen.


4. Snooze carrier
Finding the best carrier was not easy. I have bought, borrowed and tried several ones. Recently I  found the one that is the most convenient for me. I really would advise to borrow different carriers from friends before buying one. However, if you can’t wait, I am pleased to have the snooze carrier. It has a warm inside cover for cold days and is pleasant for the warm days when you remove it. Also it is very easy to carry, putting your baby in and out and is very light as it has no metals or big locks like a lot of carriers.

5. Puckababy four seasons
Not the cheapest sleeping bag, but definitely the best for me! The four seasons Puckababy will save you lots of money. You can adjust the size as well as the thickness, creating a sleeping bag for multiple ages as well as different seasons. It’s about 100 euro and helps you out from a 6 months old baby until approximately 2 years. I use it daily and am very pleased with the sustainable material after all these washes.

 

 

 
Looking forward to holidays! Will update in France about our tour.

In between

It’s a very odd time capsule that I feel myself being sucked into. It’s like the movie “Back to the Future.” I just settled in my new future, but I’m still influenced by my past and travelling back and forth to the future in a Seat Leon instead of a Delorean.


It’s living in between countries, in between jobs, in between a house we own, in between my body recovering from pregnancy, or at least I hope that it is temporary. In between a creche for my kids, in between my true friends from the Netherlands and building up true friendship(s) in Luxembourg.

Have you ever felt that in between?

What does one do to let that feeling  go away? You can see this from several points of view. Glass half full/half empty kind of thing. In between can mean all options are open and you can experience enormous freedom. On the otherhand ‘all options’ are  a lot. So you might as well feel a bit squized into nomansland as well.

img_1136
Statue of Willem I in Luxembourg

img_1422-1
Statue of Willem I in The  Netherlands
With travelling “back in time” to the Netherlands this week, I will set the first steps with closing the deal of my sold house and some final appointments for my kids.

The next week I should put on my self lacing Nikes, get in the Seat Deleorean and gain some energy and decisiveness like thunder and lighting to help me get “back” into the future.

On the other hand, maybe I must not expect to be in a fully settled future at once. Maybe some things will occur with the energy of thunder and lightning. But maybe a lot of things just need time to pass by instead of heading there at once. Only time will tell.

img_0920

Ode to my baby

From the moment you decided to come, you were just so calm and easy, though decisive and quick.

You announced your arrival perfectly. After daddy’s final work day for the coming month and while the first water broke whilst I was on the toilet. After that subtile hello, you waited a few hours so I could easily put your brother to bed and getting ready for the hospital. Immediately after your brother was asleep, the first contraction started. But for the strong ones, you waited until we were in the hospital. Though, it went very prosperous; It only took 5 hours in total.

Little, precious, beautifully baby with lots of black hair: Chloé.  It suits you. I see a humble, precious, beautiful little girl. A brilliant observer, clear, happy, calm and strong. The first weeks the only place you wanted to sleep was on my breast. You needed to gain weight. But how you have grown! And still we are so physically connected by many trips in the sling.

May life give you the optimal circumstances to develop your talent, remain your health and keep that beautiful smile of yours.

 

 

The f**k-it-list

I always worked with bucket-lists and was able to cross items off. Went on a trip around the world, took a course in developing documentaries, bought myself a house, went abroad alone and have accomplished the career I wanted. Writing this down makes me realise a lot of things can happen and be accomplished. And still aiming for many dreams to come true. Only a lot less time nowadays to even think about them.

Finally, I found an article that suits me. It was just the opposite of making a bucket-list. As I will fail on making and executing one at the moment. Good god, I am already hesitating about my sons creche for weeks, so reaching for more goals just hardly fits me right now.

Finally someone (not me) invented the f**k-it-list. That sounds like one big relief.

What should be on the list wasn’t explained, not sure if I find that important. What I do think is that sometimes it helps to reset your mind, by not looking to the future or what’s not here. It’s hard though. Everyday there are so many impulses and distractions. A moment of peace and rest, besides a powernap or sleep, is almost impossible for me. The kids or a lack of time aren’t just to blame for that. It’s also the temptation of the mobile phone that is always there to have a look at. Writing down to do’s in my iPhone notes, checking out what’s going on in email, Facebook and WhatsApp. Luckily the sun is out and being outside of the house does help to decrease the amount of time on my phone. Without too many distractions and impulses, the opportunity to reflect on life and being thankful opens up.


That is where the f**k-it lists show up. Because all these lists make you (want to) think you are totally in control of life. You exactly know what’s happening around you. Well, you are not and you don’t know. I do believe you are able to influence circumstances and you must take responsibility for your life 100%. But f**k-it and let go of fake control. Influence circumstances as they occur, not hypothetically for the future. Try to see what choices you can make today and don’t mimer to much about the next weeks, months or years. Put some trust and a positive mindset in life and don’t forget to act as chances are passing by.

Maybe for now I should not have a bucket-list and let it go for a while. What will life bring if you are not trying to direct it with putting items on a list? What direction will you be led to?

With trust in life and a positive mindset instead of a list….. Let’s see what’s on!

 

The perfect housewife

About five years ago (totally different era), I had a vision about how I would be as a mother. Ideally a fulltime mom with a bunch of kids or a parttime job. They say dreams come true, they do. But was it really a dream, or has it become my worst nightmare?

Eventually a lot of things in life start with learning by doing. I believe so, and of course most cliches are somewhat true. But for me the learning path of becoming a temporary fulltime housewife is quite a journey. A journey whereto?

I do love the time I have to spend with my kids. Seeing them develop and growing up without the daily stress of going to the office, bring them to creche, hurry home, feed them and bringing them to bed is a relieve. Combining this with time to ground in Luxembourg, social networking and finding a creche makes me feel happy.


But then the household thing…. It’s just ins’t my cup of tea. How do people manage to wear clean clothes all day long with kids? How does one manage to keep the kids clothes clean after a(ny) meal? How do people find time to keep the whole house clean and organised? One big riddle, which I probably won’t find out before I will start working again.

Though what is perfection? I do like that my kids are relaxed. We have enough food everyday to feed the kids. And at least I manage to organise the laundry daily and am able to reduce it because of irreparable stains in clothing.

So for now for my standards I am the perfect housewife. And since my dreams continuously, in strange ways, come true I am of to bed for my next dream.

Going Dutch

After driving 10 minutes without one sunglass and without even noticing, it was definitely time for a short break. In combination with al the must dos in the Netherlands to finalize the emigration, our trip to Rotterdam was a fact.

With a short trip, planning must be done. Actually, I find this the most challenging. I love to live life spontaneously. Make up my mind about what to do last-minute and how it feels. But since I moved, I noticed that almost every weekend until July is already planned with must dos, friends and family visits here and in the Netherlands.

Though the weekend was nearly fully booked, it still felt like a good break. It reminded me how energizing it is to undo patterns and daily matters. With a lunch, a surprise goodbye party and diner with family, the first day was a good start. A bad night with hungry and wetted kids couldn’t undo my energy for the next two days. It was absolutely a big plus that these days included spontaneous meetings with friends.

img_0624The return trip to Luxembourg went very prosperous with a sleepy boyfriend, sleepy kids and me wearing both glasses in my sunglasses. The next trip to the Netherlands will be one week the end of May with only the kids and I.

Looking forward to it with just a little planning ahead!

img_0612