What has changed in your life since you became a mother?
Surprisingly, everything has opened up because of the things that usually stop people from having kids, the constraints. Before having a child I was a very chaotic person. I could sometimes hardly tell if it was day or night. I had no idea what to do with my weekends. She brought structure into my life and I enjoy my free time now much more.
What do you like most to do all together?
Small simple things. It’s all about attention. Making bracelets together, visiting a playground and something special every now and again, like Nemo or the maritime museum. Jan taught her to climb trees when she was two years old. She’s a monkey now and he takes her to a climbing wall sometimes.
What’s the best thing about being a mother?
Being able to give so much. I really wanted to have a child. Whenever I babysat someone else’s kid I used to think, when I have my own baby I can really give everything. Sometimes I think of her as a little alien and I get to introduce the world to her, tell her what a fork is or why the earth revolves. It’s a privilege.
What is typical about your child/children?
She’s a goody good girl, which I recognize from myself when I was a kid. From Jan she seems to have her social skills. The more, the merrier. She makes friends very easily.
What did surprise you about motherhood?
The old-fashioned stuff that’s suddenly more important than expected. Saying thank you, getting up for older people and not offending people. I used to think that stuff was boring, but I see how my daughter respects people around her. I’m very happy about that
What are you looking for when it comes to toys and playing?
To be able to change your mind as a parent. We all have the best intentions and wish for them to play with wooden (and preferably somewhat aesthetic) toys, so they can challenge their fantasy on a daily basis, play outside and actually touch some soil. But in reality, 90% of the girls pick the pink and purple pencils; want Disney princess-telephones with lots of buttons. Besides all kids love watching television. It’s important to offer a mix, but especially to give in every now and then.
What are your favourite places to take your kids to?
Nemo, she loves going there and so do I. The Maritime museum in Amsterdam is gorgeous and great for kids. On hot summer days I like the kiddie pool at Oosterpark.
What are the things you can’t live without since you became a mother?
Baby wipes. Not very glamorous, but even though she’s not wearing diapers for already a very long time, I still use them for sticky hands and face. During my pregnancy I used Weleda belly oil. I don’t have any stretch marks, maybe it helped? Sometimes I use perfume, I hope she remembers the scent and it will bring back memories later.
What’s your advice to all newbie moms?
It’s just a phase. Everything will be all right, really, and you’re not a bad mother otherwise you wouldn’t worry so much! Really.
HYSHIL & LOKELANI ARE WEARING:
What do you find difficult as a parent and how do you try to solve the difficulties?
Patience. I don’t have much of it but I genuinely try every day.
How do you prefer raising your child/children, what works for you?
Our daughter always had her freedom within ‘the rules’. One day the rules may be stricter than other days. But she’s always had a sensation of freedom and I think that makes her feel good. She’s allowed quite a bit and knows where it ends.
As a mother what would you like to do differently?
To have more patience. For example, when it’s a cold December day and there’s hail and she needs to wear fifteen layers of clothes. You’re already running late for school and of course she must wear another scarf because the one she has on is Oh-So-Itchy. Then she’s finally ready to go but needs to pee. Instead of just the pants she takes off all of her clothes. When she’s finally dressed again you race to school. You’re only 30 seconds late and almost ready to exhale with a relief only to realize that you had forgotten her schoolbag at home with hastily made sandwiches for lunch. Thus you race back home to get the bag, then you bike back through wet snow only to realize at the coatracks that it’s Wednesday and she doesn’t need sandwiches as it’s a short day at school and she’ll be lunching at home. Based on a true story.
What’s your favourite moment of the day?
Well, not the one described above. But when a day started out like this and persisted in the same tone, and when I come home pretty finished, and I open the door, and she comes running to me with open arms screaming and showering me with kisses, and a thousand hugs, the sensation of relaxation, joy and love is overwhelming. Before I didn’t know what that was.
How do you unwind? What is a nice treat for you?
Something by myself. Reading in a coffee-shop, walking around the town alone after a meeting, going to a museum by myself does the trick. I also love going out for a dinner with Jan, good food makes me happy and I like dressing up for my man and spending time together.
What do you do to make sure everything is ‘in balance’, work, family, friends?
I genuinely try my best. I make sure I see and talk to my friends regularly and I do some nice things with them. I have talks with my husband in the evening. I make some time free for school activities with Lokelani. But yet it’s hard. On the other hand, we have a lovely, active life that brings me joy and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
How do you combine motherhood and work?
I work part-time and I’m a freelancer. Sometimes it can be very busy. And I have to work a lot. But being a freelancer makes things a lot easier. I’m flexible and I can take time off if needed.
Name a couple of your favourite things in general.
Ballet, photography, art (the napoleon project by Elizabeth Peyton is my all-time favorite), fashion (Iris van Herpen!), reading (I don’t have a lot of time and read slow but I remember books very well) Zadie Smith is a hero and of course drawing.
Can you tell a little about how you decorated your kid’s room?
Lokelani has a spacious room where she can play and hang out with her girlfriends. She loves books, but hates to read. But since she was a toddler she loves flipping through books and looking at pictures. We have a shelve-rack to put the nicest books on display. She has eye-catching wallpaper by Isak and a shelf with a small mirror, which she calls ‘my hair salon’. There’s also an old dollhouse that her grandparents restored for her, with working lights and tiny aquarium.
What’s important to you interior-wise, when it comes to creating a home?
Warmth, and a room to play. We have a very large living-room/kitchen. If there’s a pile of toys it’s easy to step over them and that won’t bother anyone. This way there’s a little more freedom for her. And I don’t have to tell her to clean up every day. I prefer a bit of mess to Tupperware boxes.
Where do you shop for your kid(s)?
For basics I shop at H&M, Hema and sometimes at Gap. The nice things I buy from Cos and Mini Rodini. We always buy her good shoes at Meys&co, the best children’s shoes shop in Amsterdam.
What are your favorite clothing brands and stores?
Vintage! I love dresses and I buy a lot via Etsy. Brand-wise I’m not very loyal, as long as it fits my style. I like a certain simplicity in shape and style, with a girly twist. Cos and Ganni are favourites, and when I have the money I buy a dress by Orla Kiely. I have a little handbag (I don’t like large bags) by Sophie Hulme that I carry nearly every day. And once I bought a pair of beautiful Miu Miu mary-janes in their boutique in Florence. Whenever I wear them I think back of the lovely weekend I had with my husband and friends.
How do you stay in shape, physically and emotionally?
Inspiring input is very important to me. Watching beautiful films (Das Leben der Anderen, Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides), see ballet performances, read every now and then. As for exercise, I take modern jazz ballet classes and I bike to my studio three times a week (22km per day). When I feel like it I run during weekends. It takes a lot of effort to fit it all in but it’s important to feel good.
What was the first item you bought for your baby when you were pregnant?
A baby onesie from Petit Bateau. Size 50/52. She can have it for her own baby later if she wants to.
What’s the nicest piece of art you ever got from kid(s)?
A drawing of Jan she made the other day. He got a promotion at work. She was very impressed and drew him wearing a tie and holding a microphone, standing on a stage. In front there were all these people cheering for him. Next to him she wrote the word ‘law’ twice. This meant ‘looooooooove’.
When does your heart melt?
Every day of course, but for the first time when they put her on my belly after she was born. She didn’t cry and only looked around. I felt incredibly powerful and could only think: ‘Mine. I Will Never Let You Go.’
Which city do you like to visit and why?
Paris. We have lovely memories of the Jardin du Luxembourg and love to eat at Le Marché des enfants rouge.
What’s important for you when you go on holiday with family?
Good food, swimming and nature. Lokelani is like an amphibious fish. She literally swims from the moment we’re done with breakfast until we tell her she has to go to bed.We always drive into nature and since this year we’ve started hiking and climbing routes with her. Lokelani loves it. She’s a real nature child. It was my highlight of our holiday this year. To stand on top of a 1382m high rock formation with my family, hair blowing in the hot wind and looking over the beautiful Spanish landscape.
What do you like about your partner as a father?
He is the kindest and smartest person I know and he is exactly the same as a father. He’s never said ‘I only like kids when they’re two years old’. He loves every move she makes as much as I do. There’s no one on earth with whom I can share how great she is, like I can share with him.
How does your date-night look like?
Go out for a dinner with the two of us or with friends and go into the town afterwards. Going for lunch during the day when Lokelani has play-date is my favourite as well. And when she’s staying over at her grandparents for a week our house turns into a student’s place. Eating pizza out of the boxes in front of TV, messy kitchen and not entering a supermarket for a week. You could say Lokelani has civilized us.
Why did you pick the Miss Universe-set?
Miss Universe is my favourite because I’m a secret astronomy (related to, but not to be confused with astrology) nerd. I like telling Lokelani about our solar system and how gravity works. The world is a magical place, something extremely evident for kids, but important for us to remember.