The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen

What has changed in your life since you became a mother?
My life has become complete and way richer.

 What things do you want to teach your child/ children?
I want my children to become confident, positive people who treat happiness of other people as their own one. I also would love my children to understand that beauty, happiness, love and kindness can be found everywhere, especially in the little things, and even there where you least expect it.

 What do you like most to do all together?
Cooking is definitely our favourite.

What’s the best thing about being a mother?
Love, there is so much love around me.

 What is typical about your child/children?
All four are very sweet, caring and love to cuddle. However they are quite different.
Sara (9) is as much responsible as positive. She smiles a lot and loves cooking and crafting.
Pim (7) is funny, inventive, creative and super social.
Ava (4) is a sparkling, clever, and confident little girl.
Casper (2) is energetic, determined and resolute. Such a boy!

 What did surprise you about motherhood?
How little we actually know and how little that matters.

The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen

What are you looking for when it comes to toys and playing?
I love old-fashioned, good quality ‘open-ended’ toys. Toys that encourage creative and inventive playing. Toys that can be combined in different ways and that will be interesting to play with for years and years, or maybe even generations.

 What are your favourite places to take your kids to?
We love to take our children to museums. My husband (Tamar) and I love culture, classic and modern one, and we love to share this love with our children. We also love to discover history of different places in the world, big and small ones, nearby or further away.

 What are the things you can’t live without since you became a mother?
I love my big Le Creuset casserole, with such a big family I use it all the time! (I also love the practicality of wet wipes and like to keep them around when traveling.)

   What’s your advice to all newbie moms?
Trust your instincts and don’t be too hard on yourself.

 What do you find difficult as a parent and how do you try to solve the difficulties?
There’s not a lot of ‘me time’ left — time for a book, for knitting, for a magazine, for shopping, etc. I have learned that this is quite important though, to rest, and to reduce stress. So I have stopped working on most evenings, and I love to lie on a couch or to go to bed early with a cup of tea, a book, magazine, and knitting. I also get together with some girlfriends every few weeks for a craft night or cooking night. It’s very inspirational and gives me lots of energy.

The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen

How do you prefer raising your child/children, what works for you?
I’m quite a strict mum and I like my children to be responsive, polite, and follow the basic rules. I have found that this way we have much more freedom as a family: to travel, to go to restaurants, to visit friends, museums, etc.

As a mother what would you like to do differently?
I have a creative and entrepreneurial mind and I always have so many projects going on. I would like to be more organized, structured. I’d like to be able to make sure that everything isn’t intertwined all the time (although I must admit I quite like it that way…)

 What’s your favorite moment of the day?
When everyone is home at the end of a weekday; we cook together, chat about our day, have a glass of wine, listen to music, etc. (I also love lazy weekend mornings, all in pyjamas and preparing a special weekend breakfast.)

 How do you unwind? What is a nice treat for you?
I have recently picked up horse riding (after over 25 years) and it’s such a treat!

 What do you do to make sure everything is ‘in balance’, work, family, friends?
I don’t! I should really become more organized, see the question No. 13 — I always have a feeling that something is missing somewhere!

   How do you combine motherhood and work?
My work allows me to be very flexible. I also have learned to grab every opportunity to do some work — during naps, during ballet classes, while preparing dinner… Multitasking! Plus, I have a cleaning lady who comes twice a week and helps me with household tasks.

The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen

Name a couple of your favourite things in general. List a top 5.
(no order of importance!)
1. Traveling with our family, spending summer vacations in our house in France;
2. Snuggling up in bed and reading books together;
3. Good food, fine wine, great coffee… share together;
4. Summer picnics or cozy winter dinners with friends;
5. Knitting, sewing, crafting, alone and with the kids.

 Can you tell a little about how you decorated your kid’s room?
I didn’t choose a specific style. It’s all a combination of street finds or things we picked up at flea markets. We put a room together with an input of the children.

 What’s important to you interior-wise, when it comes to creating a home?
I love things in my house that come with a story.

Where do you shop for your kid(s)?
I do boutique shopping on www.babyccinokids.com and I love BonTon and Monoprix when I’m in France.

 What are your favourite clothing brands and stores?
Humanoid, Isabel Marant, Maje, American Vintage…

 How do you stay in shape, physically and emotionally?
Horse-riding, cycling in summer, walking, and no computer on weekends. Plus knitting, sewing and crafting in the evenings.

 What was the first item you bought for your baby when you were pregnant?
I always loved the Stokke baby bed, even before I had children, and I got it for Sara when she was a baby. Now Casper sleeps in it.

The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen

What’s the nicest piece of art you ever got from kid(s)?
I love all of their creations.

 When does your heart melt?
The moment when my three older children met Casper. Then I knew that my family is complete. And when I see them playing all together, the four of them.

 Which city do you like to visit and why?
I love Paris, incredibly inspirational city full of culture and history, style and creativity. And one of my best friends lives there which makes it even better.

   What’s important for you when you go on holiday with family?
Time we spend together and discoveries we make together.

 What do you like about your partner as a father?
His involvement, his never-ending love and attention, his responsibility, his curiosity and his interest in our children.

 How does your date-night look like?
We both love good food so we go to a nice restaurant, we enjoy and discuss the menu and the wine menu. We always swap dishes halfway.

The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen

The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen

The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen

The Mamma Stories featuring Esther, Sara, Pim, Ava & Casper - Joey van Dongen

ESTHER, SARA & AVA ARE WEARING:

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