The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen

 What has changed in your life since you became a mother?
Less things have changed than expected, Elou seems to fit in with our lives perfectly so we still do everything we also did before we had her. We only need to adjust and plan a little bit more. Every single day we tremendously enjoy being a little family.

 What things do you want to teach your child/ children?
That the world is at her feet. It’s in her hands to discover it. And that she can be anything she wants to be.

What do you like most to do all together?
We love going to the zoo. Also when we are at the beach Elou goes totally crazy when she sees the sea!
She loves to draw and recently we started painting together. Besides that the simple things are the best like walking around the city and drinking coffee.

 What’s the best thing about being a mother?
Love! I am the happiest when I see her cute naughty face!

 What is typical about your child/children?
If she is tired she will twist her hair around her fingers. And she’s a mega flirt!

The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen

 What did surprise you about motherhood?
That it is actually pretty easy on me! I was afraid that I would be an self-doubting mummy, but luckily I am very rarely insecure about myself as a mom. I rely greatly on my own mother’s gut which works perfectly for every mom I think.

What are you looking for when it comes to toys and playing?
Elou does not have a lot of toys yet. I think an endless choice of toys is unnecessary at this age. Elou mainly plays outside with sand / stones / water.

What are your favorite places to take your kids to?
In Rotterdam that place is “Ver van hier”. We love this little book-store/coffee and we are crazy for fun children’s books. We also like to go to the market ‘de Oogstmarkt’ and to the park ‘het Kralingse bos’. When we are in Ibiza we love to go to the bio market called Can Muson, a zoo and a green farm.

 What are the things you can’t live without since you became a mother?
Elou falls asleep with a pacifier, which we buy in Spain. It is from the Suavinex brand and Weleda baby shampoo is great.

 What’s your advice to all newbie moms?
Listen to your own gut! Be a team with your partner, be happy with each other and also take time for yourself. Oh, and read the book: Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman.

The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van DongenThe Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van DongenThe Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen

What do you find difficult as a parent and how do you try to solve the difficulties?
To combine work and motherhood. I work a lot and I love my job. But at this moment I am trying to find a better balance so I can spend more time with Elou.

 How do you prefer raising your child/children, what works for you?
I think upraising of Elou starts now more or less. She is allowed to do a lot but to a certain limit. We must make sure that we stick to these boundaries.

 As a mother what would you like to do differently?
I think that no matter how small children may be, you need to explain as much as possible about what’s going on and why they are not allowed to do certain things. Sometimes we forget to do so.

 What’s your favourite moment of the day?
At the table when Elou can’t stop talking. She talks so much in her own language, at some point Jos and I crack up laughing.

 How do you unwind? What is a nice treat for you?
To go to sauna with my partner Jos and drinking wine with friends.

 What do you do to make sure everything is ‘in balance’, work, family, friends?
This is a difficult question! Jos and I we both work irregular days/hours. So our lives lack a daily structure. It’s often a race against the clock to keep a balance in work, family, and friends. This is something I want to work on in the near future.

The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen

How do you combine motherhood and work?
The same story here, frankly I’d like some more structure. Ideally I want to take less work and be there for Elou more often.

Name a couple of your favorite things in general. List a top 5.
1. Drinking coffee at a good coffee bar;
2.  Having a pizza with friends and kids at the beach Beniras;
3. Discovering a new city together with my partner and child;
4. The 3 of us dancing and singing along with the small orchestra;
5. Games and wines with Jos and friends.

 Can you tell a little about how you decorated your kid’s room?
We had a lovely nursery for Elou when we lived in Rotterdam. Most of the stuff there came from the shop Van Dijk and Ko in Amsterdam. Elou room in Ibiza is more improvised as we could not take everything with us.

What’s important to you interior-wise, when it comes to creating a home?
I learned a lot from my mother in law who has a furniture store in Rotterdam. Jos and I have a really different taste when it comes to interior. So my mother in law has helped us a lot. The most important for us is a spacious dining room where we can spend time together with friends and family. We love giving diners, organizing wine parties and playing board games. When Elou gets older I want her to like her home and come back there eagerly. The house should be very cozy, warm and lively in my opinion.

What are your favourite clothing brands and stores?
Now that we live in Ibiza I shop mostly online, otherwise I turn to the shops like Pirates y Princess and Zara.
1+ in the family, Tocoto Vintage, Plumeti rain.
Shops: Bonbon on the block, Cos and Zara Kids. Online: So-Lovable.

The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen

How do you stay in shape, physically and emotionally?
Last winter we went to a boot-camp like 3 times a week. It was a boot-camp on the beach! It was perfect to clear my head. Now with the heat in summer I don’t do much.

What was the first item you bought for your baby when you were pregnant?
The first thing we bought were the shoes from Tocoto Vintage in France.

 What’s the nicest piece of art you ever got from kid(s)?
A drawing with up to five lines on it..

When does your heart melt?
Well, all the time! When Elou just comes out of a bath. When Jos reads a book to her and she is in her pajamas with a wet hair. Or when she plays with our neighbors’ dogs and cats, or flirts with all the people we encounter. Yes, all the time!

The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen

Which city do you like to visit and why?
City breaks are always fun! Paris and London are at my top list as those cities are so inspiring. New York is still on the wish-list.

What’s important for you when you go on holiday with family?
We love camping. Last summer I thought Elou was a bit too young for camping, but now I cannot wait to go to a small campsite in France to enjoy each other’s company and nature.

 What do you like about your partner as a father?
He is so sweet, caring and very proud of his baby-girl!

How does your date-night look like?
Fine dining and having drinks in a pub. A pub is really not a place for Elou but when it comes to eating out we do it easily with the three of us.

Who as a mother inspires you and why?
My own mother and my mother in law! I think we like to raise Elou the same way as we both were raised by our mothers. A little bit of both I guess.

The Mamma Stories featuring Tjitske & Elou - Joey van Dongen

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