The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen

What has changed in your life since you became a mother?
A big challenge for me is to dived time for my children, my husband and me. I found out I need a lot of time for myself and you don’t get that. It will be a challenge for the rest of my life I guess.

 What do you want to teach your child?
To be honest, curious and open-minded. And always be and stay true to yourself.

What do you like most to do all together?
Reading books, both of my kids love books! Drawing or making things together with Puck. I love chatting with her and listen to her telling me all kinds of things. How she sees it. The best thing you can do with Mia is going for a bike ride. She loves to sit in front of the bike and always starts to sing and wiggle from joy.

 What’s the best thing about being a mother?
The best thing is motherhood itself, since we really wanted children for quiet a while and weren’t able to have them. I was so happy to finally have Puck after four years of a lot of medical help! I always try to tell people that becoming a mom is a gift itself, not something you should take for granted. And it is heart breaking if you have strong wish to become a parent and are not able to.

How would you describe your children?
Puck is a very happy child who loves to play and learn. All day. She is very observant, and absorbs everything like a sponge. Sometimes this leads to an information overload. She ends up in tears when it all becomes a bit too much. Mia is a bit more outgoing, but also a huge observer. After seeing something being done she starts copying it right away. Mia loves to have people around and to cuddle. However she can be quite stubborn especially when things do not go the way she wants them.

 

The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen

What did surprise you about motherhood?
The instant love you feel for your children. BOOOM! Nature works perfectly.

What are you looking for when it comes to toys and playing?
Being a graphic designer I love well designed toys. I definitely prefer the ones of a good quality. We do have a lot of vintage or preloved toys. My mom saved a lot of toys from when I was young, Brio, Duplo, Playmobil. I try not to buy too many things since it seems Puck doesn’t even play with most of them. Usually she is outside playing in the garden with other children. When it comes to books I make an exception. I love illustrated books and I have a few favourite illustrators. But I also check the story before buying. If it doesn’t make any sense to me, or isn’t well written, I don’t buy it.

What are your favourite places to take your kids to?
That would be beach. My parents have a little holiday house in Zeeland, we try to go there as often as possible. We also love going out for a lunch or dinner. There are a few good spots to do this with the little ones. Café Restaurant Amsterdam is our favorite. Recently we’ve moved to Haarlem and now we are slowly discovering this area. Buitenplaats Plantage is amazing. And of course the beach once again.

What are the things you can’t live without since you became a mother?
That would be my phone. Horrible I know. But being limited in time and being a total mess in remembering anything, I use it all the time to plan, to take pictures, to stay in touch with others and simply to keep track of time. Don’t get me wrong I love meeting with my friends in real. But most of them are on the same page with families and kids right now, so it’s a good way to keep in touch. And another item is a bike seat for kids. They love being on the bike and explore. And some wool and knitted needles to keep me sane.

What’s your advice to all newbie moms?
Be patient; which I am not…yet.

The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen

The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen

What do you find difficult as a parent and how do you try to solve the difficulties?
As I’ve mentioned before I find it pretty difficult to divide time between my girls, myself and my partner. How do I go around it? I keep on doing my best and I give myself once in a while some slack.

 How do you prefer raising your child/children, what works for you?
I think of my children as small yet very independent individuals. They need to explore the world and learn about their own personalities while exploring. But with the strict guidelines set by me. Children need boundaries. And us parents need to set them and keep them clear. So as a parent I try to create a safe environment for my kids and set the boundaries. Within these boundaries they are allowed to do almost anything they want.

As a mother what would you like to do differently?
I wish I had more time to play and craft with them. And the patience to do so. But I always have million ideas and things to do in my head and unfortunately just not enough time for all of them.

 What’s your favourite moment of the day?
Waking up in the morning at weekends and cuddling with the girls while still being in bed.

 How do you unwind? What is a nice treat for yourself?
Having a day to myself. Going downtown, drink a cup of hot(!) coffee in silence, wander around a bit, do some shopping. A hairdresser is a good place too. And having dinner with a good friend, eat and talk.

 What do you do to make sure everything is ‘in balance’, work, family, friends?
If I knew the answer I would definitely share it with you.•

The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen

How do you combine motherhood and work?
Well, again, that’s a tough one. I work as a freelance art director which leads to a lot of deadlines and pressure. Projects come and go. Mostly at the worst moments. Having two children and a husband that works 5 days a week, it’s almost impossible to combine it all. Since I don’t want to bring my girls to daycare 5 days a week, I’ve decided to step back. A big decision for me personally, since I always aim to stay (financially) independent. So I’m still trying to balance that. However I also keep in the back of my head the fact that in two years Mia will already go to school. Time flies, before I know it they both will move out living their own lives. • Name a couple of your favourite things in general. List a top 5.

1. Inspiring others – I love to share things I find, make and love;
2. Traveling & exploring – both with and without my girls (and husband);
3. Art & design – I love a good art or design find;
4. Meeting friends & people – preferably combined with the following:
5. Good food & coffee – maybe a bit too much.

Can you tell a little about how you decorated the kids room?
I’m not a big decorator I like to keep it simple and functional. The girls and their toys will add a colourfull mess anyway. A lot of things were gifts or trades with other makers. As a storage we use boxes or baskets. The only thing I’m keen on, is putting some art on the walls like Illustrations from children books, or prints of animals or other things they relate to.

What’s important to you interior-wise, when it comes to creating a home?
Again, I like it simple and functional with a few key pieces. Well-designed lamps and art do the rest.

Where do you shop for your kid(s)?
Most of the time I shop online. I love little independent (handmade) brands. But with Puck having a very strong opinion of her own I have to check with her first before buying anything. As well I opt for second-hand once in a while.

The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen

What are your favourite clothing brands and stores?
I have a few favorites for Mia and some for Puck. For Mia I love: Yellowpelota, Redcreekhandmade, (vintage) Oshkosh, SoorPloom, Waddler, Les Zigouis. YoungSoles and Amy and Ivor for amazing shoes. Almost all her knits are made by me. For Puck Le CarousselParis, Bobo Choses, Motoreta and Off On clothing for dresses. Parka’s from MiniRodini. SaltwaterSandals and Natives are our favorite summer shoes. For the rest she lives in sneakers and Bergstein rubber boots. Both girls wear tights from Ewers. They have amazing colours and good quality. The girls also wear (silk)woolen shirts/rompers from Joha, Cosilana or CelaVi. I love to keep them warm. Shop-wise: Langkous has a very nice collection, Big & Belg as well. Tas-ka just started a store with amazing brands.

How do you stay in shape, physically and emotionally?
Physically a while ago I started running but had to quit because of an injury. Now I’m trying to find time and energy to get back into that. Emotionally well I Knit. And meet and talk to my friends. •

What’s the nicest piece of art you ever got from kid(s)?
Ha, it was Pucks first weave. I gave it away to my mom, for her 70th birthday. The only reason i did that was because I will get it back one day.  And I also have a little yellow apple Puck made at school. Love that one too.

 When does your heart melt?
The first time Puck saw her sister. I never forget that look on her face. And my girls keep melting my heart. The way they learn, see the world and discover it is just amazing.

Which city do you like to visit and why?
Berlin! Love it over there. Loads of creative people and it’s a very child friendly city. Antwerp and London are favourites too.

The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen

The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen

What’s important for you when you go on holiday with family?
That we have outdoor space for the kids to play and move around. And separate bedrooms.

What do you like about your partner as a father?
The way he totally adores his girls. And he is definitely a better nurse than I am when they get sick.

 How does your date-night look like?
Going out for good food! Or visiting an art show or concert and go for good food afterwards.

Who as a mother inspires you and why?
I think all mothers I know do, in their own way.

The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Nora, Puck & Mia - Joey van Dongen

NORA & PUCK ARE WEARING:

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