The Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van DongenThe Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van Dongen

What has changed in your life since you became a mother?
A lot! My kids have taught me patience, an amazing kind of love and they make me a better person.
They show me every single day that not the big but the little things in life matters.

What do you want to teach your child?
Live life to the fullest! I want them to follow their heart and believe everything is possible as long as they are willing to work for it.

What do you like to do together?
Waking up together, cuddles and kisses in bed, having breakfast, go to the park/beach/zoo and coming home for chillings in our garden.

What’s the best thing about being a mother?
That I have so much love to give. There is no love like mother-love. It’s intense, magical and unconditional.
And the most rewarding thing is when they give their purest love back to you.

 

The Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van DongenThe Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van Dongen

What’s typical or characterizing about your children? 
Levyn is a very energetic and curious kid, but can also be very shy at some time.
He always have to find something physical to do. The wilder, the better! Sometimes I wonder how his little body can handle all that energy. Besides that, he always cracking me up by saying and doing the funniest things. He is definitely our little showmaster at home. Seph is more relaxed. He just turned 5 months, so it’s difficult to tell how he will be when he is at the same age at Levyn. But I really see some similarities between him and his brother.

What surprised you about motherhood?
I was surprised that motherhood made me more laid back and care less in many ways. I always made a fuss about stupid things and was such a control freak, but everything became more unpredictable and uncontrollable and I was totally fine with it. Those little monkeys showed me what really matters in life.

What’s important to you when it comes to toys and playing?
I love educational toys (made our of natural material) so the kids are able to use their imagination. I don’t like those bright colored toys with sounds and lighting. They are ugly to see and to have at home. I know I sound a bit crazy, but unfortunately Levyn always seems to pick out these toys when grandparents wants to spoil him.

The Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van DongenThe Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van DongenThe Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van Dongen

What are your favourite places to take your child?
Levyn really likes to run around and de Kralingse bos is just around the corner, so that’s one of our favorite places to go with kids for a stroll and picknick.

What are the products you can’t do without anymore since you’re a mother?
– Definitely the baby carrier from Marsupi. Levyn hated the stroller but loved to be carried around. Seph is a little more relaxed, but he also prefers the carrier.
– The Philips food steamer for the first year. Easy to use without having a messy kitchen.
– Laneige water sleeping mask and Aesop Parsley seed serum

What’s your advice for new moms?
Follow your heart and listen to your motherly instincts. Everyone is different (moms and their babies), so don’t compare and give yourself a hard time. I know being a new mom can be very overwhelming, but do not forget the hubby! Give him some credits and love too. They really appreciate that!

The Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van DongenThe Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van DongenThe Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van Dongen

What do you find difficult as a parent and what do you do to fix it?
That I can’t get things done within the timescale I had in mind. Working from home and having 2 little kids to take care of is not the easiest thing, so taking off the pressure and catch up on things that needs to be done when Levyn is going to daycare is the best thing to do.

How do you like to raise your children, what works for you?

I truly believe parents are the main source of a kid’s sense of self worth. I want them to look in the mirror and be happy, comfortable and confident about themselves. Setting boundaries in a positive way is something I really invest time in. That means: be patient, consistent (even if they climb out the bed 25 times a night) and explain the whys and wherefores. Ofcourse I had moments when I lost my temper and yelled “No!”, “Don’t do this!”, “Don’t do that!”, but I notice Levyn gets rebellious when I do that. Staying calm, explain and reward his good behavior works the best for us. 

The Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van Dongen

What’s your favourite moment of the day?
When Manfung gets home from work. We play, cuddle, acting goofy and see how Levyn is killing his moves when he perform for us.

What do you do to feel well, to treat yourself?
To go shopping on my own, have a nice massage and a long facial.

How do you make sure everything is ‘in balance’, work, family, friends?
We have a very social life (even with kids) so we do see our family and friends every week. On Wednesday Levyn goes to daycare and every Friday to his grandparents. That’s when I can catch up on work.

 

The Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van Dongen

How do you combine motherhood and work?
My parents have always taught me ‘hard work pays off’. I started my own company when I was 20 and worked like a maniac before I sold it and moved to Rotterdam 4 years ago. Back then Manfung had his own blog (www.inrichting-huis.com) and wanted to build a big network of interior websites. I decided to help him with that and now 4 years later it is still growing. Therefore I feel very privileged that I can work from home and have the kids with me. It’s a decision I made but sometimes not the easiest when it comes to having your own business. I always have ideas to do this and that but time won’t let me. Guess there is no perfect balance for me on this one. But hey! You can’t have it all, right?! wish a day had more hours so I can spend more time on OHMYHOME and all the blogs. At this moment we are doing lots of nice things, but everything goes on a slow pace and I am totally fine with it. Let go was also a process I had to learn in this situation

Name a couple of your favourite things in general. List a top 5.
1. Seeing my kids smile and being happy
2. Bali with the family
3. Date nights with my lover
4. Sunny days
5. Spending time with family and friends

Can you tell a little about decorating the kids room?
Levyn just moved into his big-boy room last week and we changed his baby crib into a junior bed.
We still have a lot to do if it comes to decoration, but we love bright colors and use natural materials for his bedding and furnitures.

What’s important to you interior-wise, when it comes to creating a home?
Manfung and I are pretty much on the same page when it comes to interior. We bought this house 2 years ago and it took 1,5 year to renovate it. When we finally got the keys in January, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on this new project.
Bright, light, cozy and lots of natural colors and materials were the guidelines we followed while ‘building’ our new home where we all feel comfortable.

Where do you shop for you kid(s)?
I really love the convenience of online shopping. Especially for the kids.
My favorite online shop is Smallable. They have pretty much every brand I love for them.

What are your favourite clothing brands and stores?
I like to dress quite basic, so to name a few shops where I like to add some goodies for my wardrobe:  COS, Zara, Other Stories, Acne, Bimba Y Lola and Anecdote.

What’s the first thing you bought for your baby when you were pregnant?
A onesie from Gray Label

What’s the nicest piece of art you ever got from your kid(s)?
A round plate made of cork with green paint on it

When did your heart melt?
I have pretty much of these moments. But my heart gets full when Levyn is looking for his little brother in the morning and giving him cuddles and kisses.

Which city do you like to visit and why? 
Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities. Every time it feels like coming-home to me. It never gets bored, but if I have to choose a city I never visited before it would definitely be Copenhagen.

 

What’s important when you go on holiday as a family?
Doing nothing but enjoying ‘family-time’. We went to Bali last year when Seph was not born yet. Everything was perfect! The people, the food, the scenery and on top of that: they were so good with kids (especially babies!) It really is the best destination when traveling with little ones. (yes, the 17-hour flight is all worth it!)

What do you like about your partner as a father?
He is the best dad to our boys. He is very patient, loving, caring, crazy and fun with them.

What does your date-night look like?
Having diner at a cosy restaurant, talk and laugh a lot.

Who as a mother inspires you and why?
Definitely my grandmother. My parents (like many other Chinese folks) had their own restaurant to run, so we were living with all grandchildren under one roof. My grandmother raised us, took care of us, loved us and most importantly: showed us what unconditional love means.

The Mamma Stories Angel, Levyn & Seph for Lennebelle Petites - Joey van Dongen

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