Vanessa, Dayne & Jimmy


The Mamma Stories featuring Vanessa, Dayne & Jimmy - Joey van Dongen

What has changed in your life since you became a mother?
I think mainly it’s the responsibility for a new life we created and now two lives. Impulsive rash decisions are mainly are not about me anymore.

 What things do you want to teach your child/ children?
I want to give them as much love and confidence as possible. I want them to know that we really were waiting for them and that we love and enjoy them very much.

 What do you like most to do all together?
We do all sports together. We love to go swimming, one big family. I remember how I, being a little girl went swimming with my dad. And of course we go to playgrounds, a zoo, countryside, etc. The beach is also a favorite of ours. And in the winter we like to stay in and bake cookies and cakes.

What’s the best thing about being a mother?
Seeing your children grow up is definitely the best part. One day Dayne was a baby and now he’s already four. And Jimmy who was laying in my arms walks already. It’s so special to see them grow and develop.

 What did surprise you about motherhood?
The depth of mother’s love. When your child is born you just love him or her. It’s unconditional. It’s like a new door in the story of your love is opened. When I was pregnant with Jimmy I was wondering whether the intensity of love is possible to be repeated. And yes it is. Another door is opened.

What is typical about your child/children?
It’s peculiar to see your own features and character, both good and less good in your kids. But I also see things from my own parents. Dayne resembles my mom and Jimmy got something from my father, like the way he walks and moves his hands.

 Is there something in your kids you recognize from yourself or your partner?
Jimmy is very cocky; he knows best what he wants and needs. I recognize this from myself. But he also has a sense of humor from my partner, Arjen. That was visible from the day one. Dayne has already an opinion for everything, including clothes. I remember when I was a kid I’d refuse to wear some clothes. So here it comes back on me.


The Mamma Stories featuring Vanessa, Dayne & Jimmy - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Vanessa, Dayne & Jimmy - Joey van Dongen

 What are you looking for when it comes to toys and playing?
First we were quite strict when it came to toys. We wanted only wooden ones. But now it’s changed a bit. Dayne is four and I noticed that he isn’t in particular crafty. So I try developing it in him. We draw a lot and we also sculpt in clay. Jimmy develops very quickly and he looks at Dayne as an example. But we let Jimmy do his own thing. For example he’s completely crazy about toy cars. Dayne didn’t have it at all when he was as old as Jimmy now.

What are your favourite places to take your kids to?
I really don’t like all the maddening playgrounds with inflated castles and that sort of stuff. I prefer parks and nature. Plaswijckpark is really cool. In the winter you can also go inside. Dayne loves going with me for a cup of coffee. There is a great children corner at a coffee shop Hopper. Besides that going out for pizza is also a favorite.

 What are the things you can’t live without since you became a mother?
I’m a biggest fan of Spanish Nenuco brand. When I’m in Spain I always buy a perfume from it. It smells heavenly and isn’t expensive (in comparison with its price here). If it’s gone I buy a similar product here at Zara Home.

What is the invention of the century when it comes to kids?
A trampoline for the backyard. Both Dayne and Jimmy can spend hours on it jumping, playing, or simply laying on it.

 What’s your advice to all newbie moms?
Follow your gut and simply give them as much love as possible. Than it all will be all right. If you are tired or exhausted ask for help. Ask the grandparents whether they can have the kids for a sleep over. You’ll get your break and the kids will come back with a new wave of happiness and excitement for you.

The Mamma Stories featuring Vanessa, Dayne & Jimmy - Joey van Dongen

The Mamma Stories featuring Vanessa, Dayne & Jimmy - Joey van Dongen

 What do you find difficult as a parent and how do you try to solve the difficulties?
Sometimes it can be a bit too much. Nowadays many mothers keep their jobs. From early morning on you are busy and the “me-time” is only in the evening when kids are in bed. Those are very long working days. Make sure to have “you time” and go out with the girlfriends or with your partner. It is simply healthy for yourself and your relationship. Otherwise you get lost in diapers and running noses…

How do you prefer raising your child/children, what works for you?
Here’s the same advice as above – follow your gut. There is no universal rule for raising kids. It’s not as simple as black and white. Every child is different, try to keep that in mind.

 As a mother what would you like to do differently?
If it was an option I’d prefer not to bring my kids to a daycare in such a young age. They both went to the daycare when they were three months old. I’d love to do it differently. But I couldn’t as I had to consider our financial situation and go back to work. It’s not like they became worse due to this. But three months old is such a young age, they were so small yet.

 What’s your favourite moment of the day?
Every day in the morning I wake up and go to the children’s room to look at them sleeping in their beds. They are so sweet and innocent. It’s the best moment of all.

How do you unwind? What is a nice treat for you?
Once in a while I go out with my girlfriends. It’s good to have “me time” but also to be reminded what I have and how much I appreciate my family.

 What do you do to make sure everything is ‘in balance’, work, family, friends?
I listen carefully to myself. Sometimes I go too far and for too long without stops and I notice that I get more irritated and quickly frustrated. Then it’s time to take a break and have “me time” with my girlfriends or my partner.

How do you combine motherhood and work?
It’s going pretty well. I work three days from the office. Jimmy is two days at the daycare and the third day my mom babysits him. Now my parents are off for six weeks of vacation to Aruba. Then I work from home. Luckily it’s easy to do when you have your own business.

The Mamma Stories featuring Vanessa, Dayne & Jimmy - Joey van Dongen The Mamma Stories featuring Vanessa, Dayne & Jimmy - Joey van Dongen

 Do you have any traditions/ rituals as a family?
At weekends we go swimming with kids and quite often we go for a breakfast or brunch. Such a nice way to begin your day!

 Can you tell a little about how you decorated your kid’s room?
Dayne’s room is very cool, boyish and black whiles Jimmy’s room is sweet and white.

 What’s important to you interior-wise, when it comes to creating a home?
A house should be with an atmosphere of warmth and coziness. It should be a great place to come back from work, school or a daycare.

Where do you shop for your kid(s)?
Bonbon on the Block is my favourite for kids. They have really cool brands. I also like the brand Orange Mayonnaise and I shop a lot online. Jimmy wears a lot from my own brand for kids, Little Indians.

 What are your favourite clothing brands and stores?
Bobo Choses, Emile et ida, Beau Loves.

What are your favourite “kids proof” places to go?
As I mentioned before Plaswijckpark, coffee shop Hopper, or any park, or just to the downtown.

 How do you stay in shape, physically and emotionally?
Sporting, though I wish I could do it more often. And having a coach session helps a lot.

 What was the first item you bought for your baby when you were pregnant?
A onesie from Stella McCartney for Jimmy. She uses such soft fabrics for her line.

 What’s the nicest piece of art you ever got from kid(s)?
A beautiful drawing from Dayne. He doesn’t like to draw. So when I get a drawing I’m super happy.

 When does your heart melt?
When I see Dyane and Jimmy cuddling and their faces breaking with smiles, that makes me so so happy.

The Mamma Stories featuring Vanessa, Dayne & Jimmy - Joey van Dongen

What is the most difficult part about being a mother?
Well somehow it is also a full time job which takes all your time and which never ends. You can’t take a day off of your motherhood, especially if kids yet are very small.

 What is the role of your own mother?
My mom comes to baby-sit Jimmy once a week. However she’s not that young any more. Since I got children I appreciate her more and our own relationship got closer and stronger.

 Which city do you like to visit and why?
I love many cities, for example New York for its dynamic energy and for never sleeping; Paris for its classiness and chicness which inspires so much. Antwerp is also one of my favorites.

 What’s important for you when you go on holiday with family?
We are just back from holiday. I love going for a holiday. Kids are playing together. We go out for a dinner and further than that we do nothing. Dayne and I made every evening a drawing. It’s so nice to look back at our holiday in his drawings, showing all the places we’ve visited, all the animals we’ve seen.We let Dayne choose what he wants to do/ where to go that day. We all relax. It’s so nice to charge up. And every holiday brings us closer together. Our busy lives at work, school, daycare keep us busy and it’s nice to take a break and simply be together as a family.

What do you like about your partner as a father?
He does a lot with the kids, they play together, they romp together, they sport together. But besides this he really does a lot when it comes to raising them and taking care after them. And once in a while the three of them have a “men day” when they do stuff without mommy. Super nice.

 How did your relationship change?
When Dayne was born we were completely focused on him without taking any time for the two of us. That frankly speaking hasn’t really made the relationship between my partner and I better. But we learned on our own mistakes and now we are good. We go strong and we are incredibly happy with our boys.

 How does your date-night look like?
It depends. Sometimes we go out for a dinner, another time for a weekend somewhere away from home. In the summer we like going to festivals, North Sea Jazz is our all-time favorite. Going to a club is also nice.

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