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The Annelies household: ‘I wanted to do everything perfectly. The best for my baby ‘

With this week:

Name: Annelies (37)

Partner: Kadé (41)

Pets: Kate the cat

Occupation Annelies: family therapist and mom coach (total 32 hours per week)

Occupation Kadé: French teacher at secondary school (24 hours a week)

Distribution of income Annelies / Kadé: 60/40

Household distribution: total 24.5 hours per week, Annelies 14 hours, Kadé 10.5 hours per week


“I am a salaried family therapist and I also work independently as a mommy coach. I supervise a Facebook community, Mothers in balance. I notice that during this corona period, mothers try very hard to keep everything under control. They even go the extra mile. want to be not only a good mother, but also a nice woman, a good colleague and a committed teacher.I see my clients turning into perfectionists, wanting to take control, make frantic schedules.

That makes sense, and there is nothing wrong with applying structure. But what I have noticed in myself: if you go too far in that, you lose the connection with your family members. Many (young) mothers put themselves at the bottom of the priority list, while taking care of yourself is so important. I want to help them with that. “

The perfect mother

“When my first son was born twelve years ago, I wanted to do everything perfectly. I worked a little more than my husband, he was often home with the baby. Then I came home and asked, ‘Did he have any fruit today? ‘ and then my husband said: “No, but we did eat a piece of apple pie at the Hema.” Angry that I became! While now I think: he created a nice moment with my son, a pleasant memory.

I didn’t see it then, I just saw that he hadn’t eaten fruit that day. I wanted the best for him. And stubborn as I was, I thought I knew what it was. I did everything according to the rules. When the counselor once advised that he give him potatoes with olive oil to grow him, I followed that advice blindly. As a result, my son didn’t want to eat anymore … I learned a lot from those early years and completely let go of the urge to do it perfectly in the second. “

Cultural differences

“My husband and I had fights about the upbringing in the beginning. He is African and sees some things really different from me. For example, he didn’t want our baby to cry, while I had learned that crying was good for the lungs. Some Western advice went completely against my nature, but then I did anyway like crying that or letting my son sleep in his own room, my husband and I argued about it, because he liked the baby put our bedroom to sleep. “

“I remember very well that when I was pregnant, a friend advised me to rest a lot more. She told me that in Mali, where she is from, it is normal for mothers to rest more during pregnancy and to be forty after your delivery to stay in bed with the baby for days to recover. Others take care of you. We don’t know that at all. The transformation to mother, nobody’s talking about.

In our second, we ignored many of those advices, which has been so liberating. I have learned to let go. What really matters in life is love, the connection with each other. Not about the boxes you can tick off. My husband sometimes struggles with our individualistic culture. He is used to family members helping each other with education, running the household. He misses that here. “


“It is nice to ask for help if you need it. Paid or not. We had a cleaning lady. She is not there to save money, but as soon as the weather is possible, I immediately go looking again. Delicious! With my man I made concrete plans about who does what in the household. There have been some conversations about it and sometimes it is still difficult. For example, if he cleans the dishwasher… Anyway, I can whine about that, but where is that He also cooks healthy and varied every day, very nice. I do the administration. He keeps the house clean downstairs, I upstairs. “

“We try to discuss everything, otherwise nothing will ever change. We women are sometimes too modest, or arrogant, but it is so nice to divide the tasks. When he takes over a task, I can wonder if it will work out Like picking out presents But of course it always works out I also know that he is better in some cases than I. For example, I recently asked if he would like to have conversations with school because it made me too emotional. does that perfectly. I am rid of it and he is happy to do it. We try to keep dividing the tasks. That is only possible if you have conversations about it. “

Coronia period

“Now that we are more on each other’s lips, I notice that old patterns are resurfacing, the patterns from when we were just a family. The combination of home education for two boys who are so different in age, working from home, a frightened teenager : it was chaos everywhere. Our oldest is a dreamy boy. When the structure fell away, he immediately turned into such an adolescent who could not get out of bed.

As always, I wanted to do everything very well and I completely jumped back into that control instinct when I was just a mother. I wanted the kids to get their homework done. What was the result? Quarrel, struggle and hassle. Horrible! That collective feeling of fear, not knowing how long this period will last, not knowing how serious it is … Having something to hold on to in that chaos, that is just difficult. In the end, in many cases it only leads to battle. So after a week I let that go again! I’m trying to let it go a little bit more now. Also how it works with working from home, for example. Once I was on video calling, I heard my little boy scream in the background, “Mommy, I’ve been pooping! At first I was ashamed of that kind of situation, but now I am more relaxed about it: this is the situation, it is no different, I can’t make it any more. “

Tip from Annelies

“The only thing that is important is that you get through this period together. Everything is different, it is heavy enough for everyone. Just make sure you keep it a little bit fun together. Then your children will miss out on some education … so what. “


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