Anne Olde Kalter | Another Mother Her Way
Gosh I just re-read this and I am somewhere between feeling so connected to Anne while also idolizing her from afar. While some of her life - her date night and day care - is what dreams are made of - or at least my dreams - the bags under the eyes, the set up of her creative work week and her village are relatable. Below is a reminder of the thread that connects us across continents as we collectively and consciously shift into this chapter.
HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
I never really realized how big the impact was until my first daughter Vosse was born in 2015. It might sound weird, but it sort of felt like my DNA was thrown in the air like the feathers from a pillow. It really took some time to land and rearrange.
The love I felt for that little human being was immense. Also, the relationship with my man Dirk changed, from looking at each other to looking at that little baby together. That also took time to settle again.
Now that our second daughter Nanou is born, it all comes so much easier (and might help that she is such a relaxed baby). Both our girls were born at home, which is pretty common in the Netherlands. It was so great to wake our oldest up after her sister was born and to see them together for the first time in the comfort of our home.
WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO CREATE SPACE FOR MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
I don't really think I got to create space for motherhood when becoming a mother. I am a mother all the time; it's all over my DNA. I sort of feel it's the other way around. How do I make sure to create space for my own desires and wishes next to being a mother?
I have been working as a freelance illustrator and designer since 2010. Always working a lot, but since having kids, Dirk and I both work 4 days a week and I try to stop working at a reasonable time. That gives us both time to strive for our own career, next to taking care of children together. But it also forces me to focus. The past year I have been making art more and more and I love to explore what that road has in store for me after I get back from maternity leave.
On my day at home, I always try to do something nice with the girls and to make the most of our day together. I’ll meet with friends that have kids their age, go swimming or go to the Nijntje (Miffy) Museum in Utrecht, for instance.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS.
Creative, relaxed, grateful.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
Besides taking time to do yoga, taking a bath or meeting with friends, creating is a big part of my life. I worked as a creative in advertising and then started freelancing doing a lot of branding and illustration. Creating for clients is nice, but I really love to make personal work. It's very important to me to follow this passion and take time to paint, draw and make my own work. To be able to do that for a living is something I really want to strive for. When I start working again, I want to rent an atelier in Amsterdam to keep work and home more separated. That feels like the best way I can take care of myself, by following my dreams.
EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
Dirk, of course! We both work 4 days and take care of the kids one day. Next to that, my parents take care of them one day a week. The remaining two days the girls go to a daycare on a farm with lots of animals and really nice caregivers. I always want to stay there when I drop them off.
I am also very lucky that my best friends both had their first kids (all girls!) at the same time I did. So I can always ask their advice. Our conversations tend to shift between 'pick your battles' to 'why was I having this discussion with a 3-yo again?' Haha.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
I am practicing focusing on positive behavior more, while setting boundaries. Quite a challenge.
QUICK CHIT CHAT
Favorite product, tool or app for parenting life: I love our Joolz stroller and the Snuzpod co-sleeper I got for this baby. It makes feeding at night easier and more relaxed.
Wellness ritual you swear by: Baths when the kids are sleeping. Or going to bed when the kids are sleeping, really early at like nine-ish. Very uncool, but definitely most effective for everything these days - including the bags under my eyes.
Ideal date night (location or activity): Biking through Amsterdam and then dinner at my favorite restaurant Hotel de Goudfazant in Amsterdam-Noord. We live just outside of the city in a very small village, so we might take the boat out after and have a midnight drink under the stars on one of the streams in the middle of the fields.
Family travel destination you loved: Bali! We went for two months when our oldest daughter was 1. I would love love love to go back there for a longer period with our second girl.
A mother you're inspired by: My own mom. She has been a midwife for 23 years and started studying Humanistic studies when she was in her 50's. She now gives philosophy classes at a prison. She always worked, but was also always there for us - and still is.