As one of the co-founders of the excellent online shopping portal Babyccino Kids and the brilliant ShopUp event, not to mention mum of four children (Sara, 10, Pim, 8, Ava, 5, and Casper, 2), Esther van de Paal has negotiated the wonderful, frustrating, challenging and amazing waters of being a mother for the last decade. Pictured above with her children and her husband Tamer in their Amsterdam home, Esther shares with us the 5 things she’s learned about parenting along the way…
Take care of yourself and your relationship
Becoming parents is a big change and a big challenge. It’s easy for us, mothers, to focus entirely on our family and to forget to take good care of ourselves as well. But our own wellbeing is just as important as that of our children and partner! A mother that feels good about herself is a happier mama and a sexier partner.
A change of scene can mean a change of spirits
When things are not going very smoothly, consider a change of scene. It can be as simple as putting everybody’s wellies on and splash puddles in the park for half an hour. Dinner can wait.
Step back and reflect
In the bigger scheme of things, hugely important parenting decisions like ‘which organic nappy brand is the absolute best for my baby’ are maybe not as important as they appear to us, over-worrying and over-achieving parents. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back, and reflect.
Take things with a grain of salt
No-one is perfect. Don’t be fooled by what you see, or what you think you should be!
You don’t have to do it all!
Kids generally love doing what you’re doing, so if you do something you love, your kids will love doing that with you. (For example, spending hours on the playground is not my biggest hobby, but I love cooking and crafting, and my kids love to cook and craft with me. It’s a way to spend time together we all enjoy.)
Esther with her Babyccino co-founders, Courtney and Emilie.
The next Shop Up event is in London from the 10th-11th December.
IMAGES: Katrina Campbell/Christina Schumacher