A huge part of why we love Caperberry is the opportunity to regularly meet inspirational mums. From those we’ve featured, to those representing a brand we’ve written about, as well as those who message us with words of encouragement or just to say ‘hi!’ Chatting to these women and being a mother myself, there’s always something said or mentioned that keeps me thinking for a while – a trip they took, an item they love, something they did or said, or just the way they put it.
Following Carolijn’s journey of motherhood, keeping up with her easy-going, honest and precious snippets of daily family life, and now publishing her first book… It’s been an inspiring trip, to say the least.
Sold out on the first print – in what seemed like minutes, with pre-orders for the second stacking up just as quickly, all whilst anticipating the arrival of her second daughter and keeping a toddler entertained. We were super excited to dive a little deeper into Carolijn’s world…
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY…
We are a family of 3, soon to be 4. We have an almost 2 years old daughter, Olivia, and we’re expecting a second little girl in June. And of course there’s Frits, our 3 years old chocolate Labrador who sometimes feels like the biggest baby in the house.
My husband and I met during our studies. We both studied law, but we first met each other in a shady bar – not a very classy story.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND YOUR LITTLE ONE’S NAME?
We both always loved the name Olivia, but we actually had another name in mind for her until week 35 of my pregnancy. Somehow I felt a bit restless, as if the name we had chosen for her didn’t fit the little girl in my belly. Then one night I dreamed about a baby named Olivia, I woke up fully relaxed and calm, I told my husband about it and he immediately agreed. And as it turned out, it really is the perfect name for her.
Her name also reminds me of our favourite restaurant in Ibiza, La Oliva.
FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MOTHERHOOD?
Getting to know her. Seeing the newborn baby changing into her own person is something that keeps fascinating me every day. It’s such a magical thing watching her get to know the world around her, teaching me to notice and appreciate the little things around me too.
…AND HARDEST THING?
The fear. The excruciating fear that something will happen to her.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
Black, at breakfast, with a glass of milk next to it. I stick to one cup a day; drinking water for the rest of the day (and a glass of diet coke at 4pm).
TELL US ABOUT ‘MOTHERHOOD – A MEMOIR OF OUR FIRST YEAR’. HOW DID IT ALL COME ABOUT?
What I struggled most with during that first year of motherhood weren’t the countless diapers, the sleepless nights, the lack of me-time – those practical things you read about in magazines, blogs, and on social media. I found the deeper layers the hardest; loosing and finding myself again, the fear, the insecurities, the overwhelming feeling of happiness – all strengthened by an enormous amount of hormones. What made it even harder was the thought I was the only mother feeling this way. I wasn’t depressed or anything, it was just hard from time to time. Really, really hard. I started writing about it, for myself, so the feelings and words won’t be stuck in my head and heart any longer – as I always tend to do when times get rough.
I started sharing pieces of our story on my blog and Instagram, and soon I noticed that I really wasn’t the only mother experiencing the first year this way. I received tons of messages from women thanking me for putting their heartfelt feelings into words, telling me they showed the articles to their partners so that they would finally understand what was going on in their motherhearts. That’s when I knew I had to publish our story, to share it with the rest of the world, so that all those (new) mums out there would know those feelings of insecurity, doubt, and loneliness are normal, and most important: that they will go away. That they too will grow from an insecure, young mum into a strong, confident woman – just like I did. And that in the meantime, while being on that magical journey, they’re doing a great job.
HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT THE TRANSITION FROM BEING A MOTHER OF ONE TO A MOTHER OF TWO?
A bit scared to be honest. But I try not to think about it – that’s the fun thing about motherhood, you never know what to expect so I don’t bother making expectations. I’ll just wait and see and keep telling myself that we will find our own way once our second enters our lives.
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE MOTHERHOOD, WORK & LIFE? OH, AND FRITS – OF COURSE!
I have to admit there isn’t much time left next to motherhood. But motherhood continues to teach me how to set priorities, so the limited time left is well spent. I lost friendships over the last year, and I made some really beautiful new ones. I no longer want to surround myself with people or circumstances that feel toxic, or don’t give me positive energy in any way.
I’m full time at home with Olivia, and I try to write in the evenings when she’s asleep. Luckily writing never feels like work (sorry for this boring cliché), and I always end up feeling energised after an evening of writing. It is also something that sparks my soul, something that I have solely for myself, something I really need after being a mum for the entire day.
And Frits… He’s just a lazy Labrador who likes to nap, eat Olivia’s leftovers, and destroy an occasional pillow if he feels like it. Haha.
FAVOURITE THING ABOUT AMSTERDAM?
We moved to Amsterdam after finishing law school, where we both started working at big law firms in the financial district. It was really fun, Amsterdam is such a beautiful city with a great buzz. However, over time our priorities shifted and Amsterdam didn’t really feel like home to us anymore. Too crowded, garbage everywhere, not enough nature. We got Frits and a little time after that I got pregnant, so we decided to look for a house out of the city, away from all the city hustle and with a garden for the babies to play in. We’re now living in a small town only a 5 minutes bike ride away from a big city filled with canals and bridges, beautiful shops and cozy cafes, so it really feels like we have the best of both worlds now.
WHAT ARE YOU LOVING RIGHT NOW?
The little kicks in my belly right before I fall asleep at night. The conversations with Olivia. The first signs of spring. The overwhelming support from people all over the world, online and offline, regarding the launch of my book. Donuts.
GO TO: bycarolijn.com
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Inspiration/Image Credits: bycarolijn.com, instagram.com/bycarolijn, Esther Geuskens