Nadia (38) has two daughters (6 and 3) and a son (5).
Article continues after the ad
“My father worked for a cleaning company, my mother stayed at home with five children. We were not well off at home, but my parents made sure that we had a good meal and we wore nice clothes. They never bought themselves new clothes. We never went on vacation – in my youth we only went by car to family in Morocco once.
I have two brothers and two sisters. We all slept in one room, in bunk beds. The five of us shared a wardrobe, each with its own shelf and desk – very cozy. I have great memories of my childhood. The fact that we always had to share everything has ensured that we are very close as brothers and sisters. I now also let my own children sleep together in a room, I hope they become just as close later.
For the future
School was the most important thing in our home. We weren’t allowed to play until we finished our homework. It was all about discipline and good grades. After high school I studied to be a dental hygienist and then I went to work full time.
Until I met my husband and we had three children: I’ve been working two days a week ever since. A conscious choice, so that I can spend a lot of time with the children. By working two more days I get my points, so that I can remain registered as a dental hygienist – that is important to be able to continue to practice my profession in the future. When the youngest goes to school, I want to work again – I love my profession.
At the moment the two oldest go to out-of-school care one day a week, the youngest goes to day care when I work. That costs 950 euros per month. My husband works 4.5 days in a care institution, he picks up the children one afternoon a week.
Everything in one heap
My husband earns EUR 2,700 net per month, I EUR 1,400. We lump everything we earn together, we never discuss it. It goes to the fixed costs, about 900 euros per month, and the rest we spend on groceries and clothes and toys for the children. Saving for later is also important to us: we set aside a thousand euros per month for the children. They can later get their driver’s license or follow training. We also deposit one hundred to two hundred euros into a savings account every month for unexpected costs.
‘This is why I spoil my children with beautiful things’>
My parents used to have no money for extras. As a child I never experienced that as a loss, but now that I am a mother myself, I think it is important that my children can develop themselves and get the chance to develop their talents. My son takes judo, swimming lessons and street dance, my oldest daughter takes judo, guitar lessons and horseback riding, which costs a total of about two hundred euros per month.
Before we had children, my husband and I went out for dinner every week, together or with friends. I loved good cosmetics: I quietly bought a day cream for 60 euros or a nice mascara for 25 euros. Nowadays I buy that stuff for a few euros at the drugstore. The only thing I still pamper myself with is a pedicure, which costs 35 euros every six weeks. And every now and then I allow myself an expensive bottle of perfume. I used to not think about it, now it really feels like a present. By the way, I don’t mind denying myself luxury things, the children will be number one in the coming years, not me.
My husband and I used to often go on expensive vacations – the Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand. With the children we stay closer to home, the Spanish beach is just as much fun for them. Last summer we stayed in the Netherlands and my daughter went on a pony camp and my son built huts, they loved it.
I hardly buy any clothes for myself, I mainly shop for the children. We have transformed the attic room into a playroom, which is full of Lego, K’nex and other beautiful stuff. Only: my children hardly care. I bought a 32 euro talking doll for my middle daughter. As a reward for getting herself dressed. She only played with it once. Pretty frustrating. Then I shout that they take it all for granted and don’t realize how good they have it – that doesn’t help much of course. They especially like to dress up, play with a pair of old scarves as if they are horses, or paint an egg carton.
My parents think we spoil the children way too much. You shouldn’t overload them with things, but with love, they say. “You had one toy per child and you had to make do with that,” my mother says. She thinks it is ridiculous that our children die in the toys and each have five winter coats. Our winter coat was washed on Sunday and we put it back on to school on Monday, until we had grown out.
My parents are right, we spoil our children. And yet I can’t resist. When I see the umpteenth toy car in the store, I take it anyway. I do try to teach my children now that you should always share with people who are less fortunate. I clean out all the cupboards a few times a year and then I take the kids to the food bank to bring clothes and toys. Toys go to nephews and nieces, or friends who are less fortunate.
Last year my oldest daughter and I baked cupcakes that she sold at the pony club Christmas market. She gave the proceeds of one hundred euros to the club for the care of the ponies. So sweet. Ha, who knows, how spoiled they are. ”
This article has previously appeared in Kek Mama.
More stories about money and family? Subscribe here for the Kek Mama newsletter>